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Combating Illegal Economies: An Assessment of EU Policy-Making

Ines Sofia de Oliveira

This article examines the evolution of European Union money laundering counter-measures by applying principal agent approach to its negotiation process and thus developing an argument around the relation between member states (principals) and the European Commission (agents). The 1991 Directive is the starting point of the discussion given its primordial role in not only marking the beginning of EU level legislation, but also acknowledging the need for coordination between the Unions' financial/internal market interests and criminal laws. The analysis establishes that, whilst money laundering legislation was, initially, promoted through market building concerns, it is evolving into the realms of criminal law. Nowadays, its implementation requires a substantial degree of policy coordination and competence delegation in order to warrant suitable results. To what extent have the increasing demands of these measures altered the relations between actors and their functions? This article will focus on the role and significance of the European Commission in the formulation of EU anti-money laundering legislation, its evolution pursuant the alterations in the Treaties, variations in member state preferences and international events.

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