Europe needs a common strategy to fight against organised crime, corruption and money laundering, said MEPs during a public hearing held on Wednesday and Thursday. Setting up a European public prosecutor’s office (EPPO) and a European federal bureau of investigation were among the proposals debated by Members and experts. The EPPO could mainly focus on transnational tax evasion and frauds, as proposed during a discussion with Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for taxation, audit and anti-fraud.
“The establishment of a European prosecutor is one of the main aim of our committee, but the Commission hasn’t drafted anything on this topic yet”, said Salvatore Iacolino (EPP, IT), who will draft the committee’s final report. Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta added that the EPPO should work with the Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to protect the EU budget from frauds and tax evasion. “Creating a European FBI would be a dramatic proposal, but it would start the debate”, said Bill Newton-Dunn (ALDE, UK) commenting on a idea put forward by one of the speakers.
The need for more transparency to fight against transnational tax evasion, tackling at the same time the tax havens, was stressed several times during the two-day hearing. “European police forces don’t stand out for transparency in the fight against corruption”, said Mario Borghezio (ECR, IT). Transparency can be achieved through stricter controls of financial transactions and companies. Establishing a common European register of companies and their last beneficiaries could also help investigations, Members said.
Another tool to fight organised crime is confiscation of assets, with a legislative proposal currently being discussed in the EP. “We have to avoid that the sceptical attitude of Council and EP waters down the legislation about the confiscation of organised crime assets”, warned Rui Tavares (Greens/EFA, PT).
You can watch the full debate via the link below.
Special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering
Procedure: public hearing
In the chair: Sonia Alfano (ALDE, IT)
Federico DE GIROLAMO (press officer)
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Roberto QUARTARONE (intern)
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