JUSTICE POLITICS

Gov’t okays legal basis for selecting prosecutor for European Public Prosecutor’s Office

The Government will approve on Tuesday a normative act on the national selection of a prosecutor to be part of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila announced.

“We have a draft legislative act on the agenda today that creates the legal basis for selecting a prosecutor to be part of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. The rules for the functioning of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, which came into force in 2017, stipulate that each country has to contribute one representative to the formation of this institution, which will become operational next year. According to the procedure, the deadline until each state has to designate its own prosecutor is 31 March 2019. By the document we are discussing today, we are creating the legal basis to select in a first stage three candidates for this position, with the proposals to be sent to Brussels, where a prosecutor from Romania will be appointed,” the prime minister said at the opening of the government meeting.

On the other hand, the Superior Council of magistracy (CSM) discussed on Tuesday on the draft Government’s Emergency Ordinance (GEO) on designating the candidates for the European Prosecutor position, in order to approve it.

The plenum of the Superior Council of Magistracy has issued the positive opinion for the draft Government’s Emergency Ordinance on certain measures for implementing by Romania the Regulation (EU) 2017/1939 of the Council of October 12, 2017, implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (‘the EPPO’), with the remarks appropriated in the Commission no.1 during the Monday’s meeting.

The draft was approved with 17 pros and one con.

“Regarding Art.1 par.3 of the draft Ordinance, related to the persons who can run for the European Prosecutor, the Plenum of the Superior Council of Magistracy has appropriated the following remark: ‘This position could also be held by a judge, in which context the requirements seniority and rank requirements, as well as those related to judges’ (majority: 10 pros, 7 cons, 1 null vote)”, CSM added.

A draft law with a similar title was subject to debate at the end of the last year. According to that draft law, Justice Minister designates three candidates on behalf of Romania in order to be appointed as European Prosecutor, by the Council of the European Union, according to Article 16 of the Regulation (EU) 2017/1939 of the Council of October 12, 2017, implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (‘the EPPO’). The candidates for the European Prosecutor position on behalf of Romania are selected after an interview before a selection committee chaired by the Justice Minister, which also includes: a member of the Superior Council of Magistracy, appointed by its Plenum, a representative of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, appointed by the General Prosecutor of this office, a professional in international judicial cooperation in criminal matters, appointed by the Justice Minister The interview can be attended by prosecutors or judges with at least 15 years of seniority as a prosecutor or judge, who have relevant experience related to the Romanian judiciary, prosecution or judging financial offenses and the international judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader said a draft Government’s Ordinance has been drawn up to create the legal basis for the selection, in the first stage, of the three candidates of which the European Prosecutor representing Romania will be elected. The draft was sent to CSM in order to receive a consultative opinion.

“Each country has to designate its own European Prosecutor that is going to work there, at the European office, in Luxembourg. What does this mean? It means that we have to create the legal basis in order to be able to select three prosecutors, three candidates, one of which will be selected as the European Prosecutor representing Romania, and the procedure will be the same in all the other 21 states. What are we doing by the ordinance you talked about? We are creating the legal basis to select the three candidates, in the first stage, sending the proposals to Brussels, and one of them will be designated there, one of them will be European Prosecutor representing Romania”, Tudorel Toader stated on Sunday evening in a phone intervention at Romania TV.

He said that there has been and still is a discussion on a proposal regarding the competences of this European Prosecutor’s Office, which will become operational in November 2020 and will have only this competence: to prevent and fight against frauds related to the European Union’s financial interests.

“A discussion already exists on the possibility to expand the competences to serious deeds, transborder deeds requiring a European or even international joint response. This is the situation, this is the stage in which we are. The three candidates representing Romania, one of them has to be selected as European Prosecutor representing Romania, I repeat, the proposals have to be sent to Brussels until March 31. The term was shorter, but it was postponed until the end of March, this is the reason for drawing up the draft Ordinance that we have sent to be approved by the Superior Council of Magistracy, a consultative opinion, as we know very well, which we hope we’ll receive as soon as possible”, Toader stated.

 

JusMin Toader: Ordinance on the procedure for designating of the European Prosecutor representing Romania has been adopted by the Government

 

The Government adopted, in the Tuesday meeting, the Emergency Ordinance on the procedure for the selection of the prosecutor representing Romania within the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced.

“The first Emergency Ordinance is related to certain measures for implementing the Regulation 1939 of the Council implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office”, the Justice Minister stated after the Government’s meeting.

The Minister explained that this GEO is not related to the selection of the head of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, too, but only to the selection procedure of the representative of Romania to this institution.

“Romania has to designate three candidates for the position of the European Prosecutor. We have to send these three candidates until March 31. The short term justifies the adoption of the Emergency Ordinance. A prosecutor will be selected. The selection procedure will be held at the Justice Ministry, not at CSM or somewhere else. There will be a European Prosecutor from every member state. Prosecutors and judges can participate, they can run for this position. The European Prosecutor can be a current judge or prosecutor”, Toader added.

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office is going to start its activity by the end of 2020.

The contest for the position of the head of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office is ongoing right now, and Laura Codruta Kovesi is one of the favorites.

According to the schedule of the European parliament, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) has meetings on February 25 at 4.00 PM and on February 26 from 10.00 AM to 3.30 PM.

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