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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
Prediction 5: The Vatican becoming involved in the political affairs of
Vatican may join EU anti-terrorism
VATICAN CITY – The Vatican is considering whether to join the European
Union's anti-terrorism body, Eurojust, in a bid to increase security, an
official said Saturday.
Vatican City's chief prosecutor, Nicola Picardi, said the increased
threat of international terrorism required new forms of cooperation
In October, the Vatican successfully joined Interpol, and the Vatican's
Gendarmeria has been attending meetings of the Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe since 2006, he said.
While only 492 people live in Vatican City, some 18 million pilgrims and
tourists pass through Bernini's splendid colonnade to enter St. Peter's
Basilica or visit the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums each year.
As a result, crime does happen here — Pope John Paul II survived an
assassination attempt in St. Peter's Square 1981.
Nowadays, though, the most serious crimes usually involve petty theft.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, however, security measures have been
significantly beefed up, with visitors now required to pass through
metal detectors to enter the Basilica and attend audiences with the
Picardi, the Vatican's so-called "promoter of justice," proposed the
Eurojust membership as he outlined the state of law and order in the
tribunals of the Vatican city-state during a ceremony to start the
Vatican's judicial year.
He said joining Eurojust would be another "important step" in the fight
against terrorism, both at home and abroad.
The Hague-based Eurojust was established in 2002 and includes senior
investigators and prosecutors from each EU member state. The aim is to
facilitate cooperation among members.
In another proposal, Picardi said the Vatican needed a specific law to
deal with drug dealing. Someone was brought before the Vatican tribunal
in 2008 on charges of drug possession and sale, and there was no law on
the books to deal with it, he said.
Picardi said he didn't want the loophole to turn the city-state into a "zona
franca for the sale and possession of drugs."
He offered no details on the case in question.
Vatican City is practically a world of its own, albeit one that is
encompassed in 108 acres (44 hectares). In addition to its own security
forces — including the fancy-suited Swiss Guards — the Vatican has its
own supermarket, pharmacy and post office. There are Vatican plumbers, a
Vatican phone book, Vatican medical services, firefighters, gas pumps,
courts, a mint, license plates, helicopter pad and even a train station.
Most of these services are for the city-state's 492 residents, employees
or those with some Vatican connection.
The Vatican also has a vast diplomatic corps overseas, and has observer
status at the United Nations.