The European Court of Auditors (ECA), as one of the seven institutions of the European Union (EU), is an often overlooked actor in policy-making due to the technical nature of its mandate and work. Nevertheless, through its independent review and assessment of how the various EU policy instruments are implemented, it provides a subtle and yet important influence on how EU policies evolve. An increased focus on performance audit of the ECA’s work and reports and its emphasis on assuring that EU money and policies are delivered in a manner that respects the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness, has helped EU policies to steer towards a design that is focused on results. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the role of external control in Cohesion policy and its importance in realising financial accountability, thus showing how the Court affects policy design and implementation in the interests of the EU citizen.
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