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Crime & Justice Guides

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Guides on the EU crime and justice policy.
European Arrest Warrant
The European Arrest Warrant (EAW), applied throughout the EU, replaced lengthy extradition procedures within the EU's territorial jurisdiction. It improves and simplifies judicial procedures designed to surrender people for the purpose of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or spell in detention.
European Public Prosecutor's Office
The European Commission is taking action to improve Union-wide prosecution of criminals who defraud EU taxpayers by establishing a European Public Prosecutor's Office. Its exclusive task will be to investigate and prosecute and, where relevant, bring to judgement – in the Member States' courts - crimes affecting the EU budget. The European Public Prosecutor's Office will be an independent institution, subject to democratic oversight.
Stricter EU-wide penalties for cyber attacks
Cyber criminals will face tougher penalties in the EU, under new rules adopted by Parliament on 4 July. The draft directive, already informally agreed with member states, also aims to facilitate prevention and to boost police and judicial cooperation in this field. In the event of a cyber attack, EU countries will have to respond to urgent requests for help within eight hours.
Improvements proposed for Europol
The European Commission has proposed to make the EU law enforcement Agency (Europol) more effective at collecting information, analysing it and sharing these analyses with the Member States. This will let Europol provide more concrete and targeted support to the national law enforcement authorities in their cross-border cooperation and investigations. At the same time the proposal increases Europol's accountability to the European Parliament and the national Parliaments and strengthens the protection of personal data. The new Regulation also reinforces the link between training and support to operational cooperation, by merging the European Police College (Cepol) within Europol and by making Europol responsible for joint training and exchange programmes for police and other law enforcement personnel.
Proposed Directive on Network and Information Security
The European Commission, together with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has published a cybersecurity strategy alongside a Commission proposed directive on network and information security (NIS). The cybersecurity strategy – "An Open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace" - represents the EU's comprehensive vision on how best to prevent and respond to cyber disruptions and attacks. The strategy articulates the EU's vision of cyber-security in terms of five priorities: Achieving cyber resilience Drastically reducing cybercrime Developing cyber defence policy and capabilities related to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Developing the industrial and technological resources for cyber-security Establishing a coherent international cyberspace policy for the European Union and promoting core EU values. The proposed NIS Directive is a key component of the overall strategy and would require all Member States, key internet enablers and critical infrastructure operators such as e-commerce platforms and social networks and operators in energy, transport, banking and healthcare services to ensure a secure and trustworthy digital environment throughout the EU. The proposed Directive lays down measures including: (a) Member State must adopt a NIS strategy and designate a national NIS competent authority with adequate financial and human resources to prevent, handle and respond to NIS risks and incidents; (b) Creating a cooperation mechanism among Member States and the Commission to share early warnings on risks and incidents through a secure infrastructure, cooperate and organise regular peer reviews; (c) Operators of critical infrastructures in some sectors (financial services, transport, energy, health), enablers of information society services (notably: app stores e-commerce platforms, Internet payment, cloud computing, search engines, social networks) and public administrations must adopt risk management practices and report major security incidents on their core services.
Anti-Money Laundering
The European Commission has adopted two proposals to reinforce the EU's existing rules on anti-money laundering and fund transfers. The threats associated with money laundering and terrorist financing are constantly evolving, which requires regular updates of the rules. The package includes: a directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing[ and a regulation on information accompanying transfers of funds to secure "due traceability" of these transfers.
EU drug markets report: key findings
Europe is entering an important new era in the supply and demand for illicit drugs -- a development which is challenging current policies and responses. This is according to the first joint EU drug markets report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Europol released today in Brussels. The two EU agencies have joined forces to provide the first strategic analysis of the European illicit drug market in its entirety. In the report, they describe a market which is increasingly dynamic, innovative and quick to react to challenges and one which requires an equally dynamic, innovative and agile response across Europe. The report unveils the ‘changing face of organised crime in Europe’: while, historically, the EU drug market has focused on specific drugs trafficked by specialised operators along well-defined routes, the contemporary market is more ‘fluid’, with new routes and multi-substance consignments becoming more common.
