EU finance watchdog announces priorities for 2016

By on 14/01/2016
The European Court of Auditors' mission is to contribute to improving EU financial management, promote accountability and transparency, and act as the independent guardian of the financial interests of the citizens of the Union.

The EU finance watchdog has announced which areas of EU spending it will focus on this year.

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) will conduct financial inspections on EU programmes, measures and initiatives, review some of its strategies and assess performance of specific EU institutions.

This year, its work programme will include a review of the EU’s energy and climate change strategy; its aid for production and distribution of renewable energy in rural areas; its measures to support the mobility of workers within the EU; and the European rail transport system.

It will also inspect the EU’s response to the refugee crisis, tools the EU Commission uses to protect citizens against terrorism and its measures against human trafficking; as well as EU cooperation and financial aid to Tunisia and support to Myanmar.

The ECA will assess the performance of the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency, which advises the EU Commission on infrastructure programme management, research and innovation projects; the European Research Joint Technology Initiatives, which the EU identifies as “a means to support trans-national cooperation in key areas where research and technological development can contribute to European competitiveness and quality of life.”

The European Court of Justice, which interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries, and settles legal disputes between national governments and EU institutions, will also have its performance reviewed by the ECA.

Presenting the ECA’s 2016 work programme to the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control this week, ECA president Vítor Caldeira said: “We aim to concentrate our work where we believe it can add most value.”

Besides the priorities set out in its annual work programme, the ECA also carries out special reports, which contain the results of selected performance and compliance audits on specific spending or policy areas, or budgetary or management issues.

This year, it plans to publish more than 40 special reports.

As part of these reports, the ECA will assess whether the European Social Fund measures have been effective in developing and implementing proper social inclusion programmes for the Roma people; if the commission’s management of the budget support to Ukraine in the area of public finance management, fight against corruption and in the sector of energy, in particular the gas sector; as well as whether access to public procurement by the EU Institutions is well managed, including accessibility for tenderers and information on the procedures provided to stakeholders.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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