Thursday

7th Jul 2022

Cyprus: a heavy caseload for new EU prosecutors office

  • Around 10 percent of the European Public Prosecutor's Office caseload will be linked to Cyrpus (Photo: Nikolasphotography)

Around 10 percent of all pending fraud cases against the EU budget to be tackled by a new EU prosecutors office are linked to Cyprus.

The figure was revealed on Tuesday (26 January) by Laura Kovesi, who leads the new European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"That is a lot of work and this is the reason why we need to have full-time prosecutors there in Cyprus," she said.

The Luxembourg-based EPPO is tasked to carry out criminal investigations against the EU budget.

The stakes are particularly high after the EU recently agreed to a €1.85trn recovery package.

The office is set to become fully operational on 1 March but has run into a host of problems given a lack of support from member states.

Among them is the nomination of national prosecutors linked to the EPPO.

These delegated prosectors will be tasked to carry out investigations against the EU budget in their home countries.

European justice commissioner, Didier Reynders, described the delegated prosectors as "the pillar of the EPPO". "They will investigate and prosecute the EPPO cases on the ground," he told MEPs along side Kovesi.

The plan is to have at least 140 such prosecutors. But as of the 6 January this year, only nine are up and running.

Kovesi said they were able to appoint 18 European delegated prosecutors from four participating member states.

Only Estonia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Slovakia out of the 22 participating member states have so far selected their delegated prosectors.

Delays include making sure the appointed prosecutor is not bogged down on work not related to the EPPO. Both Cyprus and Finland fall in this category, noted Kovesi .

Reynders says more member states should be ready before the March deadline but that a shortfall is likely.

Among them is Italy.

Italy's recovery fund is around €222bn, most of it coming from the European budget.

But Italy has yet to even pass the required legislation needed to select a European delegated prosecutor.

Kovesi says they expect to receive an initial 3,000 cases. After that, around 2,000 cases are expected each year.

Not all member states have joined the EPPO.

Hungary, Poland, Sweden have so far refused to subscribe to the EPPO - while Denmark and Ireland have special opt-outs.

Kovesi said they are finalising a working agreement with Hungary.

Poland, she said, is demanding more time to decide. Denmark and Sweden have yet to comment on the substance of any agreement.

"But I have to confess I am a little bit surprised by the lack of any kind reaction from Ireland," she said.

New EU public prosecutor has four staff for 3,000 cases

Laura Kovesi who heads the new European Public Prosecutor's Office, tasked to tackle fraud linked to VAT, money laundering, and corruption across the EU, warned she is dangerously understaffed and underfunded.

MEPs to debate Portugal's EU prosecutor controversy

Leading centre-right and liberal MEPs have called on Lisbon to clarify the appointment of José Guerra as its EU public prosecutor, amid efforts to depoliticise the new anti-fraud body.

Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office

Slovenia was supposed to nominate a delegated prosecutor for the new European Public Prosecutor Office, in charge of cracking down on corruption of EU funds. Ljubljana finalised procedures in December but has yet to send nominations, causing headaches.

Johnson quits, leaving Brexit headaches to successor

British prime minister Boris Johnson has resigned as Conservative party leader, starting a race among Conservative MPs to replace him as prime minister but leaving a range of issues — Brexit, Northern Ireland, and Scottish independence — for his successor.

Is Orban holding out an olive branch to EPP?

It is Tibor Navracsics, an ex-EU commissioner and minister without portfolio in Orban's new government, who was reportedly picked to work on closer relations between Fidesz and the European People's Party.

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

News in Brief

  1. Danish ministers no longer allowed to delete text messages
  2. Report: British PM Johnson to resign today
  3. British PM defiant amid spate of resignations
  4. France says EU fiscal discipline rules 'obsolete'
  5. Russia claims untouchable status due to nuclear arsenal
  6. Catalan MEPs lose EU court case over recognition
  7. 39 arrested in migrant-smuggling dragnet
  8. France to nationalise nuclear operator amid energy crisis

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Johnson quits, leaving Brexit headaches to successor
  2. Is Orban holding out an olive branch to EPP?
  3. EU should freeze all EU funds to Hungary, says study
  4. Legal action looms after MEPs back 'green' nuclear and gas
  5. EU readies for 'complete Russian gas cut-off', von der Leyen says
  6. Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response
  7. Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia
  8. 'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us