European Public Prosecutors must be independent from member states

The future European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) must work independently from any influence of the member states, and the European Parliament should have a say in the European Prosecutors’ appointments, according to a report adopted today in Strasbourg, with the support of the 190-strong S&D Group. The EP report was passed to influence the member states’ negotiations on the establishment of a future EU-wide public prosecutor, which would have a remit to probe cases of fraud against the EU budget. Though the EP is not at the table for these negotiations, its consent is required on the final proposal.

Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, S&D spokesperson on this issue said:

“The European Public Prosecutor’s Office must work independently from any political influence, there must be a clear division of competence between the EPPO and the national authorities and we need a high standard of procedural rights for suspected or accused persons.

“As S&D MEPs, we have enforced the proposal of a transparent appointment procedure for the European Prosecutors with the involvement of the European Parliament, in order to ensure their independence. Also our S&D demand that the European Prosecutors shouldn’t be allowed to work part-time, as national prosecutors, to prevent any conflict of interest, has become part of the Parliament’s position.

“At our initiative the European Parliament set clear guidelines regarding high standards for the rights of suspected or accused persons, as well as the right of effective judicial remedy on decisions of the EPPO. If the member states take our positions into account, we will finally say “yes” to a European solution, which will protect European taxpayers’ money.”

Tanja Fajon, S&D vice-president said:

“Fraud against the EU’s financial interests causes an estimated annual loss of between €500 Million and €3 Billion for the European taxpayer. That’s 2% of the annual EU budget. Law enforcement against these crimes is insufficient. If national authorities don’t take action, we all have to foot the bill. That’s why generally we support the creation of an EPPO. But we are not issuing the member states a blank cheque for our consent at the end of the legislative process.

“The European Parliament has a key role in the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. Without our consent there will be no such institution. With this report, we send our demands to the member states who are negotiating the creation of the EPPO.”