July 25, 2021

First step for the European anti-fraud prosecutor’s office

The symbol is strong: it is a magistrate that the power of her country, Romania, had sacked, while she headed the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, which chaired the first day of the European Prosecutor’s Office, which took office on Tuesday 1is June. A decision “Historical”, We judge in Brussels and Luxembourg, where Laura Codruta Kövesi will head the central office of the institution responsible for investigating the use of the budget, European subsidies and funds, corruption, money laundering , and cross-border VAT fraud if it exceeds 10 million euros.

Read also The European public prosecutor’s office takes office to defend the financial interests of the EU

“History”, the launch of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office is undoubtedly also because the process which led to its creation was marked by interminable debates (they will have lasted more than twenty years), delays in setting up attributable to the member countries then that the institution’s regulations were signed in 2017, many questions about the exact scope of its powers, or even a guerrilla war between the institutions at the time of the appointment of the chief prosecutor: Mr.me Kövesi had the support of the European Parliament, while his competitor, the Attorney General of Reims, Jean-François Bohnert, had that of the Council.

The small revolution of a Europe finally endowing itself with a possibly effective instrument to fight corruption is, moreover, marred by the fact that five Member States have decided, for various reasons, not to participate in this transnational project. . Poland, the first beneficiary in absolute terms of European funds, and Hungary, the first beneficiary per capita, will notably not be. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, several relatives of whom have controversially enriched themselves in recent years, said the prosecution would not comply with the Constitution of his country. Executives from his party, Fidesz, even accused Mr.me Kövesi to be “An agent from abroad” for opening investigations into mayors of the Hungarian minority in Romania when she was head of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Bucharest.

Delegated prosecutors

Sweden, Denmark and Ireland also abstain. And in Slovenia, Prime Minister Janez Jansa, an admirer of Mr Orban, canceled the appointment procedure for the two deputy prosecutors selected to represent the head of the European public prosecutor’s office in the country. A procedural error, he said. In reality, he did not like the profile of the two prosecutors, who investigated him. Faced with his refusal, the Minister of Justice preferred to resign. Mme Follow the parlé “A very bad signal”, Mr Jansa called his comments “Policies” and threatened to leave the European public prosecutor’s office.

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