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The European Union vs. organized crime

The European institutions and the European governments have always shown strong feelings towards topics concerning the words “corruption” and “criminal organizations”. Indeed, all over Europe there is the tendency of trying to avoid this topic. Without going into detail on the reasons why this is happening, it is understood that criminal activities and corruption are direct proof of a bad government or, at least, of several big “mistakes” in the administration and the supervision of the public area. However, the vote-seeking politicians tend not to admit their mistakes (or hide their bribes, but this is another story) and deny the existence of corruption under their administrations. Instead, they prefer to affirm that criminal organizations exist only in specific areas (usually very far away from them) and that they run few or small local businesses. From this perspective, it has often been said that in the EU, Mafias only exist in a few countries. The most remarkable example is Italy (and in Italy, only in Sicily).

It is easy to understand why. To give an example, in Sicily, which is a region placed in the most peripheral part of Europe, Mafias are hegemony on the territory and keep the control of the areas through violence and threats. In other words, in Sicily the civil society knows that criminal organizations are there because they have to deal with them everyday, it is impossible to deny their presence.

Does this mean that criminal organizations only exist if you can see them? The development of research around this issue is leading to a negative answer (ndr.: visit “the project ARIEL” for more information on this topic1).

As Francesco Forgione, former chairman of the Italian Parliamentary Antimafia Commission, explained in occasion of “Serving Organized Crime: the State Infiltrated” at the European Parliament (November 11th), criminal organizations have acquired a global structure and it does not matter anymore where they were born. To give an idea of the size of criminal businesses, only in Italy criminal organizations have profits of 150-180 billions of Euros (60% of which is re-insert in the economy). These profits are the result of international illegal trafficking in which the production is settled in low labour cost countries and the consumers are the richer western countries.

Forgione explains that drug trafficking, for example, is proof of a high level international business: in Columbia's fields, farmers are paid 1.000€/kg by Columbia's criminal organizations to plant cocaine. Afterwards, the cocaine is sent to Europe (passing through international harbours such as Anvers, Rotterdam or Barcelona) and sold to 'Ndragheta (Italian criminal organization and international leader of the cocaine market) for 15.000€/kg. Once in Europe, the drug is sent to Italy in which Italian criminal organizations mix each kilogramme with “other materials”, making it 4 times more the initial weight (from 1kg to 4kg). They then sell the final mixed-cocaine all over Europe for 50.000€/kg after which 60% of the profits are re-introduced in the legal European economies through money laundering in those countries in which criminal organizations can use gaps in the markets’ regulation (such as Germany).

It is hard to believe, but even countries that no one would suspect of having any sort of problems with criminal organizations are involved. While Belgium (Anvers) and the Netherlands (Rotterdam) are used to import/export stock due to their international harbours, Germany is used to re-invest and launder illegal revenues in legal businesses such as restaurants, hotels and houses due to their “soft” regulation against criminal organization activities. The Bundesnachrichtendienst - BDN (German foreign intelligence) have produced several reports and statements during the past 15 years on Italian criminal organization activities in Germany, and episodes such as the bloodbath of 2007 in the city of Duisburg2 have confirmed their words.

After the failure of the past decades, such as the Convention on the protection of the European Community's financial interests and its two Protocols (1995, 1996, 1997 respectively), the Convention on the fight against corruption (1997) and the framework decision on corruption in the private sector (2003), today European leaders are starting to re-think these issues. As Giorgios Vassiliadis (general secretary in charge on the fight against corruption in Greece) explained, this is in part due to the developments of the recent (and not yet fully ended) EU financial crisis. Briefly, he described that the Greek's system as a system in which immense amounts of capital have been affected by external (and illegal) forces that pushed the country3 to its collapse. Consequentially it has affected all the rest of Europe.

In other words, the recent crisis has been an opportunity to reflect on how dangerous corruption can be when combined with capitalistic economic models.

Today it seems that the European institutions have understood the importance of both sensitization and research around criminal activities. The proof can be seen in the increasing number of working groups, conferences and seminars that have been organized and funded by the EU in the last few years.

In addition, the strong lobbying of anti-corruption NGOs (such as Transparency International, ALTER-EU, Corporate Europe or Libera) and the progress around the creation of a European Public Prosecutor are opening the way for a stronger EU against crime. All we can do is wait and see.

By Vania Putatti, @VaniaPutatti


The cost of speaking up

Whistleblowing is becoming a matter of concern and en vogue as it was seen in Monocle Magazine’s online radio podcast, The Foreign Desk. Conducted by Steve Bloomsfield, the 30-minute talk brought to light the experience of three whistleblowers that became so by accident, following universal ethical standards.

Are whistleblowers professional informants? Are they sent to investigate and dismantle corporate or government wrongdoings? As a matter of fact, they do not, but contrarily, they are ordinary people whose careers and personal lives change for the worse after such a “life changing experience” as one of them, John Githongo puts it. 

According to Monocle, Mr. Githongo was in charge of putting a large corruption scheme on the spotlight after Kenya’s presidential elections in 2007. Having been working on anti corruption, Githongo was appointed Permanent Secretary in the office of the President under the mission to establish a clear and transparent administration. Instead, Mr. Githongo soon realized that contracts and financial agreements were being inflated and fostering ethnic corruption. His first thought was to warn the President and leave the government, but after losing the leader’s political support and starting to receive threats, his immediate reaction was to make the issue public. After that he was forced to exile.

 Fear and lack of government protection are two factors that can prevent whistleblowers to speak up. As Mr. Githongo adds: “whistleblowing never ends well but it has to be done”, emphasizing the idea that it is final individuals that end up suffering for the benefit of a majority. This is the case of Aisha Elbasri, the former spokesperson for the UN and the African Union in Darfur, who held this position for 8 months between 20012 and 2013. She was sent to Sudan at a time where UN reports confirmed that the war in the country was over and the situation had improved, but far from real, the state of affairs was completely the opposite: people were being massacred and forced to leave their homes and therefore, a war on civilians was being hidden from the world. That involved senior UN officials up to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ignoring, denying or failing to make public evidence of concerted attacks on civilians by the Sudanese government.

The price she had to pay was high for speaking out. Not only did she lose her job at the UN but she sacrificed her career and two years after she is still jobless and shaken by her lost of trust on the UN system, which she declares it is broken adding that no member of the UN has never been accused of wrongdoing, but she did not want to be part of crimes against humanity.

 Dealing with personal deception and lack of support in the corporate system is also what Ian Foxley had to go through, adding to his experience the cost of judiciary procedures and trials as well as health problems. After being appointed Program Director for GPT, a subsidiary of EADS – a pan-European Defence contractor of a programme that supplied – via the Ministry of Defence – the Saudi National Guard with communications tools, he discovered a bribery scheme according to which the company was making irregular payments to the Saudi government as well as to offshore companies. He was forced to flee the country following death threats from the Saudi government.

 He says that even all the suffering he went through, he would do it again. A whistleblower is a person who has been absorbing wrongdoing for a continuous period of time and needs to make a judgement call: either stand up and make information public or comply and become an involved party in the corruption or abuse. And while more and more efforts are being made to protect whistleblowers’ security, the system itself is still in most of the cases attacking and intimidating whistleblowers to protect itself.




Image by Europapress

As Gürtel case is still ongoing - one of the most important scandals in Spain which implicates officers of the Partido Popular (PP), Spain's major right-wing party - former Judge Baltasar Garzón, forced out of the office in 2010 due to alleged unauthorized phone tapping, has published "El Fango", an "encyclopedia" of corruption in Spain.

Corruption undermines the basis of the Spanish democracy. To prevent it, it is critical to understand how it is originated, how the hidden mechanisms of corruption work, why is it so difficult to fight it and what reforms are needed to end it. Describing corruption as endemic to the system as it stands, El Fango is the response to these questions through a tour of the most important corruption cases occurred during the last forty years in Spain. 

Baltasar Garzón's vast experience in the fight against corruption has been fundamental to trace this journey, that covers all administrative levels, all regions and all economic sectors of the Spanish reality. Although its seems that scandals have emerged at a time of economic crisis - like the first 90 and since 2009- it is possible to draw a continuous line from the late Franco dictatorship until the present, which shows how the loopholes in the control system of the Spanish institutions facilitate and sometimes promote an illegal and a very lucrative use of the common goods. The book also considers the reforms which, according to the judge, would need to be enacted in order to calm this ill.

Baltasar Garzón is now head of the legal team employed by Julian Assange, and runs the International Foundation Baltasar Garzón (FIBGAR) focused on human rights and universal jurisdiction.


How the trade secrets protection affects whistleblowing

Trade secrets may be defined as “any valuable commercial information that provides a business with an advantage over competitors who do not have that information”. In general terms, trade secrets include ideas, compilations of data and inventions by which a business can obtain economic advantage over competitors or customers. It is also considered confidential information.

Few years ago, the European authorities decided to improve and develop the rules relating to this field and wrote the first EU’s draft legislation on so-called “trade secrets”,  in which several corporate lobby groups were involved, working hand in hand with the European Commission. 

The result was the adoption by the European Council of the “protection of undisclosed know-how and business information against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure” right in May 2014.

The main objective of the lobby groups was to gain stronger legal protection tools for their corporate clients. Unfortunately, companies also use trade secrets protection to fight against business reporting and investigative journalism. 

According to the Corporate Europe Observatory’s trade secrets protection lobbying report, the draft directive has attracted the criticism of a very broad range of civil society groups including the European Federation of Journalists, NGO’s and whistleblowers’ defense organisations. But, why is the reason of their rejection?

The vague and all encompassing definition of trade secrets

As we stressed at the beginning of this post, the protection of trade secrets could be a right to fight against industrial espionage, but the text used a definition of trade secrets so broad that almost any internal information within a company should qualify.

In this field, trade secrets protection is being used by companies in legal proceedings against whistleblowers, journalists and employees, but the European Commission affirms that its definition is “neutral” and it “does not disproportionately limit the freedom of expression and information, and in particular journalistic freedom”.

Actually, we have already denounced the insufficient and unstable European legislative framework relating to the protection of journalists and whistleblowers who decide to denounce some irregularities in public and private sectors. In this view, the trade secrets protections is just another wall  in their fight against corruption.



A different way to get an European Union Directive

Restarting the Future has been steadily growing and facing new challenges since the day it was created. One of the main goals of the campaign was achieved last 11th December 2014 when the European Parliament approved the creation of the "Intergroup on Integrity, transparency, anti-corruption and Organised Crime" (ITCO).

Nowadays, we would like to continue promoting transparency at the European level. That is why our next step is focus in the creation of an European Union Directive on Whistleblowing, hand by hand with MEPs committed to our campaign. Its aim would be to regulate whistleblowers’ activity as one of the main tools against corruption.

The Directive is one of the legal instruments available for implementing European policies inside the European institutions and it is mainly used to harmonise national legislations. Within the field of whistleblowing, we can find some European Member States who have developed a whistleblowers’ regulation already like Romania, Slovenia or UK. However, in our view, it is not enough to safeguard the rights of someone who decides to blow the whistle to uncover corruption scandals. 

In this sense, the creation of an European Directive on Whistleblowing has to be one of the main points of the ITCO’s agenda. Currently, we would like that MEPs encourage themselves to develop a legislative proposal for the rest of the MEPs in European Parliament. Actually, under Article 225 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, a proposal may be tabled by up to 10 Members.

Secondly, the proposal shall be submitted to the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz to verify whether the legal requirements are fulfilled. If the President declares the proposal admissible, he shall announce it in plenary and refer it to the committee in charge. Finally, the proposal have to be opened for signature by any Member of the European Parliament. Once that the proposal has the approval of more than the half of the Parliament, it should be sent to the European Commission in order to be analyzed and accepted.

We know that it is going to be a difficult task, but we also know that it will be a huge step in our fight, which has the support of more than 150.000 signatures of European citizens, 67 MEP’s and several NGO’s across Europe. That is why we are convinced that we are going to restart the future together, one more time.


“We are convinced that we can make a real change if we work together, mostly within an European NGO’s network” – María Garzón

María Garzón, Baltasar Garzón’s daughter, shares with his father – the well-known Spanish jurist - more than a surname. She is the director of Fundación Baltazar Garzón, which aims to extend the principles of her father’s work to other important areas related to Human Rights. Nowadays, they are fighting against impunity and international corruption. In this interview, she explains the reasons why FIBGAR decided tojoin and support Restarting the Future’s campaign.

-How did FIBGAR start?

