ECA promises 2015 work programme will be ‘more relevant’

19 Jan 15

The European Court of Auditors has published its work programme for 2015, saying it aims to make the institution’s audit reports ‘more relevant than ever’ to the challenges the European Union is facing.

In its 2013/17 strategy, published today, the ECA said it would focus its performance audits on topics which relate to the overall EU objectives of achieving added value and growth as well as the EU’s response to global challenges.

The court is required by EU law to carry out the financial and compliance audit of the EU budget, the European Development Fund, and each of the EU’s agencies and joint undertakings.

In total 55 annual audit reports will be published this year. Themes to be covered are financial and economic governance framework, policy challenges identified in the Europe 2020 strategy, the closure of 2007-2013 programming period, and disaster preparedness and response at EU level.

In addition, the ECA plans on publishing around 30 special reports mostly on performance-related topics.

In outlining the work programme, the ECA noted that EU managers produced a lot of information about the price of EU spending but little was about added value. This lack of information made it hard to hold those responsible for implementing EU policies to account for their performance.

Speaking in Brussels at the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European parliament, ECA president Vítor Caldeira said that this risked poor performance going unchallenged and opportunities to improve being missed.

He said: ‘In this context, we note that fostering a “performance culture” to improve added value of the EU is a priority of the new commission.’

With a weak EU economy continuing to put pressure on national budgets, implementing the Europe 2020 Strategy and strengthening economic growth, employment and public finances mattered more than ever, the auditors said.

As such, in 2015 it would report on specific aspects of these three themes, for example on innovation, youth employment, and the excessive deficit procedure.

The ECA also plans to report on EU financial assistance to Ukraine and on EU policy measures and infrastructure investments for energy security. 

Furthermore, while a good number of the ECA’s audits will focus on the implementation of policies, others will focus more specifically on the types of financial support the EU offers.

Caldeira also noted that the ECA planned on reducing the average time spent on producing a report whilst continuing to comply with the International Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions.

‘The reforms we are undertaking will not only help improve our capacity to audit performance issues but also our ability to re-programme our work during the year, if necessary, in response to important developments and new priorities,’ the president added.

  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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