The Superior Council of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (CSMP) decided this Wednesday in plenary against the opening of a new competition for the position of European prosecutor, contrary to the meaning of an opinion of the Advisory Council of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR).
A CSMP source told Lusa that the opening of a new tender was “unanimously rejected” at a meeting chaired by the Attorney General of the Republic, Lucília Gago.
“The CSMP decided today that it has already carried out all the steps provided for by law in relation to the selection procedure for the European public prosecutor”, said the same source, this being the argument for refusing the opening of a new competition, as recommended by an opinion of the Consultative Council of the PGR and that, according to this Wednesday, the Observerthe government complied.
According to the Observer, based on this opinion, the Government is in the process of asking the CSMP and the Superior Council for the Judiciary (CSM) to open new competitions to fill the three vacancies that must be indicated by each of the councils, in a total of six nominated candidates to be scrutinized by the Assembly of the Republic (AR), before the selection and subsequent nomination by the Government of the final candidate to European bodies.
The same opinion argues that in the impossibility of filling all the places stipulated in the candidacy regulation for the position, there must be at least three candidates submitted for scrutiny to the AR, who, if they cannot be chosen through a competition, may be invited by the councils superiors, being allowed to send invitations to eligible magistrates who have not previously applied for the competition.
With this Wednesday’s decision, the CSMP refuses not only to open a new competition, but also the possibility of issuing any invitation, said the same source to Lusa, who also explained that the opinion of the PGR Advisory Board “is not binding” .
Superior Council for the Judiciary opens competition but refuses to invite judges
On the side of the judiciary, the Superior Council for the Judiciary (CSM) opened this Wednesday a new competition for candidacies for the position of European prosecutor, but refuses to come forward with invitations to judges for the position, if the competition does not result in at least three candidates valid.
The CSM had already advanced to Lusa that “two recruitment procedures for judicial magistrates were opened for the selection and designation of national candidates for European prosecutor, one on May 20, 2022 and the second on October 17, 2022”.
The CSM only validated the candidacy of Judge Ivo Rosa, until recently an investigating judge at the Central Criminal Investigation Court (TCIC), but in the meantime promoted to the Courts of Appeal, awaiting the result of pending disciplinary proceedings for the promotion to take effect.
According to the clarification of the CSM, this was the name indicated by the superior council to the Ministry of Justice, given that the candidacy of the judge of law Filipe César Vilarinho Marques “was rejected, in both procedures for not verifying the eligibility criterion related to experience minimum of 20 years of effective exercise as a judicial magistrate”.
Criticisms of the European Parliament
The Portuguese magistrate José Guerra was nominated by the Government for the position of European prosecutor after being selected in first place by the CSMP, but after a European committee of experts considered Ana Carla Almeida as the best candidate for the post.
Since then, the Government has been at the center of a controversy, above all for having transmitted incorrect data in a note to the Council of the European Union attached to José Guerra’s curriculum, even though the structure has corroborated the position of the Portuguese executive that the “lapses” relating to the proposed appointment of the magistrate to European Public Prosecutor did not interfere with the decision on his appointment.
On 27 July 2020, Portuguese magistrate José Guerra was appointed national European prosecutor at the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, an independent body with competence to investigate, initiate criminal proceedings and bring charges and support them in the instruction and trial against the perpetrators of criminal offenses affecting the financial interests of the Union (e.g. fraud, corruption or cross-border VAT fraud exceeding EUR 10 million). The body that functions as an independent and highly specialized Public Prosecutor’s Office came into operation on June 1, 2021.