EPPO Appointed EDPs from Slovenia
On 24 November 2021, the EPPO College appointed two European Delegated Prosecutors from Slovenia. The appointment seems to put an end to a dispute between the EU and Slovenia, which delayed the nomination of the country’s candidates for months (→ eucrim 2/2021, 82-83). The Slovenian government, however, clarified that the nomination is “temporary” only, since the EDPs must still be officially selected via the national nomination procedure. It is assumed that the government wants to leave a backdoor open if its bill for an amendment to the act on public prosecution comes into force. The amendment will give the government a greater say in the appointment of delegated prosecutors effectively diminishing the powers of the national Public Prosecutor’s Council that currently takes the final decision on the nominations. In return, the EPPO stressed in its press release that the two Slovenian EDPs “have been appointed for the full period of 5 years, like all other European Delegated Prosecutors”. This seemed to signal that the move by the Slovenian governments is unlikely to succeed because national governments cannot recall their delegated prosecutors, otherwise the independence of the EPPO would be prejudiced.
The appointment means that now all Member States participating in the scheme of the EPPO, which was established by enhanced cooperation, have European Delegated Prosecutors. The EPPO assumed its investigatory and prosecutorial tasks on 1 June 2021 (→ special eucrim issue 1/2021). The aim is to improve the prosecution of criminal offences affecting the EU’s financial interests. Hungary, Poland, Ireland, and Denmark do not participate. Sweden is expected to join the scheme in 2022.