Today, the European Parliament gave the green light for enhanced cooperation between 20 Member States for the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). Viviane Reding, then Vice-President of the European Commission tasked with the development of a truly European area of Justice, launched the proposal already back in 2013.
She commented: “Year on year, billions of euros of European tax-payers’ money are lost to cross-border fraud. Yet, impunity reigns, as fraudsters all too often elude prosecution due to a lack of cooperation between national authorities. No longer. The EPPO will put an end to this outrageous situation: our European budget finally gets the European protection it deserves. I am proud that the EPPO will soon take up its duties from its seat in Luxembourg, and I want to seize the occasion to personally commend the ground-breaking work of former French justice minister Robert Badinter, whose intellectual and political contribution was instrumental in paving the way towards the EPPO. I congratulate the 20 Member States who have taken this courageous step forward – may the others join them soon. Every European citizen deserves equal protection for his or her tax-money.”
She added: “On this file it took four years of protracted negotiations to realize that unanimity among 28 Member States was pie in the sky; whereas it took only four months for a dedicated group of Member States to strike a final enhanced cooperation deal. The EPPO is the embodiment of a Europe that can progress when a group of ambitious Member States pushes forward in the common interest.” Looking towards the future, she added: “I would now like to see this ambition furthered by extending the EPPO's competences to areas of serious cross-border crime and terrorism. The window of opportunity is open, the Treaty allows it, and our current security-situation demands it!"