EU anti-fraud system is ineffective, auditors say
The European Union is failing to stem misuse of EU funds worth hundreds of millions of euros each year, and manages to recoup only about 15% of this sum, auditors said on Thursday according to a report by international news agency Reuters.
Fraudulent use of EU funds amounted to EUR 391 million in 2017, fairly typical of the last four years. But the judicial findings of the EU anti-fraud investigative office, OLAF, only led to actual indictments in EU member states in 45% of cases, the European Court of Auditors said in a report.
Between 2012 and 2016, only about 15% of the total volume of uncovered fraud was actually recovered. Although the uncovered scams are small compared to the annual EU budget of around EUR 140 billion, the auditors said fraud was probably substantially under-reported as the mechanism for sharing information with EU states was so clumsy.
The auditors welcomed a decision to establish a European Public Prosecutor’s Office to conduct investigations on EU spending from 2021, but said a lack of staff and funding meant it might have to rely excessively on national authorities. The new body will anyway not have jurisdiction over Hungary, Poland, Ireland, Sweden, the United Kingdom or Denmark, which have opted out.
SUPPORT THE BUDAPEST BUSINESS JOURNAL
Producing journalism that is worthy of the name is a costly business. For 27 years, the publishers, editors and reporters of the Budapest Business Journal have striven to bring you business news that works, information that you can trust, that is factual, accurate and presented without fear or favor.
Newspaper organizations across the globe have struggled to find a business model that allows them to continue to excel, without compromising their ability to perform. Most recently, some have experimented with the idea of involving their most important stakeholders, their readers.
We would like to offer that same opportunity to our readers. We would like to invite you to help us deliver the quality business journalism you require. Hit our Support the BBJ button and you can choose the how much and how often you send us your contributions.