14 Feb 2017

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office

King without kingdom?

Fabio Giuffrida

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In July 2013, the European Commission issued a Proposal for a Council Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), i.e. a European body to be empowered to investigate and prosecute crimes affecting the financial interests of the EU. This contribution analyses the most relevant features of the (probably) forthcoming Office, as it is envisaged in the text currently under negotiation in the Council.

The EPPO will extensively depend upon national law, not only because the defendants will be tried before domestic courts, but also because the final text is expected to include only a limited number of rules regulating the investigations and the prosecutions of the Office. This contribution looks at the EPPO mainly from this perspective of the problematic intersection of EU law and national law, evaluating whether such a mixed regulation is functional to the aim of guaranteeing a better protection of EU financial interests.

Being the first European body assigned the competence to adopt decisions vis-à-vis individuals in the sensitive field of criminal law, the EPPO could represent a Copernican revolution in the history of EU (criminal) law. The analysis shows, however, that this potentially revolutionary leap forward has turned out to be quite complicated. It is questionable whether the Office – under the currently envisaged structure and powers – will enhance the fight against crimes affecting the financial interests of the Union. Hence, the need to establish such a new body should be carefully assessed.

Fabio Giuffrida is a postgraduate research student at Queen Mary University of London. Research for this paper was carried out in the context of the Source project, funded by the European Union’s FP7 programme.

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