OLAF is part of the European Commission but is independent in its investigative functions. It investigates cases of fraud and corruption in the EU Institutions and bodies and assists European Union bodies in their fight against fraud. As part of the European Commission, OLAF also contributes to the development, monitoring and implementation of the anti-fraud policies of the European Union.
OLAF works closely with the European Parliament, due to both institutions' mission in overseeing the spending of the EU Budget.
OLAF’s main task is to coordinate the Commission's position when the Parliament discusses matters relevant to OLAF's fraud-prevention responsibilities and when parliamentary questions falling under its competences are put to the Commission.
OLAF works closely with Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT), which monitors implementation of the EU budget, scrutinises legislation designed to prevent fraud and other irregularities and adopts a resolution in response to the Commission's annual fight-against-fraud report.
OLAF also works with other EP committees for certain anti-fraud legislative matters, a recent example is the cooperation with the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) in the legislative procedure to establish a European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO).
OLAF also regularly reports on its activities to the Parliament mainly through the annual OLAF Report and provides information to MEPs upon request, without disclosing information on ongoing investigations.
Council of the European Union
As a Commission service, OLAF works with the Council in drafting anti-fraud legislation. Furthermore, OLAF provides the Council (Working Party on Combating Fraud) with regular information on its activities and results.
European Court of Auditors (ECA)
OLAF and the ECA share the same basic objectives – protecting the EU's financial interests and ensuring sound financial management of the EU budget.
While they have different mandates - the ECA performs audits while OLAF deals with cases of fraud and corruption and conducts administrative investigations – they do work together to protect the EU budget. The Court of Auditors informs OLAF of any suspicions or information it has relating to possible fraud, corruption or any other illegal activity. In turn, OLAF provides feedback on the follow-up action it takes. It also provides the ECA with information it needs for its audit work.
Exchange of views with the Institutions
As foreseen in OLAF Regulation, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission meet the Director-General of OLAF once a year for an exchange of views at political level to discuss the Office’s policy relating to methods of preventing and combating fraud, corruption or any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the Union. OLAF Supervisory Committee also participates in this exchange of views.
Topics for the exchange of views may include, for example, the strategic priorities for investigation policies and the effectiveness of the work of the Office with regard to the performance of its mandate, without in any way interfering with the independence of the Office in the conduct of its investigations.