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The EU response to organised crime

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© Vladislav Kochelaevs / Fotolia

Both in the EU and elsewhere there is a strong consensus amongst states that combating organised crime requires common action. Therefore the EU’s policies have evolved in the context of manifold international efforts to tackle this threat. The EU has both co-drafted and drawn on international laws and standards. Whereas finding a definition of organised crime was the starting point of the debate, no commonly accepted definition has so far been found. The EU’s 2008 Framework Decision, which sought to find a compromise definition based on diverse legal traditions, has been widely considered a failure. While the EU’s anti-organised crime policy is quite comprehensive, most relevant actions have been under the legal bases for police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Europol’s mandate is one indicator of how far the EU has been allowed to go by the Member States in dealing with crime. The Amsterdam Treaty (1997) provided a legal base for approximating criminal legislation, including that on organised crime. The Treaty of Lisbon (2009), with its overhaul of the entire EU architecture, substantially strengthened the EU’s standing in this field. Serious and organised crime has been perceived as a severe threat to EU security, and as such has been addressed in recent years within a specific policy cycle.

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