Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Under the two-year-old Lisbon Treaty, the EU is authorized to create EU crimes with a definition of the crime that would be uniform throughout the EU and with specified minimum penalties. The European Commission is considering this politically sensitive issue this week. It has suggested that it may develop rules for particularly serious crimes where results in individual member states are not satisfactory, presumably because much of the criminal activity is not contained within one member state. The European Commission wants to put an end to criminals seeking out member states with less harsh punishments. Areas in which the Commission may act include human trafficking, environmental crimes, money laundering, corruption and other financial crimes. Agreeing on common definitions and punishments will be a challenge as domestic laws differ and some politicians still resist EU authority in this area as too intrusive on member states' sovereignty.