The evaluation and amendment of Regulation No 883/2013 (the "OLAF Regulation") was an important policy project intended to ensure that the legal framework for OLAF investigations is fit for purpose. The proposed amendments to the OLAF Regulation allowed OLAF to become a strong partner for the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) and to enhance the effectiveness of its investigations.
The European Commission set up the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in 1999 to investigate fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities affecting the financial interests of the European Union (EU). OLAF helps EU countries prevent and fight fraud. Regulation No 883/2013 sets out its investigative remit.
Why was the Regulation amended?
An evaluation of the OLAF Regulation completed in October 2017 showed that it needed amending to update the legal framework for OLAF's investigations. The results were published in the following documents:
- The Commission Report on evaluation of the Application of Regulation 883/2013, accompanied by a Commission staff working document;
- OLAF Supervisory Committee Opinion No 2/2017.
There were two reasons why the Regulation needed amending:
1. To adapt to the establishment of the new European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO)
In October 2017, the Commission adopted Regulation 2017/1939 on the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO). The EPPO fights fraud affecting EU finances by conducting criminal investigations and prosecuting offenders before the national courts of the participating EU countries. Since this new Office affected the way OLAF works, new rules on relations between the two were needed.
2. To tackle shortcomings that affect OLAF investigations
Although the evaluation mentioned above concluded that the OLAF Regulation has enabled OLAF to achieve concrete results in protecting the EU budget, it identified several shortcomings that make investigations less effective and efficient than they could be.
What preparations were made for the amendment?
- November 2017: Roadmap for a proposal to amend Regulation 883/2013.
- November 2017 – January 2018: Commission departments consulted parties with a particular interest in the area, as outlined in the stakeholder consultation strategy.
- January – May 2018: the Commission carried out an assessment in line with the Better Regulation principles, to develop the proposal for the amendment of the Regulation.
Adoption of the amending Regulation
On 23 May 2018, the Commission adopted the proposal to amend the OLAF Regulation. The proposal was accompanied by an analytical document and was announced by a press release.
The negotiations between the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council started in September 2019 and were finalised on 26 June 2020. On 4 December 2020, the Council adopted its first reading position. On 8 December 2020, the Commission adopted a communication on the Council’s position expressing support for the agreement, as it achieves the objectives of its proposal. On 17 December 2020, the European Parliament adopted the new Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2223 amending Regulation No 883/2013, as regards cooperation with the EPPO and the effectiveness of the European Anti-Fraud Office investigations.
The new Regulation entered into force on 17 January 2021.