Van Nispen: No to a European Public Prosecutor

23 November 2016

Van Nispen: No to a European Public Prosecutor

The Netherlands must say no to a European Public Prosector’s Office, SP Member of Parliament Michiel van Nispen demanded during Wednesday’s parliamentary debate. “The European Union is once again demonstrating that it is insatiably hungry for new powers,” said Van Nispen. “A European PPO isn’t needed and certainly isn’t to be desired, because the member states themselves control their own criminal law and decide how to deploy the capacities of their police and prosecution services. Which criminal acts we prosecute and which we don’t, where our priorities lie, these are things that the Netherlands decides for itself and that’s how it should stay.”

In the opinion of a number of EU member states there is a need for a European Public Prosecutor’s Office to tackle fraudulent activity involving EU funds. The SP has consistently emphasised the importance of more effective cooperation between member states in the fight against crime. According to Van Nispen, however, a European PPO is neither necessary nor desirable. “Fraud is stubborn, and the SP is the anti-fraud party par excellence which is why we demand more effective cooperation to combat all forms of crime, especially fraud, including at European level” he says. “To achieve this there are already agreements and organisations, such as the antifraud bureau OLAF. In addition, subsidies which have been used fraudulently must be immediately returned and payments ceased. There’s no need for a European PPO to achieve this.”

A number of years ago most countries would have seen a European PPO as unthinkable, yet it now appears that’s what we’re going to get. “There’s already support for broadening the powers of a European PPO to additional criminal offences,” says Van Nispen. “It’s also already being said that this PPO will be the prelude to a real European police force and European criminal courts. Foreign Minister Bert Koenders is already dreaming out loud of a European CIA and a European FBI. It would be naïve to believe that this will end with a European PPO which concerns itself solely with fraud. We must say no to the setting up of this new body. The SP supports more effective cooperation in the fight against crime, but we say no to the transfer of powers, no to a European PPO.”

The SP is also urging Security and Justice Minister Ard van der Steur to stand up to the European Union. “This European Public Prosecutor’s Office should never have been established,” says Van Nispen. “If a majority of member states are in favour, the Netherlands can nevertheless decide not to participate, in contrast to what Van der Steur is now proposing. The Dutch government must now grasp this unique opportunity to prevent new powers being transferred to Brussels.”

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