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Consulted by the Budget Directorate-General, the monitoring committee, chaired by Mireille Delmas-Marty, initially challenged provisions concerning OLAF in the proposal for a review of the Financial Regulation which failed to guarantee the Office's independence (see European Report No 2519 for further details). In theory, OLAF continues to lie from an administrative standpoint within the ambit of Commission structures, the EU executive board retaining legal responsibility for its internal administration, including nominations. In reality, however, power of nomination will be reserved for its Director-General, Franz Hermann Br?ner, according to a Code of Conduct that invites him to notify the Commission of his decisions. In a recent procedural Communication, the Commission marked out its position: the advisory council on nominations to executive posts within the Office will be chaired by David O'Sullivan, the Commission's Secretary-General, and will also include Horst Reichenbach, Director-General for Personnel and Administration. The pair will however find themselves in a minority in the body compared with senior officials (at least A2) from the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, OLAF and a member of OLAF's monitoring committee.The ad hoc agreement with the Commission should end the deadlock with the personnel situation after one and a half years' delay. OLAF currently employs about 150 staff drawn from the erstwhile anti-fraud co-ordination unit (UCLAF). The decision to double staff numbers to 300 was taken on the basis of the 2001 Budget. A first series of nominations should be registered by the Summer following the forthcoming appointment of two deputy Directors-General. The second series of nominations is nevertheless not likely before 2002.Whilst an informal arrangement is sufficient to guarantee the independence of nominations, a legal instrument will be required to enhance legal control over OLAF inquiries. Herbert B?sch (PES, Austria), rapporteur to the...

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