EU budget: €181 million to strengthen the fight against fraud affecting the EU budget

For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission proposes to make €181
million available to support Member States’ efforts to fight fraud, corruption and other
irregularities affecting the EU budget.

The new EU Anti-Fraud Programme will finance targeted training and the exchange of
information and best practice between anti-fraud enforcers across Europe. It will also
provide support for investigative activities through the purchase of technical equipment
used in detecting and investigating fraud, as well as facilitate access to secure information

“The new EU Anti-Fraud Programme will make a tangible contribution to boosting the fight against
fraud and corruption to the detriment of the EU budget. Reinforcing cooperation between Member
States enforcers and providing them with state of the art investigative tools can make all the difference
in identifying fraudsters, stopping smugglers, or preventing corruption in procurement procedures” said
GüntherH. Oettinger, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources.

The new Programme will replace the Hercule III Programme which has already had a positive impact
on the fight against fraud affecting the EU budget at national and local level in recent years. Examples
of successful projects include the funding of digital forensic equipment that has proven essential in
allowing French customs stay ahead of the game in customs operations targeting smuggling and the
evasion of VAT duties in 2016.

The funds to be made available under the new EU Anti-Fraud Programme will finance similar projects,
as well as training and expert conferences that will foster information exchange and transnational
cooperation. The Programme will also support the joint investigative efforts of Member States’ customs
authorities, since such joint operations are key in dismantling criminal networks operating across
borders. The Programme is expected to bring significant added-value by complementing and
supporting national efforts to counter fraud and corruption.

In addition to activities previously funded under the Hercule III Programme, the new EU Anti-Fraud
Programme will provide support for operational and investigative activities, including through the
provision of secure IT systems, and facilitate irregularity reporting by Member States and risk
management at national level. The Programme will be managed and implemented by the European
Anti-Fraud Office, OLAF.

This proposal related to the new EU Anti-Fraud Programme is part of the Commission’s proposal for
the next long-term EU budget adopted by the Commission on 2 May 2018.

The action to safeguard the Union’s financial interests through the new reinforced and streamlined
funding programme, forms part of a wider approach pursuing the same objective. The next long-term
EU budget will be implemented against the background of significant changes in the legislative and
institutional framework for the protection of the Union’s financial interests.

Next steps

A swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals is essential to ensure
that EU funds start delivering results on the ground as soon as possible.
Delays similar to the ones experienced at the beginning of the current 2014-2020 budgetary period
would mean that important investigative and forensic equipment could not be bought and less support
would be available for Member States enforcers. This would have a negative impact on the fight
against fraud, at the expense of EU taxpayers.

An agreement on the next long-term budget in 2019 would provide for a seamless transition between
the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one and would ensure predictability and
continuity of funding to the benefit of all.