In the Civil Liberties Justice and Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday discussed a legislative report that seeks Parliament’s approval for the establishment of the long-awaited European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).
The EPPO will a judicial body of the EU that will have the power to investigate and prosecute fraud against the EU budget, and other crimes against the EU’s financial interests. Currently only national authorities have such powers. This would include such things as VAT and cross-border fraud.
Britain has an opt-out from the EPPO as it would be an infringement of national sovereignty and our judicial system. In fact, only 20 of the EU’s currently 28 member states are participating, for example Poland and Hungary are also opting out.
However, does this op-out actually amount to anything? I have always thought that the EPPO could use the EU’s existing legal instruments to circumvent the opt-out. And this was the nature of the question I asked in committee. To my surprise, the representative of the Commission gave me the nearest thing I have ever had to a straight answer and confirmed what I have thought.
To hear my question and the answer click on the link below. And another thing to consider, post-Brexit, Mrs May has promised a new Security & Defence Treaty with the EU. She already stated her intention to keep all the Police and Criminal Justice measures already in place and it is likely that they will be incorporated into this treaty.
So, Britain will not escape the jurisdiction of the EPPO inside or outside the EU if Mrs May gets her way.