FIBGAR was born in December 2012, when Baltazar Garzón, funding member of FIBGAR, decided to continue working in some projects that he had begun thirty years ago as a jurist of the Spanish National High Court, alongside several organizations and universities. FIBGAR was created with a clear mission: the defense of Human Rights and Universal Jurisdiction, an important tool to fight impunity. Since its creation, FIBGAR has grown exponentially and currently, we have headquarters in Madrid, Mexico DF, Buenos Aires and Bogotá. In addition, we develop specific projects in Tanzania, Ethiopia, El Salvador and Paraguay.

-Which are your main lines of work?

FIBGAR has established six strategic lines of work: the defense of Human Rights; the implementation of an Universal Jurisdiction to combat impunity; conflict mediation and peace building; the defense of indigenous people’s rights; fight against macro-crime, including corruption, and the strengthening of emerging democracies with strong citizens’ participation. Furthermore, our work focuses on three priority groups: youth, women and indigenous communities.

-Currently, how many projects are you running?

According to our three main strategic lines of work, FIBGAR tries to develop different projects adapted to the reality of the countries where it has its headquarters.

For instance, in Spain, FIBGAR is working on some projects relating to the fight against the impunity of crimes perpetuated during the Franco’s dictatorship. Specifically, we would like to establish a Truth Commission. FIBGAR is focused on developing this organism in order to foment democracy memory, advice victims and compile reports for International Organisations related to the field. We would like to share all this information with society so as to keep alive our memory.

On the other hand, we would like to achieve the adoption of the new Universal Jurisdiction principles. Since the application of the Princeton principles, their implementation have developed suffering changes. Actually, our circumstances and needs have changed in several ways as well. For this reason, we have to update and extend these principles. In this sense, FIBGAR would like to promote a debate between experts, juries, International Human Rights Organisations, the N.U. as well as politicians and victims of several countries. The main objective is to consolidate these principles for everyone’s benefit.

Finally, FIBGAR fights against corruption. Nowadays, we can see on the newspapers several cases of corruption which recall the public institutions’ mismanagement of our resources, particularly in Spain. In this sense, we are publishing reports to raise awareness on the importance to fight the wrongdoing in public institutions.

-Why did FIBGAR decide to join Restarting the Future’s campaign?

Taking into account the commitment of FIBGAR in the fight against corruption, we couldn’t dismiss Restarting the Future’s offer to join their campaign. We are convinced that we can make a real change if we work together, mostly within an European NGO’s network.  

-In your opinion, which should be the main points to fight corruption?

We have to approach corruption as a global problem. In our view, the most important thing is to build up a more transparent system. If we really want to fight corruption, we have to gain the commitment of the whole Public Institutions in order to publish, in detail, what they do and how much they spend.  We have to provide citizens with important tools that would let them have a stronger control of the Public Institutions. We have to improve accountability by creating Citizen Councils, for instance. In addition, it is essential the development and implementation of an effective legal and administrative system, to provide an easy way to denounce cases of corruption. This new system should apply stronger sanctions as well. Finally, it is important to raise awareness of the real risk of corruption among communities and individuals.


“We are responsible for designing a work plan and helping all members to be active in the fight against corruption” – Benedek Javor, member of the Bureau of ITCO

We had the privilege to talk to Benedek Javor, MEP of the European Parliament and also, the leading member of the Dialogue for Hungary (PM) party. He is a member of the Bureau of the Intergroup on Integrity, Transparency, Corruption and Organised Crime (ITCO), established in January 2015 to fight against illegal acts in European Member States.

Nowadays, he highlights the importance of being a member of the Intergroup in order to design a powerful work plan in this field as well as to help the whole ITCO members to be active in the fight against corruption and organised crime. In this sense, he would like to initiate new actions and organise events inside the European Parliament to encourage people to join them.

One of the main points that he would like to develop is the European protection for whistleblowers, “one of the most important issues” according to him, which they are currently working on and “perhaps, one of the most important tools to fight corruption”.

Currently, it is not enough to have regulations in some European countries because, as he said, “we have to develop common rules to protect them. We have to develop the right of protection”.


“We are going to celebrate ITCO events every month” Dennis de Jong, Co-President of ITCO

Dennis de Jong, Co- President of the Intergroup on Integrity, Transparency, Corruption and Organised Crime, has given us a few minutes of his time to talk about the next steps in our common fight, which started last January 2015, with the constitution of the ITCO Intergroup inside the European Parliament.

Dennis has confirmed that the ITCO program is going to be quite important, with several events and meetings, in order to facilitate the debate on all subjects of the Intergroup. In addition, it will be established an intense dialogue between the Intergroup and other institutions such as the Council of Europe or the Commission, to build up awareness against corruption in all the European institutions.

He also agrees with Javor at highlighting the importance of developing stronger rules to assure whistleblowers’ protection. In his view, “the situation of the protection for whistleblowers in the Member States have to be improved, at the very least”. Secondly, he said that there are also many European institutions who have already implemented small improvements in this field but “we don´t have a common rules for whistleblowers” in Europe.

Finally, we would like to thank organizations as Restarting the Future and other NGOs for their mission: to make links between citizens and all European Member States.


Whistleblowers expose to the U.N. the potential danger to denounce unlawful activities

Picture of United Nations Hearquarters

Last April 8th, nine whistleblowers from the U.N. system sent a letter to U.N. Secretary – General Ban Ki–moon and the Directors of U.N. Specialized Agencies, to warn them about the risks of reporting irregularities in public and private organizations.

Each one of them has blown the whistle on serious misdeeds and even criminal acts at the United Nations, facing retaliation and serious threats as a result. As they say, their case is not an isolated one, asserting that “our cases are well-known and, sadly, deter others from reporting wrongdoing”.

In this sense, they are claiming for more protection for whistleblowers as, according to the letter, the “U.N. system of justice fails whistleblowers.” They recognise that over the past decade, the U.N. and its specialized agencies have established new whistleblowers' policies, but they denounce that these rules are poorly implemented, objecting that “the policies guarantee little to no measure of real or meaningful protection for whistleblowers”.

For these reasons, they demand some measures such as the recognition of whistleblowers’ rights as Human Rights, and their protection within the U.N. system. Furthermore, they demand the creation of an external arbitration body for all whistleblowers as well as an external independent mechanism for claims of retaliation against U.N. whistleblowers.

These are some of the 10 steps that they suggest in order to protect their cause, as they claim, the one who whistles a blow is completely vulnerable across the U.N. system.

In our view, these measures are necessary to protect people dealing with national and cross-border corruption that affects the interests of all Member States of the European Union.

It has been a while since organisations as Restarting the Future or Transparency International are claiming for similar measures in the European Union. As we always recall, the figure of the whistleblower is key to fight corruption and Organised Crime. This is why it is so important for us to establish an European directive on whistleblowing. And this is why the Intergroup on Integrity (ITCO) is going to work hard to make it a reality.

You can read the copy of the letter in the following link:



Elly Schlein, Co-President of ITCO: “The constitution of the Intergroup was an accomplished goal, but there is still much to do in this respect”

Elly Schlein, MEP for the Italian Democrat Party, is the Co-President of the Intergroup on Integrity and also a great defender of the Transparency and the fight against Oranised Crime in Italy as well as in the whole European community. She is convinced that the creation of this body inside the European Parliament will be a great opportunity to increase the discussion between MEPs around these items and specially, to create a strong awareness to fight against political and economical corruption and mafia.

She said that “the most important thing is to create a tool to fight with efficiency in the whole of Europe”. In the one hand, one of the main instruments they are going to use is the implementation of rules which assure whistleblowers’ protection. On the other hand, they intend to mobilise European citizens’ social pressure. Elly Schlein is convinced that social mobilization is the most obvious example of dissatisfaction. And it is indeed, the best way to yelp “we need a change”.


Strasburg: the Intergroup on Integrity, Transparency, Corruption and Organised Crime has been launched


Yesterday, 29th April 2015, the European Intergroup on Integrity, Transparency, Corruption and Organised Crime has been officially launched in Strasburg. It’s the first time that an Intergroup is created regarding these topics in the European Parliament.


For Restarting the Future sounds like a victory because this is the first real step of a long journey started a year ago asking to the European elections candidates for some precise commitments against corruption. The creation of the Intergroup was one of the three main objectives of our campaign that has received the support of more than 150.000 citizens around Europe and almost 70 elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)

Ninety MEPs support and are members of this Institutional body totally voluntary for them. Now, including the fight against corruption and organised crime in the European Agenda is their main task and we expected they will do their best in order to produce a real change for the European citizens.


The first year schedule of the intergroup was presented during the opening speech yesterday. We will have a year full of events and meetings. The first one on June 17th dedicated to the whistleblowers protection, one of the main topic in the Restarting the future agenda already discussed in a round table at the European Parliament and in reports.
We strongly believe that who reports acts of corruption must have protection standards shared through all the European countries and safe privileged channels to report illegalities.

The Intergroup also has the cohoperation and the expertise of some CSOs such as Libera, Transparency International, Open Society and Alter-Eu who have strongly asked the institution of the Intergroup since last year European elections.

All the initiatives and activites of the Intergroup can be followed in their official website:


In photo: Dennis de Jong, Elly Schlein, Alex Brenninkmeijer.



COM.IT.ES: more transparency, less corruption

A few days before the election of the Comites, local representation bodies of the Italian community abroad, we have the opportunity to observe the development of the campaign COM.IT.ES Trasparente, inspired by Restarting the Future and promoted by Libera Bruxelles.


Libera Bruxelles invited the candidates of the two lists, n1 “Fare e Rappresentare” and n2 “Comites è Partecipazione”, to sign a document in promotion of clean and transparent behavior of the future representatives. Besides supporting transparency and anti-corruption in the hiring practices in which the Comites are involved, even indirectly, Libera Bruxelles asked for a personal contribution to the campaign, by requesting the candidate to make its professional CV public and to declare any conflict of interests or criminal records.

Nicoletta Casano, Comites is participation.

Nicoletta Casano, Comites è Partecipazione

Eleven out of fourteen members of the list “Comites è Partecipazione” signed the campaign.
It is necessary to convey more transparency to the electorate about these bodies” declares Simone Casadei Pastorini, indeed “to undertake tasks of participation and cohesion that all committees are called to pursue, every candidate should guarantee his independence to the community he represents” precises Alessandro Lanzillotto. As it is possible to understand by reading the signatories' statements at this link, they believe that the fight against criminal organizations and political corruption should be a prerogative for any elected representative. In addition, more active actions in support of clean behavior need to be undertaken. Besides Simone Casadei Pastorini and Alessandro Lanzillotto, also the following candidates signed the campaign COM.IT.ES Trasparente: Casano Nicoletta, Bettarini Lapo, Zamburlini Maria Giovanna, Albertazzi Andrea, Baldini Elisa, Grispigni Marco, Fulgenzi Erika, Palmieri Federica, and Bonne Massimiliano. 

It is possible to find their declaration, contact and CV at this link. Costa Stefania, Castro Alessandro and Cala’ Cataldo did not sign the campaign (on date 14/04/2015).

Massimiliano Bonne, Comites è Partecipazione

In contrast, the list n2 “Fare e Rappresentare” showed considerable skepticism to the campaign. The candidates Eleonora Medda, Raffaele Napolitano, Riccardo Ricci, Benedetta Dentamaro declared “the commitments [e.d.: requested by the campaign COM.IT.ES Trasparente] go beyond the competencies of the Comites”. As it is possible to read in the press release of the 1st April, they prefer to “avoid the instrumental use of such important issues during the last days of the election campaign”. They believe that the principles of the campaign promoted by Libera Bruxelles are already included in the programme of the list n.1 “Fare e Rappresentare” and it is not necessary to promote a parallel campaign with the same values. Despite of that, Libera Bruxelles pointed out that the words “transparency and conflict of interests” never appear in the programme of “Fare e Rappresentare”  (available at this link). None of the twelve candidates of the list n.1 signed the campaign COM.IT.ES Trasparente: Medda Eleonora, Napolitano Raffaele, Lazzaroni Francesca Anna Marta, Ricci Riccardo, Dentamaro Benedetta, Morelli Vittorio, Dalmasso Maria Luisa, Patane’ Sergio, Gervasi Lidia Angela, Schiavoni Fabrizio Bruno Pierre Franco, Bongiovanni Luisa And Cacopardo Santo  (on date 14/04/2015). 

By Vania Putatti, @VaniaPutatti


New tools for Whistleblowers: the importance of protected sources

Nowadays, we live in an age where there is something that experts call infoxication  or information overload: mountains of data, often unconfirmed, surfing the far reaches of the Internet. New technologies have made it possible for any ordinary person with a computer to send, receive and create information. Also, anyone is able to send documents and information to  the media.

That is why official sources have more weight in the daily press than other sources, simply because they are easier to contact and also offer concrete data and studies that support them. But what happens with the information that they do not want us to know?

