The OLAF Anti-Fraud Communicators Network (OAFCN)

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 OAFCN Members in Zagreb, June 2014

OAFCN meeting in Zagreb, June 2014 

The OAFCN: a unique cross-European network of communicators working on anti-fraud issues.

The OLAF Anti-Fraud Communicators’ Network (OAFCN) is an Information and Communication Network created at the initiative of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in 2001. The Network establishes a close link between the:

  • OLAF Spokesperson and Head of the Communication Unit and
  • Spokespersons & colleagues responsible for communication and public relations in the national investigative services that OLAF co-operates with in the Member States (i.e. Customs, Police, Financial Police, Anti-Fraud Coordination Services, Prosecutor’s Offices).

OAFCN Objectives

  1. Prevent and deter fraud through a permanent dialogue, reinforced cooperation, and joint communication initiatives bringing together communicators from all the European bodies dealing with anti-fraud issues. As far as it is legally and operationally possible, OAFCN members keep each other informed and learn from each other's best practices in communication & media activities on anti-fraud issues. The Network provides a significant added value to the work done by communicators at their own level.
  2. Raise citizens' and media awareness on the work done by OLAF and its partners in the Member States on protecting the EU budget from fraud and, therefore, citizens’ financial interests. By informing the public, OAFCN communication activities aim to strengthen the fight against fraud and corruption across the EU.

OAFCN Activity

OAFCN members exchange information on anti-fraud matters of interest; disseminate each other’s communication materials on topics of joint interest; refer interested journalists to the relevant Member State’s or European body’s press office; draft joint press releases and communication materials and organise joint outreach events (e.g. press conferences or technical briefings on joint customs operations, judicial results and joint outreach initiatives).

In order to keep the members updated, the OAFCN holds regular meetings and teleconferences for coordination and for exchange of best practices on anti-fraud related communications. In addition, the OAFCN provides training seminars for its members every two years.

Actions in the candidate countries

There is also a need to inform the public in the candidate countries about the need to protect the EU budget from fraud and OAFCN members may participate in awareness raising initiatives.

The added-value of the OAFCN

The OAFCN is a unique network of communicators across Europe. Its creation enabled spokespersons and communication experts working for anti-fraud bodies across 28 EU Member States to join forces for the first time to communicate on anti-fraud matters. This helps distribute anti-fraud messages across all these Member States, raise awareness during joint events and inform EU citizens of the actions they can take to report fraud with EU funds.

In the Report of the Council of the European Union - Customs Cooperation Working Party of 10.5.2007 on Work Plan (2004-2006) for the strategy for customs co-operation Project Group-Action 6.8 (Evaluate and report on co-operation between Member States competent authorities in customs and the Commission-OLAF), the Council stated: "5. Information and Communication - Public Relations - The cooperation between OLAF and its communication network OAFCN has been assessed by the MS as being an excellent and as an efficient instrument of communication. OLAF’s actions in publicising the MS efforts to combat fraud and protect the Community interests are considered to be adequate in the field of information distribution and communication to the public."

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