Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Abstract

In the past decade, organised crime groups have built up large-scale international networks and amassed substantial profits. Fortunes have been accumulated from illicit trafficking in drugs, trafficking in human beings, in particular women and children, trafficking in weapons and ammunition, counterfeit products and piracy, and international fraud generally. Enormous amounts of capital derived from these crimes are laundered and re-injected into the economy. Organised crime has therefore expanded considerably.
The European Union has taken the lead in the fight against organised crime since the Treaty of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam European Council of 16 and 17 June 1997, which adopted the first action plan to combat organised crime.
In 1998, the Council adopted a Joint Action on participation in a criminal organisation. However, it is now necessary to provide the Union with a more powerful and ambitious instrument to approximate more closely Member States' criminal legislation and improve cooperation in order to combat organised crime more effectively, inter alia by harmonising the minimum thresholds of criminal penalties.
The European Council, meeting in Vienna in December 1998, already called for the Union to strengthen EU action against organised crime in the light of the new possibilities opened up by the Amsterdam Treaty.

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Record Number: 6848 / Last updated on: 2005-05-13
Category: COM DOCUMENT