Court confirms OLAF’s right to investigate the European Parliament

The Court of First Instance dismissed the demand from some MEPs to annul the decision that allows the European anti-fraud office OLAF to conduct investigations within the European Parliament.

OLAF (Office européen de lutte anti-fraude) was set up in the wake of the fall of the Santer Commission to guard the financial interests of the European Communities. On 25 May 1999, the European Parliament and the Council adopted an interinstitutional agreement concerning investigations conducted by the OLAF. It stated that the OLAF is allowed to carry out investigations within the European institutions. Later that year, the EP took a decision to amend its rules of procedures to accommodate the agreement. However, 71 MEPs, led by Willi Rothley (DE-PES), challenged the legitimacy of that decision before the European Court of Justice.

On 26 February, the Court of First Instance ruled that the appeal by the MEPs was inadmissible, since all MEPs are equally affected and the 71 complainants were not individually concerned by the measure. Hence, the Court concluded that the OLAF has the right to investigate the European Parliament, and that the Parliament is obliged to cooperate in order to facilitate a smooth investigation.

 

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