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Brussels, 14 February 2006

Personnel: the Commission appoints new Director-General of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)

Mr Franz-Hermann Brüner was appointed today Director-General of the European Anti-Fraud Office. Mr Brüner will be responsible, in full independence, for the investigative activity of the Office. Under the supervision of the Commissioner responsible for the protection of the European Union’s financial interests, he will manage the Office’s contribution to the design of the Commission’s anti-fraud strategy as well as providing assistance to the Member States by organising close and regular cooperation between their competent authorities in order to coordinate activities aimed at protecting the European Union’s financial interests against fraud.

Mr Brüner, aged 60, worked from 1979 to 2000 for the Ministry of Justice of the State of Bavaria in the Federal Republic of Germany on a variety of assignments, including high profile and demanding special programmes both in the country and abroad.

In March 2000 Mr Brüner was nominated for a term of five years renewable once as the Director-General of the European Anti-Fraud Office, which was created less than one year before. During his mandate he set up the office, recruited the necessary staff, developed work methods and best practices for investigations and was responsible for creating a risk analysis strategy and for the introduction of a proactive approach in the fight against fraud.

According to the OLAF Regulation 1073/1999, “the Commission shall (...), after a favourable opinion has been given by the Supervisory Committee, draw up a list of suitably qualified candidates. After consultations with the European Parliament and the Council, the Commission shall appoint the Director general” (art 12).

On 1st of September 2005, the Commission transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council a list of five candidates – MM. Franz Hermann Brüner (D), Björn Eriksson (S), Alain Gillette (F), Francois Falletti (F) and Johan Denolf (B).

The European Parliament budgetary control committee (COCOBU) held on 13 october 2005 hearings of all five candidates and established a shortlist of two candidates : Mr Eriksson (20 votes) and Mr Brüner (14 votes).

For the Council, a Troika at ambassador level (UK, LUX, AT) heard all five candidates. The Committee of permanent representatives (Coreper) expressed on 20 December 2005 a “clear preference for Mr Gillette, but also considered that, in this order, Mr Eriksson and Mr Brüner could be suitable”.

Mr Kallas has invited the representatives of the European Parliament and the Council to attend a “trialogue” meeting on 7 February 2006 in order to find agreement on the person to be nominated by the Commission to the post. The trialogue concluded that Mr Brüner was best suited for the post.

In this capacity Mr Brüner will be responsible for a Directorate-General comprising three Directorates and some 350 staff and will manage a budget of around 48 millions of euros. Since the end of his first 5 year term, Mr Brüner has continued to act as Director of OLAF with his powers limited to managing day-to-day activities. He will now resume full competences as Director of the Office.
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