The second cycle of lectures of the EPPO-Jean Monnet Module course is currently taking place at the Bicocca Department of Law, the University of Milano coordinated by Professor Ubertazzi.
The course, attended by university students, high school students, lawyers, accountants and the Guardia di Finanza, was an important moment of confrontation between all participants and confirmation of the great passion, especially for us, students of law.
On Monday, 20 March, as part of the course, we had the honour of hosting the current European Public Prosecutor, Dr Danilo Ceccarelli, with whom we discussed the innovative role of the European Public Prosecutor, as well as the practical functions of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office; a great novelty in the EU landscape. However, what always impressed us is the fact that the European Public Prosecutor’s Office investigates crimes of a financial nature that harm our interests as citizens of the European Union, and for this reason, any one of us, via an online form, can turn to EPPO to make a complaint in a simple and affordable way.
The peculiar aspect of the meeting was the way Prosecutor Danilo Ceccarelli decided to interact with us students, allowing us to present to him, before the lecture, our questions, doubts and food for thought regarding the strategic role of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office in combating financial crime relevant to EU interests.
In fact, after briefly presenting his career to us, he managed to attract and keep the attention of all the participants in the event despite the heterogeneity of the audience, combining purely legal topics with unexpected curiosities relating to how Regulation 1939/2017 on the implementation of enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office will be applied in practice.
Prosecutor Ceccarelli offered us an insight into the extensive and exhaustive scope of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office: starting from the structure and technical organisation of the offices working and collaborating for EPPO, he came to his conclusions about the problematic nodes that have emerged in the practical field.
Notable among them is the issue of the procedural deficits found in the Regulation, such as the lack of effectiveness of the right to have a natural and pre-established judge by law, as well as the indefectible recognition of the presumption of innocence of all defendants and suspects, as well as Article 47 of the European Union’s Fundamental Rights.
Moreover, this is precisely where the most exciting aspect of his speech lies, as the rapporteur certainly did not overlook the crucial issues on which it is essential to focus to make the European Public Prosecutor’s Office a more efficient, but at the same time, guaranteeing institution.
Nevertheless, Dr Danilo Ceccarelli effectively demonstrated that the European Public Prosecutor’s Office is a modern and innovative institution, which is necessary for the EU Member States to coordinate their resources to fight financial crime. This crime often acts veiledly, an elusive crime, especially within today’s globalised world.
Following this very interesting meeting, we can say that this course is very stimulating for us, the students of the Bicocca University of Milan, because it allows us to hear, from experts in the field, what the prospects of the European Union will be, as well as of EPPO, as a new form of enhanced cooperation that aims to combat crimes that harm the financial interests of the European Union. We are only at the beginning; there is still a long way to go; however, EPPO teaches us that something can be changed and that we, young lawyers and citizens of the European Union, are ready to make our contribution.