EU countries agree to create European public prosecutor’s office
European Union member states have agreed to establish the office of a European public prosecutor to investigate cross-border criminal cases affecting the EU budget.
The agreement was reached during a meeting of EU justice ministers on Thursday.
The decision to create the office was taken with 20 of the 28 EU member states supporting the move after some countries decided to opt out for fear that it would allow the EU to interfere with national criminal justice systems.
Under an agreement for optional enhanced cooperation, the EU prosecutor would have jurisdiction in the 20 member states that created the office, with remaining countries having the choice to join later.
The countries that are not part of the initiative are Britain, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.
The independent EU prosecutor would have the power to prosecute cross-border value-added-tax (VAT) fraud and corruption using EU funds.
The office was created because no EU or national body currently has the authority to single-handedly prosecute cross-border VAT fraud, which deprives national budgets of 50 billion Euros (56 billion dollars) in revenue each year.
“This is a good day for the European taxpayer,’’ Vera Jourova, European commissioner for justice said.
The European Parliament has yet to sign off on the agreement. (dpa/NAN)