Research study by Paul Stephenson and colleagues presented to the EP

On 21 March 2019, the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee (CONT) held a presentation of the study ‘The European Public Prosecutor’s Office: Strategies for coping with complexity’ researched and written by Paul Stephenson and two colleagues, Maria Luisa Sanchez Barrueco (Deusto) and Hartmut Aden (Berlin) from the EUFINACCO research network (Financial Accountability in the European Union – @eufinacco).

The study analyses challenges related to the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) under enhanced cooperation among the current 22 Member States and discusses possible solutions for coping with them. Complexity is identified as a main challenge owing to the EPPO’s specific multilevel structure, the relationship between the EPPO and non-participating Member States, and the fact that the EPPO Regulation leaves many procedural rules to the law of the Member State in which an investigation takes place. Depending on the nature of the challenge, the suggested strategies to cope with complexity encompass legislative, administrative, and monitoring measures.

In particular, the study considers the challenges for the financial accountability of the EU budget in the case of six member states not taking part in the EPPO, the implications for working arrangements between OLAF, the EPPO and national prosecutors, and the practical challenges of setting up a new EU institution. Moreover, it raises questions about the fundamental rights of suspected persons and the legal provisions in place to protect them.

For further information contact Paul Stephenson (

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