Policies to fight fraud

The OLAF report 2019
6. Policies to fight fraud
The best way to fight fraud is to make sure it cannot
take place in the first place, or at least to detect it
rapidly so that corrective action can be taken swiftly.
Identifying and promoting best practice in this respect
is a key element of OLAF’s mission, in addition to its
investigative work. The upcoming multiannual financial
framework for 2021–2027 will provide the opportunity
to develop an enhanced approach to preventing,
detecting and investigating fraud at the EU level.
With this in mind, OLAF proposed a new Commission
Anti-Fraud Strategy (CAFS), which was adopted in
2019 (5). Its implementation over the coming years will
help to strengthen cooperation among Commission
services, OLAF and other stakeholders, improving the
development and coordination of anti-fraud measures
and thereby improving the protection of the EU budget.
6.1. Improving fraud prevention
and detection at the EU level:
the new Commission anti-fraud
The two priorities of the 2019 CAFS are to strengthen
the Commission’s capabilities in the strategic analysis
of fraud data and to strengthen the corporate oversight
of fraud risk management by Commission services and
executive agencies. OLAF will act as the lynchpin for
both priorities.
To get the most out of cooperation across the Commission,
the Fraud Prevention and Detection Network, a forum
of anti-fraud experts from all Commission services and
executive agencies, has been restructured: services that
share a common interest will work together on specific
issues to improve the effectiveness of cooperation. The
various anti-fraud strategies develop ed by the different
Commission services will be assessed by OLAF to ensure
coherence and effecti veness.
Work has already begun on streng thening corporate
oversight, focusing in particular on monitoring the follow-
up given to OLAF recommendations by the Commission
(5) Commission communication – Commission Anti-Fraud
Strategy: enhanced action to protect the EU budget
(COM() ).
and its executive agencies; the conclusions of this exercise
will be presented to the Corporate Management Board,
which brings together the Commission’s Secretary-
General and the other heads of its central services.
Analysis of fraud-related data, based on the PIF Report, is
also being improved. The 2019 edition of the PIF Report,
which covers 2018, saw improved statistical analysis, for
example by comparing the reporting of irregularities in
the 2007–2013 and 2014–2020 programming periods.
Again using the PIF Report as a base, OLAF also prepared
28 tailored comparative analyses (shared se parately with
each Member State).
Also in 2019, and in close cooperation with the European
Commission spending services and central ser vices,
OLAF agreed with the co-legislators on the standard
PIF provisions that will be part of all legislation on post-
2020 spending programmes , harmonised by area (direct,
indirect and shared management). T hese provisions
reflect the requirem ents that the financial interest s
of the EU should be protected, including through the
prevention, detection, correction and investigation
of fraud and other irregularities. Any person or entity
receiving EU funds is obliged to fully cooperate in
protecting the EU’s financial interes ts, to grant the
necessary access rights to the Commission, OLAF, the
EPPO and the ECA, and to ensure that any third parties
involved in the implementation of Union funds grant
equivalent rights.
Other operating improvements that took place in 2019
include the enhancement of the Irreg ularity Management
System (IMS), which benefited from improved
information exchange and data analysis, helping Member
States, candidate countries and potential c andidate
countries to report to the Commission detected fraud
and irregularities in the implementation of EU funds.
OLAF’s project to develop a methodology for country
profiles in the anti-fraud area, launched in 2018 with
the aim of reaching a common understanding of the
cornerstones of an effe ctive anti-fraud system, was also
updated during 2019 with the development of a data
collection tool for a pilot to run during 2020.

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