FECL 13 (March 1993):

MINISTERS OF FIVE EC-COUNTRIES LAUNCH COOPERATION TO COMBAT MAFIA

Ministers of justice of the five EC-member states France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal met in the Southern French town of Arles on 17/18 January to discuss closer cooperation between their states in combatting Mafia crime. A follow-up meeting is planned to be held at an early date in Palermo.

At the Arles meeting the French minister of justice Vauzelle announced that Michel Debacq, a former investigative judge (juge d'instruction) was to be sent to Rome, were he would strenghten Franco-Italian anti-Mafia cooperation as a permanent liaison officer, beginning with 1 february.

The representative of the absent Italian minister of justice Martelli, Ms. Liliana Ferraro, the ministry's director of criminal affairs stressed that Italy was not the only country in arrears with its combat against Mafia crime, while Mr. Vauzelle asserted that no Mafia structures in the true sense of the word existed in France which had hithertho been used by the mafia merely as a sanctuary and for investments and money laundering. The minister's view is however regarded as a naive understatement by some French experts.

In September 1991, France had participated at the foundation of a European anti-Mafia group in Brussel. Police and judicial authorities are to work together in the group. [It is not clear, in how far the foundation of this group and the recent Arles meeting are linked to EC-projects on closer justice and police cooperation].

At a French-Italian summit last November in Paris, the reinforcement of preventive bi-lateral measures was decided.

In Arles, the ministers of Justice called for the early convocation of a UN-conference against the Mafia.

[In the meantime, the Italian minister of justice Martelli has stepped back, after allegations of his involvment in a bribery scandal connected to the affair of Licio Gelli's secret loge P2].

 

Source: Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 21.1.93