The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005URL (Internet address) : http://www.eu2005.lu/en/savoir_ue/glossaire/glossaire_o/
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OLAF is the European office responsible for combating fraud at the expense of the European Union budget. OLAF investigates the management and financing of all institutions and bodies of the Union with absolute operational independence.
The inclusion of an opt-out clause in the treaty corresponds to a derogation granted to a country which does not wish to join the other Member States in a particular field of Community cooperation as a way of avoiding a stalemate in negotiations.
Like other international organisations, the Community budget was originally dependent on financial contributions from the Member States. Following the decision of 21 April 1970, contributions by the Member States were replaced by own resources. This term designates the transfers made by the Member States to the Community budget in order to fund the expenditure of the European Union. The total of the amounts of own resources cannot exceed 1.27% of the gross national product (GNP) of the Member States.
With the introduction of this system, financial autonomy was achieved from 1 January 1978 onwards. Since then, the Community budget has been completely financed by own resources. Today, these consist of four components:
- customs duties from the application of a common customs tariff to imports from third countries (10.4% of the revenue forecast for 2004);
- agricultural levies charged on imports into the EU of agricultural products covered by the Common Agricultural Policy (1.3% of revenue forecast for 2004);
- the VAT resource from the application of a uniform rate to the VAT base of each Member State (14.1% of revenue forecast for 2004);
- the supplementary resource based on GNP known as the “GNP resource"? introduced in 1988. This is a resource determined as a proportion of the GNP of each Member State and the three other components that form the budget. This resource is “supplementary"?, in that it is charged only if the other own resources are insufficient to cover the expenditure. It represents 73.4% of the total own resources forecast for 2004, which reflects its importance.