Estonia is declining to join the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), an initiative of 17 EU member states, as it wants some questions answered first.
"Estonia is currently not among [the founding members] as establishing in such a way can cause practical problems," Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu said in a Friday press release following his meeting with EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová. "For instance, what relations would EPPO have with institutions that already exist — such as Eurojust and the European Anti-Fraud Office — as well as what the cost would be for establishing a new institution. We hope to find answers to these questions soon."
The Estonian minister said that Commissioner Jourová was doing a great job with talks regarding the establishment of the EPPO. "I once again affirmed that Estonia supports creating a strong EPPO," he noted. "But it has become clear by now that no unanimous establishing decision will be made and at least 17 member states want to move forward in the shape of strengthened cooperation."
16 EU member states informed three EU institutions at the beginning of April of their intention to launch strengthened cooperation for the establishment of the EPPO. Talks for perfecting the regulation will now be relaunched in the Council of the EU.
The EPPO is to investigate crimes that harm the EU's financial interests as well as bring to account and send to court those committing such crimes.
Other member states may join the cooperation at any time after the regulation has been adopted.
Jourová is currently on a two-day visit to Estonia during which she has also met with Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, Minister of Social Protection Kaia Iva, Prosecutor General Lavly Perling as well as representatives of the Foreign Affairs and EU Affairs Committees of the Riigikogu and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Jourová also visited the eu-LISA agency in Tallinn.
Editor: Aili Vahtla