The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have agreed to appoint former Romanian chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kövesi as the first European Public Prosecutor, the EU announced on Tuesday.
“The negotiating teams of the Parliament and the Council have reached an agreement on the appointment of Laura Codruţa Kövesi as head of the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office, the EU said in a statement.
Negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on the new chief prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office began in spring, with the Parliament’s negotiating team supporting Mrs Kövesi, while EU ministers had until recently backed the French candidate for the position. Ms. Kovesi also met with fierce opposition from her own government who accused her of overstepping her authority during her tenure as Chief Prosecutor in Romania where she launched dozens of corruption investigations into government ministers.
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office offers a first-of-its-kind set-up to prioritise cross-border crime and ensure that no crime against the EU budget goes unpunished,” Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová said in a statement.
I have every confidence that Ms Kövesi will do an outstanding job at the head of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. With this agreement, it will now be possible to set up the new office as planned until the end of 2020. The Commission will remain a staunch supporter of the collective efforts to fight fraud and corruption in the EU, Ms. Jourová continued
The European Public Prosecutors’ Office (EPPO) will be responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to justice infringements affecting the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or cross-border VAT fraud in excess of € 10 million. The list of offenses could in the future be expanded to include, for example, terrorism.
Currently, 22 EU countries Member States have opted to join the independent body under an enhanced cooperation agreement. The European Public Prosecutor will be headquartered in Luxembourg, and Laura Codruta Kövesi will sit for a non-renewable term of seven years. It will be responsible for organizing the work of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, representing it, directing its activities and ensuring its proper functioning.