Europol and the EU’s fight against organized crime: exploring the potential of experimentalist governance

Helena Carrapiço, Florian Trauner

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


While issues relating to the development, legitimacy and accountability of the European Police Office, Europol, have been intensively discussed in political and academic circles, the actual impact of Europol on policy-making in the European Union has yet to receive scholarly attention. By investigating the evolution and the role of Europol's organized crime reports, this article elaborates on whether Europol has been able to exert an influence beyond its narrowly defined mandate. Theoretically informed by the assumptions of experimentalist governance, the article argues that the different legal systems and policing traditions of EU member states have made it difficult for the EU to agree on a common understanding on how to fight against organized crime. This lack of consensus, which has translated into a set of vague and broadly formulated framework goals and guidelines, has enabled Europol to position its Organized Crime Threat Assessments as the point of reference in the respective EU policy-making area. Europol's interest in improving its institutional standing thereby converged with the interest of different member states to use Europol as a socialization platform to broadcast their ideas and to ‘Europeanize’ their national counter-organized crime policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357- 371
Number of pages14
JournalPerspectives on European Politics and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Sept 2013


  • European Union
  • Europol
  • organized crime reports
  • policy-making
  • experimentalist governance


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