The Council of the European Union formalized the appointment of Laura Codruța Kovesi as chief prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO). The appointment must now also be confirmed by the European Parliament.
Ms Kövesi is currently prosecutor within the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice of Romania. She held various positions as prosecutor during her career in Romania.
The European chief prosecutor will organise the work of the EPPO and represent the Office in contacts with EU institutions, member states and third countries. She will be assisted by two deputies and will chair the college of prosecutors, which will be in charge of defining the strategy and internal rules and ensuring coherence across and within cases.
"The priority of the Council is that the EPPO is up and running by November 2020. In this respect, it was now becoming urgent to appoint the European chief prosecutor. Ms Kövesi, as the first ever incumbent of this post, will have the task of setting up the EPPO from scratch. Her job over the 7 years of her mandate will in particular consist in building the administrative and operational structure of the office and establishing good working relations with national judiciary authorities. The Council will continue monitor the setting up of the office to ensure we have an efficient and effective EPPO that becomes the cornerstone of our fight against fraud and corruption to the EU finances" says Anna-Maja Henriksson, Minister of Justice from the Finnish presidency of the Council.
Laura Codruţa Kövesi was selected from a shortlist of three candidates proposed by an independent selection panel and following an open call for applications.
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office will be an independent body of the Union responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment crimes against the financial interests of the Union (e.g. fraud, corruption, cross-border VAT fraud above 10 million euros). In that respect the EPPO shall undertake investigations, and carry out acts of prosecution and exercise the functions of prosecutor in the competent courts of the Member States.
There are currently 22 Member States participating in the enhanced cooperation (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain).
The EPPO is expected to start its operation in November 2020 and will be based in Luxembourg.