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The European Union and the Globalisation of Criminal Law

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In the new post-Cold War security era, there is a perception that the nature of cross-border security threats has changed. The need to respond to these new threats has led to a proliferation of multilateral international and regional treaties in this area, as well as unilateral demands made by the United States post-9/11. We have, then, seen a process of globalisation of criminal law, a field traditionally linked to State sovereignty. This chapter examines, first, EU action with regard to UN multilateral conventions and the impact of those conventions on internal EU law, as well as the impact of EU action within the framework of the regional treaties of the Council of Europe; secondly, the interrelationship between Union law and the global production of norms in criminal matters by the UN Security Council and by the Financial Action Task Force; thirdly, bilateral cooperation between the EU and the US, in particular in connection with the transfer of Passenger Name Records data; fourthly, the question of compliance by the EU in this area, in both the internal and the external context; and, fifthly, the Court of Justice's approach to the protection of fundamental rights when global criminal law is engaged. The EU has managed to take centre stage in international developments in the field of global criminal law through a clear commitment to multilateral negotiations as well as a clear political will to implement at the Union level norms agreed internationally without a high degree of transparency. The Court of Justice has also been reluctant to overturn Union security decisions in the name of fundamental rights. The coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty will eliminate some complexity in this area, but not all, and it still remains to be seen whether in the process of globalisation of criminal law the European values proclaimed in Article 2 of the new EU Treaty will be promoted or compromised.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 3, 2012


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