EC anti-fraud unit may be unworkable

Europe’s top financial watchdog has emerged as an unexpected opponent of measures to crack down on fraud within the European Commission.

Senior figures in the Court of Auditors, the commission’s external auditor, issued a warning that plans for a new anti-fraud unit, OLAF, did not ‘make sense’ and would take years to implement under current European laws.

The warning came less than 24 hours after an emotional midnight press conference, at which commission president Jacques Santer (above) announced that he and his colleagues were resigning en masse, following the damning Committee of Independent Experts report into fraud.

Champions of EU reform accused the Court of seeking to block OLAF in order to protect its own powers.

See also EC fraud row shakes OLAF

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