Interesting report from the House of Lords, suggesting that EU budget fraud may be up to 12 times larger than officially accounted, due to a "lack of enthusiasm displayed by the member states in reporting fraud" and a "lack of uniformity in the definition of fraud" in the 80% of EU money they're responsible for managing.
The suggested figure is "up to €5 billion", compared to the €400 million or so reported by OLAF. The lack of action by member states prevents efforts by the Commission to grasp the full extent of the problem.
Report available here: http://www.publications.parliament.u...om/158/158.pdf
The report is just a wee bit critical of the UK's approach, both to fraud within its own management of EU funds:
and of the attitude to OLAF:The UK Government assured us that they take all fraud, including fraud against the EU’s budget, very seriously but we were unable to ascertain whether any Government department or agency in the UK takes overall responsibility for this issue. No one was able to tell us with any confidence how much known EU fraud is perpetrated from within these shores, despite the fact that the individual Member States are required to tell the relevant EU authorities when they uncover these offences.
We received evidence of significant levels of VAT fraud, which the Government initially argued was outside the scope of our inquiry.
but you'd hardly know that from the Telegraph coverage:In our assessment of OLAF’s role in the fight against fraud against the EU’s budget, we found that there are a number of limitations on its effectiveness, such as budgetary restrictions which force OLAF to be selective about the cases of EU fraud that it pursues; or the tangled web between Europol, Eurojust and OLAF which contributes to the lack of a coordinated response to fraud on the EU’s budget. While we are of the view that the decision to prosecute must remain a national matter, Member States must also recognise that if OLAF is seen as a body whose recommendations are never followed up, it will remain hamstrung in its ability to protect the EU’s financial interests.
Peers on the European Union Select Committee found fraud against the taxpayer could be up to 12 times worse than Brussels officials will admit.
The committee said it believes frauds ranging from cigarette smuggling to bribery and corruption "never see the light of day" because the EU has failed to grasp the scale of the problem. This is because some member states are reluctant to report suspected cases and others fall through the gaps of a "tangled web" of EU investigation agencies.