The existence of Whistleblowers permits the denouncement of illegal or immoral activities in public and private institutions at all levels. Their work, together with the media, give us tools to fight against corruption, organised crime and unlawful acts.  

But, what could happen to you if you denounce an irregularity? We are all too familiar with cases such as of Edward Snowden and its serious consequences. For all these reasons, now more than ever it is important to ensure the protection of non-official sources. 

In this regard today we would like to highlight the development of platforms such as Source Sure, a website to share information without revealing source’s identities. Indeed, it is a platform powered by GlobaLeaks to protect the anonymity of the sender and recipient of messages and documents that people wishing to reveal illegal activities send to journalists. The objective is clear: protect whistleblowers and boost real investigative journalism as well as transparency and justice.

Currently, Source Sure works with the main French and Belgian media, such as L’OBS, Le Monde,, France TV info, Le Soir and La Libre Belgique and it is a powerful tool with a very simple operation which consists in three easy steps: select recipients, add documents and send them.

They also recommend to Whistleblowers some security advice to safeguard their anonymity. For example, they suggest not to use a regular browser (Explorer, Chrome, FireFox, Opera, etc) and instead to choose another more secure one such as TOR Browser Bundle. It’s a tool powered by GlobaLeaks, an open source project aimed at creating a worldwide, anonymous and censorship-resistant whistleblowing platform. 

Who is behind all these initiatives? All products - Source Sure, GlobaLeaks and TOR - have been created by Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights, a non-profit association based in Italy which works to increase accountability and transparency in our society, because as they say: “when information that affects the public remains hidden, democracy and economies cease to function properly”.

From Restarting the Future we would like to thank their rigorous work. In fact, we have the same challenges and vision: to promote transparency and give people the necessary tools to denounce and act against corruption and organised crime, goals which we are confident we will achieve step by step thank to initiatives such as this.


Libera Brussels launches a campaign inspired by Restarting the Future. COM.IT.ES Trasparente: in April vote for transparency!

Libera Logo

On the 17th of April 2015 will take place the elections of the COM.IT.ES, the representative bodies of Italians communities abroad. Despite not having decision-making competences, the COMITES have important consultation and control powers on the Italian public offices abroad, in particular the consulate. This means that elected representatives have an important opportunity to use their role to promote clean procedures or report non-transparent behaviours or practices.

With the occasion of the election of 2015, Libera Bruxelles, the first representative seat of  Libera in Belgium, launches the campaign “COM.IT.ES Trasparente” (more information here). Founded in December 2013 and composed exclusively by volunteers, Libera Bruxelles promotes and supports the fight against criminal organizations and corruption, with the main goal to rise awareness towards these dangerous factors, in Belgium and in the European Union.

COM.IT.ES Trasparente is a political campaign inspired by Restarting the Future, with which it shares the same objective: the achievement of a clean and transparent political leadership.

Libera Bruxelles invites all candidates to compromise themselves in an effort to promote personal transparency and support clean activities inside Italians public offices abroad. On the one hand, the candidates are asked to make their professional CV public, and to declare any personal conflict of interest and penal background. On the other hand, they are asked to endorse internal and external policies on whistleblowing protection and transparency concerning open public vacancies as well as the relationship between the consulate and the COMITES.

The first signatories come from the list N°2 “Comites è Partecipazione”. Lapo Bettarini points out that the agenda of COM.IT.ES Trasparente should be a prerogative for all the elections, as Marco Grispini explains: “all representative bodies should guarantee honesty and transparency as an essential first step (e.d.: the quote is translated from Italian). In this way, corruption could be left outside of politics, as underlines Andrea Albertazzi.

COM.IT.ES Trasparente represents the beginning of a path in which representatives are directlyactive in the promotion of "healthy” political behaviours. The candidates have an important opportunity to prove their commitment with these values and associate themselves with an official action against corruption.

From left to right: Marco Grispini, Lapo Bettarini and Andrea Albertazzi, from the list “Comites è Partecipazione”

 By Vania Putatti, @VaniaPutatti


Anti-corruption in Europe: the Intergroup becomes real. Restarting the future: "The first step is done"

While in Italy the anti-corruption law draft has finally arrived in the Parliamentary Chamber, the fight against corruption and Organized Crime in Europe begins to see its first results. Restarting the Future, the international campaign of Riparte il futuro, has in fact attended the first meeting of the Intergroup on "Integrity, transparency, corruption and organized crime" in Brussels. This is a very important success of the campaign, whose first point of the pledge is the institution of the Intergroup, achieved together with the organizations Transparency International, Alter-EU, Open Society and Libera.

 "NGOs will be involved at all levels in the work of the Intergroup, especially  for the production of contents because of their essential expertise on the work issues," said Elly Schlein of the S&D Group and co-President together with the Dutch Dennis de Jong of GUE. The next event is scheduled for April 29 in Strasbourg for the official launch together with all the MEPs involved and the organizations like Libera, that requested and obtained that this initiative could be possible, journalists and interested people.

 The Romanian MEP Monica Macovei, from EPP Group, raises again the need of the existence of the Intergroup as a fundamental step in the context that she defines as a "lack of transparency" in the European institutions internal processes. And Ignazio Corrao, from ESDD Group, proposes regular meetings between the Intergroup MEPs and NGOs.

 The components of the Intergroup "are very open about the needs and requests of civil society and to the issues that we brought to the attention of Brussels," says Federico Anghelé of Restarting the Future. "We are proud of the steps that have been made and we confirm our support to the action of MEPs."

 Among the challenges that the Intergroup is facing, there are not only the protection of whistleblowers and the extension of the directive on confiscated assets, but also initiatives for transparency of the European institutions, on the regulation of lobbying and conflicts of interests of parliamentarians.


Confiscation of illegal assets: a profit-driven method to fight against criminal organizations

In Brussels on Tuesday 24th, the conference on the “Confiscation of criminal and illegal assets: European perspectives in combat against serious crime” took place. This conference has been held by the correspondents of Transparency International (TI) Bulgaria, Romania and Italy with the participation of a few representatives of the Commission and the European Parliament. 

The idea is spreading in Brussels that the EU needs an effective supranational legislation on the fight against corruption and criminal organizations. Indeed, the vice-president of the Budget and Human Resources department of the European Commission, Kristalina Georgieva, has defined corruption as a “cancer” for a democratic state that allows criminals to accumulate “illegal money on a really massive scale”. Furthermore, in its last report Europol counted approximately 380 criminal organizations from all around the world being present all over Europe.


More and more experts agree that serious crimes, such as trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of women and children, illicit arms and drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and organised crime, have to be fought through strong and rigid EU regulations that include high levels of cooperation and a detailed explanation of the implementation. In fact, in the last 20 years the effects of globalization have drastically shaped the world, and the national borders are losing their capability to limit transnational criminal actions. These represent a serious threat to the democratic principles and, as remarked by the Bulgarian MEP Andrey Kovatchev, a waste of resources that could be used in other sectors.


As the Restarting the Future agenda suggests, one of the most effective ways to fight organized crime is an efficient regulation on the freezing and confiscation of criminal and illegal assets. It is essentially a profit-driven method that would demonstrate that the state is stronger than the criminals and would increase the confidence in national institutions. Furthermore, the proper reuse of illegal assets would restore the “stolen” social justice and, most importantly, would remove the direct economic gains of criminal organizations and discourage them to continue illegal activities, at least, in specific sectors. 

The EU legislation on freezing and confiscation of illegal assets has been in development since 2001. The last EU act on this topic is the directive adopted on the 3rd of April 2014 by the European Council (EC) and the European Parliament (EP). Besides the great expectations, this act still does not represent an efficient regulation. Indeed, Kristalina Georgieva recognizes that, despite the improvements that it had generated, the negotiation of the directive in the EP and EC lead to a reduction of the impact of the first more “advanced” draft of the act, in particular, concerning the mutual recognition and the conviction of illegal assets. To give an example, it is still complicated for a Member State to proceed with the confiscation when the assets or the guilty defendant are not in that Member State anymore. In other words, the actual EU legislation still has some gaps that can be used to avoid national regulations on illegal asset forfeiture. 


While the European Commission took the commitment to search for a deeper understanding of the conviction and the improvement of the transnational cooperation on assets forfeiture and reuse, TI asks for the creation of EU common standards for all possible asset forfeiture models. In particular, it proposes an “ideal model on common standards for national procedures for confiscation or forfeiture of assets” based on the Bulgarian, Romanian and Italian models. Seen as a temple, the model finds legitimation on the protection of fundamental human rights (the basement) and it should be guaranteed by the principles of integrity, transparency, accountability and efficiency. 

Finally, the core of this model is represented by a packet of inter-dependent measures (the pillars): mechanisms for control on the work of confiscation bodies; institutionally strengthened national confiscation authorities, legal guarantees for transparency, integrity, efficiency and accountability, confiscation based on a court decision, adequate mechanisms for management and reuse of confiscated properties, raising the visibility of the state's dominance over law offenders and common high standards for inter-institutional and inter-state cooperation at the EU level. As TI underlined multiple times, this model will be efficient only if it will be built on all this aspects, otherwise it will give chance of loopholes and gaps that could contaminate the whole system.

 By Vania Putatti, @VaniaPutatti


How transparent the European Institutions should be

European Parliament - Brussels

The European Parliament Intergroup on Integrity, transparency, corruption and organised crime (ITCO), with which Restarting the Future collaborates closely, is disappointed with the new transparency policy of the European Investment Bank (EIB), considering that is weaker than its original policy.

As ITCO notes, this is particularly worrisome as it happens on the eve of the implementation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) inside the new Investment Plan for Europe, in which the EIB plays a crucial role helping to mobilise at least €315 billion in private and public investment across the European Union.

The Intergroup acknowledges that improvements have been made since the first draft of the new EIB transparency policy, which was published in July. Dennis De Jong, co-president of the Intergroup on ITCO says: ''contrary to the original proposal, the EIB now admits that Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 on access to documents applies to documents relating to its administrative tasks. Any other solution would have been a clear violation of Art.15 TEU".

However, a lot of problematic issues still remain unsolved. A serious flaw in the new transparency policy is the vagueness that surrounds the publication of information on EIB projects. For example,  still not all projects have to be published on the website. ITCO considers that  it is in the interest of the EIB itself to inform citizens about its projects, since they often have a direct impact on society:

''More summaries do not suffice. Moreover, whenever there are indications that projects do not deliver value for money, or worse, that there have been irregularities, such as fraud, corruption or abuse of the projects for tax evasion, citizens want to have full access to the documents concerned. Cases of maladministration and corruption should not be covered-up, more secrecy is not what people want'', De Jong adds.

From Restarting the Future, we would like to emphasize the Intergroup on ITCO's position. In our view, lack of transparency is a dangerous tool which is used to preserve corruption in all political levels, and it also increases the atmosphere of political distrust from citizenship, within a context of economical crisis and austerity policies. Actually, from the birth of our campaign, firstly in Italy and then all around Europe, we aimed to bring transparency, considering it as one of the most important pillars to fight against corruption and Organised Crime. In this regard, we consider that EIB cannot implement a less transparent policy.

Elly Schlein, co-president of the Intergroup on ITCO, stress that : ''it is important that more people have access to information. People have a right of information concerning all activities of the EIB, including the support to companies operating in the developing countries".

According to De Jong, the Intergroup is committed to address the problems raised by this new policy: ''we will certainly address this issue in the context of EFSI, but also as part of the budget discharge of the EIB in the Budgetary Control Committee".

Moreover, they will write a letter to the board of directors of the EIB explaining in detail which articles of the new transparency policy of the EIB have to be amended. "We trust that the EIB will not ignore our requests", concludes De Jong.


The regulations to fight against corruption already exist at the European Union

The existing legislation dates back to the 90s, when the EU for the first time takes on a legislative action on the issue. In his first approach to the fight against corruption, the EU promoted harmonization measures for a penal sanctioning system, egalitarian and proportionate. In particular, it uses the tools of the Convention and the Framework Decision to regulate separately the public and private sectors. These rules, that consider the fight against corruption as a main goal and not just a side problem, are the basis for what has become a global strategy.

Justice in the regulation system?

Concerning the public sector, the Council recognizes that the main weakness of the fight against corruption at the transnational level, lies in the colorful setting of the criminal actions against the corruption involving public officials present in the different Member States.

In 1996 the Council adopted the first Protocol of  the Convention on the protection of the European Communities1’ financial interests. It begins with the definition of bribery and corruption: "the deliberate action of whosoever promises or gives, directly or through an intermediary, an advantage of any kind whatsoever to an official for himself or for a third party for him to act or refrain from acting in accordance with his duty or in the exercise of his functions in breach of his official duties in a way which damages or is likely to damage the European Communities' financial interests shall constitute active corruption ". 

