Corruption Exposure Mechanisms of the EU Assessing the European Anti-Fraud Office


  • Lene Tolksdorf
  • Rannveig van Iterson



Currently four out of five EU citizens assume corruption as a grave issue in their own member state (Special Eurobarometer 374, 2012, p. 4). Furthermore, it is estimated that 120 billion euros a year are lost to corruption, which amounts to one per cent of the EU’s GDP (ibid.). These numbers are quite worrying, and corruption is rightly assumed to be one of the most serious social problems facing the EU and Europe today. Corruption is such an important issue, because it distorts competition of the free market, negatively affects budgets and undermines political institutions as well as democratically elected politicians (Della Porta & Vannucci, 1999). The scope of corruption is very broad and therefore difficult to define. This is due to the fact that the financial and ethical impact varies greatly and already smaller criminal offences encounter as corruption. In the context of the financial crisis, the negative effect of financial crime have been noted to be of even bigger consequence on already tight budgets and thus influences individuals directly. Thus, it becomes of considerable importance that taxpayers’ money is spent to revitalizing the European economy and not lost in the realm of criminality. Sadly enough “the European budget attracts both organised economic criminals, and opportunistic entrepreneurs who resort to fraud as means of supporting a failing enterprise or helping a company or organisation in financial difficulties” (Quirke, 2009, p. 531). It is very important to recover as much as possible of the funds that have been lost to fraud, in order to build trust in the EU institutions.


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