UK Lib DEM MEP Bill Newton Dunn has been elected as a full member of the European Parliament’s new Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering. The Special Committee will have a 12 month term of office during which it is mandated to investigate and assess Organised Crime in its various forms, and its impact on European Union. The Committee will also make recommendations for measures to tackle these problems.
Newton Dunn, who has long been a stalwart campaigner for stronger EU action against organised crime, has high hopes for the Committee:
“For many years now, I have worked to highlight the manifold activities of organised criminal networks, which grow increasingly strong and wealthy enjoying relative freedom and impunity across borders. Throughout, I have consistently argued that we will get nowhere towards curbing this problem without better, stronger, closer, cooperation of enforcement authorities. We need a European FBI.
“We have frameworks, institutions like Europol and Interpol, and the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime, but we have not provided them with the teeth of a truly trans-border means of investigating and enforcing.
“The setting up of this Committee in the Parliament is a seminal moment. Finally ideas like setting up a European FBI can be discussed openly with Commissioners, Governments, policy makers and all other stakeholders, many of whom have told me privately that they would back such a proposal but cannot say so publicly or are constrained by their superiors. Now is the time.
“Crime rings now grow richer from selling some (potentially dangerous) counterfeit goods than they do from selling drugs. Cigarette smuggling not only costs EU governments dearly, but is often also a bottom-of-the-pyramid activity that fund much more serious crimes such as human trafficking, for example. New advanced technologies and the internet present myriad complex tools and opportunities for global crime networks.
“I am very much looking forward to getting down to work, gathering evidence and developing recommendations. This may just be the first step. Turning recommendations into law could take much longer. But having the strength and power of an official Parliamentary committee has already taken us from words into action. “