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Controls on French operators under Regulations Nos 1073/99 and 2185/96

by Dr. Oliver Frese

The fight against fraud to protect the financial interests of the European Community has been in the public interest for several years. In particular since the historically unprecedented resignation of the European Commission in March 1999, regulations have been adopted at Community level which allow for a more determined fight against irregularities, fraud, corruption and mismanagement. Of central importance is OLAF, the Anti-Fraud Office created in May 1999, which for the first time gives European Community officials the power to carry out checks on economic operators in the individual Member States. The mandate conferred on OLAF provides for controls to be carried out in accordance with national law, subject to the applicable Community law. The control mission thus defined triggers a tension between Community law and the respective national law in each individual Member State whenever OLAF carries out controls. The present paper examines which control powers are available to OLAF in France and which rights of defence of a French economic operator concerned, on the other hand, must be taken into account when carrying out a control.

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