Brussels/Budapest, 15 October 2010
Fighting fraud in the EU with a proactive media strategy
10th OAFCN seminar in Budapest 13-15 October
“Proactive media strategies to promote EU-wide anti-fraud messages” was the subject of the OLAF Anti-Fraud Communicators’ Network’s (OAFCN) two-day seminar which ended today. The event took place in Budapest and was organised by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in cooperation with the Hungarian Customs & Finance Guard.
It was the 10th in a series of OAFCN conferences with a common theme: “deterring fraud by informing the public”. This year the focus was on the ways that proactive media strategies are implemented in different countries.
During the seminar, press officers and journalists discussed the aims and methods of a proactive strategy, with particular reference to the trans-border fight against fraud and corruption. The OAFCN members shared experiences from national and international anti-fraud agencies and presented examples of effective proactive media activities.
“The Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard, OAFCN members and OLAF's national partners all share a common interest. We want to protect EU taxpayers’ money and fight fraud,” said Commissioner, Lieutenant-General József Béndek, Head of the Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard in his opening speech.
“We all know that communication, particularly with the public, is crucial in order to deter and prevent fraud and irregularities in the EU. We have to raise awareness and stimulate public debate on these very important issues. Since its creation nearly 10 years ago, the OAFCN has proved itself to be an important network for precisely these reasons. It has successfully promoted cooperation between anti-fraud organisations and coordinated many valuable joint communication activities,” said OLAF's acting Director-General Nicholas Ilett.
The OLAF Anti-Fraud Communicators' Network (OAFCN) was established in 2001. It brings together spokespersons and those responsible for information and communication from OLAF and its partner services (police, customs, judicial authorities etc.) in the EU Member States. In 2005, it was registered as an official expert group assisting the Commission. The OAFCN plays a pivotal role in communicating to the public the threat of fraud affecting the EU financial interests, as well as the efforts made by national and European investigative authorities to combat the problem. In line with its guiding principle ‘prevention is better than cure’, the main purpose of the OAFCN is to prevent fraud by ensuring the free flow of information.
OLAF’s (European Anti-Fraud Office) mission is to protect the financial interests of the European Union, to fight fraud, corruption and any other irregular activity, including misconduct within the European Institutions. In pursuing this mission in an accountable, transparent and cost-effective manner, OLAF aims to provide a quality service to the citizens of Europe.
The tasks of the Hungarian Customs administration are carried out by the Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard. One of the main tasks is to provide resources for the state budget, to perform the customs control of goods and passenger traffic through the state borders, to impose and collect customs and other public charges. The Customs and Finance Guard plays a prominent role in law enforcement, crime prevention, the fight against money laundering and international terrorism as well as against cigarette, drug and alcohol smuggling. The Customs and Finance Guard detects and investigates of financial and customs offences falling within its competence including urgent crime-investigation activities.
Colonel Jenő SIPOS
Hungarian Customs and Finance Guard
Phone: +36 1 456 95 68