A rather surprising news came from the Romanian Presidency:

President Klaus Iohannis on Friday had a phone conversation with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, during which the latter told him France will support ex-DNA (National Anti-Corruption Directorate) Prosecutor-in-Chief Laura Codruta Kovesi's candidacy for the office of Chief Prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, informs the Presidential Administration in a release.

President Emmanuel Macron told President Klaus Iohannis that he will withdraw Mr Jean-Francois Bohnert's candidacy and support Laura Codruta Kovesi instead for Chief Prosecutor at the European Public Prosecutor's Office,

There is no information provided as for why this shift in France's preference for EU prosecutor has occurred.

Question: Why has Macron apparently decided to support the Romanian candidate (Kovesi) instead of his own country's candidate (Bohnert) as EU prosecutor?

  • 7
    If everyone only supports candidates from their own country, then why bother having an EU?
    – Jontia
    Jul 20, 2019 at 14:27

2 Answers 2


I am mostly speculating, but one possible reason is the following:

Kovesi is politically close to those circles in Romania which claim themselves to be pro-EU and pro-Western. She had a strong support for example from Dacian Ciolos, the fraction leader of Renew Europe, who has a french wife and especially strong political connections to France. Western leaders at the moment favour very much those Romanian politicians, who are in these self-claimed pro-EU circles.

Another example was the nomination of Mircea Geoana to a vice-secretary of the NATO. A good question is that why is this distinguished support to such Romanian politicians. Here is a very speculative answer.

The recently jailed prime minister Dragnea was probably very corrupt, but it seemed that he started to build up some kind of independent international politics for Romania. He used very nationalistic rhetoric, but at the same time he started to cooperate with the V4 group (Visegrád Group) more closely, especially with Poland, but also with Hungary and he also started to reduce the tensions with Russia and criticise the west.

The V4 group, especially Poland and Hungary form a quite successful local alliance, and their Eurosceptic politics in the recent years blocked several policies that the western powers wanted to follow, like the distribution of immigrants. Now the western leaders want to help these times those Romanian leaders who are close to them politically, and who can stop Romania to move closer to the V4. Nominating them into visible international positions is a way of doing this.


This article (in French) gives another possible reason:

the independence of the European Commission has increased under Jean-Claude Juncker's presidency and this does not please big European countries like France and Germany. The secretary-general of the Commission, Martin Selmayr, was close to Juncker and instrumental in that independence.

Ursula von der Leyen will soon replace Juncker at the presidency of the Commission but this comes with a condition from France and a few other European countries: Selmayr should leave because these countries are hostiles to the presence of two Germans at the head of the institution. France is now trying to obtain the position of secretary-general of the European Commission.

The problem is that many countries, especially in Eastern Europe, argues that the position should fall to a country that less well-endowed in terms of important European positions. Supporting the Romanian candidate for the position Chief Prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor's Office would be a way to please these countries and look less greedy.

Another possibility, coming from French politics but more speculative. This other French article explains that, in its short life, the Parquet National Financier (PNF, the French judicial institution responsible for tracking down economic and financial crime) has already shown to be independent from the executive power and has some major exploits to its credits (the case of the then-presidential candidate Francois Fillon and the investigation on the bank UBS which lead to a 3.7 billions fine).

Now, the PNF will have to handle the cases of two individuals known to be very close to the president Emmanuel Macron: Alexandre Benalla, who is accused of financial relations with two Russian oligarchs during his time at the service of Emmanuel Macron, and Alexis Kohler, Chief of Staff of the Presidency of the French Republic, who is under investigation for corruption.

Nominating Francois Bonhert at the head of the PNF, far from a consolation prize, could be a move from Emmanuel Macron to help his friends and regain influence on the institution.

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