OLAF hosts conference in Croatia on fighting rural development fraud
PRESS RELEASE No 6/2013 14 October 2013
The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is organising a seminar on "How to Prevent and fight Rural Development Fraud" on 14-15 October, in Zagreb. The event brings together experts from all EU Member States, as well as from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. Specialists from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and from the European Court of Auditors are also participating. The seminar promotes the practical exchange of information between experts and aims to facilitate the sharing of best practice regarding the implementation of anti-fraud measures in relation to EU rural development aid.
The Director-General of OLAF, Giovanni Kessler, and the Croatian Minister for Agriculture, Tihomir Jakovina, jointly opened the two-day seminar in Zagreb. On this occasion, Mr Kessler remarked that "over 77% of the EU's territory is classified as rural and rural areas are home to around half of the EU's population. Approximately 15 billion euro of the EU's budget is allocated every year to protecting the rural environment and to promoting balanced and sustainable development. Further EU money is dedicated to rural areas in candidate countries who prepare for EU membership. Our job is to ensure that this funding reaches the people and the projects it is intended for".
Mr Kessler also thanked Croatia for hosting the seminar, by saying that he "appreciated the willingness of our newest Member State to co-organise this event, which shows their commitment to future cooperation in this field".
Over the two days of the seminar, experts will discuss how best to prevent fraud mechanisms in procurement procedures for EU funded projects. They will also have the opportunity to exchange lessons learnt based on their national experience with rural development fraud, and to share ideas on joint efforts to face new challenges in this field.
The conference is funded by OLAF's HERCULE II Programme1.
OLAF The mission of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is threefold: it protects the financial interests of the European Union by investigating fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities; it detects and investigates serious matters relating to the discharge of professional duties by members and staff of the EU institutions and bodies that could result in disciplinary or criminal proceedings; and it supports the EU institutions, in particular the European Commission, in the development and implementation of anti-fraud legislation and policies.