Investigations relating to EU staff

Scope of internal investigations

Article 4 of Regulation 883/2013 refers to Article 1(4) for the purpose of defining the scope of the Office’s internal investigations within the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies established by, or on the basis of, the Treaties.

The Office investigates

  • alleged serious misconduct
  • relating to the performance of professional activities
  • which would constitute dereliction of duty by officials and other servants of the Union
  • and which are liable to result in disciplinary
  • and/or criminal proceedings.

The Office also investigates the following matters concerning officials, other servants, members of institutions or bodies, heads of offices or agencies, or staff members:

  • dereliction of duty by members of institutions or bodies,
  • by heads of offices or agencies
  • or by members of the staff of institutions, bodies, offices or agencies who are not subject to the Staff Regulations.

Investigations focus directly on the personnel of the European Union (EU) in the broadest sense without distinction by grade or function: officials, temporary staff, seconded national experts, contract staff, other staff whose employment contracts are governed by private law, i.e. staff of joint ventures or of certain agencies and staff of subcontractors working in buildings of the institutions.

Investigations also focus on members of the institutions, including those appointed by Member States or by other institutions, namely European Commissioners, Members of the European Parliament, the European Ombudsman, judges and Advocates General of the Court of Justice of the European Union, members of the Board of Governors of the European Central Bank, members of the European Court of Auditors, members of the Economic and Social Committee and members of the Board of Governors of the European Investment Bank.

Here are some examples of matters that are subject to investigation:

  • non-implementation of projects for which grants have been awarded;
  • irregularities in tendering procedures;
  • breaches of the duty of discretion and confidentiality;
  • false declarations and/or false documents;
  • bringing the Union into disrepute by infringing the laws of a host country;
  • taking instructions from Member States, pressure groups or other regional, supranational or international institutions;
  • manipulating recruitment procedures;
  • conflicts of interest;
  • accepting benefits and gifts from individuals or entities and/or from pressure groups;
  • irregular expenditure, such as improper use of allowances;
  • actions prejudicial to the institution.

Who can report serious suspicions to OLAF?

Any person or entity from Europe or any other part of the world may, in any language and anonymously or otherwise, report information to OLAF on serious misdemeanours relating to the performance of professional activities which have been committed by a member of the personnel of the EU or a member of a European institution if such information is liable to raise serious suspicions of fraud, corruption or any other illegal activity that may affect the financial interests of the Union.

You need not wait until you have proof - OLAF will conduct its own investigation.

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Last update: 29/10/2014