Hiring Vidocq was a good idea, after all

Published 18.11.2014 02:04
Updated 18.11.2014 02:19

Jean-Claude Juncker, since his election as president of the European Commission, has not spent a single day in calm and quietude. He has been harassed from every angle, before even effectively starting his office. Juncker is a very highly sophisticated European politician and is extremely proficient when it comes to international economic and financial affairs. His "grand political vision" has disappointed a bit, when he declared that the European Commission was the "last chance for Europe." But nobody doubts that he will do a better job than the previous president, Jacques Santer of Luxembourg.

The last scandal to date is the fact that he has declared the commission's aim was to reform the taxation system in the EU to limit tax evasion. There has been a general outcry for at least 20 years during his term as prime minister of Luxembourg, Juncker's main achievement has been to establish a "legal" tax evasion system that has attracted huge investments and made Luxembourg one of the states with the highest per capita gross domestic product in the world.

The European press is evenly divided as to how to evaluate the new policy of combating tax evasion and how it will be implemented under the leadership of Juncker. After the leaking of Juncker's policies regarding tax exemption into the media, very different dailies, from the British Guardian and German Frankfurter Rundschau to Swiss Le Courrier, asked for his resignation as the head of the commission and a total overhaul of the system.

This sounds a little hypocritical to display the financial system now, so long as nobody really complained about the sophisticated tax evasion infrastructure put in place for decades now. Anyhow, pointing at Juncker as one of the culprits does not make any sense, but keeping him at his post to fight against the cosy tax evasion infrastructure could be a good idea, for he knows perfectly how the system works. Eugène François Vidocq (1775-1857) is remembered today as the founder of modern criminology in France. He was the head of the Sûreté nationale – the French national police – and he founded the first modern private detective agency. During his time, police forces in Paris arrested three times more felons than before and he established plain-clothed police forces to control main streets and places. He is credited with the introduction of undercover work, ballistics, criminology and a record keeping system to criminal investigation. He made the first plaster cast impressions of shoe prints, created indelible ink and unalterable bond paper. His form of anthropometrics is still partially used by the French National Police.

Before being nominated, first informally and then officially, as the Head of the Police, Vidocq was a very well-known convict. He had gone through all the felony varieties, from theft to manufacturing false papers and fraud. He served many time in prison, succeeding to escape and hide every time before getting caught again. He had an incredible photographic memory, remembering a face he saw only once, even in disguise. He was a master of disguise himself. Please do not watch the recent movie called "Vidocq," a mixture of Taiwanese Kung Fu scenes featuring various kinds of super heroes and villains.

As a matter of fact, it was a brilliant idea to nominate a former and very famous convict as the head of the police forces. He created a modern and very effective system to combat criminality in which his methods were revolutionary and his vision great. Why not try with Juncker the same method that was so successful with Vidocq? Juncker is a very capable, polyglot politician who is extremely well-versed in European financial affairs. He fulfils the criteria nicely.

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