Tuesday, April 19, 2005

EU Funding and Palestinian Terrorism: The OLAF Declines

Last month, I wrote about the announcement by the European Anti-Fraud Office (known by its French initials OLAF) that it was closing its investigation into EU funding of the Palestinian Authority and the possible uses – including the financing of terror attacks against Israelis – to which the EU funds may have gone. After two years of supposedly investigating the matter, the OLAF issued not a report, but a press release barely exceeding 1000 words. The latter predictably failed to confirm that EU funds had been used “for other than the intended purposes” – while admitting, however, the existence of “consistent indications” that prevented it from excluding this possibility. It should be noted that the alleged investigation covered a period in which the PA was receiving some 10 million euros per month in direct budgetary assistance from the EU and hence during which it was not even specified just what the “intended purposes” of the assistance were.

The Funding for Peace Coalition (FPC), which monitors the issue of EU-funding to the PA, requested a copy of the OLAF’s final report. Not surprisingly, the OLAF – which vows to conduct its fraud-fighting mission with “absolute transparency” – declined. Brad Neilson of the Funding for Peace Coalition discusses the OLAF refusal here, where the full text of the OLAF response to the FPC is also reproduced.

My favorite piece of European bureaucratic newspeak in the letter consists of the following paragraph:
However, if you want this position [i.e. the OLAF refusal] to be reviewed, you should write to OLAF’s Director General at the address below, confirming your initial request. You have 15 working days in which to do so from receipt of this letter, after which your initial request will be deemed to have been withdrawn.