Negotiations with EU Ministers can start on the European Chief Prosecutor following to the leading MEPs’ endorsement of Laura Codruţa Kövesi for the position.
The Conference of Presidents (EP President and the leaders of the political groups) confirmed on Thursday the ranking of the candidates for European Chief Prosecutor as proposed by the Civil Liberties and Budgetary Control Committees with Laura Codruţa Kövesi as their first choice, Jean-François Bohnert second and Andres Ritter third.
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. Parliament’s negotiation team will consist of the Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) who will lead the team, Budget Control Committee Chair Ingeborg Grässle (EPP, DE) and Civil Liberties Committee Vice Chair Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL). The negotiations are expected to start as soon as possible.
The ranking order of the three shortlisted candidates was determined in a Civil Liberties Committee vote on 27 February. 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. The Budget Control Committee also favoured Ms Kövesi in a separate vote.
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.