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The EPPO’s Hybrid Structure and Legal Framework
Issues of Implementation – a Perspective from Germany
This article addresses several issues concerning additional measures required for a proper imple-mentation of the EPPO Regulation from the point of view of a Member State with a federal struc-ture. These issues include matters involving Member States’ personnel working for the EPPO, clarification of the relevant national legal framework (in particular as regards the conduct of in-vestigations), and the future cooperation between the EPPO and the national authorities of the (participating) Member States. The article concludes that the hybrid structure and current legal framework of the EPPO will create new challenges for the authorities of the Member States and may certainly stimulate further (academic) debate on the approach chosen by the EU legislator.Read more
EPPO Institutionalization during the Bulgarian Council Presidency
– Main Steps and Challenges Ahead
The article follows up the efforts undertaken by the EU Commission together with the Council of the European Union to set up the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). Preparing the EPPO to become operational by 2020 was a top political priority during the Bulgarian Council Presidency, given the paramount importance of the proper protection of the EU’s financial interests against fraud and misuse of EU money. In the first part, information is provided on how the Presidency drove forward the initial steps to structure the EPPO and enhance its coordination with other EU partner agencies.
In the second part, the article gives an overview of EPPO’s powers that make it a unique EU organism equipped with the necessary tools to effectively investigate crimes against EU funds. This overview is followed by an analysis on the challenges that lay ahead particularly for the integration of the European Delegated Prosecutors into this ... Read more
After giving an overview of the current and envisaged role of Eurojust, this article outlines the future relationship between Eurojust and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). Here, the author identifies three levels of possible links between the two bodies: the institutional level, the operational level, and the administrative level for the sharing of services. They have a common denominator: the need to establish an intense reciprocal cooperation scheme, despite the diversity of the functions of the two bodies. If this strong cooperation is implemented in practice, it can become the driving force around which the entire European judicial area can be redesigned, in such a way that Eurojust will still continue to play a central role as regards judicial coordination and cooperation in criminal matters. Therefore, a non-antagonistic relationship with the European Public Prosecutor should be aimed for and pursued.Read more
Spain has been especially supportive of the creation of the EPPO after its mention in the Treaty of Lisbon − and even before that. Notwithstanding, Spain negotiated the implementation of the EPPO knowing that this would necessitate – partly fundamental − structural changes of its national system of criminal procedure. This system is currently characterised by giving an investigative judge the leading role in criminal investigations; prosecutors are actually one of several parties in the criminal proceedings. In contrast, the EPPO Regulation is based on the more conventional system common all around Europe, consisting in giving the said leading role to prosecutors. After outlining the main structure of the Spanish system of criminal investigation, the article deals with the major challenges that Spain has to meet in order to align its national system to the model imposed by the Regulation regarding cases in which the European Public Prosecutor will assume ... Read more
Use and Abuse of the Concept of Fundamental Rights
An Obstacle for Judicial Cooperation?
The focus of this article is on the challenge to which extent EU Member States cooperate. It describes the current landscape of judicial criminal cooperation in the EU, taking into account available data. Hence, one can state that cooperation tools are being increasingly used, but this creates imbalances, which naturally crop up in any cooperation system. This is the starting point for addressing a proper understanding of the various possible reactions in order to tackle these imbalances. One reaction relates to the breach of fundamental rights by the issuing Member State. The article outlines that the results of this strategy, however, could be negative in the long term. Merely mentioning fundamental rights will not make Member States more respectful of them. It is further argued that problems involving fundamental rights should be solved with already existing and tailor-made instruments for this purpose and not by altering the cooperation rationale.Read more
A Game of Chance
The Future of the AFSJ
Abstract: The article offers a critical reflection on the ongoing debate over the “Future of Europe” scenarios envisioned in the European Commission’s White Paper of 1 March 2017. Five potential scenarios are described, which enable a peek into the future, and the article explores whether the European Union’s status quo should change towards a new, ambitious vision or just continue muddling through. The desirability and feasibility of the most favoured scenario (“those who want to do more do more” − a multi-speed Europe) will be tested in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ). It will be argued that the clash between the three supposedly interlinked notions of freedom, security, and justice is the main obstacle hindering more coherence and uniformity in this area. This will be demonstrated by analysing the “root of the problem,” i.e., prison overcrowding.Read more