Is mafia at EU door?

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Romanov) - Recently, I was surprised to read in The Sun that in the new year the European Union was going to fling its doors wide open for the mafia. The announcement was timed to the EU entry of Romania and Bulgaria on January 1, 2007. It did not sound welcoming.

This attitude suggests several questions. Is this someone's personal opinion, or do journalists reflect the "old" Europeans' fatigue caused by the flood of the new EU members? If the latter is true, who's the decision-maker in the democratic EU - its people or its bureaucrats?

I have always favored a strong Europe if only because I know what a US-led unipolar world is like. It is enough to recall the war in Iraq or CIA flying prisons. The voice of a strong and democratic Europe would be very appropriate here, but at first it has to gain enough political, economic, and military weight. The EU's expansion is not an objectionable process, but I am amazed at how avidly Europe is swallowing one piece after another. It does not seem to be too concerned if the meal makes it stronger or fatter, or if it picks up some bacteria which will require a long and expensive treatment.

Thus, by integrating Latvia, the EU has taken on all its problems - neo-Nazism, Russophobia, and massive violations of human rights. Latvia is the only place in Europe with hundreds of thousands of non-citizens. International law does not even have such a term. These people cannot take part in the elections, and this is taking place in Europe!

The EU has also accepted the Poles. Polish arrogance was a subject of jokes even in the Middle Ages, so there is nothing new. As a result, under one president, Poland wanted to become the leader of new Europe, and led pro-American opposition on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, which makes it responsible, among others, for the death of innocent civilians in that country. Later on, it hosted one of the CIA's main prisons. Finally, Poland has put all EU members into an awkward position by vetoing talks with Russia on future strategic partnership, thereby putting its meat exports ahead of the interests of the rest of Europe. To all intents and purposes, this is not the last Polish surprise.

But these are problems of the European condominium, and it should decide for itself whom to grant apartments in its building. However, Russia is watching this process with interest because several nations, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, for one, would also like to become part of Russia. Let's put disputable legal issues aside and ask a very simple question - do we need it?

This is probably what my colleagues from The Sun meant by publishing alarming news about the arrival of the new mafia. Any Interpol official will tell you that the EU has enough headaches fighting the old one.

What lies in store for the EU in the new year? Browsing through the Internet, I have found nothing special on Bulgaria, but a lot of talk about the Romanian mafia. Here's an excerpt from a Deutsche Welle report: "Using their contract on manpower supplies with Spain, Romanian criminals have quickly turned Madrid into their domain. Everything has happened very fast - in a matter of several years. The police reports that Romanians have ousted the 'world famous' Columbian Mafiosi, not to mention Spaniards themselves, from the criminal business of the Spanish capital. They have taken charge of synthetic drugs trafficking and prostitution, and are involved in robbery, and racketeering against their own compatriots residing in Spain, produce fake documents, and commit contract murders. Up to 500 Romanian prostitutes daily service clients in the Madrid Casa-del-Campo Park. Rivaling Romanian pimps get up to 200 Euros from a prostitute per day. The business is quite profitable, and shoot-outs take place at least once a week. The Mafiosi are particularly audacious in the area of Madrid's southern railway station where buses with immigrants arrive. Dressed in Spanish police uniforms, they rob their compatriots of money and any valuables."

This is just one of many examples. The French police are also having a hard time. In the summer of 2001, a group of Romanian children aged between 8 and 12 "landed" in Paris. The young pickpockets had been trained well, and showed what they were worth in Paris. The police believe that with their sensitive hands the children can feel what banknotes their victims have in their wallets. Usually, they attack Japanese and American tourists, because the former are loaded with cash, and the latter have valuable American passports, which are a sure sell on the black market. Incidentally, the vigilant police did not track a single adult Romanian in the vicinity of Trocadero - this is children's domain. Experts estimate that every teenage thief stole up to 25,000 franks (about $4,000) per day. Nobody has seen these children buy something to eat, or be fed by someone. If caught, they pretended they knew no French (which might have been true). But what can the police do with them? Children under 13 are not punishable by law in France. Their parents can be punished instead. But where are the parents?

I have quoted enough. It seems my colleagues from The Sun have not exaggerated anything. The EU has eaten something bad again. Meanwhile, new claimants are knocking at its door, and all of them want to get to London, Paris, and Madrid.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the editorial board

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