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EU: European Public Prosecutor’s Office headed by Romanian Laura Kövesi starts its activities. Fight against economic and financial fraud

(Photo European Union)

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), headed by Romanian Laura Kövesi, starts its activities today. It is a “historic moment”, she said at a press conference in Luxembourg, where the EPPO is based. “It took two decades of political discussions and two years of preparation” to start the new office, Kövesi recalled, but now “let’s make the future happen”. It is a “huge responsibility”, she added, because “there is no precedent”. The EPPO is a tool to defend the rule of law and “protect the EU budget”, she explained. And this will increase “public confidence”.
Its structure is complex, Kövesi explained, with 15 Permanent Chambers and 140 prosecutors delegated by the 22 EU Member States participating in the “enhanced cooperation” (including Italy). It means that there are 22 different criminal procedural regimes, the chief prosecutor stressed, but the goal is one: to investigate “economic and financial fraud, the most common threat to any democratic society”, which is “underreported, underestimated, and often also tolerated to the benefit of criminal organizations”. The “independence” of this judicial body is “vital”. The EPPO, she stressed in the end, has extensive “competence, powers and potential” and is expected to deal with around 3,000 cases per year. Some have already been received from Germany and Italy.

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