Brussels Threatens Poland, Hungary over Public Prosecutor
The European Commission could impose financial penalties on Poland and Hungary if they block the creation of a European public prosecutor, the E.U. justice commissioner told Handelsblatt.
“It’s fair to say that participation in the European public prosecutor’s office should play a role in negotiations over structural funds,” said Vera Jourova.
The public prosecutor’s office would investigate financial crimes against the European Union, such as the embezzlement of structural funds and sales tax.
Ms. Jourova said Poland and Hungary should support such an office because they receive more in aid from the European Union than they pay into the budget.
Last year, the known cases in which structural funds were misappropriated amounted to €638 million ($682 million). The actual figure could be even higher. Sales tax fraud across the European Union has been estimated at €50 billion per year.
The E.U. member states have been discussing the establishment of a public prosecutor since 2013. So far, 20 of the 28 member states support the creation of such an office, according to Handelsblatt sources in the E.U. diplomatic community.
Those opposed, including the Netherlands and Sweden, argue the public prosecutor would infringe on their national sovereignty.