Justice Ministry: Romania is open to EPPO powers extension

The extension of the powers of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office was a common denominator of the positions taken by the justice ministers attending the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council meeting, with Romania being open to this extension, the Romanian Ministry of Justice said on Tuesday.

According to a Ministry of Justice press release sent to AGERPRES on Tuesday, Minister Alina Gorghiu attended the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting held in Brussels on Monday, and an exchange of views on EPPO’s relation with national authorities took place in the presence of EPPO Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi and Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.

Alina Gorghiu pointed out that Romania’s experience with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office is a positive one, as the country has filled the whole scheme of 20 posts of delegated European prosecutors, says the source, adding that two EPPO territorial offices have been opened in Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara.

“Extending the powers of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office was a common denominator of the positions taken by the participating justice ministers. Romania is open to this extension, as well as to the steps to strengthen the regulatory and institutional framework necessary to fight crime at European level. In the coming period, priorities and necessary adjustments must be clearly established in order to strengthen the work of the EPPO, given the important role this institution plays in the fight against organised crime. Thus, the objective must be to undermine the financial capabilities of organised crime groups,” the release reads.

The latest developments in the area of judicial response and the fight against impunity for crimes committed in connection with Russia’s aggression in Ukraine were also presented. One of the relevant steps is the strengthening of the EU sanctions regime, says the Ministry of Justice.

According to the press release, on the sidelines of the meeting, Alina Gorghiu had a meeting with Minister of Justice of the French Republic Eric Dupond-Moretti, and the main topic of discussion was bilateral judicial cooperation.

The Minister of Justice also had a dialogue with her counterpart from the Kingdom of Belgium Paul Van Tigchelt, the discussions focused on the priorities in the area of justice of the upcoming Belgian Presidency of the EU Council, on the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking.

Another topic concerned the conditions of detention in Romanian prisons, which are up to ECHR standards. The Belgian Minister of Justice said, quoted in the press release, that there is always openness for the development of bilateral cooperation between the Kingdom of Belgium and Romania in the fight against drug trafficking.