Lithuanian president, PM talk EU's Russia sanctions with Europe's chief prosecutor

  • 2023-02-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte met with visiting European Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kevesi in Vilnius on Thursday and discussed the EU sanctions for Russia and the latter's accountability for war crimes in Ukraine.

The president and the prosecutor also discussed the supervision of EU funds and ensuring transparency, according to the presidential press service's press release.

Nauseda and Kovesi discussed the implementation of the existing sanctions for Russia, the need to prevent all ways of circumventing them, as well as the effective investigation of violations of the existing sanctions for Russia and Belarus.

Nauseda stressed the importance of mobilizing the international community to establish a special tribunal to investigate Russia's atrocities in Ukraine.

"The pressure on Russia needs to continue to increase and I very much hope that a tenth sanction package will be adopted soon. However, it is important to minimize the chances of circumventing or avoiding sanctions. Effective implementation of sanctions is crucial. I am, therefore, in favor of reviewing the mandate of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to enable it to investigate violations of the sanctions imposed on Russia," Nauseda was quoted as saying in the presidential press service's release.

Earlier in the day, Kovesi met with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte and they discussed cooperation between the Lithuanian and European Prosecutor's Offices, administrative support for the institution's activities, and its possible role in ensuring the implementation of the European Union's sanctions against Russia and Belarus, the prime minister's press service said.

The prime minister stressed that Lithuania sees the value and potential of the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor's Office to ensure independent and effective detection of international financial crimes.

"In principle, we would welcome the possibility of extending the mandate of the European Public Prosecutor's Office so that it could oversee the implementation of the EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus. The sanctions hurt the aggressor Russia and its supporter Belarus, therefore they are and will be looking for ways to illegally circumvent them. In order to prevent these processes, we need not only national efforts but also cross-border mechanisms at the European level," Simonyte was quoted as saying in the statement.

The meeting also discussed national administrative support for the European Public Prosecutor's Office's decentralized activities which are necessary to ensure the conditions for the effective functioning of this institution and the implementation of the responsibilities entrusted to it.

Also on Thursday, the European chief prosecutor visited Lithuania's Special Investigation Service (STT) to discuss the investigations being carried out by the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), the activities of the EPAC/EACN network, as well a ways to strengthen cooperation between the STT and the EPPO.

The European Public Prosecutor's Office launched its operations in June, 2021. It's an independent, decentralized EU agency with competence to investigate the crimes affecting the EU's financial interests.

Kovesi became the first European chief prosecutor in 2019.

Also on Thursday, Kovesi is scheduled to meet with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, Justice Minister Ewelina Dobrowolska. On Wednesday, she met with Lithuanian Police Commissioner General Renatas Pozela and the leadership of the Prosecutor General's Office.