GC: EPPO’s Request for the Lifting of Parliamentary Immunity Not Open to Challenge
31 January 2024 (updated 1 month, 2 weeks ago) // Published in printed Issue 4/2023
2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg Thomas Wahl

By order of 16 January 2024, the General Court dismissed Eva Kaili’s action for annulment against the request by the European Chief Prosecutor to lift her parliamentary immunity (Case T-46/23).

Facts of the case

The EPPO is conducting investigations against Greek MEP Eva Kaili and her assistants for mismanagement of parliamentary allowances. By letter of 15 December 2022, sent to the President of the EP, the European Chief Prosecutor Laura Kövesi requested, in accordance with Art. 29(2) of Regulation (EU) 2017/1939, the lifting of the privileges and immunities of Ms Kaili, another MEP, and six accredited parliamentary assistants. At the plenary session of the EP of 18 January 2023, EP President Roberta Metsola disclosed that request and referred it to the Committee of Legal Affairs. Ms Kaili challenged these acts before the General Court pursuant to Art. 263 TFEU.

The GC’s decision

The General Court (GC) dismissed the action as inadmissible in its entirety. It pointed out that the acts in question are not open to challenge according to Art. 263 TFEU. With regard to the European Chief Prosecutor’s request for lifting immunity, the GC stressed that it is a preliminary and necessary measure to ensure the effectiveness of investigations. The request is not capable of producing binding legal effects that may affect the applicant’s interests by bringing about a distinct change to her legal situation.

With regard to the decision taken by the EP President, the GC similarly argues that it does not produce binding legal effects that may affect the applicant’s interests by bringing about a distinct change to her legal situation. Furthermore, the decision also constitutes a preparatory act only. An action for annulment pursuant to Art. 263 TFEU can only be brought against the Parliament’s final decision.

Background

Eva Kaili is also one of the main figures who are involved in the Qatargate corruption scandal at the EP (→ eucrim 4/2022, 242-243). She was arrested in this case in December 2022 by Belgian authorities. The EPPO investigations are distinct from that and concern allegedly fake reimbursement requests at the expenses of the Union budget.

News Guide

EU European Public Prosectutor's Office (EPPO) Protection of Financial Interests Procedural Safeguards

Author

2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg
Thomas Wahl

Institution:
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law (MPI CSL)

Department:
Public Law Department

Position:
Senior Researcher