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24 Apr 2018

The Establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office

A note on its legal and policy perspective, and its possible role in the Western Balkans

Fisnik Korenica

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After proposals for a single European army, the EU’s accession to the European Court of Human Rights and the establishment of an EU Investment Court, it is legitimate to ask whether it is the right moment to think of a new twist in the EU’s institutional architecture, especially in the area of criminal law and policy? Or to put it more narrowly, is it the right time to think of an office that would prosecute perpetrators at the behest of the EU’s interests? The establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) is the most recent development in the EU’s institutional landscape that occupies attention of many academics, policymakers and observers of EU law and relations.

This study examines these questions and finds that EPPO is a major step forward in the formation of a more unified criminal law and policy at the Union level. Nevertheless, the legal implications that it may pose to the relationship between national courts and Union institutions on the one hand, and EU law and national law, on the other hand, remain quite extensive. In addition to that, EPPO may play an important role in the fight against financial crimes relating to IPA in the Western Balkans. It will feed further the process of investigation managed until now by OLAF alone with a prosecutorial layer. Therefore, one can tentatively conclude that EPPO is a major institutional development in the process of fighting crimes affecting the financial interests of the Union in the Western Balkans as well. But the scope of its practical impact in the future remains to be seen.

This publication has been carried out within the framework of the ENGAGE Fellowship Programme. The Fellowship Programme counts with the support of the Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE). It is a tailor-made Programme that connects academic, civil society and think tank actors from Central and Eastern European and Western Balkans countries with EU-level policy debates. It consists of a one-year programme providing a set of trainings, study visits, public events and a policy brief writing exercise. The ENGAGE Fellowship takes a Rule of Law approach to the policy domains of Rights, Security and Economics.

Fisnik Korenica is a Senior Research Fellow at the Group for Legal and Political Studies in Pristina, Kosovo.

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