The T.M.C. Asser Institute and the Law Faculty of Leiden University organised a conference on the ‘Establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO): State of play and perspectives’, which took place in The Hague over the 7-8 July 2016.
Representatives from the EU institutions, Member States and academic institutes exchanged views on the implications of the EPPO for the functioning of the European Union’s area of freedom, security and justice; the relevant EU agencies; the national prosecuting authorities; as well as for suspects and victims.
The focus of the conference was to assess the outcome of three years of negotiations of the legislative proposal on the EPPO and the substantive issues of the EPPO’s legislative framework, also in relationship with the proposal for a directive on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law. Issues related to fundamental rights, procedural safeguards and judicial review in the multilevel setting of the proposed EPPO, as well as of the scope of its jurisdiction in relation to its counterparts of the Member States, were addressed.
Eurojust, represented by Klaus Meyer-Cabri, National Member for Germany, was invited to contribute to the final panel of the conference, “Assessing EPPO’s raison d’être in the light of the debates”. In his intervention Mr Meyer-Cabri highlighted that Eurojust has always been and remains willing to support the future EPPO, but stressed that the added value Eurojust could potentially provide is much greater than currently reflected in the draft regulation. In particular, Eurojust has a number of effective tools such as coordination meetings and coordination centres as well as considerable expertise in the setting up and financing of joint investigation teams which would assist in the successful combatting of crimes against the financial interests of the EU. Taking Eurojust’s role and expertise into account, he underlined that more clarity is needed on the expected relationship between Eurojust and the EPPO, including the resource implications, as well as the role of the EJN in support of EPPO cases.
Mr Meyer-Cabri also noted the difficulty in fully meeting all the wishes of the Member States involved and that over time and practical experience it will become clearer how the EPPO will most effectively operate in practice. In this regard, he drew a link with the experience of Eurojust which has evolved since its early establishment and is constantly working to find the best ways to work within its framework and the wider Justice and Home Affairs landscape of the EU.
On 17 July 2013 the European Commission presented a legislative package in the area of criminal justice cooperation, including a proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) and a proposal for a Regulation to reform Eurojust. The EPPO proposal is decided under the consent procedure (Article 86 TFEU), while the Eurojust proposal falls under co-decision (Article 85 TFEU). In accordance to Article 86 TFEU, the EPPO is to be established ‘from Eurojust’. The material competence of the EPPO is to be defined by the Directive on the fight against fraud to the Union’s financial interests by means of criminal law, which is not yet adopted.