Table of Contents

Research Handbook on EU Criminal Law

Research Handbook on EU Criminal Law

Research Handbooks in European Law series

Edited by Valsamis Mitsilegas, Maria Bergström and Theodore Konstadinides

EU criminal law is one of the fastest evolving, but also challenging, policy areas and fields of law. This Handbook provides a comprehensive and advanced analysis of EU criminal law as a structurally and constitutionally unique policy area and field of research. With contributions from leading experts, focusing on their respective fields of research, the book is preoccupied with defining cross-border or ‘Euro-crimes’, while allowing Member States to sanction criminal behaviour through mutual cooperation. It contains a web of institutions, agencies, and external liaisons, which ensure the protection of EU citizens from serious crime, while protecting the fundamental rights of suspects and criminals.

Chapter 24: EU criminal law and EU enlargement

Adam Lazowski

Subjects: law - academic, criminal law and justice, european law


Since the creation of the European Communities, the number of Member States has gradually increased from the original six to currently 28. Enlargement has become the EU’s flagship external policy, demonstrating the EU’s ability to shape its neighbourhood and to serve as a catalyst of deep and multilayered reforms. The seven consecutive enlargement rounds have happened in parallel with widespread internal developments, culminating in the creation of the European Union and, most recently, the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. As this volume demonstrates, EU criminal law has evolved considerably from its early days under the legal framework laid down by the Maastricht Treaty to its current post-Lisbon shape. On 1 December 2014, that is, with expiry of a five-year transitional regime for the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters became a fully fledged EU policy, governed largely by the same modus operandi as other areas of EU competence and with compulsory jurisdiction of the CJEU. As EU criminal law developed internally, so did its external dimension, including the role it plays in the enlargement policy. In the case of the latter, the expiry of the same transitional period has brought to an end a rather anomalous situation whereby the European Union had more enforcement tools before and after accession vis-à-vis its future/new Member States than it could employ against the old ones.

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