Experts in this book dissect the phenomenon of cross-border crime in Europe. Before the unification of Germany and Italy under Bismarck and Cavour around 1870, there was a real cross-border crime problem in these countries, while before the fall of the Iron curtain, it was considered counter-revolutionary to speak of cross-border crime between for example Latvia and Russia. In the European Union Bas far as the Schengen Countries are concerned Bone may wonder whether the concept of cross-border crime is not becoming a bit out of date: the free flow of goods, capital and people can always be prefixed with the adjective >criminal=, though law enforcement actions are still a matter of national sovereignty. One may even consider the cross-border criminal flow of goods, capital and people a normal correlate of the legitimate trade, while the cross-border law enforcement cooperation appears to be problematic.
Despite these reflections it cannot be denied that in the broader European space the phenomenon of cross-border crime has become a reality, particularly after the fall of the Iron curtain in 1989 and the abolishment of the inner border controls between most member states in the European Union a few years later. How does the European -criminal landscape look like? Has it developed the grim menace as depicted by the threat assessment industry and hastily (sometimes even greedily) endorsed by many law enforcement agencies and policy makers? The association of cross-border crime with organised crime has evoked all sorts of nightmares.