This week saw the presentation of OLAF’s annual report. As Director-General Nicholas Ilett put it, “Our investigative performance in 2017 shows that our work is essential in protecting EU taxpayers’ money and ensuring that EU funds do not fuel fraud and corruption instead of financing projects that can bring real added-value to citizens.”
One of OLAF’s main missions is fighting against smuggling tobacco into Europe, which causes significant revenue losses to both EU and Member State budgets. “In recent years, OLAF has paid particular attention to ships with significant quantities of cigarettes that are being offloaded in the ports of Montenegro… These vessels reached their destinations with the cigarettes most likely diverted into the EU contraband market.”
According to ESTA Secretary General Peter van der Mark: “The multiplication of smuggling techniques clearly demonstrates that efforts must continue and intensify at both EU and Member State level. Cigarette trafficking being harmful both in terms of revenue losses and public health. Smart tax policies and effective regulations are needed to reduce incentives and tackle this illegal activity.”
Learn more about ESTA’s position on fighting illegal trade here.