In an exclusive article for our website, Italian MP Laura Garavini explains why Mafia is an European problem and what must be done in order to defeat it.
In the last few years, one of the most important findings in the framework of the fight against Mafia was the fact that the organised crime acts globally. Mafia is not any longer a gang operating in the mountains of Sicily. Conversely, it is a criminal organisation acting internationally, a sort of “Mafia Ltd” that has been making money not only in Italy but also all over the world. Mafia has taken advantage of the elimination of controls at borders; therefore, it can invest without any problems at European level and launder money.
For this reason, it is necessary to fight against mafia not only in Italy but also in Europe.
In order to become consolidated internationally, mafia underwent a strong modernisation process in the last 20 years. Tough and coarse criminals have beaten a retreat; they were replaced by a modern and flexible bourgeois mafia. It acts in the framework of the legal civil society and economy with great managerial skills to earn huge amounts of money. This bourgeois mafia causes incalculable damages in the framework of legal economy and markets. It influences competition, endangers the balance of prices, and leads lawful entrepreneurs to ruin.
Drugs trafficking represents the most profitable sector in which mafia is active; however, additional activities include trade in arms, trafficking in human beings, and money extortion and blackmail. Moreover, illegal waste trade, the illicit use of public assignments, the trade in foodstuffs, and the transport and building sectors are involved in criminal activities as well.
Usually, mafia members in Europe behave quietly, trying to act without attracting too much attention, with a cover that never draws others’ attention.
Nevertheless, they are very active. Especially as concerns one of the most important mafia-related activities: money laundering. Mafia cannot survive without money laundering. Each and every money-laundering operation represents for mafia a real lifeblood allowing it to continue to manage its business and obtain more power. Only through money laundering dirty money becomes true money that mafia is able to use. This money represents the foundations of mafia power; this makes it economically and therefore socially powerful.
Preventing money laundering means defeating – sooner or later – mafia. For this reason, it is important and urgent to deploy an effective fight against money laundering, and this cannot be achieved at a national level, but only through international cooperation.
The anti-mafia Judge Giovanni Falcone said that mafia is a human phenomenon, and like all human phenomena has a beginning and it will also come to an end.
Defeating mafia is possible.
What is necessary is the harmonisation of laws (enforced internationally), a repressive but also cultural struggle against mafia, carried out not only by police forces and magistrates but also involving the civil society, in addition to an efficient and close international collaboration. And most of all, what is necessary is a political framework not shutting one’s eyes to the problem of mafia. Precisely what is presently lacking in Italy.
|Laura Garaviniis a member of the Italian Parliament elected by the Italian citizens living abroad (Europe constituency) and the Leader of the Democratic Party in the Antimafia-Committee.
Laura Garavini’s official website.