Commission v. Council: Some Reflections on Criminal Law in the First Pillar

Posted: 9 Jan 2013

Date Written: April 1, 2006


Experts in European politics often express concerns about the fact that (as they argue) the European Union (EU) has lost its sense of a mission; that it no longer knows where it is going. Although this might be true – in the sense that there is no consensus about where European integration is heading – the same can hardly be said about the European Community (EC) and its relationship to criminal law, as in this area the Commission and the Court of Justice are clearly on a mission and have been for many years now. This is why the recent judgment, C-176/03 Commission v. Council, is particularly interesting. This is also why this decision must be understood in a broader context, i.e. not only as a question of a criminal law competence within the EC, but furthermore as an illustration of the general question of accountability and legitimacy as regards the relationship between the Member States and the EU.

This article offers a critical analysis of the judgment in C-176/03, Commission v Council by exploring it in the context of the development of a supranational criminal law and the dangers and promises associated with it.

Suggested Citation

Herlin-Karnell, Ester, Commission v. Council: Some Reflections on Criminal Law in the First Pillar (April 1, 2006). European Public Law, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2007. Available at SSRN:

Ester Herlin-Karnell (Contact Author)

Uppsala University ( email )

Box 513
Uppsala, 751 20

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