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The European Public Prosecutor’s Office, or ‘EPPO’, for short, is the public prosecution office of the European Union. It is responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment crimes affecting the financial interests of the EU. These include economic and financial crimes, such as the misuse of funds, money laundering, VAT fraud and corruption.
The EPPO undertakes investigations, carries out acts of prosecution and exercises the functions of prosecutor in the competent courts of the participating EU country.
The creation of the EPPO has been underway for almost 25 years. One of the key dates is October 2017, as this was when the legal basis of the EPPO, the EPPO Regulation, was adopted. Four years later, on 1 June 2021, the EPPO started its operations.
22 EU countries decided to join the EPPO and participate in the enhanced cooperation. These are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. Each participating EU country also has a page on our website, where you can find more information.
Yes, the EPPO is an independent European Union body. The EPPO’s independence is guaranteed in the EPPO Regulation, the legal framework of the EPPO. The prosecutors working for the EPPO work in the interests of the EU, and do not take instructions from anyone outside of the EPPO, including national authorities.
The central office of the EPPO is located in Luxembourg, while 36 decentralised EPPO offices are located throughout the participating EU countries.
By the end of 2022, there were around 250 EPPO staff working in Luxembourg and around 110 European Delegated Prosecutors working in the EPPO offices in the participating EU Member States.
The EPPO is organised on two levels: a central office in Luxembourg, which includes the European Chief Prosecutor and 22 European Prosecutors, and a decentralised level with around 110 European Delegated Prosecutors in 36 offices in the participating EU countries.
The current European Chief Prosecutor is Laura Kövesi. She represents the EPPO vis-à-vis the institutions of the EU, EU countries and third parties, and also chairs the College of the EPPO. In October 2019, she was confirmed as the first European Chief Prosecutor for a period of 7 years.
The College of the EPPO is made up of the European Chief Prosecutor and 22 European Prosecutors (one per participating EU country). Together, they decide on strategic matters and adopt internal rules and procedures.
For each Member State, one European Prosecutor has been appointed by the Council of the European Union. The European Prosecutors are members of the College, the EPPO’s steering body. They are also involved in the EPPO’s case work, as they sit in the Permanent Chambers which monitor and direct investigations handled by the European Delegated Prosecutors (-> What is a European Delegated Prosecutor?), and they supervise the investigations handled by the European Delegated Prosecutors from their own Member State. In exceptional cases, the European Prosecutors may decide to step in for a European Delegated Prosecutor from their Member State, and conduct the investigation personally.
The Permanent Chambers are the operational engine of the EPPO, and are a very strong extra layer to guarantee the independence of the EPPO’s investigations. They monitor the actions taken throughout the investigation, and decide on all the important steps – like whether to prosecute or dismiss a case, or to apply a simplified procedure. Each Permanent Chamber (15 in total) consists of 3 European Prosecutors who are permanent members, who supervise the European Delegated Prosecutors. To ensure an independent assessment of the case, none of the members of the Permanent Chambers comes from the country where the report came from. Our Permanent Chambers are unique; they have not been used anywhere else in the world.
European Delegated Prosecutors are the prosecutors who investigate, prosecute and bring to judgment cases falling within the EPPO's competence on behalf of the EPPO in his/her home Member State. A European Delegated Prosecutor is called a handling European Delegated Prosecutor in respect of those cases where he/she is responsible for the investigations and prosecutions, for instructing the competent investigation authorities in his/her Member State, and eventually for taking the case to a court of the Member State where he/she is located. A European Delegated Prosecutor can also act as an assisting European Delegated Prosecutor: He/she takes this role where the responsible handling European Delegated Prosecutor from another Member State needs a measure (e.g. a search) to be carried out in the former’s Member State. The assisting European Delegated Prosecutor then assists the investigations and prosecutions of the handling European Delegated Prosecutor in a cross-border manner, by carrying out the measures assigned to him/her by the handling European Delegated Prosecutor. The work of the European Delegated Prosecutors is supervised by the European Prosecutors (-> What is a European Prosecutor?) at the Central Office. There are at least 2 European Delegated Prosecutors in each participating EU country. In total, the EPPO currently has around 110 European Delegated Prosecutors across the 36 offices in the participating EU countries.
Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Poland and Sweden are not participating in the EPPO, as joining the EPPO is not an obligation. Working arrangements with these 5 non-participating EU countries are being established to define how the EPPO will cooperate with them. The working arrangement with Hungary was already signed in April 2021.
