Tuesday

25th Apr 2017

Thirteen states join EU prosecutor's office

Over a dozen EU states have confirmed they will take part in the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), which is still yet to be launched.

The office allows an EU prosecutor to launch cross-border criminal investigations and prosecute people in areas dealing with EU money and major VAT fraud.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The issue has eluded member states for years, over broader issues relating to national sovereignty.

But on Tuesday (28 March), some 13 justice ministers, following a meeting in Brussels, formally declared their intention to take part.

"We have the signatures of 13 ministers, so we can progress further towards enhanced cooperation," EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova told reporters. She said another three will sign over the next few days, bringing the total to 16 EU member states.

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Spain will be taking part.

Italy is also keen to join but wants a more powerful prosecutor that could also probe other areas like organised crime.

"It would be such a wrong signal if Italy was not one of the founding fathers," noted one EU official.

Sweden earlier this year opposed the EPPO, along with others, such as Poland, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, voicing objections.

Multi-speed Europe

The move is highly symbolic for an EU that is debating the possibility of a so-called multi-speed Europe, where some countries can forge ahead with deeper integration.

The plan now is to tweak the text behind the legislation to accommodate the outstanding demands of those who are joining and to figure out the costs.

Once the reworked text is agreed, it will need to be adopted with the consent of the European Parliament. Some are hoping for a launch date in 2019.

Up to 25 EU member states can join, taking into account that Denmark, Ireland, and the UK have special statuses in the area of justice and home affairs in EU law.

Olaf, the EU's anti-fraud office, would continue to operate once the EPPO has been launched.

Olaf can only conduct administrative investigations. This means that it can only refer investigations to national prosecutors. But only around 50 percent of Olaf's cases are followed up by member states.

The new European public prosecutor, once launched, would also aim to close that gap.

EU backs setting up prosecutor's office

Heads of state and government have agreed to allow a core group of EU states to set up a European Public Prosecutor Office to probe VAT fraud and crimes against the EU budget.

EU prosecutor likely to expand powers

A top EU official on Thursday said the future EU-wide public prosecutor may expand into other domains aside from combatting fraud.

EU scrambles meeting over border chaos

The European Commission has called for a meeting this week with EU state experts, following border chaos after the launch of new rules that require systematic checks of EU citizens at the Schengen zone's external borders.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  2. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  3. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  4. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  5. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  6. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  7. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  9. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  10. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  11. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsTime to Turn the Tide and End Repression of Central Asia's Civil Society

Latest News

  1. Le Pen-Poutine: des liens qui remontent à loin
  2. Juncker breaks tradition with support for Macron
  3. Les fake news inondent les réseaux sociaux français
  4. Les amis de Le Pen à la Trump Tower
  5. France's election run-off will be far-right versus EU
  6. Alternative for Germany party refuses to shun extreme right
  7. Brexit summit, Turkey and Hungary dominate EU This WEEK
  8. Russia threat triggers European military spending hike