Approximation of substantive criminal law in the EU. The way forward

Book by Anne Weyembergh (2013)

(ed.) GALLI, F., et WEYEMBERGH, A., Approximation of substantive criminal law in the EU. The way forward, Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles (IIE), Bruxelles, 2013.

The European Union’s efforts to approximate substantive criminal law began under the third pillar of the Maastricht Treaty, then amended by the Amsterdam and Nice Treaties. As with other areas of cooperation in criminal matters, this domain has been ‘communitarised’ by the Lisbon Treaty. Since then, it is the area where the most initiatives have been introduced.

In this context, the purpose of the book is twofold. The first aim is to evaluate the changes introduced by the new Treaty and, three years after its entry into force, to provide an overview of the concrete implementation and practical impact of these changes. The second is to reflect on future prospects.

Following an introduction, which identifies the institutional and decision-making changes resulting from the Lisbon Treaty and examines the novel interactions among European actors, the book is divided into two main sections.

The first one develops a crosscutting approach, which can be applied to the approximation of substantive criminal law irrespective of any specific domain of analysis. It draws together reflections on the importance of fundamental principles of criminal law; on the so-called annex-competence provided for by Article 83(2) TFEU; on the role of the approximation of substantive criminal law with a view to the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office; and on the development of a general substantive criminal law for the EU.

The focus of the second part of the book is on evaluating the impact of EU approximation instruments in three selected areas (drug trafficking, terrorist offences and trafficking in human beings). In cases where successive EU instruments have been adopted over time, this second part will assess whether and to what extent evaluation processes had an impact on the drafting of subsequent provisions.

The edited volume ends with concluding remarks on the way forward.

This book has been co-written by an international team mainly composed of academics and researchers who are members of ECLAN (the European Criminal Law Academic Network).