MEPs select Romanian official for EU Chief Prosecutor job

Written by Martin Banks on 4 March 2019 in News
News

MEPs have selected a Romanian official, Laura Codruţa Kövesi, as their top candidate for the position of European Chief Prosecutor.

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The prosecutor is a newly-created post who will head the head the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), a new agency to tackle corruption and fraud at EU level.

Kövesi came out top in a secret ballot vote at the Civil Liberties Committee last week.

The ranking order of the three shortlisted candidates was determined in a Civil Liberties Committee vote.


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Kövesi, who formerly ran an anti-corruption agency in her native Romania, was selected as the top candidate with 26 votes, Jean-François Bohnert from France obtained 22 votes, and Andrés Ritter from Germany gained just 1 vote.

On Tuesday, each of the candidates were quizzed by MEPs in a hearing organised by the Civil Liberties Committee, along with the participation of the Budget Control Committee.

The European Chief Prosecutor will be jointly appointed by what is called “common accord” by the European Parliament and the Council.

The outcome of the Civil Liberties Committee vote, together with the recommendation of the Budget Control Committee also favouring Kövesi in a vote on Tuesday will be forwarded to the Conference of Presidents. This is the body comprising Parliament’s president and the leaders of the political groups.

They will confirm the next steps to proceed on 7 March, ahead of the negotiations with the Council.

The EPPO which, is expected to be operational by 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 €10m. 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 be head the day-to-day criminal investigations carried out by the delegated prosecutors in all participating Member States.

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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