In a secret ballot vote the Civil Liberties Committee have selected Laura Codruţa Kövesi, as their top candidate for the position of European Chief Prosecutor.
The ranking order of the three shortlisted candidates was determined in a Civil Liberties Committee vote, on Wednesday:
Laura Codruţa Kövesi from Romania was selected as the top candidate with 26 votes, Jean-François Bohnert from France obtained 22 votes, and Andrés Ritter from Germany gained 1 vote.
Yesterday, the candidates were quizzed by MEPs in a hearing, organised by the Civil Liberties Committee, along with the participation of the Budget Control Committee.
The European Chief Prosecutor, who will head the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), will be jointly appointed by common accord, by the European Parliament and the Council.
The outcome of the Civil Liberties Committee vote, together with the recommendation of the Budget Control Committee also favouring Ms Kövesi (voted on Tuesday) will be forwarded to the Conference of Presidents (EP Presidents and the leaders of the political groups) by the Civil Liberties Committee Chair. They will confirm the next steps to proceed on 7 March, ahead of the negotiations with the Council.
The EPPO which, is expected to be operational at the end of 2020, 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 the EPPO. 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 be head the day-to-day criminal investigations carried out by the delegated prosecutors in all participating member states.