The European Court of Auditors: Getting Better Value for Money

Basics
 

Function:

Ensure that EU funds are spent properly
 

Members:

One member from each EU country
Term: Each member is appointed for a renewable term of six years
 

Address:

2 rue Alcide de Gasperi, L-1615 Luxembourg
 Tel:  (352) 43 98-1
 Website: http://www.eca.europa.eu/  

 

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) was established in 1975 in Luxembourg. The Court of Auditors ensures that the tax’s are properly collected and that they are spent legally, economically and for the Intended Purpose.

The Court of Auditors can audit any person or entity that receive EU funds. 

What does the Court of Auditors do?

The primary role of the Court of Auditors is to check that EU funds are correctly accounted for, are raised and spent in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations. Thus, the Court of Auditors enables the EU system to operate efficiently and transparently.

In doing so, the Court of Auditors checks the paperwork of all persons handling any income or expenditure of the EU and carries out spot checks. The Court of Auditors is bound to report any problems in its reports for the attention of the EU’s Member States and institutions. 

One of the major functions of the Court of Auditors is to regularly submit the previous year’s audit reports to the Parliament and the Council every year. The Parliament decides whether to approve the Commission’s budget after reviewing the Court of Auditors' report. If the Court of Auditors considers the execution satisfactory, it sends a report to the Council and the Parliament mentioning that the European taxpayers’ funds have been properly used. Finally, the Court of Auditors also discusses proposals on EU financial legislation and EU anti-corruption actions. 

How is the Court of Auditors’ work organized?

The auditors are divided into audit groups which prepare draft reports on which the Court of Auditors takes decisions. Auditors often conduct audit visits to EU institutions, member states, and countries that receive EU assistance. Although the Court of Auditors’ work is associated with the money the Commission is responsible for, in practice, 90 percent of these revenues and expenses are managed by national authorities. The Court of Auditors has no independent jurisdiction. If auditors detect any corruption or irregularity, they notify the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).