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ANTI-FRAUD : MEMBER STATES FAIL TO ACT TO PROTECT EU'S FINANCIAL INTERESTS.

The ratification and implementation of protection instruments for the EU's financial interests are still not complete in certain old and new member states, reveals a communication adopted on 14 February by the European Commission. In 1995, European partners decided to pursue the "effective and equivalent criminal-law protection" of the EU's financial interests in every member state by means of a convention and related protocols. A first protocol (1996) targeted acts of corruption which involve national and Community officials. The second (1997) imposed sanctions on legal persons, and extended legislation concerning money laundering to the protection of the European Communities' financial interests.

Ten years later, and after a call from the European Commission, seven of the EU15 have yet to complete implementation (Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and Austria). Italy is the only EU15 member state that has still not ratified the second protocol. Moreover, four of the member states that joined the Union in 2004 (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta and Poland) have still not acceded to any of these instruments, despite the undertaking given in the 2003 acts of accession. Estonia also has yet to accede to one of the protocols.

The EU executive assures that measures will be taken to try to remedy these failings. For EU Administration, Audit and Anti-Fraud Commissioner Siim Kallas, "the EU budget is financed by the EU taxpayer and deserves the same level of protection as national monies".

The report is available at www.europolitics.info> Search > 219444

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Publication:European Report
Date:Feb 20, 2008
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