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EU Parliament Committee sheds light on scale of organised crime in-europe

June 11, 2013 2:21 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Bill Newton DunnToday the European Parliament adopted the first interim report of the Special Committee on Organised crime, corruption and money laundering, which recommends the need for an EU strategy and stronger instruments to be taken both at international, European and national levels.

ALDE spokesperson for this dossier Theodoros Skylakakis (Drasi, Greece) said: "Organised crime, corruption and money laundering in the EU are exceptionally wide spread phenomena and cause an enormous amount of money to be lost every year. According to Transparency International corruption in the EU there are at least 20 million bribes paid every year". In November 2012 Mr Skylakakis produced a thematic paper for the CRIM Committee on the areas of systemic corruption in the public administration of the Member States.

"Such illegal activities, operating across national borders make it very difficult for Member States individually to tackle them in a decisive way. EU-wide cooperation is vital", he concluded.

Despite the lack of statistics on organised crime activities, ALDE Coordinator in CRIM Bill Newton Dunn (LibDems, UK) said: "It is nonetheless evident that millions of jobs are being lost by counterfeiting and cyber-theft and hundreds of billions of taxes are being forfeited each year. One of the most startling findings of the committee's work was that, of the containers which take our imports and exports in and out of Europe by road, rail, sea and air, only up to five percent are ever checked. That means that there are still plenty of unchecked containers that are likely to be carrying counterfeit or trafficked goods. We have to do something about that".

"Our society faces a clear and growing danger from organised crime. If we fail to react and the Member States fail to learn to work together, the whole future of a prosperous Europe is genuinely at risk".

CRIM Chairperson, ALDE Member, Sonia Alfano (Italy) said "This is a first contribution to indicate the way to put together an EU framework to combat organised crime. The battle against organised crime and corruption means guaranteeing freedom, safety and democracy to our citizens. If we delay we will give the advantage back to the criminal gangs threatening the very future of the European Union".

The CRIM Committee is due to adopt its final report on October of this year.