A new EU Anti-Fraud Programme will provide €181m to support the fight against fraud, corruption and financial irregularities in member states.
The programme aims to address a number of financial concerns that could impact the next EU multiannual financial framework (MFF), including not only fraud and corruption, but other irregularities. In support of this goal, the EU Anti-Fraud Programme will provide targeted training to law enforcement authorities in all member states.
The new programme will also facilitate the exchange of intelligence and best practice, and support investigation and prevention activities by funding the purchase of technical equipment used in detecting fraud, and by developing secure information systems through which exchanges can be made.
What impact does the programme seek to have?
The new programme will be operated by OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud office, and will replace the previous Hercule III programme, which has fought fraud affecting the EU budget over the past few years. Because of significant structural changes to the next MFF, the new programme will be needed to provide a comprehensive approach to tackling fraud and corruption.
The previous programme funded a number of successful projects, including providing digital forensic equipment for French customs officials targeting smuggling and the evasion of VAT, as well as the development of advanced IT tools to detect anomalies in trade flows and uncover major cases of import fraud. The EU Anti-Fraud Programme aims to continue this success.
What has the EU said?
In a statement, European Commissioner for Budget Günther Oettinger outlined the remit of the new programme and the contribution it seeks to make to secure the EU’s budget against fraud.
He said: “The new EU Anti-Fraud Programme will make a tangible contribution to boosting the fight against fraud and corruption to the detriment of the EU budget. Reinforcing cooperation between Member States enforcers and providing them with state of the art investigative tools can make all the difference in identifying fraudsters, stopping smugglers, or preventing corruption in procurement procedures.”