EPPO complete as Slovenia finally appoints prosecutors
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office is complete as of Wednesday after Slovenia – the only participating country which was holding up the EU's fraud-fighting agency's efforts to fully carry out its tasks - finally appointed two prosecutors.
Each country taking part in EPPO – all EU countries bar Poland, Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, Denmark and Sweden – have at least one prosecutor in Luxembourg working with teams in their home countries to investigate fraud and crimes against EU funds.
All other countries had already put forward a prosecutor but Slovenia had not nominated anyone. Laura Kövesi, who heads the office based in Kirchberg, voiced concerns about Slovenia’s “persisting obstruction” during a meeting with EU justice ministers last month, warning it was setting a “dangerous precedent” and accusing the country of “interfering” with EPPO’s work.
Since the agency was created in June, it has received more than 2,400 reports of crime. On Tuesday, it secured its first conviction after a Slovak mayor was handed a three-year suspended sentence for providing false documents to illegally obtain financial aid from EU money.
Luxembourg's prosecutors to EPPO were appointed in May – judge Philipp Zangerlé and Claude Eischen, who works for Luxembourg’s public prosecutor's office.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had urged Slovenian President Janez Jansa in July to name his country’s representatives to EPPO with the “utmost urgency” during a press event at the start of Slovenia’s six-month EU presidency. She also said judges were entitled to their personal political views.
Officials from Sweden have said they plan on joining EPPO next year.