With the publication of 'The prevention and control of organised crime: a European Union strategy for the beginning of the new millennium' in May 2000, the EU set itself the goal of developing an integrated strategy to prevent and control transnational organised crime (TOC). Although a number of policies and institutional arrangements were already in place at this time, the view from within the EU was that they 'do not constitute a clear and coherent strategy for the European Union in this field' (Council, 2000:4). This chapter provides an overview of EU-level policy responses that have emerged since 1997, and gives an account of the policy-making process that has underpinned these developments. A number of concerns are raised with regard to the accountability of this process, given the far-reaching significance of a number of developments implemented in the name of 'reinforcing the fight against serious organised and transnational crime' (Commission, 1999: paragraph 40).
The European Council meeting held in Tampere, Finland on 15 and 16 October 1999, was the first time an EU summit meeting was held specifically to discuss Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) issues. 1 Two broad themes emerged from this meeting: common EU asylum and migration policy, and a 'unionwide' fight against crime. Leaders of EU member states sought to associate this with the objective of maintaining and developing the Union as an area of 'freedom, security and justice', as set out under Article 2 of the revised Treaty on European Union (TEU) established by the Treaty of Amsterdam. 2 A previous European Council, held in Vienna in December 1998 had developed an 'Action Plan' to implement the changes brought about by the new treaty (Council, 1998). The 'Vienna Action Plan' aimed to build an integrated approach to prevent and combat crime, 'organised or otherwise'. The preamble accompanying the 'new millennium' strategy mentioned above contains the somewhat bald statement that the level of organised crime in the EU is increasing, without providing any objective data to substantiate this statement. It is