The European public prosecutor’s office – necessary … 61
can stop a criminal offence (especially in the European Union, a space of liberty,
security and justice, with no border checks). And the need of EU protection in this
field is proved by the very instruments adopted at EU level38.
Balancing the clear need for EU action in certain fields of serious crimes with
cross-border dimension with the (at least doubtful) need for criminal law
intervention for protecting EU’s financial interests, I can find no scientific
explanation for choosing the latter to establish the jurisdiction of the EPPO, instead
of the former.
Indeed, the message sent to the European citizens is the following one: several
legal goods, of tremendous importance to you (such as life, freedom, health etc.),
are of secondary importance to us (European institutions and Member States).
More important are our financial interests, and we chose a very powerful and
revolutionary instrument (the EPPO) to protect these interests.
The only logical explanation for this choice is the lack of political will to grant
more powers to EU institutions in the field of criminal law. Member States have
come to consider criminal law as part of their own sovereignty, and granting part
of it to EU means less power for national authorities. As they are prepared to do so
in a field where they have little or no interest for protecting (EU financial interests),
there is no intention, at least in the near future, towards extending it to fields
where the EU interests may collide with the national ones. But, in doing so, the
message sent to European citizens is far from encouraging: important social values,
such as life, freedom, health, can be protected sufficiently through traditional
judicial cooperation. However, EU financial interests are of such importance, that
only vertical, united and coordinated investigation through the creation of the
EPPO, can succeed in efficiently protecting those interests.
I wonder if there is still time to change this message.
between 14 and 17, 5,880 between 18 and 24, 2,485 between 25 and 30, 2,092 over 30 (124 not
recorded). The most represented countries of origin are Ukraine, Republic of Moldova, Belarus, and
Romania. Among the countries to which people are trafficked there are several EU countries: Italy
(500 victims), Greece (105), Germany (136), Czech Republic (303), Bulgaria (204), Austria (101), and
Poland (778). 188 recorded cases concern international trafficking, 2,389 are cases of internal
trafficking. See the Impact Assessment accompanying the document Proposal for a Council
Framework Decision on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting
victims, repealing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA, [COM(2009) 136 final].
38 Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA of 13 June 2002 on combating terrorism, OJ L164,
22.06.2002, p.3-7; Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 25 October 2004 laying down
minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit
drug trafficking, OJ L 335, 11.11.2004, p. 8-11; Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA of
22 December 2003 on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, OJ L 13,
20.01.2004, p. 44-48; Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of
5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and
replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA, OJ L 101, 15.04.2011, p. 1-11; Proposal for a
Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on attacks against information systems, and
repealing Council Framework Decision 2005/222/JHA [COM(2010) 517 final].