“No country in Europe is clean. None.” Under this title, the Swiss newspaper “Neue Zurcher Zeitung” published an extensive interview with the head of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, Laura Kovesi, Deutsche Welle reports, writes Sega, quoted by Rador.
The author of the interview, Daniel Steinfort, stated that Kovesi, who received him in a modest room in Luxembourg, was not willing to talk much – she also spoke directly on the subject. From the outset, Kovesi warned of the high risk that European money in the package to overcome the consequences of the pandemic would not reach its destination.
“No difference between Member States”
“Currently, a lot of money goes into the health sector and the risk of fraud is high. Governments do not announce public tenders. There is not enough control, there is no transparency “, said the head of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. She stated that in the case of public procurement, the Prosecutor’s Office is constantly facing bribes and personal gain.
Laura Kovesi reiterated her conviction that the prosecutors delegated by the various states to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office must be completely independent in order to be able to do their job. She believes that the money for the European Public Prosecutor’s Office is too little and gives an example: 30.2 million euros were initially allocated for its construction, which corresponds to the budget of a regional prosecutor’s office in Romania.
“When it comes to fraud and the rule of law, Eastern Europe is often pointed the finger. Is this correct? ”Asks journalist Daniel Steinfort. Kovesi has a clear vision of the issue: “No. No country in Europe is clean. None. See, for example, statistics showing that the EU has a trade surplus of over € 300 billion. This is theoretically impossible. Within the EU, exports and imports need to be balanced. The explanation is one: massive VAT fraud. These figures show no difference between Member States. Also, the cases we are dealing with do not show that there is more corruption in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. “
“We cannot divide Europe into East and West”
Towards the end of the extensive interview, the reporter returns to the same topic and asks Kovesi if she is not worried about the different attitude towards the rule of law in the two parts of the continent. The head of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office replies: “I am not a politician, this is not my field. I will not comment on the political aspect. However, as a prosecutor, I can tell you that we cannot divide Europe into East and West or North and South. Each Member State has problems to solve. We have seen attacks on justice in all parts of the continent. “