On 13 and 14 December Europol hosted the first pan-European expert meeting on Italian organised crime. The meeting was attended by investigators and prosecutors, from 11 EU Member States, 4 non-EU countries and representatives from Eurojust and Interpol. Among the speakers were Mr Maurizio De Lucia from the Italian National Anti-Mafia Prosecution Service and Mr Michele Prestipino from the Anti-Mafia Prosecution Service of Reggio Calabria.
Italian organised crime groups such as the Calabrese ‘Ndrangheta’, which at the moment is considered the most dangerous and widespread of the Italian mafias (the other main ones being ‘Cosa Nostra’, the ‘Camorra’ and Apulian organised crime), are present in many countries worldwide. The ‘Ndrangheta’ has the capacity to traffic large quantities of narcotics and brokers prices directly with the producers. The profits made on drugs trafficking are typically laundered and infiltrated into different business areas and local economies. Although the profit generated by Italian organised crime is difficult to quantify, estimates assess the ‘Ndrangheta’ alone has an income of 44 billion euros a year, 62% of which derives from drug trafficking, mainly cocaine.
Several bilateral worldwide initiatives have been taken to tackle Italian organised crime, however no joint initiative has ever been launched to fight against this form of crime in a comprehensive and systematic way. Europol is embracing this challenge and this expert meeting was the first step towards the establishment of a dedicated platform for this crime area, which in popular terms is known as ‘Italian Mafia’
“I am pleased that the Italian authorities have asked us to host this important meeting in order to discuss how we can develop coordinated measures to give us better tools to challenge and dismantle mafia organisations. This meeting is also in line with initiatives by the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering (CRIM) and it pleases me that we are complementing the committee’s important work,” says Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.
The CRIM committee, chaired by MEP Sonia Alfano, was set up in March 2012. The committee focuses on organised crime, including mafias, which are seen as a real threat to the security and freedom of European citizens. In a recent report from the CRIM committee, drafted by MEP Salvatore Iacolino, it was proposed to give assets confiscated from mafias back to society.