Kovesi officially chosen as the first European Chief Prosecutor
The EP and the Council of the European Union agreed to appoint herEuropost
Negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union agreed on 24 September to appoint Laura Codruta Kovesi, the MEPs’ preferred candidate, as the first head of the newly-created EU Public Prosecutor’s Office. In previous votes, the Council representing the EU’s 28 Member States, had backed a French candidate, Jean-Francois Bohnert, but the Parliament ended up prevailing.
The European Council is now expected to confirm her in the post in the coming weeks.
“Ms Kovesi is the perfect choice to become EU Chief Prosecutor. She has excellent professional competences. Moreover, Romania does not currently hold any key posts in the EU. She will be one of the strong women leading in the EU from now on,” said the EP’s Civil Liberties Committee Chair Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, after the agreement with the Council negotiators on Tuesday evening.
"This agreement is a strong signal that the EU is serious in fighting financial crime and in protecting the taxpayers' money. The European Public Prosecutor's Office offers a first-of-its-kind set-up to prioritise cross-border crime and ensure that no crime against the EU budget goes unpunished. It provides an answer to demands of European citizens and equips European prosecutors with new bold tools to investigate and prosecute these crimes at EU level," Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourova said.
"I have every confidence that Ms Kövesi will do an outstanding job at the head of the European Public Prosecutor's Office", she added. "With this agreement, it will now be possible to set up the new office as planned until the end of 2020."
As a result, in June 2014, DNA obtained a 4-year final jail conviction against former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase. Kovesi was then dismissed from DNA's helm in June 2018 following a request by former Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, after she opposed the Social Democratic Party's initiatives to change sensitive legislation in the field of justice. One of Romania’s most high-profile politicians, Liviu Dragnea, who was head of PSD when Kovesi was forced out, was also jailed in May for three-and-a-half years for corruption.
The EPPO 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 10 million euros. The list of crimes could be extended in the future to include, for example, terrorism. So far, 22 Member States have joined it. 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 head the day-to-day criminal investigations carried out by the delegated prosecutors in all participating Member States.
Laura Codruta Kovesi, 46, was the first woman to become Romania’s general prosecutor as well as the youngest general prosecutor. In May 2013, she was appointed chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), a special prosecution unit specialised in investigating top-level corruption cases. Under her management, the DNA initiated hundreds of investigations targeting top officials such as ministers, mayors and MPs.