The Court of Auditors does not enjoy its own jurisdictional power. It does however play a fundamental role in the detection of irregularities and fraud, which are then pursued in an appropriate manner by the Commission and the Member States.
The Treaty of July 1975, completed by the general financial regulations of the Community, compels the Court of Auditors to compile an Annual Report at the end of each financial year and to ensure that this report is published in the Official Journal of the European Communities, together with replies from the institutions. The Court must submit its Annual Report to the discharge authority and to the other institutions by 30 November. The Report is an important element of the discharge procedure. Discharge is granted by the European Parliament on the recommendation of the Council.
Speech by the President of the European Court of Auditors Jan O. Karlsson, on the occasion of the presentation of the Annual Report concerning the financial year 1999 to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 15 November 2000.
On 13 November 2001, Jan O. Karlsson, President of the European Court of Auditors from 1999 to 2001, presents to the European Parliament the Annual Report concerning the financial year 2000 at the plenary session in Strasbourg.
According to Article 248, paragraph 4 (b) of the EC Treaty, the Court of Auditors may submit its observations on a given issue at any time, particularly in the form of a special report. Following the Maastricht reforms, the European Parliament, before giving discharge to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the budget, examines, in addition to the Annual Report, any relevant special reports by the Court of Auditors (Article 276, paragraph 1 of the EC Treaty).
Excerpt from the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, of 23 April 1986, Parti écologiste 'Les Verts' v European Parliament, Case 294783, concerning the scope of the Court of Auditors' review of the legality of expenditure. According to the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors may only examine the legality of expenditure with reference to the budget and the secondary provision on which the expenditure is based (commonly called the basic measure).
Extract from the Opinion of Advocate General Federico Mancini, delivered on 25 May 1988, on Case 204/86, Hellenic Republic v Council. Point 5 concerns the scope of the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice and the Court of Auditors to review budgetary measures. The Advocate General moves away from the interpretation given by the Court of Justice in the ‘Les Verts' judgment on the scope of the power of the Court of Auditors to review legality. The examination of legality would not be limited to reference to the basic legal measure, but it would also extend to any secondary provision belonging to the Community legal order in so far as it has an effect on expenditure.
First Statement of Assurance relating to activities arising from the general budget. Since the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty, the Court of Auditors must give its endorse the entire budget. It provides the European Parliament and the Council with a Statement of Assurance concerning the reliability of the accounts, and the legality and regularity of the underlying operations. The Court has decided to submit three different Statements of Assurance dedicated respectively to activities arising from the general budget, from the European Development Funds and from the ECSC. In those three cases, the Statement of Assurance is based on a special report, attached to the Statement, which develops each of the points.
First judgment directly concerning the auditing powers of the Court of Auditors. According to the Court of First Instance, the Court of Auditors must report any irregularities which it discovers in the course of its control duties, regardless of whether or not fraud is involved. It is not the responsibility of the Court to establish whether or not an irregularity constitutes fraud. The Court of Auditors nevertheless plays an important role in the fight against fraud. It contributes to its prevention and detection, since its reports may be of help in subsequent investigations. The role of the Court of Auditors in the prevention of fraud was confirmed by the Treaty of Amsterdam (Article 248(2) and Article 280(4) of the EC Treaty).
Excerpts from three reports of the Court of Auditors concerning the Court's role with regard to fraud: (1) Annual Report concerning the financial year 1977 accompanied by the replies from the institutions; (2) Annual Report concerning the financial year 1994, together with the institutions' replies; (3) Special Report No 8/98 on the Commission's services specifically involved in the fight against fraud, notably the ‘unité de coordination de la lutte anti-fraude' (UCLAF) together with the Commission's replies.
Speech by Giuseppe Carbone, doyen of the heads of the national audit institutions of the European Union, concerning cooperation between the European Court of Auditors and the national audit institutions. The speech was delivered on 13 October 1997 during a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the European Court of Auditors, held in the new hemicycle of the European Parliament.
Group photo of the Liaison Officers of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of the European Union, who met on 3 and 4 October 2000 at the seat of the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg, in order to prepare a meeting of the Heads of the SAIs (Contact Committee).
On 21 November 2000, the Heads of the Supreme Audit Institutions of the Member States of the European Union held their annual meeting at the seat of the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg. The Contact Committee meets annually, alternating between Luxembourg and the capital city of another Member State.
Diagram showing the interaction between the different European institutions in the fields covered by the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), following the entry into force on 1 November 1993 of the Treaty on European Union, signed in Maastricht on 7 February 1992.
Diagram showing the interaction between the different European institutions in the fields covered by the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), following the entry into force on 1 May 1999 of the Amsterdam Treaty, signed on 2 October 1997.
Diagram showing the interaction between the different European institutions in the fields covered by the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), following the entry into force on 1 February 2003 of the Nice Treaty, signed on 26 February 2001.
In this interview with Jan O. Karlsson, President of the European Court of Auditors from 18 January 1999 to 31 December 2001, published on 14 March 1999 in the Spanish daily newspaper El País, Mr Karlsson explains the nature of the audit function of the Court of Auditors and warns against the tendency of some overzealous journalists and politicians to blow cases of Community fraud out of proportion.
In a special supplement to La Voix du Luxembourg of April/May 2003 devoted to the European institutions within the Grand Duchy, the President of the European Court of Auditors, Juan Manuel Fabra Vallés, gives an interview to the newspaper La Voix du Luxembourg. Commenting on the audit task incumbent on the institution, he seeks to remove the confusion between fraud and irregularity and to dismiss the cliché of wasteful management of Community funds.
On 16 November 2005, the day after the submission of the annual report of the Court of Auditors to the European Parliament, the Europe Daily Bulletin echoes the Court’s reservations about the operations of the European Union budget for 2004. For its part, the European Parliament is threatening not to approve the agreement on the forthcoming financial framework until audit and control procedures are improved in the Member States.
This film outlines the working methods of the European Court of Auditors. Field surveys, cooperation with national audit bodies and the challenge of multilingualism constitute important aspects of its work.
On 24 May 2005, the Members of the Court of Auditors meet the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control in order to help the Committee in its role in supervising the implementation of the budget.
Annual meeting of the Contact Committee, which assembles the Members of the European Court of Auditors and the Presidents of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of the Member States of the European Union, held in Helsinki on 3 and 4 December 2007.