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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
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
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
Since the publication of the Corpus Juris – the fundamental study on the protection of the EU’s financial interests, carried out under the supervision of Professor Mireille Delmas-Mary – the French authorities have considered the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor to be a political goal of utmost importance. The French experts actively participated in the four-year negotiation process and contributed to achieving a balanced and ambitious Regulation. A new chapter was heralded by the adoption of Regulation 2017/1939 on 12 October 2017: the 22 participating Member States must now prepare and adapt their national legal systems and legislation to the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. At this early stage of its implementation, it appears relevant to concentrate on two main aspects of the process.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