The European Union and its Member States are increasingly aware that organized crime is a major threat to the security of EU citizens. Criminal gangs make huge profits and use these profits to infiltrate the legal economy, for example through money laundering. With the aim of combating the further mixing of criminal proceedings in the legal economy, the European Commission is working on a new strategy for the period 2021-2025. In order to make this strategy as effective and comprehensive as possible, the European Commission asked for feedback from various partners. As a European pilot project, the EURIEC was also able to provide feedback.
EURIEC points out to the European Commission that the fight against organized crime should not only be a task of the police and judiciary, but that other partners, such as municipalities, can and should also play an important role. Ideally, this role should also be mentioned in the new strategy. In addition, the EURIEC notes that during the project it became clear that municipalities and other partners are also becoming more and more aware of the role they can play. In order to perform this task as well and efficiently as possible, a good information position is a prerequisite.
However, a good information position is often lacking when the information required for an administrative approach is abroad. For example, when it comes to EU citizens who want to start a business in another EU country and have to apply for a permit to do so. In many cases, the possibility of collecting information on these foreign citizens is often limited as a foreign municipality. Hence, in its feedback, EURIEC asks the European Commission to consider the need for effective international information exchange for administrative purposes in the 2021-2025 strategy. Legislative initiatives, both at the national and European level, should always take into account this need for information exchange, including cross-border. If this happens, then (administrative) authorities can also act against organized crime in an organized and cross-border manner.
As EURIEC, we remain prepared to share our experiences and expertise with the European Commission in the further development of the EU strategy against organised crime.