Communication on improving OLAF’s governance and reinforcing procedural safeguards in investigations: a step-by-step approach to accompany the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2013) 533
Publication Date 17/07/2013
Content Type

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) was set up in 1999 by a Commission Decision to enhance the effectiveness of action to combat fraud and other illegal activities detrimental to the Community's interests. Council Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999, Council Regulation (EURATOM) No 1074/1999 and the Inter-institutional Agreement of 25 May 1999 stipulate how OLAF should carry out investigations.

OLAF’s external investigative powers are mainly those that were conferred upon the Commission under Regulations (EC, Euratom) Nos 2988/95 (protection of the European Communities' financial interests) and 2185/96 (on-the-spot checks and inspections carried out by the Commission in order to protect the European Communities’ financial interests). OLAF also works on the basis of Regulation (EC) 515/97 on mutual administrative assistance.

Since the creation of OLAF, the protection of the financial interests of the Union was strengthened. Experience gained over time showed that the governance of OLAF needed to be reinforced. Two legislative proposals were put forward by the Commission, the first in 2004 and the second in 2006. Both proposals were designed to reinforce the procedural guarantees applicable in OLAF investigations, as the regulatory framework of 1999 was almost silent on this issue.

On the basis of the Commission’s proposal of March 2011, and after intensive negotiations, a compromise on the revised OLAF Regulation was approved (unanimously) in February 2013 by the Council and in July by the European Parliament. The revised regulation is designed to strengthen the governance of OLAF, reinforcing procedural rights in internal and external investigations and OLAF's exchange of information both with the institutions and with the Member States’ authorities.

See also:
Communication on better protection of the Union's financial interests: Setting up the European Public Prosecutor's Office and reforming Eurojust

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Related Link(s)
ESO Records
Protecting taxpayers’ money against fraud: Commission proposes European Public Prosecutor's Office and reinforces OLAF procedural guarantees
EU-wide prosecutor to launch own criminal investigations

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