Laura Codruta Kovesi, the former chief prosecutor of Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), ranked second in the process to select the chief prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) after the vote in the Coreper II meeting at the European Council on February 20.
Coreper stands for the Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union. Coreper II is composed of each member state’s permanent representatives.
Each representative voted on the three candidates for the job, based on a points system. The French candidate Jean-François Bohnert came out first, earning 50 points. Kovesi ranked second, on par with German Andres Ritter, each having received 29 points.
The Romanian candidate was initially tipped as favorite, after the selection committee wrote its recommendation to the European Parliament.
The next stage in the process to select the chief prosecutor of EPPO involves the hearing of the three candidates in a joint meeting of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT). Only members of the LIBE committee will vote afterwards.
If the order of the candidates changes after the LIBE vote, negotiations are to take place between the European Parliament and the EU Council, according to Adevarul. The negotiations would take place under Finland’s presidency of the EU Council, Rfi.ro reported. Although Romania holds until July the presidency of the EU Council, it was decided that it should not have negotiating power in this case since it has direct interest in the issue. The candidate chosen by member states in agreement with members of the European Parliament will be appointed after a decision of European justice ministers and a vote of the European Parliament.
Diplomatic sources told Adevarul that Romania gave Kovesi the minimum score and the maximum to the French candidate. Justice minister Tudorel Toader previously said he would try his best to block Kovesi from being appointed as head of EPPO. Last week, Kovesi was called in for questioning by Romania’s newly established section for investigating magistrates after a complaint filed by runaway businessman Sebastian Ghita.