The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) is due to be operational in November 2020, and will have the power to investigate and prosecute crimes against the EU budget including fraud, corruption and tax avoidance. Set up in response to widespread concern over impunity for fraudulent activities harming the EU’s finances as well as its image, the EPPO will be the first supranational public prosecutor’s office charged with the investigations and prosecution of white collar offences.
European Delegated Prosecutors operating within the jurisdictions of the, currently, 22 participating EU Member States will be primarily responsible for investigating and bringing prosecutions – it is thought that over 2,000 cases per year will fall within the EPPO’s exclusive jurisdiction. These Delegated Prosecutors will answer only to the European Chief Prosecutor, Ms. Laura Codruța Kövesi, who comes to the role with a formidable record as head of the Romanian Anti-Corruption Directorate.
The EPPO has the potential to be a significant player in the European white collar enforcement landscape, and therefore to be an important partner for international enforcement bodies. In particular, it is hoped that the EPPO will significantly bolster the often under-resourced national prosecutors’ offices who struggle to investigate and prosecute complex frauds effectively. However, the nascent EPPO faces significant practical challenges, notably staffing and budgetary constraints, which threaten its effectiveness.
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