MEPs freeze 2004 budget for Eurostat and OLAF

Determined to investigate “all aspects” of the Eurostat scandal, members of the Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee have recommended putting in reserve part of Eurostat’s 2004 budget.

At their meeting on 9 September, MEPs voted to apply the same budgetary measure to the anti-fraud office OLAF. The MEPs decided to freeze 50 per cent of Eurostat's operational funds and one quarter of its administrative funds (21.3 million euro and 2.93 million euro, respectively). The release of these funds is conditional on the "clarification and improvement" by the Commission of its "internal communication lines" in order to "tackle irregularities". MEPs also voted to freeze 15 per cent of OLAF's administrative budget for 2004 (6.28 million euro), pending the release by OLAF's director of the office's working programme for next year. The amendments, approved on 9 September, will reach the Parliament's Budgets Committee in early October.

In a separate statement, the Budgetary Control Committee decided that it would "continue to strive vigorously to shed light on all aspects of the Eurostat affair". Committee members will be present when Commission President Romano Prodi appears before the Conference of Presidents on 25 September to discuss this affair (see also

EURACTIV 18 July 2003).


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