EESC opinion: Proceeds of crime

 

Key points

  • The EESC supports this Commission initiative, which aims to strengthen the current European legislative framework on freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.
  • Organised crime is increasing and becoming more complex, particularly in light of its cross-border nature and its substantial resources. At stake is the security of the people of the EU, a goal which fully justifies EU intervention.
  • However, the EESC wishes to make clear that this must be designed and implemented with full respect for national tradition and practices in this area.
  • The EESC highlights the need for a global, operational and integrated approach in this field.
  • Apart from the necessary coordination and the systematic exchange of information between national Asset Recovery Offices, the EESC believes that it is necessary in the long term to consider centralisation at European level in this area, whether through a new, dedicated organisation or directly through Eurojust.
  • If measures to freeze and confiscate the proceeds of crime are to be effective, it is necessary to ensure that priority is given to socially beneficial purposes when re-using confiscated goods.
  • Finally, the EESC notes that the effectiveness of the fight against organised crime cannot justify any violation whatsoever of the fundamental rights set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, particularly the rights of the defence.