In addition to the obligation to clarify the responsibilities in cases of international corruption, the first protocol provides that each Member State takes the measures necessary to ensure the penal sanction of acts of corruption.

In 1997, the "Convention on against corruption  involving officials2” and the “Second Protocol to the Convention on the protection of the financial interests of the European Communities” have been adopted. The Convention recalls the first protocol and applies to corruption some rules on the fight against fraud in particular the criminal liability of company directors or any person exercising powers of decision or control in an index; and the extradition or domestic action in the case that a Member State does not grant extradition. The Second Protocol adds the liability of legal persons for acts of bribery or incitement to it; and imposes to each Member State to take the necessary measures to enable the seizure and confiscation of tools or profits that come from acts of bribery and corruption.

Regarding the private sector, in July 2003, the Council adopted the Framework Decision "on combating corruption in the private sector3". The decision obliges Member States to adopt national standards that consider criminal offense any act performed in the course of a business activity that consists of "promising, offering or giving, directly or through an intermediary, to a person who in any capacity directs or works for a private-sector entity an undue advantage of any kind, for that person or for a third party, in order that that person should perform or refrain from performing any act, in breach of that person's duties" and of course the reverse. The exists a possibility of derogation except for those acts that involve, or could involve, a distortion of competition in relation to the purchase of goods or commercial services".

In general, the rules provided for the application of the Decision to the private sector are the same principles that are enshrined in the Conventions below. It adds crimes of complicity and instigation and obliges the MSs to adopt penal measures that are "effective, proportionate and dissuasive" through "a penalty of a maximum of at least one to three years of imprisonment" and the temporary prohibition of professional activity.

This is the legislation we can find at the European level of the fight against the corruption. They are simple but effective rules that are considered a part of a bigger regulation against four main crimes (fraud, money laundering, crime organizations and corruption). As the European Commission underlined several times, those are norms that can't be taken separately but all together.   

Despite the relative failure of these tools, in particular during the process of transposition and ratification, these standards have an important value from three perspectives.

They represent a legislative package against corruption that the MSs may have the opportunity to use directly or as references. 

Moreover, these rules were imposed in all negotiations relating to the entry of new EU member states from 2005.

Finally, these acts represent an antecedent regulatory law in the EU, which is an important aspect in the area of EU criminal law.

By Vania Putatti, @VaniaPutatti



Corruption under the table

The fight against corruption in European institutions is an arduous war with thousands of fronts still open. Restarting the Future has tried to contribute with a sand grain toward eradicating this reality, although we still have a long road ahead of us. Luckily, we are not alone, there are many organisations which works day after day to create a healthier European policy.

It is the case of Transparency International, organisation with which Restarting the Future collaborated shoulder to shoulder during 2014 in the fight against corruption. The fruit of our labor was compensated when 67 MEPs  decided to create the “Intergroup on Integrity: transparency, anti-corruption and Organised Crime”, which took part in December, 2014. A great challenge in which it is also important to highlight the main support of thousand of European citizens.

In our constant fight, Transparency International has taken another step forward with the publication of the EU Integrity Watch study. It alerts about the danger that supposes the relation - more and more frequent - of political power and private sector and its immediate consequences: the atmosphere of political distrust and rise in corruption.

In fact, the relation between public and private sector is not a new question, has always existed through cession of public services or with the publication of public tenders relating with construction and service sector. Nevertheless, the margin that separates these two realities seems to be narrower nowadays, generating a serious problem: the increase of the conflict of interests between companies, bribes and corruption in all the political levels.

For this reason, European institutions established in 2012 a code of conduct for Parliamentarians who are members of European bodies. This norm establishes the enforceability to declare their financial interests and their gains besides their public positions before and during their political roles. This simple measurement is very useful to monitor the decisions that they take day to day, sometimes besides the interests of the citizens. In spite of it, according to Transparency International alert, its practical application is insufficient. In this regard, they recommend the revision and extension of this code of conduct and also the creation of an independent body which control the declarations of politicians.

Against this background, the organisation offers an interactive and easy-use report that gives us the possibility to investigate the financial interests of our political representatives, with the purpose of preserve the integrity of European public services in the main European institutions like the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Court of Justice.

For this reason, from Restarting the Future we can only congratulate Transparency International for its work, its study and mainly for its dedication in our mutual fight. Moreover, we are agree with them about the conclusion of their work:  the public institutions -  and not external organisations - must to develop efficient control tools to supervise the relation between public and private sector, in order to preserve the transparency and the health of our system.


20 years of fighting against corruption in the European Union

Restarting the Future is a campaign supported by Libera, Il Gruppo Abele and many other associations, that had a surprising success in a short period of time.

From its inception, the European elections of May 2014, the campaign has collected more than 150,000 signatures, supported by 67 MEPs and created a multicolored inter-group in the European Parliament to fight a common enemy: corruption. But where does the interest for this fight and, consequently, the success of RTF come from?

Ever since the second world war, corruption has always been a theme of divergent opinions. Someone explained it as the result of the presence of the state in the free market economies, others considered it as a cause of the imperfections of some legal systems, others believed that corruption was necessary to compensate for the deficiencies of bad governments or even some people said that corruption was only a legend or an isolated phenomenon.

Furthermore there was some acceptance of this phenomenon even by the governments themselves, in fact until the '90s in many European countries it was possible to deduct corruption abroad from taxes. 

In the European Community, the European Parliament and the Council chose not to support a supranational intervention, leaving it to the member states to manage this phenomenon, despite the attempts of the European Commission to create a supranational penal system to protect EC funds (namely related with the Common Agricultural Policy) from frauds carried out in the member states.

When in 1993 the European Community became Union and the internal market project promoted by the President of the Commission Jacques Delors was finalized, all European institutions realized that it was necessary to protect the EU's financial interests which were seriously threatened by the strengthening of economic integration between the member states and the principles of free movement.

Obviously, these were not the only reasons. Western Europe was hit by corruption scandals that involved the political classes of several states, including Italy, Spain and France, and led the civil society to put in doubt the ruling classes. The activity of the Court of Justice of the European Union in strengthening the principle of European law and the creation of the Title VI of the Treaty of Maastricht gave new legal bases to the justice area of the treaty. The persistence of some member states to ignore both the respect of the  European law and the recommendations of the Commission lead the heads of the EU institutions to develop a supranational action. Globalization and new technologies allowed to internationalize fraud, illegal traffics, money laundering and tax evasion. The consolidation of the EU-15 and the preparation/concern for the enlargement to Eastern Europe, where corruption was widespread during the Soviet rule, lead to prepare preventive actions.

Moreover, not only the EU but also other international forums began to discuss the importance of a greater international control of illegal activities, in particular of corruption and criminal organizations.

The result of this wave of change were the Convention on the protection of the European Community's financial interests and its two Protocols (1995, 1996, 1997 respectively), the Convention on the fight against corruption (1997) and the framework decision on  corruption in the private sector (2003). For the first time at European level, crimes such as corruption and money laundering were being penalized, while at the same time preventive and repressive instruments were introduced in an efficient and clear way, such as the protection of whistle-blowers, the confiscation or liability of moral and legal persons.

These intergovernmental norms have been slow and relatively effective, since some member states delayed a lot of years to complete the ratification and/or transposition. Nevertheless, they represent a first step in European policies to fight against corruption and organized crime. In fact, they represent the first step of a long series of internal and external campaigns that will result in regulations concerning individual aspects of these conventions, such as the four directives relating to the confiscation of mobsters, and actions taken by civil society.

Just over 20 years ago, the European Union has embarked on a journey. This trip has not been forgotten, and year after year they are making progress in the fight against corruption, and the success of Restarting the Future is proof of that.

By Vania Putatti - @VaniaPutatti


Corruption vs Competition: clean negotiations lead to free market dynamics

Culture of Corruption drawing

For many years, corruption was considered by the academic and political world as an only consequence of the presence of the state in the free market economy, and only a libertarian approach of the state would have eliminated corruption from our countries. Apparently they were wrong. In recent years, national and international institutions, academic experts and politicians have re-considered corruption, understanding that it consists of a serious threat that affects the proper functioning of the markets and the respect of democracy. In fact, the development of international markets and the improvement of technology gives the opportunity to move huge amounts of money illegally. This have devastating consequences for the proper functioning of the economy of a country.

The European Union has repeatedly expressed worry about the distortion of competition caused by corruption powers and therefore has developed the policy of fighting corruption. This is clear in the Framework Decision 2003. In this legislative document, even if the Member States (MSs) are asked to consider corruption as being a criminal offense in all fields, there is the possibility that a MS limits the scope of the penalization, except for acts in which “A Member State may declare that it will limit the scope to such conduct which involves, or could involve, a distortion of competition in relation to the purchase of goods or commercial services". In other words, when corruption contaminates the competition there is a problem, and it needs to be fixed. 

When the competition is held on parallel ground with illegality, the entire negotiation process and systems nearby are affected. A market with high levels of corruption reward those who are less likely to comply with laws and those who are best able to handle bribes.

Public officials involved in corruption have an interest in delaying the recruitment process, extending the oppositions and procedures necessary to carry them out. This slows down the bureaucracy and demotivates investments. Moreover, in a political environment of high density corruption, the criteria for designation and selection promote incompetence. This happens because the unskilled staff is more grateful to who has allowed him to race without the proper skills, is more prone to bribery and is easier to handle. By contrast, officials elected on merit, experience and education will tend to promote the respect of the law and work more efficiently. In this case, neither the public authorities nor private actors have an unfair advantage, the officials are efficient, the quality of the bureaucracy is higher and the final turnout of the negotiation is positive for the entire society.

The corrupted systems composed by inept officials, limit the competitiveness of enterprises, increases incurred costs in their obligations and negatively affects the dynamics of labor relations. An unhonest entrepreneur has to spend time and money on negotiating illegal ways to win permissions, instead of running their businesses on efficiency and innovation. An honest entrepreneur will also have to spend his time and money to try to avoid the problem of unfair competition caused by corrupted environments instead of investing them in efficiency and innovation. No wonder that there is a strong relation between the time and the number of procedures required by companies in their business cycle and levels of perceived corruption (index of Transparency International).

Graph 1 - Ratio of the CPI (y) and the number of procedures for businesses (x). Source: "Atlante della corruzione", Alberto Vannucci with data from World Bank and Transparency International

Graph 1 - Ratio of the CPI (y) and the number of procedures for businesses (x)


Vania Putatti



“Mafia and Corruption are two sides of the same coin” Don Ciotti

Restarting the Future in the European Parliament

Restarting the Future and the Italian association against mafia, Libera, organised a huge event with a big list of MEPs, European NGOs and hundreds of participants during the International Anti-Corruption Day in the European Parliament. A successful meeting and a decisive step in our fight against wrongdoing and mafia in the European Union.  

Yesterday was an important work session between NGOs and MEPs  in order to discuss the priorities against crime and corruption in Europe, a reality which cost “around 120 billion euros per year to the European citizens”, reminded Elly Schlein, democratic MEP. This is why the implementation of effective measures “is an urgency and the European Parliament will find the right solutions” said Schlein. She is one of the 67 MEPs who have shown their commitment to the creation of an Intergroup on Integrity: Transparency, Anti-corruption and Oganised Crime.

This important tool, which is going to be real the next December 11th, is one of the main objectives on which the NGOs and MEPs have been working for months. In this regard, six are the priorities that the NGO’s suggest to develop and improve during the Intergroup agenda: promoting transparency, good administration and whistleblowing; a European Day of Memory and Commitment; a European law for Confiscated Assets, the European Public Prosecutor; and enforcement of the existing legislation on money laundering; to strengthen criminal sanctions and define the “Eco-crimes”.

Restarting the Future in the European Parliament

In addition, the event focused the discussions around the problem of the Organised Crime. In fact,  “mafia and corruption are two sides of the same coin”, said father Luigi Ciotti, the founder of Libera. “The Mafia Capitale scandal has seriously shaken Italy, Rome, and our public opinion. But I want to thank the police and the bench: by defining this mobster scandal with the ‘mafia’ crime, the police is stating that mafia and corruption are linked. Mafia is an aggravating factor for bribery crimes”. 

The fight against mafia “is a sensitive topic in Italy, taking into account that it is still a fruitful business after more than 150 years. But this is a European problem and that’s why we are here” assured Don Ciotti.

Philippe Lamberts, the Green Group leader at the European Parliament, was agree  with Don Ciotti. He said that the Organised Crime in an “European issue, not just Italian”. In his opinion, “there is no difference between financial markets manipulation and the Italian crime. Also the States are guilty of fraud. Think about Luxembourg, or Belgium”.

