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Alex Brenninkmeijer and Emma van Gelder

In recent years there has been an increasing development of direct enforcement powers shifting from the national to the EU level. Accountability issues arise as the control over this enforcement appears to remain separate between national and European supervisory authorities. As the guardian of EU finances, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) audits the reliability of the accounts, the regularity and legality of the underlying transactions and the sound financial management of the European Enforcement Authorities (EEAs). In this chapter the ECA is analysed as an accountability forum in holding EEAs to account discussing its two distinct features: the auditor of the EU Budget and an information tool for the political branch. In relation to the first function the audit task and the encountered accountability issues are discussed. In relation to the latter function the extent to which the ECA can strengthen political accountability is analysed.

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Alex Brenninkmeijer and Emma van Gelder

The rule of law is one of the fundamental values on which the European Union is built. The EU ensures its upholding through various means and the EU institutions play an essential role in this process. This chapter focuses on the roles of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Ombudsman and the European Court of Auditors in upholding the rule of law. To this end, the chapter analyses the institutions’ different mandates, standards, outputs and possible impact, and subsequently provides a comparative overview of how these institutions create a complementary framework for the safeguard of the rule of law in the EU.