Silvio Berlusconi has announced plans to crack down for good on organised crime. The Italian prime minister wants measures in place before his current term of office ends in four years’ time.
“A state must defend its citizens. The army is there to defend us from external attacks – but the fight against the forces of evil, not just common crime, also requires an army on the ground,” he told a news conference. Elected on a law-and-order platform, Berlusconi’s critics say his policies so far have only created chronic overcrowding in Italy’s prisons. But Italy’s Justice Minister says crime has fallen by 14 percent since the centre-right government took office last year. Precise details of Berlusconi’s plans are expected to be made public next month. He also insists that work to improve that figure must be shared by all concerned: “Between 30 and 40 percent of prison inmates in Italy are foreigners, so Europe can’t close its eyes anymore – either it enforces existing treaties or makes new ones to give us the money to build new jails.”