HARMONIZATION OF CRIMINAL LAW IN THE EUROPEAN UNION - OFFENCES RELATED WITH PAYMENT CARDS
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The focus of this paper is on implementation of the Council Framework Decision of 28 May 2001 combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment (FD) by the member states (MS) and its harmonization effects. The main findings of the analysis based on the Commission evaluation reports, national criminal legislation and available literature are the following: 1. Majority of member states did not manage to transpose the FD on time. Due to missing reports form some MS it is not possible to state how many countries have not implemented the FD at all. However, it is clear that Poland has been one of them. 2. The FD had limited influence on the harmonization of MS' penal law. 3. The FD had the biggest influence on counterfeiting of payment cards, and in case of payment card theft or another unlawful card appropriation the influence was relatively insignificant. 4. Criminal legislation of MS is currently better harmonized that it was before 2001. Nevertheless, the differences in the legal systems of individual countries are still present both on the horizontal and vertical levels of penalisation. 5. The differences in the scope of criminalisation of acts under study concern the payment cards. 6. Significant differences in the severity of criminal sanctions between MS concern mainly counterfeiting of payment cards, and are the result of conservative criminal policy which considers payment card as an equivalent of money. 7. Without solid transposition of framework decisions at the national level the harmonization of criminal law in the MS will remain a political slogan rather than a sign of actual tendencies for integration within the European Union.
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