Thursday

19th Oct 2017

Dutch MPs take lead to weaken EU prosecutor plans

  • Around €500 million is stolen every year from the EU budget (Photo: Images Money)

Dutch MPs are spearheading national efforts to weaken a European Commission proposal to set up an EU-wide public prosecutor (EPPO).

Their envoy and national EPPO rapporteur is Ard van der Steur from the liberal VVD party.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Tasked to mobilise allies from around the EU to reject the commission’s idea, Van der Steur is seeking to pressure decision-makers in Brussels to accept an alternative vision for the office.

“If you want to have an EPPO, it should only be as a overseer,” he told this website on Monday (30 June).

The office is designed to tackle fraud against EU money, although its powers could expand in the future.

The commission estimates some €500 million is stolen every year from EU coffers. It says the office is needed to step up prosecutions and rein in the abuse.

Efforts last year by national parliaments to scrap or amend the proposal fell flat.

Chambers in 14 parliaments in 11 member states had obtained enough votes to trigger a so-called “yellow card” procedure.

The yellow card requires the commission to review the proposal and to decide whether to maintain, amend or withdraw it.

The commission rejected the move, sparking protest from national MPs who opposed the office from the start.

Van der Steur has since been appointed by the Dutch parliament to rally member states and governments to amend the office altogether.

The European Parliament in March endorsed the commission’s plans.

The EU assembly says the EPPO should have a decentralised structure, integrated into national judicial systems. Delegated European prosecutors would then carry out investigations and prosecutions in the respective member states.

The majority of MPs in the Dutch house of representatives oppose this.

They say the EPPO should only intervene when the authorities in the member states are unable or unwilling to stop fraud.

They also demand any country or company caught committing fraud should have its subsidies and grants scrapped immediately.

Van der Steur is now hoping their plan will attract supporters at the EU decision-making level.

On Monday, he met 17 experts from member states working on the issue.

To drum up support elsewhere, the Dutch House of Representatives earlier this month invited representatives to The Netherlands from each member state.

The national ambassadors were then asked to relay the Dutch ideas back to their respective governments and national parliaments.

“It was the first time they were requested by the national parliament to be a liaison to their own parliament,” said Van der Steur.

Meanwhile, others are working on the issue too. Greece, which had the EU presidency in the first half of this year, issued some ideas of its own.

In March, it put forward a proposal to create a so-called college to make sure the Office is properly run and monitor casework.

Most member states are said to support the college idea.

To become reality, the commission’s proposal needs to be unanimously adopted by member states.

If unanimity is not reached, the Office can still be launched with at least nine participating member states later on.

EU okays Privacy Shield's first year

Commission gives 'thumbs-up' to controversial Privacy Shield deal with US on data sharing after a year's operation - but notes room for improvement.

News in Brief

  1. EU summit moved to previous building after fumes scare
  2. Catalonia will 'not back down'
  3. New toxic incident in EU building ahead of summit
  4. Murdered Malta journalist's family invited to Parliament
  5. EU food safety chief denies keeping studies 'secret'
  6. EU states pledge 24,000 resettlement places so far
  7. US ready for arms sale to update Greece's F-16 fleet
  8. Austria's Green leaders step down following election failure

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU okays Privacy Shield's first year
  2. EU seeks to decrypt messages in new anti-terror plan
  3. EU agencies defend research ahead of glyphosate vote
  4. Spain points at elections as exit to Catalan crisis
  5. How EU can ensure Daphne Caruana Galizia's legacy survives
  6. Juncker dinner to warm up relations with eastern EU
  7. Court hearing in MEPs 'private' expenses battle
  8. The unbearable lightness of leadership