16th February 2014

Next step towards the EU Public Prosecutor

The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament supported, on 11 February, the Commission´s proposal for a new European Public Prosecutor. This new prosecution office should be an effective tool in the fight against frauds involving EU-taxpayer´s money. The Office would investigate, prosecute and bring to judgment before national courts crimes affecting the EU budget. The Office is called for by the Lisbon Treaty and is strongly supported by the Commission and by the European Parliament. According to the Commission´s proposal amended by the MEPs in the committee, the European Public Prosecutor´s Office should be decentralized, with a European Public Prosecutor and Delegated European Prosecutors integrated into national judicial systems. These “delegates” would carry on the prosecutions before their respective national courts according to national laws, while the European Prosecutor´s task would be to coordinate the efforts. Due to a high level of political sensibility of the issue, the proposal will have to be adopted in the Council by unanimity, with the consent of the European Parliament. Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom will not participate in the European Public Prosecutor´s Office, because of their respective opt-outs. Although the Commission would like the Office to assume its powers in 2015, the negotiations could last very long and failure at reaching unanimity in the Council is not wholly unlikely. In such case, however, a group of Member States could proceed under the enhanced co-operation procedure.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic