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Romania's Koevesi Edges Closer To European Prosecutor Job

Laura Codruta Koevesi casts her ballot for the European elections at a polling station in Bucharest on May 26.

BRUSSELS -- Negotiators from the European Council and the European Parliament have resumed talks to choose the first-ever European anti-fraud prosecutor, with sources indicating that former Romanian anti-corruption official Laura Codruta Koevesi is emerging as the favorite to get the job.

Discussions launched in February have since stalled, with the council -- comprising representatives of all 28 EU member states -- throwing its weight behind French prosecutor Jean-Francois Bohnert and European lawmakers backing Romania's Koevesi.

Negotiations were put on hold until after elections in May for a new European Parliament.

Marko Ruonala, spokesman for the EU's current Finnish presidency, told RFE/RL after the September 17 talks that "both sides are willing to work constructively to ensure the timely setting up of European Public Prosecutor's Office."

Ruonala said the council's negotiating team will report back to the EU ambassadors on September 19.

Several sources familiar with the talks told RFE/RL on condition of anonymity that although the council still officially backs Bohnert, the ambassadors might switch their support to Koevesi by way of a secret vote during the September 19 meeting.

Reports say Bohnert is likely to become head of France's office for financial crimes.

Spaniard Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, one of the three members of the European Parliament's negotiating team, told RFE/RL that the lawmakers continue to back Koevesi and called on the council to follow suit.

"We respect the rule of the game, which is a consensus procedure, but we urge the council to come closer to the European Parliament position around the candidacy of Mrs. Koevesi," he said.

The next negotiation round between the two teams is scheduled for September 24.

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.

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