- Elgar European Law series
4. Judicial cooperation in criminal matters CONTEXT AND GENERAL OVERVIEW Judicial cooperation forms the central plank of the EU’s criminal justice agenda. It is precisely within this ﬁeld that the boldest attempts have been made to move on from the vagaries of the past, when international cooperation in criminal matters was notoriously slow, ineﬃcient and carried out in the interests of the states concerned.1 And yet it is also within this ﬁeld that the impacts of the basic theoretical lacuna in the project of developing the EU as an area of freedom, security and justice are most prominent, resulting in institutional tensions and, ultimately, a legal landscape that lacks coherence. Building upon the discussion contained in the introduction and Chapter 1 of this book, and in order to convey more clearly the somewhat schizophrenic nature of EU judicial cooperation in criminal matters, this chapter will be structured around the legislative and nonlegislative strands of development. The Treaty of Amsterdam did not mark the beginning of the EU’s role in criminal matters, nor did it produce a completely revolutionary approach to dealing with matters of inter-state cooperation. However, it is fair to say that it embodied and precipitated a signiﬁcant shift away from the traditional approach based upon intergovernmental conventions and the principle of request. The import of certain Communitarian (supranational) elements to the hitherto largely intergovernmental third pillar created a completely unique and more ambitious governance framework for policy development. Most prominently, the EU was given more e...
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