On 1 June 2021, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) started its operational activities. Being competent to investigate and prosecute crimes affecting the Union budget, the EPPO represents a groundbreaking development of European Union law: for the first time, an EU body has been vested with direct criminal law powers vis-à-vis the individuals. While EU criminal law has so far mostly aimed at enhancing cooperation among national authorities, especially by promoting the application of the mutual recognition principle in criminal matters, the EPPO transcends the logic of cooperation and is a first attempt at the integration of criminal justice systems. The establishment of the EPPO and the start of its operational activities raise however several questions, both within and beyond the EU.
These questions were addressed by illustrating four different types of relations that will be crucial for the EPPO’s functioning, notably its relations with the Member States that participate in the EPPO, Member States that do not participate in it (as the EPPO was established by means of enhanced cooperation), other EU bodies and agencies, and third countries. Different legal and political challenges underlie each of these relations and are at the same time a testament to the fascinating complexity of the first supranational public prosecutor’s office.
Fabio Giuffrida obtained his PhD from the School of Law of the Queen Mary University of London in 2019, with a thesis on the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. He was postdoctoral researcher at the University of Luxembourg and, since June 2020, has been working as Policy Officer at the European Commission, in the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers.