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The evaluation and amendment of Regulation No 883/2013 (the "OLAF Regulation") is an important policy project intended to ensure that the legal framework for OLAF investigations is fit for purpose. The proposed amendments to the OLAF Regulation should equip OLAF to become a strong partner for the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) and enhance the effectiveness of its investigations.
The European Commission set up the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in 1999 to investigate fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities affecting the financial interests of the European Union (EU). OLAF helps EU countries prevent and fight fraud. Regulation No 883/2013 sets out its investigative remit.
Why amend the Regulation?
An evaluation of the OLAF Regulation completed in October 2017 showed that it needed amendment to update the legal framework for OLAF's investigations. The results were published in the following documents:
- The Commission Report on evaluation of the Application of Regulation 883/2013, accompanied by a Commission staff working document;
- OLAF Supervisory Committee Opinion No 2/2017.
There are 2 reasons why the Regulation needs amendment:
1. To adapt to the establishment of the new European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO)
In October 2017, the Commission adopted Regulation 2017/1939 on the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO). The EPPO will fight fraud affecting the finances by conducting criminal investigations and prosecuting offenders before the national courts of the participating EU countries (currently 22). Since this new Office will affect the way OLAF works, rules on relations between the two are needed.
2. To tackle shortcomings that affect OLAF investigations
Although the evaluation mentioned above concludes that the OLAF Regulation has enabled OLAF to achieve concrete results in protecting the EU budget, it identified several shortcomings that make investigations less effective and efficient than they could be.
What preparations were made for the amendment?
- November 2017: Roadmap for a proposal to amend Regulation 883/2013.
- November 2017 – January 2018: Commission departments consulted parties with a particular interest in the area, as outlined in the stakeholder consultation strategy.
- January – May 2018: the Commission carried out an assessment in line with the Better Regulation principles, to develop the proposal for the amendment of the Regulation.
Adoption of proposal to amend OLAF Regulation
What happens next?
The proposal is currently going through the ordinary legislative procedure in the European Parliament and the Council. On 16 April 2019, the European Parliament voted at first reading on the Commission proposal and made numerous amendments to the text. The amended OLAF Regulation is expected to enter into force before the EPPO starts work at the end of 2020.