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Research projects

Criminalisation as a regulatory instrument for implementing Union policies

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Jacob Öberg

Research subject

Based on my previous research on criminalisation, I have a designed a more confined research project entitled the 'Appropriateness of criminal sanctions for the implementation of Union policy' which aims to develop a comprehensive theory on the use of criminal sanctions as an instrument to ensure compliance with EU regulatory standards. The question of the appropriateness and deterrent effect of criminal sanctions is a debated question in all social sciences. My method for the planned project to use well-established knowledge in disciplines other than jurisprudence to discuss the appropriateness of criminalization. Such an approach differs from previous analyses that have been based on a clear legal, sociological, legal economic or political science perspective. The basic assumption in the research project is that criminal sanctions may be used to sanction violations of EU law only if two conditions are met. First, it must be established that a criminal sanction is 'effective' for the implementation of the Union's policies in the relevant area of ​​cooperation. Secondly, it must be demonstrated that other alternative (administrative) sanctions are not as effective as criminal sanctions in the implementation of the Union's policies. This method is well in line with current trends in EU criminal policy and the criminal justice literature, with particular emphasis on the need for adequate evidence to justify criminal law harmonization. To obtain more general conclusions, I will discuss two areas, illegal immigration / irregular migration, and food regulation, which offer intriguing case studies for the project. Food regulation is a highly topical issue as criminalization in this area has been discussed at international level, national level and at EU level. To address the challenging and global problems of food regulation infringements, Member States have increasingly opted to use criminal sanctions to deal with such infringements. Illegal immigration and irregular immigration have also been selected due to EU initiatives in this area and due to the growing trend among EU Member States to criminalize in this area.


J Öberg ‘Is it ‘essential’ to imprison insider dealers to enforce insider dealing laws?’ (2014) 14 Journal of Corporate Law Studies 111

J Öberg ‘The definition of criminal sanctions in the EU’ (2013) 3 European Criminal Law Review 273

 J Öberg ‘ Union Regulatory Criminal Law Competence after Lisbon Treaty’ 19 European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice 289

 J Öberg ‘Criminal Sanctions in the Field of EU Environmental Law’ (2011) 2 New Journal of European Criminal Law 402.


Research groups

Research funding bodies

  • Lund University
  • Örebro University