The European Union has lost billions of euros in taxpayer funds due to widespread fraud since the bloc’s creation, with less than half of those responsible having been brought to justice.
European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding said on July 15 that about 500 million euros are lost every year through crimes against the EU budget - worth hundreds of billions of euros - with only 42 percent of suspected cases prosecuted.
“Criminals, for instance, who deliberately provide false information to receive EU funding for agriculture, for regional development, or national officials who accept money in return for awarding public contracts in breach of procurement rules - some examples only; there are many, many, many, ” Reding stated.
Reding has introduced a new bill aimed at curbing corruption and subsidy fraud through the creation of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPU). The bill obliges EU prosecutors to pursue EU-wide cases, while national authorities would continue pursuing crimes based on their state laws. “The European Public Prosecutor’s (EPPU) office will be entirely independent. As you will appreciate, this is crucial for impartial and professional investigations and prosecutions. However, independent does not mean unaccountable. The EPPU will be answerable for its investigative actions in national courts,” said Algirdas Semeta, the EU commissioner.