The announcement followed a meeting between Mr Wainwright and the Director General of the Italian Criminal Police, Prefect Francesco Cirillo, who committed all the necessary resources of the Italian authorities to this new international effort, including those of the Antimafia Investigative Directorate (DIA) and Italian judicial authorities such as the National Antimafia Directorate (DNA) and the Italian delegation to Eurojust.
Senior experts from 12 countries and international organisations participated in the meeting to witness the opening of this new Europol “Focal Point”, a mechanism designed to facilitate the intelligence and operational efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies in the EU and beyond against the highest priority criminal threats. This initiative against Italian Organised Crime groups is the first of its kind in the EU and reflects a renewed commitment to fight Italian organised crime activity throughout Europe.
“This project is an extremely important element in Europol’s efforts to promote international police cooperation in the fight against organised crime. Italian mafia-style groups are among the most threatening in Europe and must be confronted wherever possible” says Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.
“I welcome this new initiative which will allow all cooperating partners to contribute to the fight against this serious crime by sharing operational information on a secure Europol platform,” says, Prefect Francesco Cirillo.
The risk posed by Mafia-style organised crime is a major concern for the EU and its Member States. In October 2011 the European Parliament adopted a “Resolution on organised crime in the European Union” and in February 2012 established a Special parliamentary committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering (CRIM), chaired by the Italian Member of the European Parliament Ms Sonia Alfano, to tackle this kind of criminal phenomenon.
In response to these developments and the growing concern of law enforcement agencies in Europe, the Italian authorities and Europol recently intensified their collaboration in this area. With the support of many other European and international partners this led to the opening of this new EU project at Europol. One of the most important aspects of this initiative will be to identify links between the Italian authorities’ investigations and those underway in other EU Member States, where organised crime groups originating in Italy are also active. It will also provide the platform for the participating countries to benefit from the Italian authorities’ extensive experience of investigating this type of criminality.
In the near future Europol will publish a threat assessment on Italian Organised Crime which will provide the basis for the objectives of the new project.