The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), which has joined 22 of the 27 EU Member States, is tasked with investigating corruption, fraud and other financial crimes affecting the EU budget. In its first year of operation, prosecutors have already opened 576 investigations into suspicion of billions of euros in damage to the EU budget.
The fact that, for the first time, there is a prosecutor’s office that can investigate, prosecute and seize EU states does not make Kovesi at all popular in Europe, and she has chosen not to give too many interviews or organize public events so as not to attract attention and thus criticism.
“When I came here, I thought this was the most difficult and interesting job,” Kovesi told German journalists in his Luxembourg office.
The German publication points out that the success of the institution it runs can only be established when Member States agree to take action against financial crime, which is not the case at present. Ireland, considered a tax haven, did not agree to work with the EPPO. Similarly, Hungary and Poland, two countries accused of violating the rule of law, did not join the prosecutor’s office.
“Our victory will be achieved when people trust EPPO,” says Kovesi.
Asked what is the biggest danger for her term, between the bureaucracy and the media campaigns against her, Kovesi answers bluntly that the bureaucracy and describes its daily routine as one with “many meetings”.
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Der Spiegel points out, however, that she faces a “virtually impossible task” as she will have to make enemies in more than 20 states, but at the same time draw on her side for more resources and influence. The most important goal, according to the German publication, will be to increase the prestige of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The publication also gives an extensive overview of the career in Romania of Laura Codruța Kovesi, from her arrival at the head of the General Prosecutor’s Office at an early age for justice, 33 years, to the status of “symbol” of the anti-corruption movement. around her and dismissal from the head of DNA.
“People want to see heroes,” Elena Calistru of Funky Citiens was quoted as saying. “But an institution must work when the heroes fall.”
According to Kovesi’s annual report to the European Parliament, in the first 7 months of 2021 alone, EPPO opened almost 600 investigations and confiscated 147 million euros, three times the cost of running the prosecutor’s office. Meanwhile, the EU has increased its budget by 12 million euros by 2022.
Support for his efforts is currently lacking in most states, according to der Spiegel, who recalled that in the first year more than half of the surveys focused on four states: Italy, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany.
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