Fraud affecting the EU budget increased slightly in 2012 compared to 2011, according to the Commission's annual report on the "Protection of the EU's Financial Interests". On the expenditure side, in total, €315 million in EU funds were affected by fraud, or 0.25% of the expenditure budget. This compares to €295 million the previous year. The reason for this increase lies almost entirely with two cases of fraud in pre-accession funds, involving large sums. On the revenue side of the budget, suspected or confirmed fraud amounted to €77.6 million, representing 0.42% of the total traditional own resources collected for 2012. This compares to €109 million the previous year.
Today, the European Commission is taking action to improve Union-wide prosecution of criminals who defraud EU taxpayers by establishing a European Public Prosecutor's Office. Its exclusive task will be to investigate and prosecute and, where relevant, bring to judgement – in the Member States' courts - crimes affecting the EU budget. The European Public Prosecutor's Office will be an independent institution, subject to democratic oversight.
Following the European Parliament's vote in favour of the new OLAF Regulation today, Commissioner Šemeta said:
"The reform of OLAF will create a stronger EU anti-fraud office, and thereby stronger protection of European taxpayers' money. I warmly welcome the European Parliament's support for the new OLAF Regulation today. This will cement important changes in how OLAF works, making it more efficient and more accountable, while safeguarding its independence. It will also ensure that OLAF has full cooperation from all those who are central to the EU fight against fraud."
Fiscalité et Union douanière
I warmly welcome the G20 Finance Ministers' commitments today on concrete measures to better tackle tax evasion and corporate tax avoidance worldwide. This confirms a paradigm shift in international taxation – one that will make it fairer, more effective and better equipped for the 21st century economy.
The Commission has today set out plans to ease custom formalities for ships – reducing red tape, cutting delays in ports and making the sector more competitive. Today, freight forwarders and exporters complain that if they chose to send goods across Europe by short sea shipping, the heavy administrative burden at ports causes additional costs and significant delays - ships can wait for hours and sometimes days in ports for customs clearance. These make the maritime sector less attractive compared to other forms of transport, especially road, unnecessarily bringing more trucks on our already congested roads. With today's new Commission proposals, shipping transport will face less administrative hurdles and therefore be able to be used to its full potential in the EU internal market and beyond.
"Today we've had a clear signal that popular and political support for the financial transaction tax is still strong. I warmly welcome the Parliament's vote in favour of the FTT under enhanced cooperation, which 11 Member States have requested.
The goals of fair taxation, a cohesive Single Market and a more responsible banking sector are more relevant than ever – and we know that the FTT can contribute to all three.