EPPO Appoints Frank Eler and Oštir as Slovenian Prosecutors

By , 24 Nov 2021, 20:59 PM Politics
EPPO Appoints Frank Eler and Oštir as Slovenian Prosecutors www.eurojust.europa.eu

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STA, 24 November 2021 - The College of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) appointed on Wednesday Tanja Frank Eler and Matej Oštir as Slovenia's European delegated prosecutors for five-year terms, same as all the other delegated prosecutors, in a move welcomed by the prosecutors and the EU Commission.

"We are extremely pleased to have been appointed European delegated prosecutors for a full five-year term and therefore given an opportunity to take part in this project," Frank Eler and Oštir told the STA.

"We thank the European Public Prosecutor's Office for the trust it has shown us. Regardless of all complications in the appointment procedure we would, above all, like to focus on further work in the prosecution of crime against the EU budget," they added.

Slovenia's Supreme State Prosecutor's Office welcomed the EPPO's decision as well, reiterating its stance that the pair were good candidates who had met all the conditions to be appointed European delegated prosecutor.

The decision has ended "delays in the fulfilment of Slovenia's agreed obligations," the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office said, noting that with Frank Eler and Oštir's appointments, Slovenia would finally fill in the gap that had beset the EPPO and "join the common efforts to protect the EU's financial interests in the country".

European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova congratulated Frank Eler and Oštir on their appointments, posting on Twitter: "Good news, now we have Delegated Prosecutors from every participating country."

Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders shared the sentiment, saying: "After several exchanges I had with the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša and the Minister of Justice Marjan Dikaučič, I am happy that we now have delegated prosecutors in all member states participating in the EPPO."

The EPPO received the Slovenian government's proposal to appoint the two candidates on Friday after the government decided last Thursday to refer the State Prosecution Council's pick of Frank Eler and Oštir.

According to the government, the decision is temporary, in place only until the appointment procedure in Slovenia is completed, a stance that has been disputed by experts.

The government argued that it had taken note of the procedure so far and established that it had not been carried out in line with the state prosecution act due to an insufficient number of applications.

The decision to nominate the selected candidates on a temporary basis has been thus made to avert substantial damage to Slovenia that could be caused by the delay in the appointment, the government said.

However, following the assessment of Frank Eler and Oštir, the EPPO decided this morning to appoint them as full-fledged delegated prosecutors, each for a period of five years, same as delegated prosecutors from all the other EU countries participating in the EPPO.

This comes after the office highlighted on Monday that national authorities only proposed the candidates, but it was up to the EPPO's College to decide on their appointment. "This is key to our independence," the EPPO said.

The State Prosecution Council said that the appointments of Frank Eler and Oštir for a full five-year term "mean the confirmation of the legality of the council's proposal".

However, Janša said today that "nothing is happening that has not been agreed on". "If there is anything left that is unclear, it will be cleared up in the next months," he said at a press conference he held with the Polish prime minister today.

Justice Minister Marjan Dikaučič told Radio Slovenija that Slovenia had been all along striving to fully join the EPPO's efforts as soon as possible by appointing European delegated prosecutors. "Today's decision settled that," the minister said.

The office was launched in June to investigate and prosecute EU budget fraud and other crimes against the bloc's financial interests. A total of 22 member states take part in the EPPO, including Slovenia, which was the last country to propose its delegated prosecutors.

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