OLAF INVESTIGATION INTO SUGAR IMPORTS FROM BALKAN REGION
Press Release OLAF/15/2003, 29 May 2003
In response to a massive increase in the amounts of sugar being
imported into the territory of the European
Community from a number of countries in the
Balkans, (more than 250,000 tonnes in 2001-2002),
OLAF opened a number of investigations into
this matter. The increase in imports is closely
linked with a Regulation applicable from September
2000, whereby these countries were able to benefit
from preferential trade conditions in exporting
their goods to the European market.
OLAF has been particularly interested in consignments
from Croatia imported into Greece which contained
a mixture of beet sugar and cane sugar, as Croatia
is not known to be a country in which sugar
cane is grown. This case has been referred to
the judicial authorities in Greece and OLAF
has assisted the Thessaloniki prosecutors.
More generally, the investigations carried out
by OLAF have shown up the difficulties in applying
the Regulation as well as its shortcomings.
As a result of these findings, on 30 April 2003
the European Commission suspended the preferential
regime for Serbia and Montenegro for 3 months.
This suspension follows the warning given to
importers published by the Commission on 26
Mr Alessandro Butticé
Spokesman of the European Anti-fraud Office
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.8101