Saturday, May 31, 2008

Time for action

I missed this the first time around. It's just been e-mailed to me as it's an occasional theme here.

Will Hutton, columnist and chief executive of the Work Foundation asks Misha Glenny, journalist and author

Q Should the EU threaten Italy with expulsion unless it gets to grips with organised crime?

A Bulgaria is on the verge of being denied significant development funds from the European Commission because its government has failed to crack down on organised crime. The Commission is doing this to demonstrate that membership does not give incoming countries the right to break the rules. That same leverage, however, does not seem to apply to member states which joined before the Balkan and east European members, not to mention founder members such as Italy.

Naples is the biggest organised crime-related scandal in Europe and successive Italian governments have demonstrated that they are hopeless, spineless and entirely unwilling to get to grips with a situation that shames the entire European Union. The influence the Italian prime minister wields over the broadcast media would not be tolerated in any other European country as it clearly represents an intolerable conflict of interests.

While Italy's expulsion would not benefit anyone, it may be time to consider the selective withholding of certain subsidies and benefits that Italy derives from EU membership unless it makes its central priority the eradication of Camorra influence in Naples, the 'Ndrangheta in Reggio Calabria, a slightly resurgent Cosa Nostra in Sicily, and the Sacra Corona Unita in Apulia.

Update: Will sent me this, to amplify it all.

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