The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) and Europol, the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, have set the basis of their future cooperation, in the form of a working arrangement. The working arrangement was approved late 2020 by EPPO’s College and Europol’s Management Board and signed in Luxembourg by the European Chief Prosecutor, Laura Kövesi, after Europol’s Executive Director Catherine De Bolle signed it in The Hague.
The EPPO is the new independent EU body that is responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgement crimes affecting the financial interests of the EU. This includes where the EU financial interests are impacted through e.g. various fraud, including VAT fraud with damages of at least 10 million euro, money laundering and corruption. The EPPO will begin its operations in 2021.
Europol is the European Union’s law enforcement agency. With over 1 300 staff members, Europol serves as the centre for law enforcement cooperation, analytical expertise and criminal intelligence in Europe. Its European Financial and Economic Crime Centre (EFECC) supports the 27 EU Member States in their fight against economic and financial crime by enhancing the use of financial intelligence across the EU, for instance to recover criminal assets.
The working arrangement is a legal instrument that establishes cooperative relations between Europol and EPPO within the limits of their respective legal frameworks and mandates. Cooperation will mainly exist through the exchange of information between the two parties regarding, for instance, specialist knowledge or criminal investigation procedures, but also through the mutual participation in training activities as well as the provision of advice and support in individual criminal investigations.
Executive Director of Europol, Catherine De Bolle:
For the EU to work effectively, it is essential that crimes affecting the financial interests of the EU are prosecuted and brought to justice. In this regard, the partnership being established today between Europol and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office is crucial. I look forward to our two organisations working closely together with our complementary competences and tools to ensure, together with the Member States, that no crime against the EU’s budget goes unpunished.
European Chief Prosecutor, Laura Kövesi:
For the EPPO to be truly efficient and successful in bringing criminals to justice, we have to work closely together with our law enforcement partners in the EU. As the EU’s criminal information hub, Europol will play a key role in this and we will mutually benefit from a strong working relationship. Our cooperation with Europol is a strategic tool to better fight those trying to steal the money of European citizens.