The need and possibilities of harmonisation in criminal law matters in the EU
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EU Member States must recognize decisions stemming from the national law of other Member States. Citizens in the other Member States are not in the position to know how other national criminal law systems have developed. Agreeing on the procedure to recognize national decisions with the application of the mutual recognition principle, rather than substantive rules in the field of criminal law reflects a legitimacy and democratic deficit. In addition, the “extraterritorial” reach of national criminal law decisions poses significant challenges to the position of the individual in legal order. Besides, the existing legal diversity constitutes a “weapon” in the hands of criminals, as they may take advantage of the heterogeneity of the systems and of those they identify as less effective. The Treaty of Lisbon introduced changes, which regards criminal law harmonisation. Harmonisation involves a set of concrete EU-wide standards which would be negotiated and agreed by the EU institutions. This article explores the current constitutional concerns of the application of the principle of mutual recognition in criminal law and seeks to indicate the need and possibilities to use harmonisation in the development of EU criminal law.
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