The OLAF Anti-Fraud Communicators Network

 OAFCN ORIGIN

The OLAF Anti-Fraud Communicators Network (OAFCN) includes the OLAF Spokesman, as well as spokespersons and persons responsible for public relations and information in the national investigative services, with which OLAF co-operates in the Member States. It forms a part of the external independent communication strategy of OLAF.

 OAFCN OBJECTIVES

1. Prevent fraud through the "free-flow" of information: "prevention is better than cure".

2. Create a permanent dialogue between OLAF's External Communication Unit and its counterparts in the national investigation services.

3. Inform European citizens of what OLAF and its partners in the Member States are doing both jointly and individually in order to protect their financial interests. This includes making all concerned aware of the need for an anti-fraud program that is global, balanced and effective throughout the territory of the European Union.

4. Give information to the general public in particular through the media) relating to the fight against fraud and irregularities to the detriment of the European Union's financial interests.

 OAFCN ACTIONS

The OAFCN tries to add value to the work of the national investigation services and to highlight not only the work done in individual Member States, but also the global Community aspect of the fight against fraud.

As far as it is legally and operationally possible, OAFCN members keep each other up to date on issues involving press releases of mutual interest. Equally, it assists journalists in evaluating information forwarded to them by other OAFCN members regardless of their nationality.

Normally, national law enforcement agencies are more effective and more comfortable with their national media than with foreign media. However, one of the OAFCN's purposes is to ensure that the door of each national investigation service with which OLAF cooperates is open to all the international media.

OAFCN members provide joint media coverage (videos, photos and press releases) to illustrate OLAF operational
activities with national investigation services.

 IN THE CANDIDATE COUNTRIES

There is also a need to educate public opinion in the candidate countries with regard to what constitutes the types of criminal
activities we are all trying to combat, and their potential risk for taxpayers.

Actions are ongoing and aimed at extending membership of the OAFCN to the investigation services in the candidate countries. Seminars and training sessions for communicators and journalists will be launched in the countries in question.

 A EUROPEAN PLATFORM OF EXCHANGE

An awareness-raising tool for the issues of protection of the Community's financial interests.

The attention of European citizens needs to be drawn to the protection of the Community's financial interests. In particular, we must provide taxpayers with an assurance that their money is being used to the best effect.

All forms of fraud against the Community's financial interests, from evasion of the taxes and duties that make up the European Budget, to the misuse of financial assistance provided by the Community, entail a real and substantial loss to European taxpayers.

The OAFCN members produce joint media actions to show the national investigative services in the Member States working together with OLAF, illustrating the success of the administrative cooperation in the operational framework.

An awareness-raising tool for the issues of protection of the Community's financial interests.

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), it states:

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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Last update: 25/03/2014