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Brussels, 13 June 2013
Commission replies to the EP's budgetary control committee
Today (13 June 2013), the Commission has replied to questions posed by the European Parliament's budgetary control committee regarding the resignation of former Commissioner Dalli. On 30 November 2012, the Commission already replied extensively to a large number of questions on the same issue.
The Commission stresses once again the importance of distinguishing between the political and the judicial dimension of the Dalli case. On 16 October 2012, Mr Dalli, in agreement with the President, decided to resign because his position as Commissioner had become politically untenable. The Commission has constantly stressed its attachment to the presumption of innocence which it has respected in all situations.
The Commission makes clear in its answers that it respects article 12 of the OLAF Regulation and article 3 of the Commission decision establishing OLAF which provides for the complete independence of OLAF when it carries out investigations. It considers that according to the law, OLAF must be independent of any political interference in order to be able to play its role. The Commission therefore does not interfere in the conduct of OLAF's independent investigations.
In order to respect OLAF's independence and in the light of on-going national judicial procedures, the Commission is under a duty to refrain from commenting on the legality of OLAF's investigative action. This is not a matter for political institutions but for the courts.
The Commission's replies also underline its willingness to strengthen further of the protection of financial interests of the Union and the defence rights of people concerned by OLAF investigations, notably by making new proposals to amend the Regulation which governs OLAF in the context of its proposal to create a European Public Prosecutors Office.
It also expresses its willingness to look beyond individual cases at the more systemic issues that have been raised by the Parliament and the OLAF supervisory committee, in cooperation with the other institutions, to further improve the legal and administrative arrangements regarding OLAF, going beyond the provisions of the current revision of the OLAF regulation. The Commission is looking forward to discussing with the budgetary control committee and the representative of the Council any further modification to be made to the OLAF Regulation with a view to drawing on experience so far.
Through its replies the Commission announces that it has taken the initiative, in full respect of the independence of OLAF and the Supervisory Committee, to bring OLAF and its Supervisory Committee together to agree on a roadmap of measures that can ensure a constructive and loyal working relationship between the two – to which the Commission attaches the highest importance.