EU Fraud Prevention and Anti-corruption Measures
Fraud involving EU funds has a particularly negative impact on the reputation of the EU institutions and the implementation of the EU policies. On 24 June 2011, the Commission adopted its Anti-fraud Strategy1 (CAFS), its overall objective being to improve prevention, detection and the conditions for investigations of fraud, to achieve adequate reparation and deterrence, especially by introducing anti-fraud strategies at Commission Service level. Building on actions taken in 2011 and in order to prepare for a new generation of spending programmes in the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027, the Commission updated its CAFS on 29 April 20192.
Following the requirements and recommendations in the CAFS, the Anti-fraud Strategy of DG DEVCO (AFS) applies to fraud-related risks and measures in relation to funding activities through the EU Budget and the European Development Funds, which are the responsibility of DG DEVCO.
DEVCO’s AFS will be reassessed in 2020 to ensure that it meets the requirements of the revised Commission’s Strategy.
The definitions as per the Devco Anti Fraud Strategy are as follows
“irregularity” is any infringement of a provision of Community law resulting from
an act or omission by an economic operator, which has, or would have, the effect of
prejudicing the general budget of the Communities or budgets managed by them,
either by reducing or losing revenue accruing from own resources collected directly
on behalf of the Communities, or by an unjustified item of expenditure3.
“passive corruption” consists of the deliberate action of an official who, directly or
through an intermediary, requests or receives advantages of any kind whatsoever, for
himself or for a third party, or accepts a promise of such an advantage, to act or
refrain from acting in accordance with his duty or in the exercise of his functions in
breach of his official duties in a way which damages or is likely to damage the
European Communities’ financial interests.
“active corruption” consists of the deliberate action of whosoever promises or gives,
directly or through an intermediary, an advantage of any kind whatsoever to an
official, for himself or for a third party for him to act or refrain from acting in
accordance with his duty or in the exercise of his functions in breach of his official
duties in a way which damages or is likely to damage the European Communities’
“fraud” in respect of expenditure, consists of any intentional act or omission relating
the use or presentation of false, incorrect or incomplete statements or
documents, which has as its effect the misappropriation or wrongful retention
of funds from the general budget of the European Communities or budgets
managed by, or on behalf of, the European Communities,
non-disclosure of information in violation of a specific obligation, with the
the misapplication of such funds for purposes other than those for which they
were originally granted5.
"conflict of interest" occurs when the impartial and objective exercise of the
functions of the Contracting Authority, or observance of the principles of
competition, non-discrimination against or equality of treatment of candidates,
tenderers, applicants and contractors, is compromised for reasons involving
family, emotional life, political or national affinity, economic interest or any other
shared interest with a beneficiary of EU-funded programmes.
European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
OLAF is the EU body mandated to detect, investigate and stop fraud with EU funds. OLAF can investigate matters relating to fraud, corruption and other offences affecting the EU financial interests concerning all EU expenditure, some areas of EU revenue and suspicions of serious misconduct by EU staff and members of the EU institutions. OLAF investigates fraud against the EU budget, corruption and serious misconduct within the European institutions, and develops anti-fraud policy for the European Commission. OLAF investigates a wide range of wrongdoings from embezzlement, fraudulent claims and misconduct in public procurement procedures, to customs fraud. Far from being an exhaustive list, these examples seek to illustrate different angles of OLAF’s investigative activity or different key moments in the lifespan of a case.
Drawing on its accumulated knowledge and experience, OLAF helps the authorities responsible for managing EU funds – inside and outside the EU – to understand fraud types, trends, threats and risks, and to protect the EU's financial interests by preventing fraud of all kinds.
The Hercule Programmes fund actions which aim to prevent and combat fraud, corruption and other illegal activities affecting the EU's financial interests. Actions eligible for funding include technical and operational investigation support, specialised trainings, research activities and they are implemented via grants and contracts.
For reporting fraud to the OLAF:
General info on OLAF (EU Antifraud office): https://ec.europa.eu/anti-fraud/home_en
Report a fraud : https://ec.europa.eu/anti-fraud/olaf-and-you/report-fraud_en
European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF): https://ec.europa.eu/anti-fraud/home_en