The European Public Prosecutor’s Office starts its activities in the absence of the Slovenian and Finnish delegates
A new tribunal to fight fraud with European funds, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) starts its activity Tuesday, after a few months of delay, but in time to supervise the spending of the billions of euros of the recovery plan which must be distributed, informs AFP.
The launch of the new parquet is not without obstacles. Initially scheduled to take place at the end of 2020, it had to be delayed because the 22 participating states were slow to appoint their delegated prosecutors. Two of them have not yet done so: Slovenia and Finland.
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office, headed by the former Romanian anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, will be fully independent from the Commission, other EU institutions and bodies, as well as other Member States.
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (www.eppo.europa.eu) is an independent and decentralized European Union Prosecutor’s Office, competent to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate offenses against the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or serious cross-border VAT fraud. The regulation establishing the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in the framework of enhanced cooperation was adopted on 12 October 2017 and entered into force on 20 November 2017. At this stage, the EU has 22 participating countries. Denmark, Ireland, Hungary, Poland and Sweden are not part of EPPO.
Before the European Public Prosecutor’s Office became operational, only national authorities could investigate and prosecute fraud against the EU budget. But their powers stopped at national borders. Existing EU bodies such as Eurojust, Europol and the EU Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) do not have the necessary powers to conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions.