Italy must do all it can to protect the EU-funded post-COVID National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) from Mafia infiltration, Premier Mario Draghi said Wednesday. “In order to protect the NRRP funds (from Mafia infiltration),” he told a Milan convention on ‘The Role of Finance in the Fight Against the Mafia’, we must simplify procedures, boost controls and strengthen the role of prefects without hampering businesses.”
Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said a number of intiatives had already been set up to protect the NRRP from Italy’s three Mafias, ‘Ndrangheta from Calabria, Cosa Nostra from Sicily, and the Camorra from Campania. “This will be a new challenge, but we have the tools to stop the Mafia’s hands infiltrating the resources needed for the country’s recovery”, she said. Lamorgese said the Mafia had had “burning defeats but it is not yet defeated.” She said the fact that the Mafia had become transnational meant that “homogeneous rules and conduct are required between different countries, requiring institutional accords.”
Draghi said Italy must have a “lead role at a European level in the fight against organized crime.” He told the conference, organized to mark the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the National Anti-Mafia Directorate (DIA), that another of the government’s priorities in combating the Mafia was creating jobs in areas where the Mafia tries to replace the role of institutions. “In order to defeat the Mafias, the State must be more present where the Mafias are trying to fill in for institutions. “For this reason we must improve services, the social assistance networks. “We must favor employment, above all among the youngest workers, create opportunities, strengthen social bonds, starting with the most marginal and disadvantaged contexts. These objectives are at the center of the government’s action, at the top of our priorities.”
The premier also said that the Mafia was expanding in the richer north of Italy, and the so-called ‘business Mafia’ had laid down deep roots in and around affluent northern business belts. Draghi spoke two days after Italy marked the 30th anniversary of the Cosa Nostra assassination of anti-Mafia crusading prosecutor Giovanni Falcone on May 23, 1992, two months before that of his friend and colleague, Paolo Borsellino.