The future cooperation between OLAF and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office

Date01 March 2018
AuthorChloé Brière,Anne Weyembergh
Published date01 March 2018
Subject MatterArticles
The future cooperation between
OLAF and the European Public
Prosecutor’s Office
Anne Weyembergh
´Libre de Bruxelles, Belgique
´Libre de Bruxelles, Belgique
Establishing the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) will represent an important step for
cross-border cooperation in criminal matters within the European Union, and more particularly for
the protectionof the Union’s financial interests. The EPPO’s workwill complement the work carried
out by the European Anti-Fraud Office. This article, based on a briefing paper commissioned by the
European Parliament’s Policy Departmentfor Budgetary Affairs, at the requestof the Committee on
Budgetary Control, analyses future cooperation between these two bodies, OLAF and the EPPO.
Three main dimensions of their cooperation are analysed aswell as the elements of complexity that
may influence it. The article highlights elements essential for their close cooperation and com-
plementarity, especially with regard to a potential revision of OLAF’s legal framework.
EPPO, OLAF, Protection of the EU’s financial interests
Protection of the European Union’s financial interests has always been an issue at the core of many
sensitive discussions. Such discussions have gained a new momentum, as after nearly 20 years of
debates in European circles, negotiations surrounding European Public Prosecutor’s Office
(EPPO) Regulation have come to a conclusion within the Council. A first compromise text was
agreed in January 2017.
Following the lack of unanimity within the Council on 7 February 2017 in
Corresponding author:
Anne Weyembergh, Universite
´Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgique.
1. Council, doc. 5445/17, 31 January 2017.
New Journal of European Criminal Law
2018, Vol. 9(1) 62–82
ªThe Author(s) 2017
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/2032284417743820
respect of the draft Regulation,
the referral of that draft Regulation to the European Council by a
group of 17 member states (MSs) on 14 February 2017 and the discussion leading to a disagree-
ment in the European Council on 9 March 2017,
the European Parliament, the Council and the
Commission were notified, on 3 April 2017, by 16 MSs, namely Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia,
Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal,
Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain, that they wanted to trigger enhanced cooperation for the
establishment of the EPPO.
In accordance with the third subparagraph of Article 86(1) Treaty on
the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the authorization to proceed with enhanced
cooperation referred to in Article 20(2) Treaty on the European Union (TEU) and Article
329(1) TFEU was thereby deemed to be granted and the provisions on enhanced cooperation
applied as from 3 April 2017. Subsequently, four additional MSs (Latvia on 19 April,
and Estonia
on 7 June and Italy on 22 June 2017
) informed the three institutions that they wished
to participate in the enhanced cooperation. So far, 20 MSs will thus be involved in the Regulation.
On 8 June 2017, the Council reached a general approach on the draft Regulation implementing
enhanced cooperation for the establishment of the EPPO,
the text of which was subsequently
revised by lawyer-linguists.
The Council was then invited to agree in principle on the draft
Regulation and to decide to forward it to the European Parliament for consent.
The text was
transmitted to the Parliament for its consent on 17 July. The latter has been consulted throughout
the negotiations, and on 5 October gave its consent to the draft EPPO Regulation, thus allowing for
final adoption of the text by the end of the year.
This article focuses on the cooperation between the EPPO and European Anti-Fraud Office
(OLAF), both of which are competent in protecting the EU’s financial interests. Given the con-
vergence of their objectives and the comple mentarity of their mandates and competences, an
effective cooperation between them is essential. However, addressing the issue of their future
cooperation implies a forward-looking exercise in a still rather ‘unsettled’ context or ‘changing’
Indeed, such cooperation might be influenced by two main pending elements. On the
one hand, Regulation 883/2013,
which defines rules concerning OLAF’s investigations, has been
2. For the text of the draft Regulation at the time, see Council, doc. 5766/17, 31 January 2017.
3. See conclusions of the European Council, 9 March 2017.
4. Council, doc. 8027/17, 5 April 2017.
5. Council, doc. 9546/17, 24 May 2017.
6. Council, doc. 10542/17, 21 June 2017.
7. Council, doc. 10053/17, 7 June 2017.
8. Council, doc. 10627/17, 23 June 2017.
9. Council, doc. 9545/2/17 REV 2, 2 June 2017.
10. Council, doc. 9941/17, 30 June 2017.
11. Council, doc. 10554/17, 30 June 2017.
12. European Parliament, Legislative resolution of 5 October 2017 on the draft Council regulation implementing enhanced
cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (‘the EPPO’) (09941/2017 – C8-0229/
2017 – 2013/0255(APP)), doc. P8_TA-PROV(2017)0384. See also Joint Statement by Commissioners Oettinger and
Jourova´ on the European Parliament’s consent to establishing the European Public Prosecutor’s Office; 5 October
13. As a disclaimer, the discussions in this article are based on the consolidated version of the EPPO Regulation of 30 June
2017 (Council doc. 9941/17)) and on the current wording of Regulation 883/2013.
14. Regulation (EU, Euratom) No. 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 September 2013 con-
cerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1073/
Weyembergh and Brie
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