One of the key elements often mentioned as a raison d’être for the European Union, certainly in this period of elections for the European Parliament, are its concerns for the rule of law and fundamental rights and values. Fraud and corruption undermine this, but not only: they can also have substantial economic consequences and eat away the trust of EU citizens in the EU and its institutions.
In this ECA Journal, we focus on the key issues related to fraud and corruption, the tools created in the fight against fraud and corruption, and actions undertaken and results achieved. Moreover, we look at the role external auditors play in this fight. Firstly, when it comes to assessing the tools particularly EU institutions have to prevent, detect and sanction fraud and corruption. But also considering the role of public external auditors when it comes to promoting specific values the EU wants to be affiliated with: ethics and integrity, transparency and being truthful in what you say and do. Several experts in the field will present perspectives on the role of the EU as such, and specific instruments like OLAF and the EPPO, and on root causes for fraud, on why people behave honest or dishonest, on whistleblowing, on what it takes to ‘do the right thing.'
13 European values – we all have to fight for them! – Interview with EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger
17 Calling for strategic fraud management – Interview with ECA Member Juhan Parts
49 Finding and rectifying a fraud case while auditing EU funds – By Orsolya Szarka, ECA
58 Cooperation is key to make the fight against fraud successful – Interview with Ville Itälä, Director-General of the EU Anti-Fraud Office - OLAF
73 Upholding the rule of law to preserve the EU’s key values – Interview with Ingeborg Gräßle, Member of the European Parliament and Chair of its Budgetary Control Committee
113 Honesty as a value that matters for business – Interview with Alexander F. Wagner, Associate Professor at the University of Zurich
129 Integrity risks and remedies in the EU institutions – By Carl Dolan, Open Society European Policy Institute
155 ‘The Panama Papers’ - tackling transnational white collar crime through cross-border journalist collaboration – Interview with the two authors of the bestseller book The Panama Papers, Frederic Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer
With almost 40 articles on the main theme, this issue of the ECA Journal also features contributions from experts and practitioners from both the public and private sector. They include, besides several ECA Members and auditors, Professor Michael Levi from Cardiff University; Lilian Grooten and Gérard Zolt of EY Luxembourg; Oliver Salles of the EPPO; Jan Inghelram of the CJEU; Agnès Maîtrepierre of GRECO, Cécile Remeur of the EPRS; Branislav Hock of the University of Portsmouth; Robert Lamers of ACFE; Anton Colella, Global CEO of Moore Stephens International; Moritz Homann of the EQS Group; Luis Alvarez of the Canary Island Regional Audit Institution and Julio Garcia Muñoz of the University of Castilla-La Mancha; James C. Paterson of RiskAI; Tom Gibson from the Committee to Protect Journalists; Lara Dobinson and Corinna Ullrich of OLAF; and Isabelle Adam and Mihály Fazekas of the Government Transparency Institute.