The European Commission (EC) has proposed a new directive to equalize criminal sanctions for fraud in its member states.
Even though the EU has a legal framework in place against fraud, money laundering and corruption, “Member States have adopted diverging rules and consequently often diverging levels of protection within their national legal systems” the proposal published Wednesday states.
As an example, the EC’s directive lists the differences in legal sanction for tax fraud in different countries, and adds that “Common offences in all Member States would reduce the risks of divergent practice, as they would ensure a uniform interpretation and a homogeneous way to meet all the necessary prosecution requirements.”
According to a 2010 EC report, the EU budget looses some €600 million (US$731) to fraud each year. The proposal states that the actual amount could be higher, as a number of fraud cases are not reported or go undetected.
Bulgaria is the most investigated EU member state for EU funds fraud, the spokesperson of the European anti-fraud office (OLAF) Johan Volt told the Bulgarian National Radio Saturday. He added there 78 active probes into fraud cases in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria and Romania are awaiting the 11th European Commission report on progress, to be published July 18. The report is expected by many to be unfavorable.