The European Parliament’s leading MEPs endorsed the appointment of Romanian Laura Codruţa Kövesi’s as the first head of the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office, on Wednesday, October 16.
The decision by the Conference of Presidents (EP President David Sassoli and political group leaders) follows an agreement in September between the European Parliament and EU Council negotiators on the new European Chief Prosecutor, the EP announced in a press release. The Parliament’s negotiating team backed Kövesi throughout the negotiations.
“Following her confirmation today, Ms Kövesi can start her seven-year mandate. The Council endorsed the deal earlier this week,” reads the European Parliament’s release.
Former Romanian prime minister Dacian Ciolos, the leader of the Renew Europe group in the Parliament, congratulated Kovesi on her endorsement. “It is an important and symbolical moment for Romania that the fight against fraud and corruption that impact the European Union’s public funds will be led by a Romanian in the next seven years. Congratulations, Laura Codruţa Kövesi! You have the chance to build from zero the European Public Prosecutor’s Office and I’m sure you will do it with competence and responsibility,” Ciolos said.
The EPPO, which is expected to be operational at the end of 2020, will be an independent office in charge of investigating, prosecuting and bringing to justice crimes against the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or cross-border VAT fraud above EUR 10 million. The list of crimes could be extended in the future to include, for example, terrorism.
So far, 22 member states have joined the EPPO. The five countries that currently do not participate - Sweden, Hungary, Poland, Ireland and Denmark - could join at any time.
The EPPO central office will be based in Luxembourg, along with the Chief Prosecutor and a College of Prosecutors from all participating countries. They will head the day-to-day criminal investigations carried out by the delegated prosecutors in all participating member states.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea)