The Great EU Budget Heist: 5 Billion Euros Gone in 2022!

EU | November 3, 2023, Friday // 13:17|  views

In 2022, the European Public Prosecutor's Office revealed a substantial 5 billion euro damage to the EU budget due to the misuse of EU funds, a staggering amount compared to the 300 million euros reported by member countries to the European Commission, according to a report on the investigative platform Follow the Money.

This revelation highlights the critical role of the European Public Prosecutor's Office in uncovering misuse cases that had previously gone unnoticed by national prosecutors and the European Commission. Laura Kovesi, the EU's chief prosecutor, commented, "Before the creation of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, the Commission was unaware of over 90 percent of suspicious cases affecting the EU's financial interests, as investigated by national prosecutors' offices."

The report also raises concerns about the effectiveness of the EU's anti-fraud office, OLAF, which is likened to a dog that neither barks nor bites. Unlike the European Public Prosecutor's Office, which has the authority to prosecute cases directly before national courts, OLAF can only offer recommendations to EU member states, and these recommendations rarely lead to actual legal cases.

In 2022, the European Public Prosecutor's Office launched an impressive 865 investigations into the misuse of European funds, a stark contrast to OLAF, which initiated only 192 investigations during the same period. Furthermore, as a part of the European Commission, OLAF faces challenges in terms of independence, a problem that the European Public Prosecutor's Office does not encounter.

The discrepancy in the damage figures underscores the need for more rigorous and independent oversight to protect the EU budget from financial misuse.

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Tags: OLAF, EU, funds, Prosecutor


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