BRUSSELS -- Negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council of Europe on who will become the first European Public Prosecutor will restart next week, most likely on September 17, according to several sources familiar with the topic.
The talks come after the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents on September 12 decided on a new parliamentary negotiation team. It consists of the chairs of the parliament’s civil liberties and budgetary control committees as well as one vice-chair.
The negotiations initially started in February but have since stalled with European Union governments and the European Parliament supporting different candidates.
EU governments chose Jean-François Bohnert of France to head the European Public Prosecutor Office (EPPO). The European Parliament backed Romania's Laura Codruta Koevesi.
The stalemate has continued through the summer with a new parliament team needed to be set up after the European elections in May.
An agreement may now be in sight after media reports suggested France has withdrawn its support for Bohnert in favor of Koevesi.
Officially, however, France has not changed its position. Bohnert has stated that he is still running for the post, despite reports that he is in line to head the French prosecutor's office for financial crimes.
A Council of Europe source told RFE/RL that Bohnert remains the council's choice for now. But the source said EU ambassadors will discuss the issue after the two negotiating teams meet next week
The European prosecutor's office is being set up to prosecute crimes involving EU funds such as VAT fraud and money laundering.
Koevesi has been widely praised by the EU for her work against graft as Romania’s chief public prosecutor.
Koevesi was dismissed from the Romanian prosecutor's post in 2018 by Romania's government, and Bucharest has actively campaigned against her candidacy for the European prosecutor's post.
But critics say her dismissal in Bucharest was an attempt by authorities there to prevent her anticorruption agency, the DNA, from convicting senior members of the governing alliance.