EU criminal law is a controversial area of Union law. It is clear that the founding fathers of the Rome Treaty conceived the Union to primarily constitute an economic space and that the Member States originally had no intention to transfer their sovereignty in the field of criminal law. Despite this, it appears that following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the Union has gained a specific competence to legislate in criminal matters. There are, however, constraints as to how this power should be exercised. The constraints primarily concern the Union's struggle to overcome the strong sovereignty claims of Member States and the perceived lack of legitimacy on the part of the Union in the field of criminal law.
In terms of legitimacy, it is clear that democratic participation by Union citizens is not self-evident in the shaping of the EU criminal policy. It is therefore essential to analyse how the Union legislator can legitimately exercise a criminal law power if the citizens of the Union do not participate in the legislative procedure. Further, do Union law and the constitutional traditions of the Member States recognise the existence of a democratic principle implying that the European Parliament shall be involved in the adoption of criminal law legislation? And, if so, can the democratic principle constitute grounds for review of EU criminal law legislation?
EU criminal justice is a fast developing and challenging area of EU law and policy that requires scholars from different disciplines to join forces. This book is a first attempt to establish such synergies. Coming from different angles, the authors deal with questions in the area of EU substantive criminal law, such as when criminalisation of conduct is an appropriate choice; how the process of (de)criminalisation could be advanced; what the role of evidence could be in this regard; and what consequences criminalisation decisions at EU level have for national legal orders. The book concludes with a demonstration of how similar issues arise in the field of procedural criminal law.