European Union (EU) law is known for its strong emphasis on effectivity and more generally for its instrumental character. This is not foreign even to European criminal law, a feature which creates some tension between the EU criminal law and criminal law in the national setting. EU Framework Decisions and Directives often require the Member States to criminalize certain forms of conduct with sanctions that are ‘Effective, Dissuasive and Proportionate’. In this article, I try to show that it would be timely to look at EU criminal law from an alternative point of view, as a more mature law. I call this a legitimacy-based approach. Such a reading would ease some of these tensions. It would also be helpful in developing a criminal policy for the EU, a policy which would be realistic and pragmatic. And it would be easier to look at EU criminal law from the point of view of justice. In order to get there, we need to see where the (current) narrow deterrence argument gets is wrong or one-sided. Some social theory is needed in order to make the point.
Fields of Science
- 513 Law