The new body, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, is set to launch an investigation on Tuesday into the use of billions of euros in the recovery plan, which is expected to be disbursed, after a delay of a few months, aimed at combating fraud in EU funds.
Its launch was uninterrupted. This had to be postponed as it was initially scheduled for the end of 2020, especially as the 22 participating states were slow to appoint their appointed prosecutors. Two have not yet done so: Slovenia and Finland.
The Office of the European Prosecutor General, headed by Laura Covezi, Head of the Romanian Anti – Corruption Prosecutor’s Office – EPPO in English – will operate with full independence from the Commission and other EU institutions, institutions and member states. “.
This important organization has the responsibility not only to investigate but also to prosecute those involved in crimes affecting the EU budget. An unprecedented force in the European Anti-Fraud Office. These crimes are linked to the corruption of European funds, corruption, cross-border VAT fraud involving at least two member states, more than 10 million euros and money laundering.
The European Union estimates that cross-border VAT fraud alone costs between 30 and 60 billion euros a year. For other crimes, it is estimated at 500 500 million a year.
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office plans to handle about 3,000 cases a year.
Who wrote it?
It includes a central level headquarters in Luxembourg. At its head, there is a college around Laura Covacey consisting of 22 prosecutors, each participating state. Of the 27 EU countries, Hungary, Poland, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark are not partners.
She was sworn in in September and is overseeing the investigation and prosecution. These activities are carried out by the Deputy Prosecutors of the Member States.
How do designated prosecutors work?
So far 88 deputy prosecutors have been appointed in 20 countries, enough to get the job done. There are four in France. Fifteen in Italy. In Germany, there are eleven out of five centers in Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg and Munich. They can work across the country, organize property confiscation, issue arrest warrants and initiate proceedings.
Why is this necessary?
Countries find it difficult to investigate cross-border crimes. In order to get information from other states, they have to make MLA requests, which can sometimes take weeks when they are successful. Procedures no longer required in the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. “We can make a phone call or send an email to a colleague in Slovakia or Italy,” explains German Deputy Prosecutor Marcus Paintinger. “It simply came to our notice then.
The first funds of the massive 7 750 billion recovery plan are due to be paid to member states this summer, which carries significant risks of fraud.
Prosecution The European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reindeer underscores that “the next generation will closely monitor the implementation of the EU plan so that all funds can help our economy overcome the crisis.”
Can it be started in the absence of Slovenian and Finnish prosecutors?
Yes, we regret the prosecution, even though it “adversely affects the efficiency of our work.” On July 1, Laura Kovezi condemned the “lack of sincere cooperation” from Slovenia, the country that will take over the presidency of the European Union. The case prompted the resignation of Slovenian Justice Minister Lilijana Koslovic last week in protest of the government’s rejection of two nominations for conservative Prime Minister Janas Jansa by deputy prosecutors.
LQ / AFP