Lightening the Economics of Organised Crime in the EU

New solutions for longstanding problems

  • Nelson Macedo da Cruz National Republican Guard
Keywords: organised crime, economics, financial investigation, assets recovery


Organised crime represents the most serious threat to the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice for the forthcoming years, pressing consequently the National authorities, EU institutions, bodies and agencies to the discovery of new political, legal and operational solutions for old and persistent problems. Although being recognized that the best practice to fight against the organized crime is the financial investigation and asset recovery – as these properties represent their ultimate purpose, the existent assessments of its results are frustrating with merely 1% of definitely confiscated criminally generated assets.

Notwithstanding the EU initiative led by the entry in force of the Directive 2014/42/EU, and the subsequent production of dense politic and operational packages aimed at encourage asset recovery, the actual confiscation and freezing results highlight the increasing impunity feeling inside these criminal groups and among overall social community – definitely the crime compensate. Aware of the EU and National legal and institutional gaps and acting as truly multinational enterprises, the organized crime groups are expanding their activities and enhancing their influence in almost all segments of the market.

In that context, the present article intends to expose the current organised crime economics, their main engines and the actual legal solutions to detect, identify, freeze and confiscate criminal assets. Anchored in this initial assessment, it is then possible to draw the main obstacles restraining a more effective asset recovery activity, as well as establish possible development lines towards an EU capacity to address organised crime economics.

How to Cite
da Cruz, N. (2021). Lightening the Economics of Organised Crime in the EU. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, (21), 61 - 78. Retrieved from