Now the focus is on an European Directive on whistleblowing, protecting the ones who decide to denounce corruption in all the States Member. In this regard, during the afternoon our team presented the first Restarting the Future’s report about Whistleblowing: “Blowing the Whistle on Corruption. A campaign for a European Directive in defence of Whistleblowers” which found promising results about the implementation of this law in Europe, taking in account the positives findings of its implementation in other states such as United States.

In short, it was a day where all the important European actors were united in order to raise awareness of the issue of corruption within politics and society-at-large and to discuss together the upcoming measures in our common path against Corruption and Organised Crime. This was the another step to Restarting the future.



A definitive step against corruption and Organised Crime

European Parliament

Restarting the Future organises with Libera an important event on the 9th December in Brussels with MEPs, experts and NGOs, taking advantage the International Anti-Corruption Day. It is going to be the perfect opportunity to present the first Restarting the Future report made by our experts about Whistleblowing. We have already finished it and we are very proud of the work done.

From Restarting the Future we are working to finalize the details relative to the next 9th of November, a crucial date against Corruption and Organised Crime. First of all, we have an important achievement to celebrate; the creation of the Intergroup On Integrity. Transparency, Anticorruption and Oganised Crime:

“This would be an important step against illegal activities in public and private institutions around Europe. It would be the real beginning of our fight”, says Federico Anghelé, Campaign strategist in Restarting the Future.

This event will be the last opportunity to push its constitution, one important goal that we have been supporting together with Transparency International, Open Society and Alter-Eu. In this regard, we are going to celebrate a big event  where we expect the participation of more than 67 MEPs who supporting our campaign.

During the morning, there will be an Assembly with MEPs called “European Agenda Against Corruption and Organised Crime”, with Luigi Ciotti, President of Libera, one of the main NGOs which are supporting our campaign and also the creator of the Restarting the Future’s movement in Italy.

We will count with the participation of Daniele Santoro, Restarting the Future’s researcher, in order to present the first Restarting the Future report about Whistleblowing.It will be an important document that should be useful for the coming work of the European Parliament in the field of Anti-corruption suggests Anghelé.

For all these reasons, this event will represent the perfect opportunity to discuss together the upcoming steps and measures to pursue in our common path against corruption and Organised Crime at an European level.


How we can build something new from nothing, the testimonial of Luigi Ciotti

Don Ciotti

The fight against mafia is a sensitive topic in Italy, taking into account that it is still a fruitful business after more than 150 years. All the while, there were many people who have tried to stop it, losing their lives. However, for Father Ciotti, the Pino Puglisi and Giuseppe Diana murders have been arguments to continue his hard work with a stronger decision.

In order to understand his fight, first of all we have to go back to his origins. Luigi Ciotti was born in 1945 in Pieve di Cadore, in the Dolomites, but he emigrated with his family to Turin in the Fifties. It is in this city, at the age of 19, when he decided to create Gruppo Abele, a non­-profit organisation and NGO that promotes inclusion and social justice and began to get involved in the lives of the youth.

After the first years, Gruppo Abele started to offer more services in its passion to “give voice to the voiceless”: education programmes, legal and social information, housing for the homeless,...This is only a few parts of the large list of services that Gruppo Abele gives to help groups at risk of social exclusion, such as drug addicts, women victims of prostitution, people living with AIDS, immigrants and people marked by poverty and fragilities in their lives.

In the meantime, he was ordained priest in 1972 by Archbishop Michael Pellegrino, who assigned him the “road” - place of poverty and fragility - as his special Parish, where he implemented his experience with Gruppo Abele.

During almost 50 years, with Group Abele he built projects and opportunities for most needy people. Nevertheless, he always try to explain that is not only his credit: “one cannot be free by oneself; one is free along with others in a collective effort and involves many people who are still denied freedom and dignity” has said several times.

On the other hand, he started to fight against Organised Crime, considering mafia as a cancer for the society and the responsible of several social and economic Italian problems: “there are more marks of mafia oppression on our land than on others, but criminal organizations no longer operate on a local or national level but rather on an international level, one that is closely linked to the dynamics of economic and financial globalization and the expansion and deregulation of the markets” he explained.

And maybe it is why he decided to create Libera in 1995, an international network of associations that are fighting the Organised Crime. Nowadays, Libera is the most prominent association in Italy which works to eradicate mafia and also has presence in many European countries. In addition, Libera is one of the 100 most relevant European NGOs according to the Global Journal review.

In this regard, Father Ciotti has received several death threats but he does not give it up, as the same as Gruppo Abele and Libera’s teams, joining forces for a common goal. In fact, this is the main point of the entire work of Ciotti.  As he said, “mafias are strong in fragmented and individualist societies”. This commitment led to him being one of the popular faces of Riparte il Futuro, the sister campaign of Restarting the Future, which is fighting the political corruption, a main step to stop Organised Crime’s activities:

“Nowadays, mafias are relating to white-collar crimes, except few cases. They are hidden and protected by the injustices and inequalities of our time. Therefore, the problem is not only the existence of criminal mafias: it is also a political problem”.

Moreover, he recently invited Pope Francisco to join a huge event against mafia in Calabria. After the event, Pope Francisco decided to excomulgacion of the entire ‘Ndrangheta, a special act by the Vatican that shows the commitment of the Catholic Church in this topic.

Nevertheless, the eradicate of these problems needs a definitive European impulse and the help of the European Parliament. This is why Father Ciotti is going to visit Brussels the next 9th of December, where he is going to take part in the Restarting the Future’s event.

His example show us that we can do, together, a real change, in order to bring more transparency and justice all over Europe.


Whistleblowing: a kind of conscientious objection?

What is whistle-blowing? Is it a kind of conscientious objection? If so, what makes it different from e. g. civil disobedience or objection to military service on religious grounds? What is the difference between anonymous leaks and public whistle-blowing? Is loyalty an issue and if so in what way? It is helpful to think of whistle-blowing in terms of conscience? Should it be legally protected? These and other questions are the subject of a panel discussion on whistle-blowing that will be held at the Royal Irish Academy on Monday 24 November at 6pm at the Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin.

The discussion, organized by UCD School of Philosophy in conjunction with the Royal Irish Academy and generously supported by the UCD President's Office, is part of a series of events exploring the place of conscience and conscientious objection in contemporary public life.

These events are being held under the aegis of the President of Ireland's Ethics Initiative. For further information on the UCD School of Philosophy “conscience project”: 

Each member of the panel will speak for ten minutes addressing central questions raised by whistle-blowing. This will be followed by an open discussion. The event is open to the public.

The discussion will be moderated by The Hon. Mr Justice Colm Mac hEochaidh Colm Mac hEochaidh is a High Court Judge, appointed in 2012 by President Higgins. In 1995 he and Michael Smith, the head of the environmental group An Taisce, placed a small ad at the 2 back of the Irish Times offering a £10,000 reward for "information leading to the conviction or indictment of a person or persons for offences relating to land rezoning in the Republic of Ireland". He later explained that he believed corruption was a problem in Irish political life and in particular in the planning process. Information was indeed offered, leading to the resignation of an Irish Government Minister and, subsequently, the Mahon Tribunal was established to investigate corruption in the planning process.

The Four Panellists

Mr Peter Dempsey
Peter Dempsey is an Irish barrister, practising as a solicitor in London and at the Paris Bar. In 2013 he uncovered matters at his firm requiring explanation; receiving no answers but various threats, he made a report to the legal regulator (SRA), HMRC and the Police. In retaliation he is currently being sued in France and in the High Court in London. The SRA, who are investigating and have intervened in the case, have described it as the first case of a law firm suing its own compliance officer for having reported it.

Dr Kate Kenny
Kate is a Reader at Queen’s University Belfast Management School and a research fellow at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School. Her research focus is on organisational cultures and identity. Since 2013 she has held an Edmond J Safra Lab Fellowship at Harvard University. This fellowship is based on her research work, begun five years ago, that takes an in-depth focus on the experiences of whistle-blowers in banking and finance organisations. She has produced a manuscript from this work and a number of articles.

Senator Susan O’Keeffe
Susan was elected to Seanad Eireann in April 2011. She is the Tourism, Culture and Public Reform spokesperson in the Seanad and is a member of the Banking Inquiry. She is a journalist by profession and worked in print and for BBC TV and Granada TV in the UK. In the early 1990s 3 she investigated scandals within the Irish meat industry, centring on the Goodman International group; this led to the setting up of a tribunal of inquiry (“Beef Tribunal”), which endorsed much of her criticism of the industry; however, she was threatened with prison in Ireland for refusing to reveal her sources. The case became a cause célèbre. In January 1995 she stood trial for contempt of court but was cleared. of the charge. She received the 1994 Campaign for Freedom of Information Award in the UK.

Dr Daniele Santoro
Daniele is a political philosopher. He teaches at Luiss University Rome, and is Fellow of the IMéRA Institute for Advanced Studies - Aix-Marseille Universitè. His work focuses on whistleblowing, democratic transparency and the foundation of constitutional rights.


“The new codes of Organised Crime could skip the traditional means of prevention” Maria Chiara Prodi

Libera France team

Restarting the Future met Libera France, one of the main points of the Libera campaign in Europe. We interviewed Maria Chiara Prodi,President of Libera France,  in order to be closer to their actions and to know the way they are working against Organised Crime in their country.

Born in 2007, Libera France is the little sister of Libera Italy. Why was the creation of this kind of association important in France?

We perceive ourselves more as a daughter than a sister. A grown up daughter,possibly, given that we have a full degree of independence in scheduling our activities.

Restarting the Future campaign proved that such associations are necessary wherever we want to foster cooperation against Organised Crime at an international scale.This means to activate a network in a short time for abroader goal and this implies being credible and able to adjust the target at the country you live in. 

At this stage, this could be a good summary of the importance of Libera France and we are proud to serve the mission of Libera with our experience.

Libera France keeps its networks updated with conferences, activities and more.What does Libera France exactly work for?

 We share the example of Libera and the impact of the civil society in the fight against Organised Crime at several levels. Even a country which is rather confident in its institutions,such as France, should be aware that the new codes of Organised Crime could skip the traditional means of prevention.

In particular here in France, where judges are notfully independent from the government and where the principle of mandatory prosecution is not applied. We are not here to give a lesson, but rather to provide an example which cost so many lives to our country and deserves to be considered as a source of inspiration to become more active and vigilant citizens.

 The content of your messages is clear, but who is the target of them?

 Firstly, we work with schools; touching young audience with real examples is in fact a vaccine against the culture of illegality. Secondly, we work with adults, because you need to explain the complexity of this phenomenon by any mean (movies, conferences, theater).

Thirdly, we work with institutions, because we want, for instance, to help creating a law for the social re-use of criminal assets in France. Finally (last but not least) we try to keep constantly our competences updated, as volunteers, and thus we humbly consider ourselves part of the target of Libera France! 

Have Libera France any coordination with Libera? or do both work by their own? Do you think that the collaboration between similar European associations could be a main step to fight Organised Crime in an European level?

I was personally invited to create a group of Libera supporters in France in 2007, which was a sort of experiment. Since then, Libera worked intensively on its international network, the Italian emigration (naturally keen in spreading another vision of Italy, kept a far from stupid mafia’s stereotypes) grew impressively and the times are ready now for a strategy of local international groups, well connected with Rome (as we are), but at the same time free to build up some specific campaigns.

Volunteers in Brussels do not have the same perspectives than our volunteers in France, but the goal is the same for all of us: more awareness and participation as (European) citizens.

What are nowadays the challenges for associations like Libera France?

We have been invited by the CEGES (French platform for social entrepreneurship)to a meeting at theFrenchParliament only 10 days ago. The social economy movement is really interested by the social re-use of criminal assets.

The business opportunity they see is certainly playing a role, but it has become clear to everyone that only a strong movement can support the approval of a similar law andhelping to get to the core of the message, which is: it is up to the communities to claim their cities, their economy back from Organised Crime.


“The citizens of southern countries are more disappointed with democracy than citizens from north European states” Pablo Simón


Restarting the Future interviews Pablo Simón, political expert and editor of Politikon. He usually participates in the main Spanish media political discussions, such as Cadena Ser, El País and El With this interview, we intend to understand the situation of Spain, comparing it with other European democracies.

1. Dissatisfaction about democracy in Spain is around 70% percent, the highest level  post Transition. Which one of the following come first: the economic crisis or the political crisis? Is the political dissatisfaction a common thread across Europe?

 This is a question that we are still trying to answer. We know that in Spain there were political decisions that have exacerbated the economic situation in the country.

 Moreover, we know that the economic crisis has stimulated a high dissatisfaction with the political system and nowadays, the citizens are more demanding about transparency and legal procedures. Nevertheless, I don’t think that the political crisis is an exclusive problem of the economic situation. I believe that both aspects have been influencing each other, although the political issues have a more endogenous Spanish origin and the economic situation is also an European matter.

