European Public Prosecutor's Office: effective tool to fight annual fraud of 500 million euro
20 Feb 2014
Euro & Finance
Justice & Home Affairs
The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee has approved Salvatore Iacolino's Interim Report on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) for prosecuting offences affecting the Union’s financial interests
"The European Parliament has sent a strong message to the Council and the Commission on the European Institutions' will to protect the resources that, through fraud and other crimes, are subtracted from services, welfare and the whole community. It is estimated that fraud at the EU level, often transnational, amounts to 500 million euro per year," said Salvatore Iacolino MEP, author of the report.
"500 million euro is an exorbitant amount," adds Mr Iacolino, "which requires new tools and a greater commitment to pursuing crimes such as corruption, misappropriation, embezzlement and money-laundering of EU funds, often by organized criminal mafia. We believe that an effective response will be provided by the European Public Prosecutor's Office, which will use national prosecutors and will work in synergy with Eurojust, Europol and OLAF when it is fully operational."
"With the other political groups representing the European Parliament," underlined Iacolino, "we have reached a series of agreements with regard to the definition of a common political agenda on legal guidelines for the determination of jurisdiction, for investigative measures, for the admissibility of evidence as well as for the closing of investigations within a common European area of justice."
In March, the European Parliament will vote in plenary on the report. "And after that it will be up to the Council to find an agreement among Member States on an instrument that represents a real step forward in judicial cooperation on criminal matters among the Member States and in defence of the legal economy," concluded Iacolino.
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 274 Members from 27 Member States.
Background: on 17 July 2013, the European Commission released its proposal for a regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO). The proposal is based on Article 86(1) of the EU Treaty which provides for a special legislative procedure requiring unanimity in the Council and the consent of the European Parliament. Several national parliaments objected to the proposal on the grounds it does not respect the principle of subsidiarity. Despite that, the Commission has decided to maintain its proposal without any change. Given the time constraints, the Rapporteur decided to proceed with an interim report before the Parliament gives its consent or not to the proposal.
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