- Elgar European Law series
6. Substantive criminal law CONTEXT AND GENERAL OVERVIEW Dealing with the issue of substantive EU criminal law, one is faced with a methodological problem. On the one hand, it is clearly there, and one could without too much diﬃculty provide an exhaustive list of the existing instruments harmonising the deﬁnitions of certain oﬀences in the EU. On the other hand, substantive EU criminal law is frustrating in that it almost deﬁes the legal urge to systematise and to categorise. While there are rational explanations for each individual EU instrument harmonising the deﬁnitions of a particular criminal oﬀence, one is hard-pressed to identify the underlying rationale for the collection of criminal oﬀences thus deﬁned. In order to convey this characteristic of EU substantive criminal law, this chapter will begin by providing a short outline of what the EU has achieved in this ﬁeld. While this list at least has pretentions to exhaustiveness, the matter is such that it cannot be excluded that one or other provision with an inﬂuence on substantive criminal law will ‘slip through the net’. After this brief outline the chapter will proceed with a more detailed discussion of the main motivating factors behind EU harmonisation of criminal oﬀences. In the context of this discussion, we will look into some of the individual instruments in more detail. Overview of Criminal Oﬀences deﬁned by the EU A chronological approach to the task of listing the criminal o...
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