OLAF and Luxembourg customs host training on communication as a fraud deterrent
With fraudulent activities costing European taxpayers several hundred million euros every year, it is crucial that the public is kept constantly informed on how to fight fraud throughout European Union (EU) Member States. That is why some 80 anti-fraud communicators from OLAF’s partner services across Europe will meet in Luxembourg from 2-4 December for the 13th training seminar of the OLAF Anti-Fraud Communicators’ Network (OAFCN). The seminar entitled “How best to communicate to deter fraud” is hosted by the European Anti-Fraud office (OLAF), in cooperation with Luxembourg Customs and Excise. It will focus on providing training on the most used communication vehicles, such as written press, TV and radio, as well as on the use of new media. Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance will open the event, which will take place during the country’s Presidency of the EU.
The programme will open with a panel engaging representatives from various EU Institutions, national administrations and media experts in an active dialogue on communicating fraud in Europe, which will be open to the press. A second roundtable amongst anti-fraud stakeholders will address the challenges of data protection when communicating about fraud. Practical workshop sessions will equip press and communication experts with the tools to develop successful anti-fraud campaigns and to use effective media techniques and strategies to quickly and efficiently convey deterrent messages.
“At a time when the EU budget is facing constraints, getting anti-fraud messages across to the public is of crucial concern,” OLAF Director-General, Giovanni Kessler said. “OLAF and its partners are committed to exploiting all communication channels available to ensure European citizens know and understand our work,” he added.
Head of Luxembourg Customs and Excise, Pierrot Reding, said: “Informing the public about the increasing amount of fraud committed encourages citizens to denounce it, which in turn enables national law enforcement agencies to better combat fraud.”
The OAFCN was created over a decade ago and is a unique cross-European network of communication experts working on anti-fraud issues. The Network brings together Communication Officers and Spokespersons from OLAF’s operational partners in the Member States (i.e. customs, police, law enforcement agencies, Member States’ Anti-Fraud Coordination Services (AFCOS) and prosecutors’ offices). It plays a pivotal role in communicating the threat of fraud to the public across 28 Member States, as well as the joint efforts made by national and European authorities to combat it. It is a key platform for raising awareness and reaching out to various audiences on fraud issues. The training seminar is a biennial event hosted by OLAF together with an OAFCN partner service.