 There is no evidence to confirm whether this type of dissatisfaction is a common thread across Europe. In fact, if we look at data from the north European states, the level of confidence in the government is practically the same as in 2002. On the other hand, in the south of Europe, this confidence in the government and in the political parties is lower than 2009, with a fall of 27 points in the government confidence and 15 points of the political parties in just 4 years. In addition, the citizens of southern countries are in a 46% more disappointed with democracy than citizens from north European states.

 2. Víctor La Puente, from El País, said that there are states such as France, Italy, Portugal and Spain with high levels of corruption and poor quality governments more like those of some authoritarian states from developing countries, than capitalistic democracies that have been several decades within OECD. What factors separate these states, in particular Spain, from democracies  free of corruption?

Traditional literature makes a distinction between vertical controls (citizens and associations who monitor politicians to avoid corruption) and the horizontal ones.

 There is not evidence that the first ones have enough incentives to bring to justice and condemn those responsible of corruption. That is why experts focus their attention on the establishment of horizontal control systems, which means, in the implementation of a check and balance system that permits the prevention of this type of behavior. For instance, in urban planning corruption issues, no matter whether there are strong sanctions as they cannot settle all the damage done. For this reason, it is better to develop strategies of early detection of corruption to prevent it before it happens, even if this means going against Public Opinion that generally prefers penal sanctions and regulation.

 Victor Lapuente has shown in different studies that a strong politicisation of the public administration, where the mayor has  a strong power to select political offices and to establish public contracts, present higher levels of corruption.

 3. Some experts warn that the local politicians’ scarce accountability and the strong decentralization of the Spanish government, foster illegal activities that, in some cases, are very difficult to detect. Could power centralization be the solution of this problem?

 I am skeptical with that idea. I think that corruption cannot be resolve with a centralisation process. In fact, the last investigation about this topic indicates that decentralization could be a good tool to help governments to mitigate the effect of the corruption in the public scene.

 In my opinion, the reason that explains the high level of corruption in the autonomical Spanish administration is that there is even less control than in the central institutions. This problem is worse in the local administration. Therefore, the main focus should not be whether it is better a centralised or decentralised system, but to develop horizontal mechanisms of control throughout the entire public administration. In other words, if there were only one central public administration, the problem would be the same.

Finally, empirical evidence shows that the question about centralisation is not a relevant factor; states with less corruption such as Switzerland  or Canada have decentralised systems as well as the Scandinavian States, which have a strong centralised system.

4. Do you think that there are some incentives in the Spanish system that foster corruption?

 In my view, the problem of corruption in the local administration system in Spain is very important. The strong politisation of the local administration, where the mayor has a strong power to make decisions on his own, is a very typical Spanish problem. In other countries, elected representatives have the capability to legislate but there is a professional management team elected by a qualified majority, which has the power to implement the law.  In that kind of system, networks of interest tend to disappear.

 5. While in Spain the 10% of the Valencian Court that is currently involved in corruption and fraud scandals, is still on duty, in the main European countries this fact would lead politicians to resign immediately. What is happening in Spain?

Public opinion in Spain usually confuses penal responsibilities with political ones. In general terms, it is considered that while there is not a sentence, political representatives cannot be made accountable. However, in other countries this is not allowed. If somebody is involved in a corruption scandal, no matter how, this person have to renounce to his/her office to safeguard the dignity of the entire institution.

In addition, some political leaders have a special treatment by the Criminal Tribunals. This is another reason why sometimes the corrupt politicians do not leave their offices while waiting for a benevolent treatment.


The relevance of founding an Anti-corruption and Organised Crime Intergroup

MEPs in the Restarting the Future meeting against corruption

The constitution of the Intergroup against corruption and Organised Crime is going to celebrate december 2014, one of the main points of Restarting the Future’s campaign.

The first commitment of the campaign implied a direct involvement of the signatories aimed at creating an Intergroup able to fight illegality in Europe. Consequently, Restarting the Future managed to engage dozens MEPs, who have confirmed their support to our campaign and are now developing the details about the foundation of this organism.

After the first meeting which took place on 2nd September 2014 between MEPs and other CSOs such as Transparency International or Open Society and some weeks of negotiation,  we are glad to inform that the name of the Intergroup is going to be “Intergroup on Integrity: transparency, anti-corruption and Organised Crime”. As the name reflects, corruption and criminal organizations are two of the main subjects for the Intergroup ’s work.

In this regard, the constitution of the Intergroup provides an opportunity to fight against corruption in public institutions and private sector, which actually costs around 120 billion euro per year to the European citizens. In addition, the creation of the Intergroup will be a great opportunity to contrast Mafia and provide unilaterality on the fight against corruption.  

Federico Anghelé, our campaign strategist claims: 

Even though an Intergroup is not an official organism of the European Parliament, it is a very  important tool and a great source of debate between different Parliamentary Groups. It offers them the chance to informally exchange diverse points of view about determinate issues.”

In addition to Mr. Anghelé words, we strongly believe that it offers the MEPs the opportunity to be deeply updated about all these issues and tries to bring strong future proposals to the Parliament.

In order to support the labour of the MEPs, Restarting the Future has proposed two leading points for the Intergroup agenda. The first one focuses on the development of European laws to protect whistleblowing. As mentioned in one of the previous news, there is still not a common european legislation which resolves the situation of whistleblowers, who are defenseless at the mercy of their companies’ pressure as well as of government forces decisions.

 The second key point that we propose to the MEPs is the determination of the 21st March as the Day Of Memory And Commitment, an important date in Italy and a symbolic step to fight against Organised Crime. We are working in extending the recognition of this day to an European level.

Moreover, Restarting the Future supports certain points that Libera,main partner of the campaign, is currently proposing to the MEPs such as the recognition of the confiscated assets, a more active role from Europol and Eurojust against Organised Crime and a strict legislation against money laundering and environmental crimes.

During the following months, all MEPs who are involved in the foundation of this Intergroup will have to strive hard to concrete the main points and set them into practice. The aim of all this effort is to build a better Europe without corruption as well as to avoid possible illegal activities and mafia.


“In Hungary the political elite is taking part in corruption” Tamás Bodoky

Restarting the Future interviews Tamás Bodoky, editor-in-chief of, a Hungarian watchdog NGO and research news portal which promotes transparency and freedom of information in Hungary., partner of Restarting the Future in Hungary, produces research reports, accept information from whistleblowers, file freedom of information requests and commence freedom of information lawsuits in cases where these requests are refused.

In few words, what is Atlatszo and what do you do?

It is a research journalistic agency and a watchdog NGO. Our work focuses mostly on the Hungarian government’s expenses.  In addition, we do freedom of information reports and advocacy work to define freedom of information requests. We go to Court when necessary to bring up our information requests and to claim more transparency in our country.

 Furthermore, we have the FOIA Request Generator.  It is a freedom of information request generator (Kimittud) that works in every Hungarian city to help citizens to fight for it themselves. It is a simple concept: citizens use the website to request information and replies are recorded for all to see.

 Moreover, we have an anonymous service for whistleblowers. It is called MagyarLeaks platform. It is useful because the whistleblowers can contact us anonymously and we have more confidential information about corruption.

How is the situation in Hungary around preservation of transparency in political issues?

I think that in Hungary the situation is worst than in other European countries because the Government is not working transparently and they do not like to be accountable. So we face a big challenge.

 Have any laws or Constitutional acts changed thanks to the work of Atlatszo?

Yes. On the one hand, we managed to change the Media Law in order to get more protection for journalists’ confidential sources. The first version of the 2011 Media Law allowed the police to ask for journalists’ sources. We decided to bring forward our request to the Constitutional Court and nowadays it is necessary  a Court’s sentence to force a journalist to reveal his/her sources.

 However on the other hand, last year the Government changed the Freedom Information Legislation. Thus, they introduced the concept of “plausibility request” to make it easier to turn down freedom information requests.

 How does Atlatszo fight  the oligarchy and political corruption in Hungary? What tools do you use?

Most of all, we use traditional journalistic research tools. When we get whistleblowers’ tips, our journalists follow up the stories while identifying reliable sources in order to get trustworthy information. Only when we get reliable information, we publish articles. This is very important. On the other hand, we constantly campaign for more transparency and a real change in the Hungarian laws.

 Is the oligarchy system an endemic problem of the Central and East European states?

In my opinion, the oligarchy system is more common in the East European states related to the Russian model.  Oligarchy has several businesses with the state and connection with the political power.

 What factors separate countries with corruption and free corruption democracies?

I don’t think that there is any country completely free of corruption. However,  there are more measures against corruption, blowing protection, research journalism and so on, in countries with a healthy democratic system. In some poor quality democracies, such a Hungary, the state is not really fighting corruption because the political elite is taking part in it.

 Does Hungary have any laws that foster corruption?

Our laws don't encourage corruption, but they allow corruption. For example, most lucrative business opportunities are offered to Hungarian government’s friends.


"Without memory there would be no future"

Protest against mafia

As the Nobel winner Elie Wiesel said without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future. In this regard, since 1996 Italy celebrates the Day of memory and commitment, a pacific way to remember the innocent victims of Organised Crime. 

The day of the celebration, 21st of March, was chosen because it is the first day of Spring. This means that the entire event is a way of remembering, as well as a symbol of hope and commitment.  

This year was the XIX edition of the great event in the country, where more than 900 people had been killed by the hands of the Italian Mafia. Among them, journalists, entrepreneurs, priests, police, political leaderships, magistrates and ordinary citizens. Nevertheless, there are more victims, impossible to know and to count.

For this reason, the ceremony starts in the morning with the reading of the names of victims, it follows by several workshops and seminars in the afternoon. All these activities give to the  victims’ relatives the chance to claim for real justice, transforming their pain into a effective and peacefully instrument to fight against illegal activities and crimes perpetrated by the Mafia. It is also a way to raise awareness about the consequences of this problem which affect the entire Europe.

From Restarting the Future, we would like to extended the recognition of this day to an European level as a strategic and symbolic step to fight against Organised Crime. It is important to remember that CRIM Committee voted for a ‘day of memory ’already but there should be a concrete decision of the Parliament or of the Council soon.



Whistleblowing protection: legislation against corruption

whistleblowing: men with suits and a whistle

Whistleblowing means the act of a person who blows the whistle on a corrupt episode at work or in the public area contributing to unmask serious offences. As this is a key role, it must be adequately protected from reprisals.

Last year, the European Commission rejected a request by MEPs to introduce whistleblower protection laws in the EU. In addition, last February, the European Parliamentary Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee claimed once again financial protection and documentary transparency for whistleblowers.

Moreover, last April the Council of Europe developed a text called “Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the protection of whistleblowers”It sets out a series of principles to guide member states to develop a legal framework to protect whistleblowing in the context of their judicial systems.

As we can see, there are many institutions claiming to develop european laws on whistleblowing. These measures are necessary to protect people dealing with national and cross-border corruption that affects EU financial interests and the interests of all the EU member states. Nevertheless, till this date, there is not a common european legislation to resolve this situation.


Whistleblowing around Europe

Some EU member states have developed concrete laws around this issue, such as Luxembourg or the United Kingdom. UK has the most complete legal framework created with the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) in 1998. There is a strong legislation to protect whistleblowers inside and outside the public institutions at an international level.

Fortunately, following the UK framework, several EU countries have strengthened their whistleblowing laws in recent years. Some of these have partial laws which protect whistleblowing in the private and/or public areas, such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland or Netherlands, which in 2012 established the Whistleblowing Advice Centre.

On the other hand, there are some states with none or very limited provisions and procedures for whistleblowers. The Transparency International report Whistleblowing in EU (2013) identified seven countries with a poor legal framework for whistleblowers: Bulgaria, Portugal, Finland, Spain, Greece, Lithuania and Slovakia. They use arguments around military and state secrecy as well as national security to support their decision as to not strengthen their legislation.

For all these reasons, we strongly believe that the solution would be an European Directive on whistleblowing (promoted by an European Parliament Resolution) to protect those throughout the European Union territory who 'whistle' to report wrongdoing. Countries that already have an innovative and effective practice have been seen to produce tangible results.

In order to do this, we propose that the European Directive should contain a coordinated European strategy to standardize minimum requirements for whistleblowers’ protection. Additionally, it is necessary to set up reporting channels which are safe, reliable, clear, easy to approach and guaranteed in all Member States as well as the establishment of an European Authority for whistleblowing.

Also, the promotion of an European culture based in integrity, transparency and condemnation of corruption and bribery could be an important step to fight corruption and to protect whistleblowers.



