Corralling Corruption in the EU

By Uwe Klapproth and Ann Longmore-Etheridge

When discussing the private sector, for example, UNCAC calls for enhanced accounting and auditing standards and civil, administrative, or criminal penalties for the failure to comply. It also calls for increased cooperation between law enforcement agencies and relevant private entities, and the development of standards and procedures that safeguard the integrity of these private sector organizations, including codes of conduct, prevention of conflicts of interest, and “the use of good commercial practices among businesses and in the contractual relations of business and state.” Transparency International advocates stricter implementation of UNCAC.


Other organizations offer anticorruption strategies, too, including the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), an independent investigation service of the EU, established in 1999. It looks into fraud and corruption that affect EU financial interests, plans and develops preventive and antifraud policies, and monitors the discharge of professional duties, including the dereliction of the obligations of officials and other public servants.

To make OLAF’s international anticorruption efforts more effective, the organization collaborates with Europol and Eurojust. Europol deals with serious crimes of corruption. Eurojust does not have investigative power but facilitates judicial cooperation between EU member states regarding criminal matters.

OLAF routinely investigates cases. One example involved the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which provides aid payments to Mediterranean banana producers. OLAF received allegations of irregularities relating to the reception, registration, accounting, and payments for bananas delivered to a producer collective. On investigating the case, OLAF found that the collective had overstated banana quantities, increasing the subsidy paid to it by about €200,000 ($275,000).

Publicizing Payments

Another effective anticorruption-through-transparency campaign is Publish What You Pay (PWYP). This international coalition of 280 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) applies pressure on international companies to publish what they pay in taxes, bonuses, fees, and other amounts to the governments of mineral-rich countries. In the EU, participating countries include France, Norway, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.



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