The EU loses around €600 million a year to fraud in EU funds. These crimes are not properly investigated due to the lack of cross-border definitions and cooperation of Member States. With the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), supported today by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, European cooperation on preventing EU budget fraud has been founded.
Barbara Matera MEP, the Rapporteur on EPPO, welcomed the proposed legislation: “Crimes against the common EU budget require a common EU response. Thanks to EPPO, which will unify the work of national prosecutors under one European body, shortcomings of uncoordinated national investigations of the misuse of EU funds will be addressed. However, to allow for a truly unified approach to prevent losses of European taxpayers' money, non-participating countries should also join EPPO as soon as possible.”
EPPO will consist of a European Public Prosecutor heading the work of European Delegated Prosecutors who will perform their investigations in every participating Member State. “This network will independently investigate in line with national laws but in mutual cooperation. While the delegated prosecutors in the Member States will bring cases before national courts under the supervision of the European Public Prosecutor, they will use common procedures in all Member States, such as using the same evidence. This cooperative and streamlined process will thus work towards restoring citizens’ trust in EU financing”, concluded Matera.
The proposed EPPO legislation will be adopted under the enhanced cooperation of 20 Member States. The European Parliament has the power to accept or reject the proposal without amendments. Member States which are part of the enhanced cooperation agreed on the proposal on 8 June.