Coordinating Audit Functions in the European Union
Edited by Milagros Garciá Crespo
Chapter 6: External audit institutions: the European Court of Auditors and its relationship with the national audit institutions of the Member States
Antoni Castells INTRODUCTION The purpose of this contribution1 is to examine some current issues related to the public sector’s external audit institutions. In the ﬁrst section, we examine three phenomena which deeply aﬀect the current framework of action of these institutions. First, the impact of current processes of supranational political integration and decentralization which are currently being experienced in Europe, often simultaneously. Second, the growing demand for transparency and accountability of activities carried out in both the public and private sectors. And third, the problems that arise from the blurring of the line that separates the public and private spheres. In the second section, we describe the characteristics, principal activities and speciﬁcity of the European Court of Auditors (ECA). One of the European Union’s ﬁve institutions, the ECA is responsible for providing support to the European Parliament for controlling the budget management of the European Commission. This body, though perhaps not very well known, plays a relevant role as an institution involved in the external audit of the EU executive. In the third section, we consider the issues arising from the coordination of the tasks of the European Court of Auditors and the tasks of the external audit institutions of each Member State. This coordination is complex and perhaps insuﬃciently regulated, and its diﬃculty will only be increased by the incorporation of ten new members into the European Union, with the consequent impact on the European Court of Auditors itself. With these reﬂections, we intend...
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