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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 8: The coordination of internal controls: the single audit – towards a European Union internal control framework

Vítor Caldeira


Vítor Caldeira INTRODUCTION The European Union (EU) is a unique organization due to its political and legal context, scale and complexity. Its budget is subject to many layers of procedures both within the European Institutions and Member (or beneficiary) States. Management is complicated by the large number and varied nature of the schemes, the millions of beneficiaries, and the involvement of many different bodies in Member States often representing different administrative cultures. The effectiveness of the audit systems and control procedures over EU expenditure has been a cause of concern for a number of years (Harlow, 2002). Meanwhile, the European Commission has developed a series of fundamental reforms1 aimed at improving the quality of financial management. This reform process has led to major changes in the European Commission environment, namely the decentralization of responsibilities for the use of funds to those managing them (i.e. authorizing officers) and the replacement of the Financial Controller’s role with an internal audit function. An important reform of the Financial Regulation, which governs the management and control of the EU budget, has also been achieved. The financial management and control systems for agriculture and structural measures were strengthened too during the 1990s, in particular by setting out the procedures and checks that need to be undertaken by Member States as part of their responsibilities for the operational management of those European financial instruments. Despite these advances, both the European Parliament2 and the Council have expressed concerns about a...

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