Kövesi Expects a More Effective Fight against Financial Fraud in the EU
The head of the newly established European Public Prosecutor's Office, Laura Kövesi, expects the structure she leads to improve the effectiveness of the fight against financial fraud in the European Union. In an interview with the BBC, Kövesi said that so far the cooperation between the European Anti-Fraud Office and individual governments has been too sluggish, BNR reported.
"Until now, OLAF has been carrying out administrative checks only. They did not conduct criminal investigations. It is the prosecutor who can do this. The European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) will be the only legal body at European level that will be able to launch an investigation. We will have prosecutors from all participating countries. The EPPO will harmonize the financial fraud procedure for all Member States. There are problems in every country on this issue. We can strengthen the protection of European funds and investigate these crimes better if each country is represented by a prosecutor," Kövesi said.
She explained what more the newly created structure will be dealing with.
"We will investigate financial fraud and influential people. But it is important to clarify that, unlike my work as head of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate in Romania, I will not be alone in my work in the European Public Prosecutor's Office, but we will be a team of prosecutors from 22 EU member states. We will pool our experience and knowledge to carry out better investigations," the head of the Prosecution said.
Laura Kövesi also commented on corruption in Romania, which, according to Transparency International, is the second most corrupt country in the EU after Bulgaria.
"Eradicating corruption in any country is not the sole responsibility of prosecutors. Good laws are also needed in the fight against this phenomenon to enable prosecutors to investigate these crimes. It is also important to say that the way society thinks as a whole can help reduce the level of corruption. Arresting or investigating people cannot solve this problem in themselves," she said.