If EU countries took a coordinated approach to fighting fraud, it would be easier to catch fraudsters and recover money stolen from programmes meant for the public.
The Commission has been working closely with EU countries to reduce fraud against the EU’s budget, but more needs to be done. In 2010 alone EU countries reported cases of fraud totalling €600m, about 1% of the EU’s budget.
A common approach on national rules for treating fraud would help – because individual EU countries manage about 80% of the EU's annual budget, and the Commission the rest.
Currently, definitions for offences such as embezzlement or abuse of power differ across the EU, leading to low conviction rates in some countries – they vary from 14% to 80% for EU budget fraud.
In response, the Commission is proposing common rules [122 KB] so that authorities can investigate fraud more easily across the EU. Stronger rules would deter criminals, better protect taxpayers’ money and help the EU recover lost funds. They include:
The new proposals will be discussed by the European Parliament and EU governments.
Next year the Commission plans to propose aligning EU rules on evidence in criminal cases. Another proposal would improve cooperation between national authorities and the European Anti-Fraud Office.