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Public Expenditure Control in Europe

Coordinating Audit Functions in the European Union

Edited by Milagros Garciá Crespo

This book presents a comprehensive analysis of public expenditure control in Europe and the coordination strategies available. It provides a detailed scrutiny of the various audit systems in the EU and the difficulties in building consistency or harmony between them. The book demonstrates how successful strategies should aim to strengthen the collaboration between different layers of government at the EU, national and regional levels.
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Chapter 6: External audit institutions: the European Court of Auditors and its relationship with the national audit institutions of the Member States

Antoni Castells


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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