Conference on the Establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO)

06 - 06 September 2013
  • Starts at: 09:00h
  • Fee: Regular 175,- / (Phd) Student 75,-
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Organiser: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
  • Email:

Conference on the Commission Proposal on the Establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO)

‘Criminal law protection of the European Union’s financial interests: a shared constitutional responsibility of the EU and its Member States?’
The Lisbon Treaty (Article 86 TFEU) provides that the Union may establish a European Public Prosecution Office (EPPO). The EPPO purports to be a new instrument to help combat crimes affecting the financial interests of the Union. The creation of an EPPO could mark a step in the direction of a Union bestowed with the exercise of criminal law competences. Such initiative raises many constitutional, institutional and legal questions. The Commission has proposed to establish a European Public Prosecution Office (EPPO). (>>Press Release European Commission 17/07/2013)
Though, over time many meetings have been held, dealing wholly or in part with aspects of a possible EPPO, this conference purports to be the first addressing the proposals of Commission itself.

The main objective of this conference will be to provide in close conjunction with practitioners and officials an academic assessment of these proposals. To that end a selection of the issues arising from the proposals of the Commission will be discussed.

Legal experts from the international academia, officials from the relevant ministries and prosecution authorities of the Member States and of the European Union’s institutions involved in policy making and legislation regarding this specific issue as well as legal practitioners will be invited to participate in this one day conference.
The following issues concerning the European Public Prosecutor’s Office will be discussed:

The Commission proposal: an extended arm or a two headed dragon? The Commission proposals will be presented with a particular emphasis on the principles of subsidiarity, conferral of competences and proportionality. The impact analysis, to be delivered by the Commission, would need to provide evidence that Member States are not sufficiently capable to prevent and effectively combat EU fraud (appropriations and expenditure) and other offences harming the EU’s financial interests. Proportionality issues will deal with questions such as whether the proposed structure of the Office and its competences are proportionate and do not exceed what is necessary to achieve the defined objectives.

Legal bases and procedures for EPPO operations and judicial review will focus on the division of rules of substance and procedure governing EPPO operations between the Union and the national level. Which extent of unification and harmonisation of those rules in Article 86 based instruments is proposed and which role may be reserved for model rules developed so far? Further, the impact of existing legal instruments and arrangements, including e.g. preliminary procedures concerning the interpretation of EU rules and direct EU review under Article 263 TFEU, will be explored, in particular in relation to pre-trial investigations by EPPO.

From Eurojust to EPPO: a reversal of the constitutional perspective?  purports to discuss the relationship between Article 85 TFEU, providing for a more Member State oriented Eurojust, and Article 86 TFEU, apparently drafted with a view to a genuinely autonomous EU Office. What could be the relationship between the institutional operationalization of these two provisions from a constitutional perspective? Furthermore, discussion may lead to speculation as to how the EPPO would find its place and be able to effectively function within a multilevel system of administration of justice, not only as between the Union and the Member States, but also as within certain Member States. 

How Feasible is Enhanced Cooperation for EPPO? Enhanced cooperation will most likely become the framework within which EPPO would have to function. Firstly, particular issues of establishing enhanced cooperation under Article 86 TFEU will be examined. Secondly, the implications of enhanced cooperation for the choice of the EPPO model and its operation must be considered, as well as the pitfalls of EPPO jurisdiction trying to investigate and bring to justice cases in an area between non-participating Member States and third countries.

The conference is being prepared by Mr Leendert Erkelens, research fellow at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and former counsellor at the Dutch Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels, and Mr Arjen Meij, former judge at the General Court of the EU and research fellow at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut.

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