The long awaited establishment of the European Public Prosecutor‘s Office (EPPO) signifies a new era for EU criminal justice. EPPO shall investigate and prosecute crimes affecting the financial interests of the EU. For the first time, binding Union decisions are adopted in relation to individuals in the sensitive area of criminal law.
This working paper argues that assuming the “arch” is the EU criminal justice system and the “other stones” are national authorities, EPPO has been assigned with all the features, capacities and qualities to be considered as the “keystone” of the EU criminal justice system.
To this purpose it goes through the main provisions of the EPPO Regulation, focusing on its layout, functions and material competence of EPPO. It further considers its investigative and prosecutorial powers, the rights of suspects and accused, the judicial review of EPPO’s acts and its relations with the partners.
This contribution identifies the challenges and offers answers to the following questions: 1. Why is the EPPO so controversial? 2. What are the challenges it might face? 3. Has the new body lost its character by becoming too much of an emanation of the judicial structures of the member states? 4. Will EPPO finally have added value?
The analysis concludes that, though the EPPO Regulation leaves much to be desired, EPPO’s establishment will constitute a landmark development for the EU institutional set-up, despite all the unresolved issues and the remaining challenges will inevitably face.
List of abbreviations
1. EPPO: an unprecedented actor in the EU criminal justice system
2. The road to EPPO: Connecting the dots
2.1. Brief historical background
2.2. The rationale for the establishment of the EPPO
2.3. A difficult compromise
3. Institutional aspects
3.1. Layout and powers
3.2. Independence and political accountability of the EPPO
4. Substantial legal aspects
4.1. Defining EPPO’s scope of competence
4.2. PIF Directive
4.3. VAT fraud
4.4. Inextricably linked crimes
4.5. Serious crimes
4.6. Shared competence
4.7. EPPO’s interaction with national authorities
5. Procedural legal aspects
5.1. Investigative and prosecutorial powers
5.1.2. Prosecution and committal to trial
5.2. Rights of suspects and accused persons
5.3. Judicial review
6. The challenges of EPPO’s relations with its partners
6.1. Interaction with Eurojust
6.2. Interaction with OLAF
6.3. Interaction with Europol
6.4. Interaction with non-participating member states
6.5. Interaction with third countries and international organizations
7. Final considerations and perspectives
Documents from the EU institutions/agencies/bodies
EU secondary law
Books/Articles/Contributions to collective books
Case-law of the ECJ
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