The Commission presented (on 1 September) a series of measures to step up the fight against fraud in the EU. The measures include an action plan for the period 2004-2005 and a draft regulation on administrative cooperation with the Member States and between the authorities dealing with fraud at national level.
The action plan 2004-2005 will focus on:
- Strengthening OLAF's operational efficiency and enhancing the role of its supervisory committee
- Improving exchange of information between OLAF and the EU institutions as well as between Member States and the Commission
- Establishing a European Public Prosecutor responsible for protecting the financial interests of the EU
The draft regulation on administrative cooperation covers large-scale transnational VAT fraud (involving a minimum of 500,000 euros), money laundering as well as funds and subsidies coming from the EU budget (involving a minimum of 100,000 euros). It places new obligations on Member States' anti-fraud authorities when requested by their EU counterparts in order to help them conduct probes.
- Requested information should be provided within a deadline of six weeks
- Persons, goods and means of transport may be placed under surveillance
- Administrative enquiries are to be conducted upon request
Moreover, a VAT information exchange system (VIES) will be set up to enable the Commission to provide evidence in adminstrative or judicial proceedings and draw up intelligence reports.