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Meuse-Rhine Euroregion: A Laboratory for Police and Judicial Cooperation in the European Union (From International Police Cooperation: Emerging Issues, Theory and Practice, P 101-125, 2010, Frederic Lemieux, ed. - See NCJ-230937)

NCJ Number
Cyrille Fijnaut; Toine Spapens
Date Published
25 pages
In addressing the developments in cross-border crime and safety issues in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion, this chapter analyzes the approaches developed to enhance law enforcement cooperation and outlines recent efforts related to the legal framework for police and judicial cooperation in the broad context of the European Union as well as the countries of Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands.
The Meuse-Rhine Euroregion consists of the Belgian provinces of Liege and Limburg, as well as the German-speaking parts of Belgium; the German Landkreise of Aachen, Heinsberg, Duren, and Euskirchen; and the southern part of the Dutch province of Limburg. In this region, cross-border economic and social mobility has always been substantial due to the mining industry having been a major economic activity in all parts of the border area and a redrawing of the map on several occasions due to conflict. In the past few decades, public-order offenses, serious crime, and organized crime have become internationalized in the region; and illicit drug enterprises have become a major problem. This chapter reviews the history of police cooperation in this region, with attention to the framework of the first treaty on the European Union (Treaty of Maastricht) and recent bilateral, trilateral, and multilateral conventions on police cooperation. The chapter then describes police and judicial cooperation in the region regarding cross-border criminal operations and public-order policing. The chapter also focuses on the alignment of priorities and assigning personnel and equipment to the investigation of cross-border crime groups, as well as efforts to develop an integrated approach to the drug problem. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the potential impact of the Lisbon Treaty, which drops the principle of unanimity previously required in European Union decisions. 22 notes