Tuesday, April 24, 2007

New Ecomafia Crackdown

Italy appears to have drafted new legislation that will impose harsher penalties for illegal dumping and trafficking of wastes. I reviewed a few EU and non-EU member states and the new legislation appears to be at the upper limit compared to other maximum penalties. The Italian bill would hand up to 10-years in prison and 250,000 euro fines.

This appears to be afront of new EU legislation that has imposed minimum penalties for illegal dumping and other ecological crimes. Interestingly, since these developments, the EU is now imposing possible sanctions on the US and China for giving subsidies to industry to dispose of hazardous and other wastes. This appears to be part of the on-going struggle for the EU to hold onto its exports as they continue to falter for the EU with the ever falling dollar.

Is this law driven by the actual attempt to crack down on the mafia or is it a means for the EU to demonstrate that there are measures to curbing illegal dumping within the EU for its on-going trade war? Perhaps both as the indirect costs of illegal dumping are astronomical and any favoring with the EU would help when the Italian debt has been downgraded to A+.

There is some skepticism of mafia crackdowns in Italy. As the "questione meridionale" (Question of the Meridian or Middle Region) hasn't been answered since WWII, there will always be a stark difference in wealth of the north to the poor south. As the politicians invest in the south as a voting reservoir, there is no crack down on the status quo of the mafia. Still unresolved, this invites groups such as the Lega Nord (the Northern League) which answers with the option to cleanly cut away from the south. The mafia has its roots in being counter-establishment and the organization continues its trends as the south is still not integrated accordingly by the government.

This legislation does target the 2nd highest revenue source to drug trafficking for the mafia, however, it still doesn't target infrastructural changes and unemployment that would keep crime from being the easier option. There is still a long way to go for Italy, but this does make a low risk crime with small punishments a more serious punishment.

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