The Netherlands will become the 21st country to join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, which will tackle cross-border fraud across the EU.
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) was proposed in 2013, to challenge the ongoing problem of cross border fraud, which leads to the loss of at least €50bn in revenue from VAT. The plan was taken forward in 2017 through the enhanced co-operation mechanism, and will be operation by the end of 2020 in all participating member states.
The countries currently confirmed to participate in the scheme are:
- Czech Republic
- Spain, and
Malta has also notified the Commission of its intention to participate. This notification will be reviewed by authorities in line with procedures established for the European Public Prosecutor’s Office before a decision is taken.
How will the European Public Prosecutor’s Office tackle fraud?
The organisation will collaborate with national law enforcement authorities in all participating member states to more quickly and effectively investigate all crimes affecting the EU budget, including fraud – particularly cross-border VAT fraud – corruption and money laundering involving damage of more than €10,000. Cross-border VAT fraud cases with damages in excess of €10m will also fall under the EPPO’s jurisdiction.
EPPO will also work in close conjunction with Olaf, the European Anti-Fraud Office, Europol and Eurojust, to overcome current shortcomings in how cases are investigated. Commissioner for Justice, Věra Jourová, emphasised that cross-border participation is vital because many of the crimes that affect the EU budget take place across multiple states, and therefore must be investigated in many different places in a swift and co-ordinated way.
She said: “Crime knows no borders, therefore we have to work together to fight it. I welcome the Netherlands today as a new member of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. The more EU countries join, the broader the reach of the EPPO, and the more money can be recovered. This is why I urge all remaining Member States to join this essential network in the fight against fraud and corruption, so that we can ensure that every cent of the EU budget is spent to the benefit of our citizens.”