OLAF/04/19 Brussels, the 21 October 2004

Two agents of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) are going to be assigned to Romania and Bulgaria on a permanent basis in view of these countries' accession to the European Union. The OLAF assistants shall contribute to the strengthening of the anti-fraud coordination services in the candidate countries. They are due to take up their posts early next year.

The deployment of two OLAF assistants, who will be sent to Bucharest and Sofia for a term of three years, represents a measure within the framework of the Commission's "Action Plan 2004-2005 on the Protection of the financial interests of the Communities". This will be the second time that OLAF agents are sent outside of Brussels on a permanent basis, after an earlier two year presence of the Office in Poland.

The main task of the OLAF assistants will be to support the Anti-Fraud Co-ordinating Services (AFCOS) in Romania and Bulgaria. These central contact points for the co-ordination of all legislative, administrative and operational aspects of the protection of the EU's financial interests have been active since 2002 in all EU-accession countries and have been promoted by OLAF. They co-operate closely with the Office at an operational level. The OLAF assistants will also help further the financial, strategic and operational interests of the European Commission in matters of irregularities and fraud in the countries concerned. They will, for instance, provide technical advice, create and maintain intelligence pathways and share best practice experience with partners in their host countries.

The OLAF assistants will be integrated within the Delegations of the European Commission but will report to OLAF for their operational activities.

Alessandro Butticé
Head of Communication, PR and Spokesman Unit
Tel : +32 (0)2 296.54.25
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.81.01

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