Monday

5th Dec 2016

Call to scrap yearly statement on EU budget

  • Former auditors want to scrap the mandatory Declaration of Assurance attached to EU accounts (Photo: Jorge Franganillo)

The EU should scrap the annual Declaration of Assurance (DAS) on the EU's accounts prepared by the Court of Auditors, (ECA) says its former president Jan Karlsson.

Karlsson was speaking on Wednesday (30 May) during a public hearing organised by the parliament's budgetary control committee, responsible for overseeing the work of the Luxembourg-based Court of Auditors.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

President of the court between 1999 and 2001, Karlsson claimed that the exercise, which has seen the audits for the last 17 years fail to give the EU's accounts a clean bill of health, is "misunderstood" by the public who "perceived the exercise as an investigation into corruption in the European institutions."

Jules Muis, a former chief internal auditor of the European Commission, agreed the annual exercise should be scrapped in favour of an audit every five years.

"The time has come for parliament to initiate an EU inter-institutional debate to reconsider the rationale of the DAS and at least to take the annual mandatory DAS out of the ECA's mandates; possibly to replace it with a once every five years requirement," he told MEPs.

Muis added that the mandate of the court should be overhauled, calling for it to move from being "an almost exclusive auditing and accounting agency into a broader accountability agency" acting more as an independent accountability body.

The European Commission says that most irregularities in EU spending are committed at national level. Around 80 percent of EU budget spending is distributed by national governments.

Currently only four member states use a "national management declaration" which certifies that the accounts have been accurately verified, with governments blocking attempts to make it mandatory.

Earlier this month MEPs signed off the accounts of the European Commission and most EU agencies for 2010 although it refused to approve accounts prepared by the Council, the member states' secretariat.

MEPs also raised concerns about the accountability of the raft of new financial instruments being formulated by the commission and other institutions in response to the financial crisis, particularly the new EU bail-out fund, the European Stability Mechanism, which comes into force in July.

The current fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, was set up on an inter-governmental basis domiciled in Luxembourg with no parliamentary oversight, and MEPs are keen to ensure that the ESM treaty includes provisions for external audits.

Vitor Caldeira, Court of Auditors' chief, agreed that "adequate management reporting on risks and performance of such financial instruments will be key to maintaining transparency and accountability."

MEPs are also drawing up a report on the future role of the Court and its appointment procedures. Muis and Karlsson argue that ECA members should be selected on professional grounds, abolishing the one-country one-member requirement.

However, reforms to the court's governance structure require the unanimous support of the 27 EU governments.

MEP barred from questioning Oettinger on plane trip

The Hungarian Green MEP who uncovered EU Commissioner Oettinger's flight to Budapest on a private plane of a lobbyist was not allowed to ask the German politician on the issue in the EP.

Column / Rem@rk@ble

Juncker’s time is running out

EU Commission chief's defensive media blitz reinforces the very thing he wants to deny: It’s time to leave.

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESIElects Leaders and Sets Safety & Health at Work and Gender Equality Among the Guidelines For Next Term
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  3. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  4. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  5. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  6. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  7. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  8. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  10. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  12. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security