Restarting the Future organises the first meeting with MEPs against Corruption

European Parliament against corruption

The next 9th of October, It is going to celebrate the first meeting with the members of the European Parliament who have confirmed their support to our campaign. In this event, we would like to establish the bases of the fight against Corruption and Organised Crime in Europe. First action to be discussed: the constitution of an Anti Corruption and Organised Crime Intergroup. 

This event will be the first time we organise a meeting in the European Parliament. Enrico Fontana, Libera National coordinator, and Franco La Torre, Libera European Network Director will participate as expert in the topic. Libera is one of non-profit organisations which have impulsed the campaign to obtain, until nowadays, more than 145.000 signatures. 

The main focus of this meeting will be the constitution of a Intergroup which will work in the anti-corruption area. The constitution of this Intergroup is an opportunity to fight against illegal activities in public institutions and private sector, one reality that costs around 120 billion euros per year to the European citizens.

Restarting the Future and Libera propose six main points for the Intergroup agenda:

·   Protection to whistleblowing

·   Determining the 21st March as the Day Of Memory And Commitment

·   Recognition of the confiscated assets

·   An more active role from Europol and Eurojust against organised crime

·   Strict legislation against money laundering

·    Sstrict legislatio against environmental crimes


Restarting the future @SuomiAreena in Finland

Pori, Finland. The future starts even from the most important Scandinavian country's political debate: the SuomiAreena. On the occasion of the Italian Presidency for the European Semester, the organization has decided to invite representatives from Italian, from the world of entrepreneurship, university and culture. 

Leonardo Ferrante, scientific advisor of Riparte il futuro, presented the Restarting the future proposals to Europe on the issue of fighting corruption during a meeting with the Italian ambassador in Finland, Giorgio Visetti, and the European Commissioner, Sari Artjoki, as well as many finnish citizens. 

"Corruption problem can not be considered an issue for some, believing that the only solution is up to those countries who live it more - he said - but it is everyone's problem and requires a strong community response, beginning with the whistleblowing protection all over the European territory”, Leonardo said.

The event, named "A New Deal for Europe” ended with the delivery of the "Manifesto of Pori" to the Artjoki Commission, a document that contains the requests of Finnish and Italian youngs for Europe closer to its citizens. The Commissioner raised the EU's commitment against corruption, stating that a "new deal also goes by the fight against this phenomenon." 

The journalist Ella Kanninen attended the debate in front of the MTV3’s cameras, together with the scandinavian rapper Paleface, who said he was ready to support the campaign and received the white bracelet, symbol of Restarting the future. "Even the culture, music in the first place, can not do its part for a different Europe and able to face these important issues". Paleface stated.


We need both Directives and Action against Corruption

Restarting the Future asks for the creation of an European Institution, based on the CRIM model, which could play an important role in the fight against Corruption and Organized Crime. But what is CRIM, what were its activities and why does it not exist anymore?

The European Parliament’s special Committee on Organized Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering (CRIM) was set up in 2012 further to the adoption of the European Parliament resolution on organized crime in 2011.

Its term of office lasted one year and it could be renewed for further six months. During its two years life it played an important role by spreading the mafia theme from the Italian reality to the entire Europe. Not only it analyzed the extent of Organized Crime but it managed to gather the international organisms in order to propose appropriate measures and to strengthen the cooperation. Italy gave a great job contribution thanks to some standing people committed in the fight against the Mafia: the elected chair Sonia Alfano, one of the four vice-chairs Rosario Crocetta, the rapporteur Salvatore Lacolino and Rita Borsellino. It is also important to highlight the contribution given by other European MEPs as Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, Monica Macovei and Ana Gomes who signed the campaign Restarting the Future.

In September 2013 CRIM approved the final report giving the guidelines for an European plan, as:

  • The introduction and the definition of criminal acts and crimes in all Member States.
  • Abolishing banking secrecy.
  • Measures against corruption and laundering.
  • Promoting the seizure and confiscation of criminal assets even in absence of a conviction and their reuse for social purposes in compliance with the subsidiarity principle.
  • Vote buying as a criminal offense even when its benefits are intangible
  • Possibility of being excluded from running for or holding any public office

After the implementation of this final report, a new directive on the confiscation of criminal assets has been approved in February 2014. The countries should have 30 months to incorporate the directive into their national laws and the Directive recommends that these confiscated assets should be used for public interests or social purposes.

In the end CRIM changed the approach: for the first time in the European history the problem of the criminal organization has been dealt as a threat to the freedom and rights of European citizens. In order to implement the job, the Directive should be supervised and the newly elected MEPs should take the right measures.

Since in these years one of the objective has been to create a plan against the organized crime at a European level, it is clear the need of the reconstitution of a new Commission, similar to what the CRIM was.

Next steps? We need the criminal assets to be confiscated and re-used for public interests in all the European territory. This is one of the commitment of the MEPs who joined the Restarting the Future campaign. Sign!


It’s time to keep fighting against corruption

A white bracelet against corruption: 62 MEPs will receive the symbol of the European mobilization on 16th July in Strasbourg

MEPs, international organizations and the Restarting the Future team will meet soon in a big event to coordinate a plan and actions to fight against corruption. 

The European Elections took place one month ago. There is no doubt that Restarting the future was a great success. Almost 10% of MEPs elected to the European Parliament signed our petition from more than 350 that did it as candidates.

Restarting the future has not stopped working since then. This month has been full of proposals, discussions and decisions among the campaign. Our goal is to achieve a change in corruption and organized crime inside the European Union as a whole. The three objectives signed by the actual MEPs and supported by more than 140,000 people will be our guideline for the following months.

First of all, we are immersed in preparations for an event with all the new members of the European Parliament who has already signed the petition to provide them in person of our white bracelets as a sign of support Restarting the future and a symbol of the fight against corruption. The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) currently has 34 white bracelet, followed by the Confederal Group of the European United Left / Nordic Green Left with 14 MEPs. Seven european white wristbands are for EFD and six between the European People's Party and Green-ALE. We will give very soon more details about this event.

We highly appreciate the support received from the candidates and the current MEPs before the European Elections. However, we would like to have more support from inside the new European Parliament therefore we encourage all MEPs who did not signed our petition as candidates and have been elected to join our campaign. It is never late to fighting against corruption.

The digital campaign that began to be promoted by Gruppo Abele Libera and Italian NGOs in cooperation with Avviso Pubblico, Mafia Nein Danke, Libera France, Anticor y Coordination Eau Île de France is seeking new alliances to extend the anti-corruption message to each and every corner of Europe. Our goal is to work together to get a stricter legal framework against corruption and we are delighted to make new connections with different organizations which have the same goals. As far as we can share, we are also having great success in this regard. The more we get together, the stronger we are to achieve our objectives. 


62 MEPs against corruption: the European “white bracelets” at the EU

62 MEPs against corruption, more than 8% of the 766 members elected in the 28 States of the enlarged European Union at the European Parliament: it is the final outcome after the European elections 2014 of the Restarting the Future campaign

22 of them come from Italy, where the campaign was born in 2013 for the national elections, 17 from Spain,  6 from Germany, 5 from France, 2 from Austria and Portugal and one from Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Romania and Sweden.  

The digital campaign promoted all across the European Union by Italian NGOs Libera and Gruppo Abele in cooperation with Avviso Pubblico, Mafia Nein Danke, Libera France, Anticor and Coordination Eau Île de France, is aimed at promoting transparency and fighting corruption in Europe and has reached more than 133.000 signatures and 400 candidates of 27 States in 20 days. 

The only country that does not count any candidate and MEP is Poland. All the MEPs who have joined the campaign will receive a white bracelet by the NGOs supporting Restarting the future as a symbol of the struggle against corruption and of the pledge they took. The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D) has at the moment 34 “white bracelets”, followed by European United Left - Nordic Green Left group with 14 MEPs. Three European white bracelets are from the Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) EPP, and three from Greens-ALE. 

Names as Ana Gomes, from Portugal, Member of the European Parliament since 2004 and re-elected in 2009, Mercedes Bresso from Italy who has been elected president of the Committee of the Regions on February 2010, David Sassoli, already MEP for the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. Also Elena Valenciano, spokesperson for the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and Monica Macovei, former Romanian Minister of Justice from December 2004 to April 2007, took the pledge of the European mobilization. “It is not enough”, the campaigners say. “We re-launch now the pledges against corruption to all the elected MEPs, asking for a European law to protect whistleblowers and other concrete actions to fight the organized crime. We want more white bracelets in Strasbourg and Brussels”.  

The campaign started in Italy and spread all around the EU: the initiative is supported by the main candidates for the European Commission Presidency Martin Schulz for the Party of European Socialists (PES), Alexis Tsipras for the European Left, Josè Bové for the Greens. Restarting the future is the sister campaign of “Riparte il futuro”, launched in Italy during the political elections in February 2013 and which has reached more than 517,000 signatures so far. “Corruption is a real problem and has a lot of faces. All of us need to do a real effort to fight it”, Don Luigi Ciotti, NGOs Libera founder, says. “Hope needs our help”.  

“If I am elected Commission President, I will promote a culture that not only fights against organised crime and corruption but protects those who have the courage to speak out”, Martin Schulz says. Restarting the Future puts forward concrete requests to all MEP candidates before the elections, such as a parliamentary resolution pushing towards a European directive on whistleblowing and common tools to fight the always more cross-boundary organized crime all over Europe.

ITALY (22)    
Alessia Mosca PD S&D
Mercedes Bresso PD S&D
Renata Briano PD S&D
Brando Benifei PD S&D
Daniele Viotti PD S&D
Alessandra Moretti PD S&D
Elly Schlein PD S&D
Isabella De Monte PD S&D
Damiano Zoffoli PD S&D
Simona Bonafè PD S&D
David Sassoli PD S&D
Enrico Gasbarra PD S&D
Pina Picierno PD S&D
Tiziana Beghin M5S  
Marco Valli M5S  
Eleonora Evi M5S  
Marco Affronte M5S  
Giulia Gibertoni M5S  
Fabio Castaldo M5S  
Daniela Aiuto M5S  
Ignazio Corrao M5S  
Alberto Cirio FI EPP
Jörg Leichtfried SPÖ S&D
Monika Vana Die Grünen V–ALE
Marc Tarabella Parti socialiste S&D
Takis Hadjigeorgiou AKEL GUE
Sylvie Guillaume Parti Socialiste S&D
Virginie Rozière Parti Radical de Gauche ALDE
Christine Revault d’Allonnes-Bonnefoy Parti Socialiste S&D
Eric Andrieu Parti Socialiste S&D
José Bové Greens V–ALE
Merja Kyllönen Vasemmistoliitto GUE
Cornelia Ernst Die Linke GUE
Fabio De Masi Die Linke GUE
Gabriele Zimmer Die Linke GUE
Sabine Lösing Die Linke GUE
Helmut Scholz Die Linke GUE
Martin Schulz SPD S&D
Nessa Childers Indipendent NI
Claude Turmes déi gréng V–ALE
Ana Gomes PS S&D
Marisa Matias Bloco de Esquerda GUE
Tomáš Zdechovský KDU-?SL EPP
Monica Macovei Partidul Democrat-Liberal EPP
SPAIN (17)
Willy Enrique Meyer Pleite. IU GUE
Paloma López Bermejo. IU GUE
Ernest Urtasun Domenech IU-ICV GUE
Marina Albiol Guzmán. IU GUE
Elena Valenciano Martínez-Orozco. PSOE S&D
Ramón Jáuregui Atondo. PSOE S&D
Soledad Cabezón Ruiz PSOE S&D
Juan Fernando López Aguilar. PSOE S&D
Iratxe García Pérez. PSOE S&D
Javier López Fernández. PSOE S&D
Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández. PSOE S&D
Eider Gardiazábal Rubial. PSOE S&D
José Blanco López. PSOE S&D
Inés Ayala Sender. PSOE S&D
Clara Eugenia Aguilera García. PSOE S&D
Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto PSOE S&D
Jonás Fernández Álvarez. PSOE S&D
Aleksander Gabelic Socialdemokraterna S&D

The Polish Batory Foundation comments the absent of Polish candidates

The Stefan Batory Foundation is an independent private Polish foundation established in 1988 by George Soros. The mission of the Batory Foundation is to build an open, democratic society - a society of people aware of their rights and responsibilities, who are actively involved in the life of their local community, country and international society. We interview Grzegorz Makowski, Integrity director, in order to know their opinion about the absent of Polish candidates in Restarting the Future campaign. 


Why is it so important to fight against corruption?
Corrupt state and corrupt societies are not effective. There is no trust in people or institutions. When talking in economic terms, states with corruption are weak states. So we have a lot of facts leading us to consider that a State with corruption is dysfunctional.

However, it is important to basically fight corruption because this fight means progress for the States and their societies.

