Sunday, March 3, 2024

As drug kingpins shift to stealing EU money, Europe’s high prosecutor needs to battle again – POLITICO

The prepare accident in Greece nonetheless affecting process right this moment |Konstantinos Tsakalidis/SOOC/AFP by way of Getty Photos

“There’s a constitutional provision that claims that solely the nationwide parliament has the facility to analyze and prosecute members or former members of the Greek authorities,” Kövesi mentioned, including that the Fee has been made conscious in order that Greece might be pressed to replace its legal guidelines.

However in an increasing number of international locations, there may be little to no hope that officers will change their laws in a approach that permits European prosecutors to go after criminals (and politicians) extra simply. A just lately revealed examine requested by the Fee flagged that many member states had been making it troublesome for EPPO to be efficient of their jurisdictions, be it by way of independence or compliance with EU legal guidelines.

For instance, Slovakia has launched a fast-track process for felony code reform and began the dissolution of the Particular Prosecutor’s Workplace that handles corruption circumstances  — together with these linked to officers from the ruling Smer social gathering, led by Robert Fico.

“We’re very involved by that,” Kövesi mentioned, including that she had despatched a letter to the Fee to share her fears. 

“We had the identical response when it was about Slovenia, the place the federal government wished to decrease the penalties on fraud circumstances, and the place many circumstances could be closed, which is de facto amnesty.”

EPPO additionally finds itself in a fragile place in the case of investigating the Fee itself.

In 2022, EPPO opened a case associated to vaccine procurements following a whole bunch of complaints from residents about Pfizergate (an issue surrounding Fee President Ursula von der Leyen and what was mentioned in textual content messages she reportedly exchanged with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla prematurely of the EU signing its largest Covid vaccine contract with the corporate). 

However don’t fear, Kövesi mentioned, as a result of if her group comes beneath “strain in any case, you will see out as a result of this will probably be public.”

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