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EC member Jourová wants European prosecutor by mid-year

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Prague, Jan 18 (CTK) – European Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova wants to push through the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) by mid-2017 despite the opposition of some EU member countries such as Poland, she told Czech senators on Wednesday.

Jourova presented the plans that the European Commission has for this year to the members of the upper house of Czech parliament. The EC wants to focus on security and economic growth, she said.

The EPPO would prosecute crimes such as large cross-border tax frauds and corruption within the distribution of EU subsidies.

For recipients of EU subsidies, it will be of key importance whether they participate in the EPPO project, Jourova said.

“One cannot only accept all the advantages and reject certain obligations,” she said.

The Senate repeatedly opposed the idea of a European public prosecutor last year, even though the Czech government achieved concessions. The senators said the Eurojust agency was more suitable for the tasks that the public prosecutor should deal with.

Jourova is the Czech representative in the EC. She is in charge of justice, consumers and gender equality.

She said the EC wants to prevent young people in Europe from turning into Islamic militants by monitoring the contents of the social networking sites and cooperating with Muslim communities.

Jourova talked about an EC directive that fights financing terrorism through money laundering and restricts anonymous online payments with cards.

She said the EC invested six million euros last year in support for a project within which countries share the measures they take to prevent prison inmates from getting radical.

Ideas that may lead young men to commit terrorist violence are often spread in prisons. Anis Amri, who recently drove a truck into a crowd at a Christmas market in Berlin and killed 12 people, is one of those who became radical in prison.

Jourova said prison and probation services of several EU member states have been sharing their experience since November 2015.

She said it seems unrealistic that a single formula to stop the spreading of Islamic radicalism would be found. However, it seems crucial that a person prone to radicalism is revealed soon enough, she added.

Jourova said the EC would like to make the European defence policy stronger.

In connection with Brexit, she said she hoped a trade agreement good for both sides would be achieved and that cooperation in security affairs and anti-terrorism struggle would continue.

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May outlined London’s idea of the process, saying the United Kingdom would control immigration from the EU countries and withdraw from the European Court of Justice, the single market and other EU structures. The UK wants neither partial nor associated EU membership, she said.

In reaction to May, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek welcomed it that the British government has presented clear positions at last. He nevertheless said it seems Britain’s departure from the EU would have a rather devastating effect on most of the countries concerned.

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