Today, the European Prosecutors of the new European Public Prosecutor's Office have taken their oath in a ceremony at the European Court of Justice. Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Transparency and Values, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Budget and Administration and Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice and Consumers, made the following statement:
“We welcome and congratulate the new European Prosecutors, who today have taken their solemn oath to do their crucial work for the European Union in combatting fraud and corruption.
Their mission is clear: to fight financial crime and protect the EU taxpayer's money.
Criminals know no borders. It is time prosecutors do not either. The European Public Prosecutor's Office will be a game changer in fighting cross-border financial crimes.
The Office will complement the important work of Eurojust and OLAF, creating a unified European approach to fighting crimes that affect the Union's financial interests.
The European Prosecutors have a crucial job to do: they need to bring justice into an area where impunity is frequent and losses are significant for both the EU and national budgets. For this, they must be independent, determined and thorough in their investigations.
We are glad that, despite the challenges of the pandemic, together we still managed to achieve our goal of setting up the new office this year.”
The new European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) will be the first supranational public prosecution office, operating across all EU countries participating in the enhanced cooperation and will combine European and national law enforcement efforts in a unified, seamless and efficient approach. It will investigate and prosecute fraud and other crimes affecting the EU's financial interests (so-called ‘PIF' offences as defined in Directive (EU) 2017/1371).
The EPPO will operate as a single office headed by a European Chief Prosecutor working with one European Prosecutor from each participating EU Member State. At least two European Delegated Prosecutors will operate in the judicial system of each participating Member State and work closely with the central office, located in Luxembourg.
The EPPO has been set up because every year billions of euro are lost in revenue because of fraud, including cross-border VAT fraud. This is no petty crime: criminals, including those practising transnational organised crime, are profiting enormously every year by evading criminal prosecution, which in turn fuels corruption and undermines the rule of law.
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