European Public Prosecutor's Office will start operating on 1 June
This EU independent body will make sure no euro of taxpayers' money is wasted on corruption or fraudEuropost , Brussels
The Commission officially confirmed on Wednesday that the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), an independent EU body with mandate to investigate, prosecute and take to judgment criminal offences that damage the EU’s financial interests, will start operating on 1 June.
We are on the home stretch now: we are about to launch the first-ever independent EU office to investigate and prosecute crimes affecting the EU budget, EC Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, stressed.
She added that from 1 June onwards, European prosecutors, under the strong leadership of Laura Kövesi, will clamp down on criminals and make sure no euro is wasted on corruption or fraud.
Didier Reynders, EU Commissioner for Justice commented that the launch of the European Public Prosecutor's office will open up a new phase in the history of European integration.
The core mission of this European body is to protect EU funds from criminals for the common interest of our citizens, he said noting that “it will observe the implementation of NextGenerationEU with an eagle eye, to make sure funds will be fully used to help our economies recover from the crisis”.
The EPPO is in charge of conducting criminal investigations and prosecutions for crimes against the EU budget. It is the first supranational public prosecution office.
It investigates and prosecutes fraud and other crimes affecting the EU's financial interests, such as fraud relating to expenditures and revenues, as well to fraud relating to VAT, if it involves two or more Member States and is worth at least €10m.
On its radar is money laundering of assets derived from defrauding the EU budget, as well as active and passive corruption or misappropriation that affect the EU's financial interests. This includes also participation in a criminal organisation if the focus of its activities is to commit crimes against the EU budget.
This new body can also investigate and prosecute any other illegal activity that is ‘inextricably linked' to an offence against the EU budget.
The EPPO will carry out its investigations and prosecutions in full independence from the Commission, other EU institutions and bodies, as well as from Member States.
It will complement the work and cooperate with other EU bodies and agencies such as OLAF, Eurojust and Europol, as well as with the competent authorities of the Member States that do not participate in the EPPO.
The Public Prosecutor's office is expected to eventually be investigating approximately 3,000 cases per year.