Tomorrow (17th July) Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding will unveil a proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of a European Prosecutor for criminal-law protection of the financial interests of the European Union, finally realising a key project for European integration that has been debated for over 15 years.
Commenting ahead of the proposal Jan Philipp Albrecht, the spokesperson for Justice and Home Affairs of the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament, said:
"Every year hundreds of millions of euro earmarked for the promotion of EU projects are siphoned off. The European Commission estimates that at least 700 million euro were lost in 2011 alone, yet the unofficial figure is thought to be considerably higher, and few cases are ever solved. A European Public Prosecutor's Office could enhance the cooperation between investigating authorities at EU level to expose cross-border cases of fraud and corruption involving EU funds. However, unless high standards are applied throughout the EU for the rights of suspects in criminal cases, the European Parliament can only reject the European Commission's proposal.
Furthermore, a European Public Prosecutor's Office must be part of the European Union's Judicial Cooperation Unit, Eurojust, not replace the European Anti-Fraud Office, OLAF. In the wake of the scandal about flagrant investigative errors and rights violations extending as far as telephone surveillance and witness intimidation, OLAF is not the right body to uncover breaches of the rule of law. What is needed is a judicial law-enforcement body that includes national public prosecutor's offices, not an unregulated administrative authority with its own rights to investigate citizens."
The United Kingdom has already announced that it will not be backing the proposal for a European Public Prosecutor's Office and other Member States are expected to follow suit and deny the project the support it needs to be adopted. A European Public Prosecutor's Office could only be established if at least nine Member States decide in favour of it on the basis of " enhanced cooperation" and if the European Parliament approves the end result.