BRUSSELS -- EU ambassadors have decided to back former Romanian anti-corruption official Laura Codruta Koevesi to become the first-ever European anti-fraud prosecutor.
The European Council -- comprising ambassadors from all 28 EU member states -- made a U-turn after previously backing French prosecutor Jean-Francois Bohnert, while the European Parliament has supported Koevesi.
The EU ambassadors switched their support to the candidate backed by the lawmakers in a secret ballot on September 19 after France recently indicated it was shifting its position away from its own candidate toward Koevesi. Bohnert is reportedly likely to become head of France's office for financial crimes.
Seventeen ambassadors out of the 23 EU member states that will join the European Public Prosecutor's Office voted in favor of Koevesi.
Negotiations that started in February between the council and parliament were put on hold until after elections in May for a new European Parliament, but were resumed on September 17.
Marko Ruonala, the spokesman of the Finnish EU presidency, told RFE/RL that the informal vote on September 19 should be followed by a formal one in the council once the two teams of negotiators have met and come to a common position. The next meeting is scheduled for September 24.
"This is not the last word," Ruonala said after the vote.
Koevesi ran Romania's anti-corruption agency until she was dismissed last year by the leftist government for alleged abuse of power.
Critics say her dismissal was prompted by her prosecuting and indicting a record number of ministers, politicians, and other officials on corruption charges, in one of the bloc's most corrupt countries.