The transition process in many countries in Central and Eastern Europe from a one-party state to a democratic system has been long and difficult and has frequently been accompanied by institutional instability.

The judiciary and law enforcement bodies have been no exception. Both have suffered from a weak legal tradition in many countries of the region, weak implementation of existing legislation, limited operational effectiveness, corruption and the influence of informal personal networks. These developments can also be observed in the area of financial intelligence.

Intensified economic globalisation has had positive and negative effects. It has left nation states struggling to deal with the negative fall-out. National regulation against abuses has, however, proven increasingly ineffective, especially since companies have the freedom to move their hazardous activities to under-regulated areas.