The publication is a culmination of an EU funded research project conducted by the Department of European and Comparative law in collaboration with the Department of Criminal law HERCULE – III PROGRAMME 2014-2020 entitled: Implementing & Enforcing EU Criminal Law – Theory & Practice.
The project had quite reasonably ambitious goals aiming 'to study the development of EU criminal legislation aimed at protection of the financial interests of the EU, with a focus on cybercrime, fraud and public spending. It started with the current legal basis in the TFEU, followed by the development of EU legislation in the area as well as that of relevant bodies, such as EPO, OLAF and EUROPOL'. The project was also very interesting because it was proposed by one of Europe’s smaller Universities and by selecting it the European Commission made a conscious choice to “test” the ability of a small European University to deal with such a complex and important topic. In this sense, the European Commission affirmed its faith in small European institutions. It was a positive move. Indeed it was a successful choice as the Faculty was able to execute the deliverable of the project in a timely fashion and with high quality.
The project aimed to look at the way EU criminal Law legislation was received in different national legal orders, using 11 Member States selected based on geography and legal systems. The Member States were: Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Greece and Poland. In many respects, these Member States are representative of Common Law, Civil Law and Mixed systems so the selection was reasonable in terms of so-called 'families of law'. The Member States ranged, in terms of size, from very large through to medium-sized, small and so-called mini-states; again, the range of countries selected reflected the variable-sized of Member States. Finally, there were the Member States from the original six through to Member States selected from each of the enlargements of the EU, so they were also a good 'chronological' mix of Member States.
The project was certainly worth pursuing because EU criminal law is an area of major interest for the Member States and because few comparative research projects are looking at the Theory and Practice of EU criminal law implementation. The questionnaires were very well thought out and included questions which were designed for comparative research, some quantitative, some qualitative. Moreover, the national experts selected for the project were well-qualified individuals, mostly academics.