Article 1 of the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) establishes the European Union as an area of freedom, security, and justice. This has been bolstered by the Council of the European Union's emphasis on the importance of appropriate measures to prevent and combat crime (see, for example, Stockholm Programme 2010-2014 or the Internal Security Strategy 2010). Yet, to maintain security and prevent crime, criminal policy invariably concentrates on the use of repressive strategies, with little regard for their cost, effectiveness and, at times, counter-productive nature. The FIDUCIA project was designed to assess whether a pan-European political shift away from such instrumental forms of compliance to a public trust (in Latin, "fiducia") approach is possible and, indeed, desirable.

Ob­ject of the Pro­ject:

The idea be­hind the FI­DU­CIA pro­ject was that pub­lic trust in justice is im­port­ant for so­cial reg­u­la­tion. As such, the pro­ject pro­posed a trust-based policy mod­el in re­la­tion to emer­ging forms of crimin­al­ity. Based on pro­ced­ur­al justice and so­cial mo­tiv­a­tion, the drivers of norm­at­ive com­pli­ance were ana­lyzed. As op­posed to cur­rent European crim­in­al policy, the FI­DU­CIA pro­ject fo­cused on why people obey the law, rather than why people break the law. A de­gree of aware­ness about the broad­er im­port­ance of pub­lic trust was pre­vi­ously gained from the EURO-JUSTIS (2008-2011) pro­ject, which con­cluded that com­pli­ance with the law de­pends on the le­git­im­acy of its in­sti­tu­tions: their fair, just, and leg­al be­ha­vi­or is an es­sen­tial pre­con­di­tion for an ef­fect­ive justice sys­tem.

The FI­DU­CIA pro­ject con­cen­trated on the ap­plic­a­tion of a trust-based ap­proach to le­git­im­acy, norm­at­ive com­pli­ance, and the rule of law. The roots of trust and dis­trust were care­fully ana­lyzed and a trust-based policy mod­el de­veloped. This mod­el was, in par­tic­u­lar, fo­cused on four "new" European crimes (hu­man traf­fick­ing, traf­fick­ing of goods, cy­ber­crime, and crim­in­al­iz­a­tion of mi­grant and eth­nic minor­it­ies). These crimes were con­sidered to have in­creased due to de­vel­op­ments in tech­no­logy, per­son­al mo­bil­ity, and the free move­ment of goods with­in the EU. Whilst most people agree that the ma­jor­ity of con­ven­tion­al crimes are mor­ally wrong, the po­s­i­tion is less clear-cut for at least some of these new forms of crime.

Case Study: Traf­fick­ing of Goods

The case study "Traf­fick­ing of Goods" was led by the Max Planck In­sti­tute. The il­li­cit mar­kets in the case study in­cluded the fol­low­ing products: al­co­hol, ci­gar­ettes, drugs (heroin, can­nabis, and ec­stasy), works of art/an­tiques, product pir­acy, and coun­ter­feit medi­cine.

The free move­ment of goods, in­clud­ing the re­lated pro­mo­tion of in­tra-com­munity trade and the ab­ol­i­tion of cus­toms tar­iffs, is one of the EU´s most im­port­ant freedoms. However, an in­crease in the traf­fick­ing of goods is seen as a dir­ect con­sequence of this more in­teg­rated and mo­bile EU. Tack­ling the traf­fick­ing of goods is a ma­jor chal­lenge for policy makers, law en­force­ment agen­cies, and (leg­al) product man­u­fac­tures, be­cause the traf­fick­ing of goods can cause enorm­ous dam­ages, in­clud­ing lost tax rev­en­ue, dis­tor­tion of com­pet­i­tion, loss of in­come (on the leg­al job mar­ket), and dangers to people´s health (due to the con­sump­tion of il­li­cit drugs or coun­ter­feit medi­cine). An­oth­er prob­lem is the wide­spread ac­cept­ance of sev­er­al il­li­cit mar­kets (for ex­ample, to­bacco and product pir­acy) and, there­with, a miss­ing sense of guilt for a threat to the rule of law. Against this back­drop, the FI­DU­CIA pro­ject ques­tioned wheth­er a strength­en­ing of con­trol activ­it­ies was really able to reg­u­late the in­form­al eco­nomy or wheth­er pub­lic ac­cept­ance of leg­al rules and the le­git­im­acy of ju­di­cial in­sti­tu­tions could lead to im­proved com­pli­ance.

Meth­od­o­logy:

The case study ex­plored the leg­al, crim­in­o­lo­gic­al, and so­ci­olo­gic­al as­pects that sur­round the traf­fick­ing of goods. The scale of il­li­cit mar­kets was de­scribed with the aid of stat­ist­ic­al data. There­after, polit­ic­al, prac­tic­al, and leg­al meas­ures to pre­vent the traf­fick­ing of goods, as well as the struc­ture of il­li­cit mar­kets and pub­lic at­ti­tudes to­wards them, were ana­lyzed. Fi­nally, con­clu­sions are provided as to wheth­er crim­in­al policy should be changed.

A stat­ist­ic­al sum­mary on the traf­fick­ing of goods had been de­signed to or­gan­ize the broad range of stat­ist­ics avail­able at a na­tion­al and supra­na­tion­al level. Vari­ous tech­niques for as­sess­ing the scale of il­li­cit mar­kets were used, in­clud­ing ex­tra­pol­a­tions from seizure stat­ist­ics and "mir­ror stat­ist­ics" (com­par­ing es­tim­ates of il­li­cit com­mer­cial activ­ity with stat­ist­ics on le­git­im­ate com­mer­cial activ­ity). Stat­ist­ics were gathered from pub­licly avail­able sources, such as gov­ern­ment branches and com­mer­cial in­dus­tries dir­ectly af­fected by the traf­fick­ing of goods.

To de­scribe the dy­nam­ics of il­li­cit mar­kets as well as the play­ers in­volved (pro­du­cers, traf­fick­ers, con­sumers), a qual­it­at­ive con­tent ana­lys­is of leg­al doc­u­ments and in­ter­views with ex­perts had been chosen. Pub­lic at­ti­tudes to­wards the traf­fick­ing of goods and people's jus­ti­fic­a­tion in con­nec­tion with smug­gling goods were ex­amined through a sec­ond­ary ana­lys­is.

Co­oper­a­tion:

The FI­DU­CIA con­sor­ti­um con­tained 13 re­search in­sti­tutes led by the Uni­versity of Parma. The pro­ject was co-fun­ded by the EU through the Sev­enth Frame­work Pro­gramme for Re­search and De­vel­op­ment. Res­ults were presen­ted at an­nu­al in­ter­na­tion­al con­fer­ences. At the fi­nal con­fer­ence in Brus­sels, re­search find­ings were dis­cussed with European politi­cians and policy makers.

Events:

FI­DU­CIA – Pro­gress Meet­ing
03/07/2014