16 Mar, 2020

EPPO needs resources to fight fraud and corruption

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) was set up in order to improve the protection of the financial interests of the EU and fight against white-collar crime. It has the competence to investigate and prosecute infringements of the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or serious cross-border VAT fraud.

The European Parliament has always strongly advocated for the EPPO because we cannot allow any form of misuse of European funds. The European Commission set the objective for the EPPO to start operations in November 2020. We are concerned that this objective will not be achieved if the Commission fails to resolve the current lack of funding.

Considering that up to €60 billion is lost each year to cross-border VAT fraud and that €390.7 million in fraud in EU spending was detected in 2017 alone, it is essential to have a fully functioning EPPO as soon as possible. It is clear that the EPPO can only function properly if it has the necessary funds. We were very alarmed to hear the European Chief Prosecutor state that the current budgetary framework of the EPPO is obsolete and insufficient.

The workload of the EPPO in the first year of operations will be much higher than anticipated, so therefore its resources have to be substantially increased to allow for this.

Dacian Cioloș, President of the Renew Europe Group, said:

“We expect the Commission to ensure that the EPPO will have the resources it needs, and therefore Renew has, together with the EPP and S&D Group, urged the Commission to act accordingly (see letter). It is vital that the EPPO can start operations on a solid basis with enough European Delegated Prosecutors and other staff to ensure it can get to work immediately.”

“We cannot allow a false start or not accord the EPPO the importance it deserves. The fact that we will need to have a new MFF in place soon only adds to our sense of urgency. We all should feel the responsibility to do our utmost to ensure that EU funding is spent properly. The EPPO has a vital role to play in this regard and therefore has to be fully equipped to meet this task.”

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