Chief prosecutor: Hungary ‘exemplary’ in protecting EU’s financial interests
Hungary’s criminal justice system has been “exemplary” in adopting the necessary European Union provisions concerning the protection of the bloc’s financial interests, Péter Polt, the chief public prosecutor, said on Tuesday at an event marking Prosecutors’ Day that was also attended by Eurojust President Ladislav Hamran.
The most successful form of European cooperation in protecting the EU’s financial interests has been the creation of a joint investigative team, whose efforts have helped bring charges in Hungary in cases concerning the abuse of EU funds, Polt said.
As regards the role of the EU’s anti-fraud office OLAF, Polt said its authority extended only to issuing recommendations to the authorities of member states, and so it does not have the power to handle criminal proceedings.
Citing a report published recently by OLAF, Polt said the Hungarian prosecutor’s office had ordered investigations into all of the suspected fraud cases identified by the office.
Over the past seven years, Hungary raised charges in 47 percent of those cases compared with the EU average of 42 percent, the chief prosecutor said.
On the topic of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) to be established in 2021, Polt said it was “not yet clear” as to what sort of relationship that body would have with the criminal investigative networks already in existence or what exactly it would bring to the table.
Hamran said the growing global threats to security were making the jobs of prosecutors increasingly harder. The lines between countries, the physical and the digital world and criminal groups have become blurred, he said in his Hungarian-language speech, arguing that there has never been a greater need for cooperation among institutions and countries as there is now.
This is where Eurojust can help by supporting and coordinating cross-border proceedings, Hamran said.