The former chief of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, Laura Codruta Kovesi, is in the lead for becoming the first-ever chief of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office
Laura Codruta Kovesi was dismissed as head of the National Anti-Corruption
Directorate. President Klaus Iohannis had to sign a decree in this respect,
after the Constitutional Court took away his right to oppose the dismissal
proposal made by the Justice Minister Tudorel Toader.
The head of
state had originally rejected the proposal as ungrounded, a view shared by the
Higher Council of Magistracy, whose opinion however is only advisory.
prosecutor Kovesi, whose work has been constantly praised in the European
Commission's reports on the Romanian justice system, is in pole position in the
race for the top position in the new European Public Prosecutor's Office. She
got the most votes following hearings in the European Parliament's Committee on
Civil Liberties. Codruta Kovesi says this is not only a personal achievement:
Laura Codruta Kovesi: "This vote is not only for me, but for the
Romanian justice system as a whole. This vote is for all the citizens in Romania
who over the past few years have supported the fight against corruption and the
rule of law. It is a vote for all the prosecutors and judges in Europe who work
under pressure. I had no support from the Government of Romania, I have neither
asked for it nor expected it."
analyst would have suspected Kovesi of being so naïve as to hope for support
from a Government that not only denies her merits, but goes as far as to see
her as the champion of alleged abuse by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate.
votes cast by the Romanian MEPs from the Social Democratic Party and the
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats are tale-telling. The Social Democratic
Senator Claudiu Manda said that his fellow MEPs from the same party voted
against Kovesi's appointment as European Chief Prosecutor because they know
about the abuse she had perpetrated in Romania.
"This is a perfect example coming from the
European Parliament, which very generously teaches us that politics must not
interfere in the judicial system, but today they are displaying a perfect case
of political interference with the judiciary," the leader of the Alliance of
Liberals and Democrats, Calin Popescu Tariceanu said in his turn.
On the other
hand, for the National Liberal Party in opposition, the vote is a victory for
Romania in the European Parliament, whereas Save Romania Union sees it as one
more blow received by the ruling coalition from the EU.
The next step is
a political decision, negotiated by the Council of the EU with the European
Parliament. The EPPO, expected to be up and running in 2020, will be an
independent body in charge with investigating and prosecuting crimes against
the EU budget, including fraud, corruption or cross-border VAT fraud of over 10
million euro. It will be based in Luxembourg and will consist of a chief
prosecutor and prosecutors from all participating member states. The EPPO chief
will have a 7-year term in office.