The European Public Prosecutor comes into being

It is known that one of the objectives of the European Union is the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice. The latest step, until now, to achieve this has been made by the Council of the European Union with the passing of Regulation (UE)2017/1939[1] of the Council, on 12 October 2017, which establishes reinforced cooperation for the creation of the European Public Prosecutor. This has been done by abiding by the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TFUE) which establishes judicial cooperation in penal terms and keeping to the proposal of the European Commission and to the approval of the European Parliament.[2]

In accordance with article 86 of the TFUE, the European Prosecutor must be created based on Eurojust. This means that regulation 2017/1939 has to establish a close relationship between both based on cooperation.

The area of material competences of the European Prosecutor is limited to penal offences that damage the financial interests of the Union in accordance with what the TFUE has at its disposal. This way, the functions of the European Prosecutor must be to investigate, process and take to trial those who have committed offences against the financial interests of the Union such as crimes which have an indissoluble link to them.

Therefore, abiding by the principle of subsidiarity, offences that damage the financial interests of the Union, because of their dimension and effects, could be combatted more effectively at Union level. And concerning the principle of loyal cooperation, both the European Prosecutor and the competent national authorities must help each other and inform each other with the aim of effectively fighting against offences included in the field of competence of the European Prosecutor.

The regulation predicts that the European Prosecutor will elaborate and publish an annual report of its general activities that will, at the very least, include statistical data of the work of the European Public Prosecutor.

The Prosecutor must be inseparable from the Union, which works as a sole organism. Furthermore, with the aim of guaranteeing the coherences of actions by the European Prosecutor and, therefore, an equivalent protection of the financial interests of the Union, the organisational structure and the process of internal decision-making of the European Prosecutor, the central office must be allowed to control, direct and supervise all investigations initiated by delegate European prosecutors and the penal processes they intervene in.

The General European Prosecutor exercises its functions as head of the European Prosecution and will take on responsibilities before the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. At a decentralised level, there will be delegate European prosecutors, established within the member states.

The regulation requires that the European Public Prosecutor must respect, in particular, the right to an impartial trial, the rights of defence and the presumption of innocence, enshrined in articles 47 and 48 of the charter.

The activities of the European Public Prosecutor are carried out in complete accordance with the rights of suspects and the accused enshrined in the charter, including the right to an impartial trail and the right of defence.

Likewise, a coherent and homogeneous application of norms protecting fundamental rights and freedoms in relation to the treatment of personal data throughout the Union must be guaranteed.

The Public Prosecutor must be able to access any information affecting its competence stored in the databases and records of the institutions, organs and organisms of the Union.

[1] Directive (UE) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and the Council, of 5 July 2017, linked to the fight against fraud that affects the financial interests of the Union via penal law.

[2] Passed 5 October 2017

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