European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)

The European anti-fraud office (OLAF) is a directorate-general that combats fraud, corruption and other similar illicit activities in the European Union. It is responsible for monitoring the affairs of the European institutions and investigating any possible instances of fraud, corruption and financial misconduct within the EU institutions in order to protect the financial interests of the EU. OLAF conducts its investigations in close cooperation with the relevant agencies of the member-states.

The mission of the European Anti-Fraud Office is threefold:

  • It protects the financial interests of the European Union (EU) by investigating fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities;
  • It detects and investigates serious matters relating to the discharge of professional duties by members and staff of the EU institutions and bodies that could result in disciplinary or criminal proceedings;
  • It supports the EU institutions, in particular the European Commission, in the development and implementation of anti-fraud legislation and policies.

What they do

OLAF has budgetary and administrative autonomy, designed to make it operationally independent.

OLAF is empowered to conduct in full independence:

  • internal investigations. i.e. inside any European institution or body funded by the EU budget.
  • external investigations. i.e. at national level, wherever the EU budget is at stake. For this purpose, OLAF may conduct on-the-spot checks and inspections on the premises of economic operators, in close cooperation with the competent Member State and third-country authorities.

OLAF is receiving an increasing quantity of information about possible frauds and irregularities, from a wide range of sources. In most cases this information results from controls by those responsible for managing EU funds within the Institutions or in the Member States.

All allegations received by OLAF undergo an initial assessment to determine whether the allegation falls within the remit of the Office and meets the criteria for opening an investigation.

When a case is opened, it is classified under one of the following three categories:

  • Internal investigations: Internal investigations are administrative investigations within the European Union institutions and bodies for the purpose of detecting fraud, corruption, and any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the European Communities; including serious matters relating to the discharge of professional duties.
  • External investigations: External investigations are administrative investigations outside the European Union institutions and bodies for the purpose of detecting fraud or other irregular conduct by natural or legal persons. Cases are classified as external investigations where OLAF provides the majority of the investigative input.
  • Coordination cases: OLAF contributes to investigations carried out by national authorities or other Community departments by facilitating the gathering and exchange of information and contacts.
 

1.

Legislative proposals in negotiation

There are 117 proposals for legislative or other legal instruments of this Directorate-General in negotiations with the Council and the European Parliament.
Date Title
22.11.2023  Positions to be taken on behalf of the EU at the third session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.
Decision com(2023)722
 
27.07.2023  34th Annual Report on the protection of the EU’s financial interests and the fight against fraud - 2022.
Report com(2023)464
 
11.07.2023  Commission Anti-Fraud Strategy Action Plan - 2023 revision.
Communication com(2023)405
 
11.05.2023  Amendment of Council Decision 2009/917/JHA, as regards its alignment with Union rules on the protection of personal data.
Regulation com(2023)244
 
20.04.2023  Protection of the European Union’s financial interests - combating fraud - annual report 2022.
ini(2023)2045
 

2.

Legislation currently being implemented

There are 29 laws or other legal instruments of the Council and the European Parliament, previously proposed by this Directorate-General, which are currently being implemented by the member states.
Date Title
11.01.2019  Transitional rules for the appointment of European Prosecutors for and during the first mandate period (European Public Prosecutor's Office).
Regulation com(2019)2
 
30.05.2018  EU Anti-Fraud Programme.
Regulation com(2018)386
 
23.05.2018  Amending regulation 883/2013 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) as regards cooperation with the European Public Prosecutor's ...
Regulation com(2018)338
 
04.03.2016  Amendment of Regulation (EU, EURATOM) No 883/2013, as regards the secretariat of the Supervisory Committee of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
Regulation com(2016)113
 
16.09.2015  Accession of Croatia to several conventions on the protection of the financial interests of the EU and specific parts thereof .
Recommendation com(2015)458
 

3.

Legislation in force

There are at least 3 laws or other legal instruments in force that have been previously proposed by this Directorate-General.
Date Title
16.08.2004  Conclusion of the Agreement with Switzerland to counter fraud and all other illegal activities affecting their financial interests.
Decision com(2004)559
 
16.08.2004  Signature of the Agreement with Switzerland to counter fraud and all other illegal activities affecting their financial interests.
Decision com(2004)559
 
12.12.2001  .
Decision com(2001)751