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Articles 82 – 86 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Environmental Crime

This report provides an in-depth analysis of the provisions of Articles 82-86 TFEU, which especially deal with the “Judicial cooperation in criminal matters”, set out in the framework of Title V of the TFEU, devoted to the “Area of Freedom, Security and Justice”. While Articles 82 and 83 TFEU deal with approximation of laws and regulations of the Member States (and in particular of national provisions of criminal law and criminal procedure), Articles 85 and 86 TFEU covers what can be called the institutional dimension of such a cooperation.

  • Article 82 TFEU brings mutual recognition in general terms within the scope of the EU’s competence, and gives in particular the European Parliament and the Council general regulatory powers on this matter.
  • Article 83 TFEU is the fundamental provision as far as the harmonisation of substantive criminal law is concerned; this article lists the areas in which the approximation of laws can be realised and it distinguishes between the cases of “particularly serious crime with a cross-border dimension” and the ones in which the approximation proves essential “to ensure the effective implementation of a Union policy in an area which has been subject to harmonisation measures”.
  • Article 84 TFEU deals with the preventive side of the “security” dimension of the common area of freedom, security and justice, establishing the competence of the EU for adopting measures in the field of “crime prevention”.
  • Article 85 TFEU deals with the actual main EU actor in such a field, that is to say Eurojust.
  • Article 86 TFEU introduces the necessary legal basis for the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Officen as a new European actor with direct powers of investigation and prosecution.

All these provisions open very significant perspectives for an improvement of the protection of the environment, provided that the crucial role of the environment in the EU construction is fully recognised and properly taken into consideration when implementing these provisions.

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