Training Seminar for Anti-Fraud Communicators and Journalists

Press Release OLAF/10/2002, 04 November 2002

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in co-operation with its partner services in the Member States has organised a series of two training seminars designed to prevent fraud through an improved information policy. The Office intends to inform the European citizen of what is being done jointly by OLAF with the Member States and by the Member States themselves, to protect their financial interests.

The OLAF Anti-Fraud Communicators' Network (OAFCN) has recently completed a 2 day training course for Anti-Fraud Communicators entitled " Protecting the Communities' Financial Interests: information and Communication as a Means of Prevention of Fraud" in Finland and Sweden. This training course was jointly organised by Finnish Customs, Swedish Customs and the Swedish Economic Crimes Bureau (Ekobrottsmyndigheten), supported by OLAF.

This seminar which brought together 27 spokespersons, heads of communication and/or information and public information officers of the various investigation services with whom OLAF works was the latest in a series of meetings of the OAFCN. The Network was founded in 2000 by the European Anti-Fraud Office with the aim of preventing fraud through the free-flow of information and increasing understanding and co-operation in the area of media and public awareness of anti-fraud measure at the EU level.

The seminar which took the form of a series of lectures and workshops dealt with the differing cultural and legal obstacles to getting information across to European citizens of what is being done by OLAF and the Member States to protect the financial interests of the European Union and fight against financial and economic criminality.

While all participants expressed their eagerness to co-operate so as to increase communication and collaborative efforts, the view was expressed that the Network must also take into account the different operational restrictions as well as the legal regimes within which the members work. More work needs to be done to discuss on a tactical and technical level the means necessary to enhance co-operation and provide a better service to citizens and the media.

In view of the forthcoming enlargement of the European Union the members expressed the opinion that the Network should be expanded to include participants from the candidate countries.

The Network was presented to the candidate countries during a round-table workshop organised to establish the Anti-Fraud Co-ordinating Structures (AFCOS) in the candidate countries which took place in Brussels on 7-8 October 2002.

A further training seminar for journalists is scheduled for 21-24 November 2002 in Salamanca Spain. This event is being organised by the Spanish Guardia Civil in co-operation with OLAF. During this seminar a limited number of journalists who are interested in or who have previous experience dealing with financial/economic/transnational crime will have the possibility to meet with specialists in the fight against fraud and investigations and discuss the most typical types of cases with which OLAF and its partners deal.

For further information on the OAFCN please contact OLAF.

Mr Alessandro Butticé
Spokesman of the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF)
Tel : +32 (0)2 296.5425
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.8101

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