It’s time to discuss the mandate of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office!

The trans-national dimension of organised crime in the EU is ever increasing and “law enforcement authorities are increasingly confronted with cases of cross-border observation and surveillance which create issues at both legal and operational levels” (page 22, Europol report for 2009)

That is why yesterday, Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission and national practitioners expressed the need for the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) during an EU Parliament briefing on “The fight against organised crime and mafias”, hosted by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D).

The Lisbon Treaty – in Article 86 TFEU – has given the Union a clear mandate to create this office, so we call on the EU to act now!

Yet, despite increasing political will in all European Union institutions, concrete discussion on the composition, the mandate and role with regards to EUROPOL, EUROJUST and OLAF is stagnating. We at Transparency International are urging the EU to move forward and to finally pave the way for coordinated investigations at the EU-level to counter organised crime and corruption in Europe.

Organized crime is already driving a Ferrari, while the EU is only following on a bike”. These were the words of Martin Schulz, President of the S&D and a strong proponent of the European Prosecutor ever since 2003, during the event. He again recalled the need for an essential inter-institutional debate.

Correspondingly, EU Commission Director-General Manservisi believes that the institutional split at the EU-level with unclear divisions of mandate of EUROPOL, EUROJUST  and OLAF needs to be addressed to come to a synthesized EU approach. And in the same line, Italian EP member Rosario Crochetta expresses his concern that the EU does not yet  provide an answer to the fact that the Italian mafia Cosa Nostra model appears to be copied by an increasing number of organised crime structures abroad.

Altogether, we can thus only repeat our call for the establishment of a robust European Public Prosecutor, or as MEP Rita Borsellino, the sister of famous Italian prosecutor and mafia victim Paolo Borsellino put it during the event: “The European Prosecutor must become a major player with a broad mandate”.

Dr. Janina Berg, Transparency International Liaison Office to the EU

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