The European Cybercrime Center EC³
The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) is up and running from 11 January 2013 to help protect European citizens and businesses from cyber-crime. EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström takes part in the official opening of the Centre established at the European Police Office, Europol in the Hague (the Netherlands).
EU Strategy towards the eradication of trafficking in Human beings - guide
Hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked in the EU every year. Women and men, boys and girls in vulnerable positions are traded for the purpose of sexual or labour exploitation, removal of organs, begging, domestic servitude, forced marriage, illegal adoption as well as other forms of exploitation. The European Commission today adopted the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings (2012-2016), a set of concrete and practical measures to be implemented over the next five years. These include the establishment of national law enforcement units specialised in human trafficking and the creation of joint European investigation teams to prosecute cross-border trafficking cases.
European Commission report on the application of the Third Anti-Money Laundering Directive - guide
In light of the recent adoption of revised international standards and of the European Commission's own review process, a report on the application of the Third Anti-Money Laundering Directive was adopted by the Commission on 11 April. The Report analyses how the different elements of the existing framework have been applied and considers how the framework may need to be changed. It contains an examination of the provisions of the Directive, and in general concludes that although the existing framework appears to work well and that no fundamental shortcomings have been identified which would require substantial changes, some modifications are necessary to adapt to the evolving threats posed. The Commission plans to bring forward a proposal for a fourth anti-money laundering Directive in autumn 2012.
European Cybercrime Centre - guide
The European Commission has adopted a Communication on a European Cybercrime Centre, to be established within the EU law enforcement agency, Europol. The Centre is to become the focal point in the fight against cybercrime in the Union.
Confiscation and asset recovery: Better tools to fight crime - guide
The European Commission has proposed new rules for more effective and widespread confiscation of funds and other property acquired through crime. This will enhance the ability of Member States to confiscate assets that have been transferred to third parties, it will make it easier to confiscate criminal assets even when the suspect has fled and will ensure that competent authorities can temporarily freeze assets that risk disappearing if no action is taken.
EU crackdown on drivers committing traffic offences abroad - guide
Drivers will be punished for traffic offences they commit abroad, including the four "big killers" causing 75% of road fatalities - speeding, breaking traffic lights, failure to use seatbelts and drink driving - following a vote in the European Parliament today.
EU Internal Security Strategy in Action - guide
The "EU Internal Security Strategy in Action" comprises 41 actions targeting the most urgent security threats facing Europe. They include a shared agenda to disrupt criminal and terrorist networks, to protect citizens, businesses and societies against cybercrime, to increase EU security by smarter border management, and to strengthen the Union's readiness and response to crises.
Firearms for civilian use: stricter EU rules to combat illicit trafficking - briefing
The European Commission has proposed legislation to combat illicit arms trafficking through improved tracing and control of imports and exports of civilian firearms from and to the EU territory. The adoption of the proposal by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU would bring the European Union legislation in line with Article 10 of the UN Firearms Protocol.
EU-US data protection agreement negotiations - briefing
The European Commission today adopted a draft mandate to negotiate a personal data protection agreement between the European Union and the United States when cooperating to fight terrorism or crime. The aim is to ensure a high level of protection of personal information like passenger data or financial information that is transferred as part of transatlantic cooperation in criminal matters. The agreement would enhance the right of citizens to access, rectify or delete data, where appropriate.
Compensation to crime victims
The aim of Council Directive 2004/80/EC is to set up a system of cooperation to facilitate access to compensation for victims of crimes in cross-border situations. This system operates on the basis of Member States' compensation schemes for victims of violent intentional crime committed in their respective territories.
Customs response to latest trends in counterfeiting and piracy
The European Commission proposes a series of customs measures aimed at protecting the EU more effectively against counterfeiting and piracy. These measures include improving legislation, strengthening partnership between customs and businesses and increasing international cooperation.
The EU drugs action plan (2009-2012)
This action plan establishes five priorities to be implemented in the fight against drugs: coordination at European and national levels, reduction of demand for drugs, reduction of supply of drugs, international cooperation and information on the drugs phenomenon.
Recognition and execution of confiscation orders in the EU
The EU is facilitating the direct execution of confiscation orders for the proceeds of crime by establishing simplified procedures for recognition among Member States and rules for dividing confiscated property between the Member State issuing the confiscation order and the one executing it.