The EU Sanctions and the Fight Against Financial Crime
While the EU has for a long time had the power to require Member States to provide effective means for ensuring the enforcement of EU law, even if those meant the imposition of criminal law, enforcing EU law through criminalization at the EU level has always been a different question, given that the EU lacked a legislative competence prior to the Lisbon Treaty. However, despite the Treaty reformation and thereby the inclusion of criminal law in the Treaty (as part of the area of freedom, security and justice), as this contribution will show, that the EU legislator still favors the administrative procedure in certain market related areas. In order to better understand the rationale of enforcement of EU law through use of criminal law, it is necessary to clarify the delicate debate regarding the characterization of the sanctions used in further detail. Administrative sanctions have always formed a crucial part of the EU’s enforcement strategy, particularly with regard to competition fines and sanctions in the domain of EU agriculture and fisheries policies. Yet with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, and thereby the legislative competences granted in criminal matters, one would perhaps have thought that there was no further need for administrative law sanctions in the EU where there are already criminal law sanctions in place. With Lisbon Treaty in place, the framework has naturally changed as, alongside the EU’s general enforcement armory, Articles 82 and 83 Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) specifically grant the EU a competence in criminal law matters with a cross-border dimension.