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European Chief Prosecutor addresses letter to the Commission on Ireland's refusal to cooperate with the EPPO

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Today, the European Chief Prosecutor addressed a letter to the European Commission in line with Recital 16 of Regulation (EU) 2020/2092 of 16 December 2020 on a general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union Budget pointing at Ireland’s refusal to cooperate with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).

Though Ireland does not take part in the enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the EPPO, cooperation between the EPPO and competent judicial authorities in Ireland still has to rely on the existing instruments for judicial cooperation and mutual recognition. This includes essential instruments for cross-border criminal investigations like the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of the European Union and the European Arrest Warrant (Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA). Accordingly, all the Member States participating in the EPPO notified the EPPO as a competent authority for the application of existing instruments for judicial cooperation.

In this context, the European Chief Prosecutor deeply regrets that Ireland, in full knowledge of the legal implications of the adoption of the EPPO regulation on 12 October 2017, in practice refuses to recognize participating Member States’ notifications of the EPPO as a competent authority and has been consistently rejecting the EPPO’s requests for judicial cooperation since the start of its operations on 1 June 2021.

Given that whenever the EPPO is carrying out a criminal investigation of a cross-border nature, it is unable to obtain evidence located in Ireland, the EPPO’s ability to counter criminality affecting the Union budget is systematically hindered. The EPPO currently has 6 ongoing investigations involving Ireland.