Over the past decades, rising prosperity in Europe, although much needed and welcome, has led to a number of unwelcome consequences in some of our member States. These include a rise in organised crime and its worsening effects on society; the growing impact of an underground economy as regards, for instance, an ever-widening drug supply, especially to young people; readily available weaponry; and extreme gang violence, including contract killings.
Organised crime is also seeking to influence political bodies at local, national and international levels. Recently, in a Council of Europe member State, a series of youth recreation centres, including their educational programs, were found to have been “taken over” by a wide-ranging criminal network trafficking its ill-gotten goods, and even placing “puppets” in positions to infiltrate into and have an undue influence on political bodies.
In view of the overarching need to protect democracy, the Parliamentary Assembly should elaborate recommendations to prevent organised crime from infiltrating into and having an undue influence on political bodies across Europe.