In a short information document prepared by DG H 2B in the Council secretariat, the Spanish EU Council Presidency summarises the background of this new EU office introduced by the Lisbon Treaty.
The document ends with two questions. The first question just asks how to put in place the European Public Prosecutor's Office, but the second is much more interesting:
Is it appropriate to consider the possibility provided for in Article 86(4) right from the start of that procedure?For those of you who don't know the two Lisbon Treaties (TEU & TFEU) by heart already, here's the respective paragraph:
Article 86 para 4 TFEUIn other words, the Spanish Council Presidency is asking the member states whether they want to extend the powers of the European Public Prosecutor right from the beginning.
The European Council may, at the same time or subsequently, adopt a decision amending paragraph 1 in order to extend the powers of the European Public Prosecutor's Office to include serious crime having a cross-border dimension and amending accordingly paragraph 2 as regards the perpetrators of, and accomplices in, serious crimes affecting more than one Member State. The European Council shall act unanimously after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament and after consulting the Commission.
If agreed, this would make him responsible for all "serious cross-border crimes", powers he hasn't been given right away by the Lisbon Treaty. Paragraph 1 of Article 86 so far only gives him power to "combat crimes affecting the financial interests of the Union".
The answers given by the member states will thus pretty much be an indicator how much they are willing to delegate powers in the field of criminal justice to the European Union.