Ideologically, not so long ago, in the 90s of last century the paradigm thought that we should tolerate corruption. However, in rational and modern states corruption is not positive at all so we have a main reason to fight against it.

How are these unlawful acts like corruption and organized crime affecting the daily lives of citizens in Poland?
The situation has improved a lot in the last decade because we are in a very good economic and social progress. For example, twenty years ago the general state system was totally different on some important points such as education or security policy for corruption.

Nowadays people are more aware, they know more about life and how the world works. They are not afraid of going to the police, to expose corruption to the authorities. They know this is not a characteristic of a democratic state. This thought is totally different to the one we used to have during communist times when corruption was everywhere, from bottom to top. You must have paid for anything you needed to get it. Corruption was a synonym for the system.

Of course we have corruption but the standards are improving, people know about it so we are achieving our goals.

It is well known that corruption and lack of transparency are two issues that a large percentage of citizens of the European Union are concerned about. What can new MEPs do about it?
It is very important for the new parliament to motivate the European Commission and other institutions to create some kind of european anti-corruption policy. This draft was already started three years ago in the European Commission. There were great expectations about it in our Foundation. We have waited for it until the beginning of this year.

I am confused with the result of this process. In fact, I am very disappointed with the final version of the report because I know that the Commission knows much more than what was published. They had very good material to prepare some strategy but they didn’t. So the Parliament should prepare this strategy, some plan to get the commission to do something. Once both institutions have done something on their sides, the next step are the individual States.

I know how this report was broken in pieces during the process of preparation and I would not like this situation to be repeated, so the European Parliament should play a role of Watchdog - not only with the Commission, but also with the individual States. However this is quite hard because the members of the European Parliament somehow are related with the national governments, which they represent in Europe.

Nevertheless, it would be possible to force the European Commission and national governments to prepare a good plan, an anti corruption policy for the whole of Europe. It should not only involve hiding cases of corruption that Europe suffers in countries like Poland but also in well-developed countries like Spain. In fact, the Spanish government played a big role in convincing the commission to not show some cases of corruption that have taken place in Spain lately.

According to the latest report of the European Anti-Corruption Commission, 3600 international criminal organizations operate in the EU. Why do we have this situation in Europe? Is it so difficult as it seems to keep under control?
I totally understand the link between corruption and organized crime. From a Polish perspective, our authorities cannot see this link. We have adopted an anti-corruption strategy this year (a couple of months ago exactly) but there is nothing about anti-organized crime. But on the other side, the police, who combats organized crime, reports cases every year. But there is nothing to face this situation. In addition, the risk of going against it is quite high.

For me it is a proof that they do not really see this problem in a global way.

Another big problem is that there is no cooperation between different institutions, neither with european nor with investigative ones.

The problem is that in Poland, and maybe in other countries, the cooperation between institutions is not strong enough. Cooperation between different institutions should be better. This is very important in order to fight both corruption and organized crime. They should really cooperate but they work individually so the results are not as good as they could be.

Why did not any MEP candidate from Poland sign our petition?
This year’s campaign in Poland is terrible. They are not focused on european topics and not even on important national issues. They are focused on minor problems or personal ones but they are not facing the important topics of Europe.

But this is not something new for us at all. I think it is a normal problem with the political class in Poland . They do not really understand that we are in Europe, not even after 10 years. They do not know what the European Union is, and for example why it is important to fight corruption in Europe. So we have to start to analyze this result from this point.

Secondly, in Polish politics corruption has not been a priority over the last four or five years. We have been fighting for the adoption of a corruption strategy for five years. It took us five years to force the government to adopt this strategy. We have had big periods when corruption in Poland was important but right now politicians do not want to act.

From a sociologically perspective, I can understand it because it is dangerous for them. If they start fighting against it, it would somehow look like they are involved in it as well. It would be difficult for them to prove that they are not involved at all with this matter. This has already happened in the past. So they choose to not get involved. They prefer to be aside and forget, to put it under the carpet because it would be a very difficult topic to talk about.

How does the Batory Foundation work in this field?
We have a very long record in this field. In 2000 we have created a specific program against corruption, together with another organization. In the past, our main goal was to educate people, to make information and education campaigns, to watch over the government to see if it is using the right standard.

But right now, our focus is on monitoring the finances of parties and on carrying out more of an advocacy program. For five years we have fought to force the government to adopt an anti-corruption strategy so we were very focused on this point. There are also topics that we do not forget about like Whistleblowers protection, and we fight to change the situation. Right now we have a more active role in this field. 


Petros Márkaris: “Fight against corruption into our education system”


Petros Márkaris is an internationally famous mystery writer. He is considered an expert on Brecht and he has signed the Restarting the future petition. 

Mr. Markàris, corruption and tax evasion are a constant of yours novels. What is the worsts consequences of corruption in the Greek society ? And in the european one?
Corruption and tax evasion are diseases and they exist in all countries. In my point of view there are two, coordinated, ways to fight against them. The first is education. It might be a good idea to introduce a subject in schools concerning corruption and tax evasion, in order to teach young people the disastrous consequences of these diseases in the society. The second means is to fight against them with an efficient legal system and with the severe application of the law. This is what is not happening or happening inadequately in countries like Greece.

According to a Eurobarometer, a quarter of Europeans consider normal to offer favors to public officials in order to obtain services, how is possible eradicate this mentality ?
The only means is to wake up the conscience of the people from their young age. The problem is that we are living in a world of globalized economy and money is for most people the unique success story. It is the same with doping in sports. Favors and bribery open the door to quick success, as doping does in sports.

Do you think that the civil society is playing a active role in the fight against corruption, organized crime and mafia ?
By no means. A great number of people just look away. In the meantime black money has attained such a great power that it can corrupt people very easily. Politicians and common people just make use of the black money without caring much for its source. Legal measures and proceedings are in many cases just eyewash.

Do you think that iniciatives as Restarting the Future could change something ?
Yes and we need more initiatives of this kind. As I said before, we should insist in including the fight against corruption into our education system and these initiatives can exercise a lot of pressure.

Has the crisis improved the conscience of the greek people on these problems ?
You know, nobody is innocent. We all knew about corruption and tax evasion. The problem is that many people just looked away. The situation is from a legal point of view better now but still the honest are paying the price. The rich have taken their money out of the country and those fighting for survival are paying higher taxes. And corruption still exists in spite of the crisis.     

Organized crime and corruption are a phenomena every day more 'transnationals', do you think that the EU could play a more serious role in the fight against corruption and organized crime?
I definitely believe it. 

Well, the EU could create a department to fight corruption and tax evasion. They have a department for everything that you can think of, but no department to fight corruption and tax evasion. Nevertheless to prevent tax evasion you need rules applicable to all members of the EU and what is missing is the willingness of the politicians to fight it efficiently. I will give you and example. Greece is taxing profits of indivduals and companies with up to 42%. Nobody is preventing a company to relocate to Luxembourg and pay only 15%. This is completely legal, but the individual has no such choice. It stands to reason that the individual will think that he is dooing nothing wrong by evading taxation, since he has not the alternative to relocate to another country.


What happens if you denounce corruption?


238 candidates from 27 countries!

238 candidates from 27 countries. Restarting the future, sister campaign of the Italian mobilisation Riparte il futuro, launched in 2013 for the domestic elections, was such a bet. Between them: Martin Shulz, Alexis Tsipras, José Bovè. They come from Spain, France, Bulgaria, Germany, and all around Europe. 

Jadranka Kosor, from Croatia, former Prime Minister, has joined the campaign in these days. During her career she has been awarded numerous recognitions for her work in journalism and politics, among which stand out the Life Achievement Award "Ivan Šibl" by HRT, the "Zlatno pero" Award by the Croatian Journalist Association, the Award of the European Community for Humanitarian Work, the "Europski krug" Award by the Croatian European House. 

Alejo Vidal Quadras, from Spain, is Vice President of the European Parliament and founder of a new party, VOX. He has found in the Restarting the future principles something that has to be followed in the European contest. "I support everything is needed in fighting against the organised crime, corruption and money laundering", Sylvie Guillaume, French Socialists and Democrats Vice President, said in signing the petition. 

Monica Macovei, from Romania, former Minister of Justice, Miguel Angel Martinez Martinez, European Parliament Vice President and Catherine Trautmann, French former Minister of culture, also joined the Restarting the future project. 


Marc Tarabella for Restarting the future

Marc Tarabella, candidate in Belgium for the Parti Socialiste, is a member of the European Parliament for the French Community of Belgium with the Parti Socialiste, part of the Socialist Group and sits on the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

He has joined the Restarting the future project and will work to create an Intergroup aimed at fighting corruption within 150 days from the formation of the new Parliament.


The European campaign against corruption spreads over the Union

Take a look at people from Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Germany. What do they have in common? They are Eurocandidates and they say no to corruption in Europe and are supporting the Restarting the Future campaign. The digital campaign promoted all across the European Union by Italian NGOs Libera and Gruppo Abele in cooperation with Avviso Pubblico, Mafia Nein Danke, Libera France, Anticor and Coordination Eau Île de France, is aimed at promoting transparency and fighting corruption in Europe and has reached more than 100.000 signatures and 100 candidates of 24 States in 10 days.

The initiative is supported by the main candidates for the European Commission Presidency Martin Schulz for the Party of European Socialists (PES), Alexis Tsipras for the European Left, Josè Bové for the Greens. Restarting the future is the sister campaign of “Riparte il futuro”, launched in Italy during the political elections in February 2013 and which has now reached more than 500,000 signatures so far. “Corruption is a real problem and has a lot of faces. All of us need to do a real effort to fight it”, Don Luigi Ciotti, NGOs Libera founder, says. “Hope needs our help. We ask all the candidates to do their part to fight corruption”.

Restarting the Future puts forward concrete requests to all MEP candidates, once they are elected, such as a parliamentary resolution pushing towards a European directive on whistleblowing and common tools to fight the always more cross-boundary organized crime all over Europe. Baltasar Garzón, President of the Baltasar Garzón International Foundation (FIBGAR) says: “The great difficulty of investigating and prosecuting crimes related to corruption often become the cancer of democracy, because it sends a clear message: not to investigate it, not to investigate or prosecute. We need to stop this scourge”. 

The campaign is collecting candidates from many different backgrounds. “I’m a judge and, according to my experience, I know that European justice is still a sort of slow mammoth while the organized crime is a leopard”, Eric Alt, Ile de France Nouvelle Donne candidate, says. “We need to build our Europe according to law and to justice for our economy, the social stability and the democracy protection”. “There is no real democracy if corruption and organised crime leak in politics and in public administration”, Alessia Mosca, Italian Democratic Party candidate states.


Schulz, Tsipras, Bové against corruption

A successful week for transparency and against organised crime: the digital campaign “Restarting the future”, promoted all across the European Union by Italian NGOs Libera and Gruppo Abele in cooperation with Avviso Pubblico, Mafia Nein Danke, Libera France, Anticor and Coordination Eau ÎledeFrance, has reached more than 90.000 signatures in few days. The initiative is supported by the main candidates for the European Commission Presidency Martin Schulz for the Party of European Socialists (PES), Alexis Tsipras for the European Left, Josè Bové for The Greens.

According to the most recent Eurobarometer survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards corruption, a quarter of Europeans (26%) think that it is acceptable to do a favour in return for something that they want from the public administration or public services. “If I am elected Commission President, I will promote a culture that not only fights against organised crime and corruption but protects those who have the courage to speak out”, the European Parliament President Martin Schulz says

According to Josè Bové, the Greens’ candidate for the Commission presidency, “Mafia and organised crime are a cancer for our democracy, both in EU member countries and for the entire European Union”. It is necessary “to do everything to strengthen transparency and fight the traffic of prostitution, cigarettes, wastes and weapons. The priority at the moment is to combat money laundering, starting from the fight against bank secrecy to hit the organized crime and its finance assets”.

“Mafia and organized crime are a mortgage on our future”, says Alexis Tsipras, European Left candidate for the Commission Presidency signing the “Restarting the future” petition. “They are a dead weight and, together with corruption, they undermine the democracy of our society. We need to free Europe from organized crime: this is the only possible way to build a fairer Europe where everybody has a job. And we have to struggle against tax havens and every system through which mafia recycles the profits”.

“There is no room for error as the European Parliament is the place where everybody’s future is to be decided”, the campaign “Restarting the future” claims. According to the first ever EU AntiCorruption Report, corruption costs the European economy €120 billion a year 1% of the EU GDP, and more than 3,500 criminal organisations are draining Europe of an additional 45%.

The next goal is to create an advocacy system for the future establishing an EU anti corruption culture, to promote the practice of whistleblowing, to protect health systems from illegal activity and to encourage the empowerment and the role of civil society in the prevention of corruption.