Unexpected Agreement between Belgium and Spain on an ‘Independence Movement’: a New Criminal Procedure Requiring a More Independent Prosecution Service

The CJEU stated that Belgian prosecutors can be an ‘EAW-issuing judicial authority’, even if the Justice Minister can order them to start or continue procedures. The system will however undergo a major overhaul: the Napoleonic investigating judges would be abolished and prosecutors would become responsible for all criminal investigations. Remarkably, the resistance of one of few other remaining bastions of investigating judges, Spain, is crumbling too. Just when the controversial prosecution of Catalan politicians and the appointment of a former minister to chief prosecutor had brought the debate on the influence of politics on prosecution to fever pitch, a new Minister of Justice announced similar reform as the one envisaged in Belgium. How do both countries try to reconcile independence of prosecutors with accountability and democratically legitimacy of criminal policy choice? The hypothesis is that the implementation of the EPPO could catalyze and inspire the reform.