Anti-corruption and integrity in the public sector

Fraud and corruption in European Structural and Investment Funds


Fraud and corruption are undermining the impact of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds. Recent high-profile cases have resulted in protests and loss of public trust.

Not only do fraud and corruption divert taxpayers’ money away from investments that promote job creation and socio-economic development, they can also result in unfinished or poor quality works and services that pose a threat to citizens’ well-being and safety.

It is difficult to measure the extent of undetected fraud to complement official statistics. However, based on estimates from detected cases alone, over EUR 390 million* every year are misappropriated from the structural funds.

This guide raises awareness of not only fraud and corruption schemes affecting ESI Funds, but also preventive actions to avoid a “pay and chase” model.


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The structural funds aim to enhance the quality of life of citizens in the European Union (EU) through a range of investments, including research and development, infrastructure, employment and training, agriculture, forestry and fisheries.


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The guide contains illustrated schemes that focus on risks throughout the project cycle to demonstrate the complex nature of fraud and corruption in ESI Funds. It highlights the typical perpetrators and what tactics they employ to defraud the EU budget. The guide also includes suggested actions to prevent and detect risks. ‌

Here are some of the key tactics used:


Tackling Fraud and Corruption Risks in the Slovak Republic: A Strategy with Key Actions for the European Structural and Investment Funds

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*Source: Fighting fraud in EU spending: action needed


For more information, contact the Public Sector Integrity Divison: [email protected]


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