On 24 September, member states appointed Laura Codruta Köevesi as Chair of the European Public Prosecutor Office (EPPO). The appointment marks the end of the conflict between the European Parliament and the EU member states relating to the appointment which took months of negotiation. Representatives of the 28 member states, forming the European Council, had previously favoured French candidate Jean-François Bohnert. However, Romania’s Laura Codruta Kövesi, the Parliament’s preferred candidate, has been appointed as the EU’s first Chief Prosecutor.
The remit of the EU Public Prosecutor is to investigate and prosecute crimes against the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption of serious cross-border VAT fraud. The EU Public Prosecutor Office will be located in Luxembourg and the European Public Prosecutor will sit for a non-renewable term of seven years.
Kövesi, was the first woman and the youngest person ever to become Romania’s general prosecutor and with Romanians currently not holding any key posts within the EU, it could be expected that her appointment would be supported in her home country. However, the Romanian government has opposed her candidacy and voted against her appointment in the EU Council. In Romania, she is viewed as being politically biased due to her work in the National Anticorruption Directorate, where she was responsible for investigating high-level corruption cases and secured a conviction against former Romanian prime minister Adrian Nastase, resulting in a prison sentence of four years. Kövesi’s tenure as chief prosecutor of the DNA was cut short in June 2018, after she opposed the Romanian government’s plans to amend legislation in the field of justice.
Whilst, Kövesi’s appointment still needs to be formally approved by the European Parliament and EU Council, this is expected to be a formality.