Source: European Commission – Justice
The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union agreed to appoint Ms Laura Codruta Kövesi as the first European Chief Prosecutor.
On behalf of the Commission, Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of Budget and Human Resources, and Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, made the following statements:
Commissioner Oettinger said: “The European Commission works hard to make sure that every euro from the EU budget is spent in line with the rules and brings an EU added value. This also means effectively fighting fraud against the EU budget. So far, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has been instrumental to that aim, and will continue its work as an independent investigation office paving the way for recoveries and other protection measures. The European Public Prosecutor will make sure that action at Union level goes one step further, and actually takes criminals to court in cases of criminal offences affecting the Union budget. I wish the newly selected Chief Prosecutor the best of luck in addressing the challenges in front of her. Both the European Commission and OLAF will support her strongly in the tasks ahead.”
Commissioner Jourová said: “This agreement is a strong signal that the EU is serious in fighting financial crime and in protecting the taxpayers’ money. 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. It provides an answer to demands of European citizens and equips European prosecutors with new bold tools to investigate and prosecute these crimes at EU level. I welcome the agreement on the appointment of Ms Kövesi as the first ever European Chief Prosecutor. 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.”
Every year at least €50 billion of revenue from VAT is lost from national budgets all over Europe through cross-border fraud. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office will be an independent and decentralised prosecution office of the European Union, with the competence to investigate, prosecute and bring to judgment crimes against the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or serious cross-border VAT fraud. The Regulation establishing the European Public Prosecutor’s Office under enhanced cooperation was adopted on 12 October 2017 and entered into force on 20 November 2017. At this stage, there are 22 participating EU countries. The European Prosecutor’s Office’s seat will be located in Luxembourg, and Ms Kövesi will sit for a non-renewable term of seven years. She will be in charge of organising the work of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office: representing it, directing its activities and taking care of its effective functioning.
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