Fraud rises across the EU
Fraud appears to be on the increase in the European Union according to the 2001/2 annual report by the three-year-old European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) which reported 552 new cases during the year.
OLAF’s caseload increased by about 30% compared to its first two years of activity.
This partly reflected a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards corruption or fraud within the European institutions which meant that all allegations were investigated regardless of the amount of money involved.
Over 75% of internal cases concerned the European Commission.
OLAF also focused on the misuse of EU funds involving the applicant countries.It could take several years before criminal convictions are secured and the recovery of money is completed, the Office said.
A period of stability was now needed but this would be ‘difficult to achieve at a time in which the entire structure of EU institutions, and their complexinterrelationships, is again under review’.