“Mafia syndicates have regained control in Italy, and they are stronger than before. No European country is immune or impervious to this. Organized crime has no borders, it carries out its business everywhere, and it possesses the skills to use the most modern and sophisticated technologies to carry out illegal trafficking.” Pervasive criminal activity without borders, capable of worming its way into the financial system, of exploiting drug and weapons markets, profiting even from human trafficking. Don Luigi Ciotti, President of Libera, voiced his denunciation at the European Parliament. It was not the first cry of alarm he launched in Brussels, whilst proposing a “political agenda” to MEPs and EU institutions marked by legislative proposals and initiatives at local level. “Uprooting Mafia syndicates – he said – requires that repression measures be coupled by prevention, cooperation between policymakers and civil society, strengthened volunteer work, and cultural activity in schools.” This entails “restoring human dignity, overcoming egoisms and nationalisms. Totalitarian regimes evolve as a consequence of numb consciences and ignorance.”
A new “opportunity.” “CHANCE means opportunities. We are here for this reason, to jointly develop a new opportunity to combat organized crime, Mafia syndicates, corruption”, which act as “parasites of society and of the economic system.” Don Ciotti was invited by MEP Elly Schlein to speak at an international conference that took place on April 3 at the European Parliament in Brussels to present CHANCE – Civil Hub Against orgaNised Crime in Europe – a Political Agenda promoted by Libera. Don Ciotti discussed the initiative with MEPs representing several European countries and with representatives of European bodies that adhere to CHANCE.
Ethics incarnated in life. “We need a European network, it’s time to create networks, to give global answers to the global problem of organized crime”, Ciotti said. “Everyone must do their share – added the President of Libera – to combat Mafia and corruption that worm their way into civil society, after having insinuated themselves into our consciences.” “In order to achieve this goal we need to focus on co-responsibility, on virtuous daily behaviours, on a moral code embedded in everyday life. It’s the language of democracy, the vocabulary of ‘us’.”
Legislation and political action. “CHANCE”, a Political Agenda against organized crime, in its introductory paragraphs examines the Mafia phenomenon in Europe (with an estimated profit of 110 billion EUR/year, 1% of EU GDP), followed by a set of proposals for action against organized crime at European level. Said proposals include the legislative definition of “organized crime”; relaunching direct cooperation between civil society and European institutions; confiscation of criminal assets; strengthening the protection of victims; promoting a EU legislative initiative in the area of witness protection. Each proposal encompasses a project or a legislative initiative at EU level. CHANCE equally calls for stepping up the fight against money laundering, for a more “incisive” strategy against drug trafficking; for “more efficient” cooperation in the fight against the trafficking of human beings; in the fight on crimes against the natural environment, in the fight against arms trafficking… Don Luigi Ciotti pointed out: “Consciousness raising is of the essence. It is necessary that citizens be committed to transforming the desire for change into a force of change. Today our future requires us to overcome our fears and embrace it.”