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Categorising the crime--terror nexus in the European Union


  • Tamara Makarenko
  • Michael Mesquita


For the past 10 years, the crime--terror nexus has been used as an analytical model to understand the relationship between organised crime and terrorism in many of the world's (post) conflict and developing countries. Yet, aside from tangent and anecdotal evidence, little academic research has tried to understand how the nexus operates from within Western democracies and the implications that such internal relationships have on its social and economic security. Evidence related to these linkages in the European Union are immense; however, scholarly literature has shied away from these associations and turned their focus primarily on the nexus in more unstable regions, particularly in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. This article-- based on a study funded by the European Parliament in 2013-- provides a qualitative analysis of the crime-terror nexus as it functions in Europe (including its border regions) to determine the operational structure of the nexus as well as where and how linkages between organised crime and terrorism interact. Indeed, organised criminal and terrorist groups have found niches of cooperation and ‘marriages of convenience’ in the EU‘s social and political landscape to operate in an efficient and effective manner. Evidence suggests that, although the nexus model provides a sound assessment of these relationships, the proclivities of the region (a relatively stable socio-economic and political environment) keep the relationship between organised crime and terrorism on one end of the spectrum, focusing on alliances, appropriation of tactics, and integration. Moreover, the EU’s relationship to its regional borders and the operational incentives for organised crime and terrorism in these areas, provide ample opportunities for a convergence of organised crime and terrorist financing.

Suggested Citation

  • Tamara Makarenko & Michael Mesquita, 2014. "Categorising the crime--terror nexus in the European Union," Global Crime, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3-4), pages 259-274, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:fglcxx:v:15:y:2014:i:3-4:p:259-274
    DOI: 10.1080/17440572.2014.931227

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