As regards non-EU countries, the EPPO has concluded working arrangements with the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Albania, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Moldova, the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office of Montenegro, the Prosecution Service of Georgia and the State Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of North Macedonia, and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Working Arrangement on Cooperation with the United States Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security
Since the EPPO started its operations on 1 June 2021, it has registered more than 4000 crime reports from participating EU countries and private parties, opened over 929 investigations and €259 million in freezing orders were granted. (1 June 2022)
• Cross-border VAT fraud involving total damages of at least €10 million • Other types of fraud affecting the EU’s financial interests • Corruption that damages, or is likely to damage, the EU’s financial interests • Misappropriation of EU funds or assets by a public official • Money laundering and organised crime, as well as other offences inextricably linked to one of the previous categories. But only if they damage, or risk damaging, the EU’s financial interests.
• Non-procurement expenditure fraud: The use or presentation of false, incorrect or incomplete statements or documents in order to obtain EU funding – common in agricultural subsidies (e.g. discrepancies between actual crops cultivated in some land parcels, and those that were indicated in an application for the funds). • Procurement expenditure fraud: The use or presentation of false, incorrect or incomplete statements or documents in order to obtain contracts for EU-funded projects – widespread in construction, waste, technology and HR development programmes (e.g. rigging specifications in public procurement procedures and inflating costs). • VAT revenue fraud: The non-payment or unlawful reimbursement of Value Added Tax (VAT), notably via carousel fraud/missing trader schemes, and fraud committed within (or ‘by’) a criminal organisation (e.g. a VAT carousel fraud scheme to re-sell cars multiple times across different EU countries). • Non-VAT revenue fraud: Fraud concerning revenue of the European Union (‘own resources’), such as the non-payment of customs (e.g. tobacco smuggling or smuggling of high-priced motor vehicles and declaring them to the customs authorities at a falsely reduced value) and anti-dumping duties (e.g. importing e-bikes from China and falsely declaring the country of origin as Malaysia, to evade a payment of anti-dumping and countervailing duties). • Corruption: Active and passive corruption of public officials, including bribery, collusion and failure to fulfil duties in relation to the awarding of EU funding (e.g. receiving and giving bribes, in connection with awarding of tendered works). • Non-PIF offences: E.g. fraud causing damage to victims other than the European Union, or tax offences under national law relating to national taxes, where those offences are not PIF offences but inextricably linked to those (e.g. a PIF offence and an offence of abuse of office). (Note: The above explanations only indicate some typical phenomena and are not comprehensive). The material competence of the EPPO is determined by Article 22 of the EPPO Regulation. Article 22 of the EPPO Regulation refers to a series of offences deriving from EU law, harmonised by the PIF Directive. The PIF Directive defines which crimes are considered as crimes affecting the EU budget (the so-called ‘PIF crimes’, from the French acronym ‘protection des intérêts financiers’). (see -> https://www.eppo.europa.eu/en/legal-framework)
Yes, it is possible for you to report a crime to us in any of the official languages of the EU: go to the Report a crime tab in our navigation menu. However, you cannot report every crime to us. It needs to fall within our mandate of crimes affecting the EU budget (see the question “What kind of crime falls under the EPPO’s responsibility?”) If it does not, we kindly ask you to report it to your national authorities. Please note that reporting a crime can have serious consequences. A crime report that is subsequently proven to be intentionally false or misleading, or intentionally submitted for an illicit purpose, may lead to legal consequences for its sender, including but not limited to administrative and/or criminal sanctions.
You can report a crime to the EPPO’s headquarters in Luxembourg in any of the official languages of the EU, via the ‘Report a Crime’ web form. Please note that you do not have the option to submit your online crime report anonymously. However, if it is allowed by the national rules, you may do so directly with the European Delegated Prosecutor in your country.
The EPPO has signed working arrangements with the European Commission, Eurojust, Europol, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the European Court of Auditors, the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund, and many more national authorities.
The EPPO received a budget of €57 million for 2022.
You can contact the EPPO via the contact form on the website. You can choose between the following categories: - 'General information' - 'Media request (for journalists only) - 'Career opportunities'
You can contact the EPPO via the contact form on the website. You can choose between the following categories: - ‘General information’ - ‘Media request (for journalists only)’ - ‘Career opportunities’
You can contact the EPPO's press team via the contact form on the website by choosing the 'Media request (for journalists only) category.
If you want to organise a study visit, please send your request via the contact form, by choosing ‘General information’ as the category. Please note that the EPPO’s central office and the EPPO offices in the participating EU countries are not public buildings, and there are no visiting hours.