The European public prosecutor’s office: king without kingdom?

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Series Details No.3, February 2017
Publication Date February 2017
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Pursuant to Article 86 TFEU, in July 2013 the Commission issued a Proposal for a Council Regulation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), i.e. the European body that shall 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 competent to adopt decisions vis-à-vis the individuals in the sensitive field of criminal law, the EPPO could represent a Copernican revolution in the history of EU (criminal) law.

However, the analysis shows that this potentially revolutionary leap forward has turned out to be quite complicated. It is contentious that the Office – with the currently envisaged structure and powers – will enhance the fight against crimes affecting the financial interests of the Union, so that the need of establishing such a new body should be carefully assessed.

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