23rd Mar 2018

Eight EU states to face extra anti-fraud scrutiny

  • Olaf is likely to step up its probes into EU states that refuse to participate in the EPPO (Photo: European Commission)

Member states that refuse to join the future European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO) can expect more probes by the EU's anti-fraud office, Olaf.

"Those who do not have the EPPO will have more Olaf, Olaf will focus on them," Olaf chief Giovanni Kessler told reporters on Wednesday (31 May) in Brussels.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Kessler followed with a statement saying it was not a threat but noted the importance of a level playing field in terms of stopping fraud across all EU states.

Unlike Olaf, the EPPO will have the power to conduct criminal investigations and prosecute offenders, including cases of cross-border VAT fraud worth at least €10 million or more.

Olaf is only able to conduct administrative probes on EU money and pass on its findings to national authorities who do not always act on its reports.

Some 20 EU states have backed the EPPO.

Hungary, Malta, Poland and Sweden

Hungary, Malta, Poland and Sweden refused to participate, with the Netherlands yet to declare to its intention. The UK, Ireland, and Denmark have also opted out.

As the EU presidency, Malta has often found itself in an awkward position on the file.

Earlier this year, its justice minister Owen Bonnici told reporters that the Maltese EU presidency supported EPPO but that Malta as a country did not.

"Malta believes that tax issues should be a full competence of the member states but that doesn't mean as the presidency, keep in mind that I am wearing the hat of the presidency of the Council now, will act as an honest broker to make sure that this office is born," he said in late January.

Bonnici appears to have kept to his word, as ministers are set to vote on the EPPO next week.

But dubious tax regimes in Malta, uncovered by recent media revelations known as the Malta Files, and the country's refusal take part in the EPPO, are also likely to cast an even longer tax-haven shadow over the island nation.

The EU parliament is expected to also vote and endorse the EPPO in a plenary vote sometime in September.

The EPPO will be composed of an EU chief prosecutor with two deputies and college of prosecutors, one from each EU state that takes part, and an European delegated prosecutor. It means there will be at least two prosecutors per participating country.

The plan is to have the EPPO up and running sometime in early 2019.

Thirteen states join EU prosecutor's office

Justice ministers from 13 EU member states have confirmed they will take part in the European Public Prosecutor's Office with another three set to join in the next few days.

Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing

An Austrian police unit headed by a far-right town councilor and tasked to tackle street crime was sent to raid the offices and homes of people working for Austria's domestic intelligence agency - prompting German counterparts to review cooperation.


EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery

The EU-Turkey deal was agreed two years ago in Brussels. Focus has largely been on reducing migrant flows across the Mediterranean and helping Syrian refugees in Turkey, while the plight of those on the Greek islands are ignored.

Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair

US authorities have arrested the chair of the Maltese-registered Pilatus Bank for tax evasion. The bank facilitated political corruption in Malta but its whistleblower is now facing jail in Malta and fears for her life.

EU to probe UK 'election-rigging' firm

MEPs are to investigate whether UK firm Cambridge Analytica and Facebook misused private data to sway votes amid increasingly lurid revelations.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

News in Brief

  1. EU will be exempted from tariffs, says US minister
  2. Malmstroem: EU 'hopes' for US tariffs exemption
  3. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says
  4. Italy's centre-right set to share top posts with 5-star movement
  5. Brussels condemns tear gas in Kosovo parliament
  6. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  7. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  8. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  2. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  3. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  4. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  5. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  6. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  7. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  8. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions