More recently, in February this year, Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak, 27, together with his innocent partner, were gunned down in his home. At the time he was working on a story on the links between EU money, bent Slovak businessmen, and the Prime Minister's assistant's links to corruption and a mafia crime figure.
And last month in Bulgaria Victoria Marinova ws found murdered in Ruse. She had been working on a story about corruption involving EU funds. The second Bulgarian journalist murdered in a decade, the gunning down in Sofia of radio presenter Bobi Tsankov in 2010 being a grisly precursor.
In 2010 Investigative journalist Sokratis Giolias was gunned down in Athens. And just over a year ago, in October 2017, Daphne Caruana Galizia was blown apart by a mafia car bomb in Malta. A 53 year old mother of three, her investigations into political and EU corruption on the island and the links between EU funding and crime figures offended scores of bent Maltese politicians. In Poland in 2015 Investigative journalist Łukasz Masiak was beaten to death in Mlawa.
Dead journalists make the news. But it's reasonable to suppose that for every stubborn and tenacious reporter who refused to be intimidated, a score or more will have been cowed into silence by a bullet in the post, a beating, their family or children approached, their windows broken, their cars dripping in bloody paint.
The EU uses money taken from Europe's taxpayers to buy political loyalty and to corrupt politicians across Europe, under the pretence of aid and development. But building up a cabal of loyal bent politicians comes at a price - they frequently come attached to organised crime gangs. And although the EU would rather play down the links between EU favour and funding and the mafias, at times the links are so blatant, the passage of cash from EU taxpayer purses to mafia pockets so conspicuous, that even the EU are forced to act;
In an unprecedented move, the EU has withheld funds from new member Bulgaria because the ineffective measures it’s taken against organized crime. Killings, frauds and corruption all seem to go unprosecuted and unpunished. The European Union’s (EU) dramatic action in suspending aid to Bulgaria came after ample warnings that mere commitment to judicial reform was not enough.But of course the EU can't act too harshly; the foul and noisome compact between the EU, Europe's criminal mobs and her bent politicians is vital to Berlaymont's interests. And a carpet of journalists' corpses is the cost.