It is rather a professional external investigatory audit agency.

In this year’s annual report, published last week (22 October), the auditors gave all agencies an unqualified or clean audit opinion as regards their income and spending – except for some issues affecting payments by the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) in Slovenia and the EU Asylum Support Office (EASO) in Malta.

At the same time, we have already commissioned an independent peer review on the implementation of our strategy, which is due to be completed in late 2019 – see the chapter on Our accountability for more information. European Court of auditors, the guardians of the EU finances. * © EU / European Parliament We forward to OLAF any suspicion of fraud, corruption or other illegal activity affecting the EU’s financial interests that we identify in the course of our audit work. We will continue to publish these communication products in 2019. These tasks covered, at least in part, 29 of the 69 suggestions (42 %) made by the Parliament (2017: 32 %). We carry out our audits in line with the internationally accepted public-sector auditing standards. As we do for our reports, we presented the opinion to the European Parliament’s committees, notably on Agriculture and Budgetary control, the Council, industry stakeholders from the fields of environment and agriculture, and the press. Seventeen of our employees visited their secondary schools in seven Member States and informed the students about the EU, the role of our institution and the possibilities for studying in the EU and working in the EU institutions. .

* Following the United Kingdom’s decision to withdraw from the EU, the Council decided to relocate the EMA and the EBA to Amsterdam and Paris respectively in 2019. Throughout the year, we have seen an exponential increase in our exposure and engagement on social media – especially on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – which have become an indispensable part of our communication work and allow us to interact directly with citizens. Sex workers demand support following Brussels latest prostitution... Netherlands adopts ‘corona law’ to give legal base... Walloon MPs demand talks with Brussels government over... Belgian publisher destroys 7,000 Zwarte Piet books, Flanders further tightens federal coronavirus measures, Sex workers demand support following Brussels latest prostitution ban, Netherlands adopts ‘corona law’ to give legal base to lockdown, Walloon MPs demand talks with Brussels government over toll plan, Probe launched into arrest of armed curfew-violator in Brussels, Belgian Pierre Marcolini named best pastry chef in the world, Brussels allocates €1.5 million to keep children in school, Belgian customs dismantle illegal cigarette factory in Brussels, European Parliament sends double message on EU support to bullfighting in new agriculture policy, Parents can appeal for temporary unemployment during extended autumn holiday, Provinces ask Flanders for strict, uniform coronavirus rules tonight, Former Belgian king and love child Princess Delphine meet for the first time, Covid-19: Belgium now Europe’s hardest-hit country, EasyJet boosts cash flow by selling planes for £300 million, Belgium will evaluate bar closure measures on Friday, Telework is not mandatory in Brussels, but remains ‘the norm’, Thalys to cancel 70% of trains from November, Belgium breaks average of 13,000 coronavirus cases per day. European Court of Auditors formerly, the Court of Auditors set up under the Merger Treaty, an institution of the European Union since the 1992 Treaty on European Union. While our audit reports present our findings and recommendations for improvements in EU financial management, our journal centres on how we do our work and on the people who produce our reports in different areas.

Moreover, for the second year in a row, we were able to issue a “qualified opinion” (rather than an “adverse opinion”) on the EU’s expenditure. [3] The primary role of the ECA is to externally check if the budget of the European Union has been implemented correctly, in that EU funds have been spent legally and with sound management.

ECA Members and audit teams are regularly invited to present our findings and recommendations to the Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control, as well as other Parliament committees and bodies. [8], The ECA is composed of one member from each EU Member State, each of whom is appointed unanimously by the Council of the European Union for a renewable term of six years. At first its audit power related only to the European Community pillar of the European Union (EU), but under the Treaty of Amsterdam it gained the full power to audit the finances of the whole of the EU. In 2018, we once again exceeded this target, with 6.9 days of professional training per auditor. At the beginning of 2018, we started asking stakeholders (from the European Parliament, Council and Commission, EU agencies, Member States´ permanent representations, Member States’ agencies and SAIs, NGOs, academia, media and other parties) to give their feedback on the usefulness and likely impact of our reports. For example, in recent years, we have increased the share of women in management positions in our audit chambers, from 7 % at the end of 2015 to nearly 24 % at the end of 2018. Once a year, the ECA President attends a meeting of the European Parliament’s Conference of Committee Chairs to present the ECA’s annual work programme and invite all committees to submit their suggestions for the next programming exercise. Both institutions welcomed the report and endorsed our conclusions. In such a situation, the added value of the EU co-financing provided for high-speed rail lines is low. However, we expressed concern that investment was lagging behind, given that reduced investment in transport infrastructure holds back the modernisation of the EU’s transport network. Special report 27/2018: The Facility for Refugees in Turkey: helpful support, but improvements needed to deliver more value for money, Special report 28/2018: The majority of simplification measures brought into Horizon 2020 have made life easier for beneficiaries, but opportunities to improve still exist, Special report 29/2018: EIOPA made an important contribution to supervision and stability in the insurance sector, but significant challenges remain, Special report 30/2018: EU passenger rights are comprehensive but passengers still need to fight for them, Special report 31/2018: Animal welfare in the EU: closing the gap between ambitious goals and practical implementation, Special report 32/2018: European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: Flexible but lacking focus, Special report 33/2018: Combating desertification in the EU: a growing threat in need of more action, Special report 34/2018: Office accommodation of EU institutions – Some good management practices but also various weaknesses, Special report 35/2018: Transparency of EU funds implemented by NGOs: more effort needed, Annual report on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2017, Annual report on the activities funded by the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th European Development Funds (EDFs) concerning the financial year 2017, Annual report on 41 EU agencies for the financial year 2017, Summary of results from the ECA’s 2017 annual audit of the eight European research Joint Undertakings, Report on the annual accounts of the European Schools for the financial year 2017, Report on any contingent liabilities arising as a result of the performance by the Single Resolution Board, the Council and the Commission of their tasks under the Regulation 806/2014 for financial year 2017, Opinion No 1/2018 concerning the proposal of 2 May 2018 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of the Union's budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States, Opinion No 2/2018: The audit and accountability considerations concerning the proposal of 6 December 2017 for the establishment of a European Monetary Fund within the Union legal framework, Opinion No 3/2018 concerning the proposal for a Council Regulation on the financial regulation applicable to the 11th European Development Fund, Opinion No 4/2018 concerning the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law, Opinion No 5/2018 on the Commission's proposal on the new system of Own Resources of the European Union, Opinion No 6/2018 concerning the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund Plus, the Cohesion Fund, and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and financial rules for those and for the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Internal Security Fund and the Border Management and Visa Instrument, Opinion No 7/2018: concerning Commission proposals for regulations relating to the Common Agricultural Policy for the post-2020 period, Opinion No 8/2018 on the Commission's proposal of 23 May 2018 on amending OLAF Regulation 883/2013 as regards cooperation with the European Public Prosecutor's Office and the effectiveness of OLAF investigations, Opinion No 9/2018 concerning the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the EU Anti-Fraud Programme, Opinion No 10/2018 concerning the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, Briefing Paper: Future of EU finances: reforming how the EU budget operates, Briefing paper: A contribution to simplification of EU research programme beyond Horizon 2020, Briefing paper: The integration of migrants from outside the EU, Briefing Paper: Simplification in post-2020 delivery of Cohesion Policy, Briefing paper: The Commission’s proposal for the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework, Landscape Review: Putting EU law into practice: The European Commission’s oversight responsibilities under Article 17(1) of the Treaty on European Union, Landscape review: Towards a successful transport sector in the EU: challenges to be addressed, Rapid case review: VAT reimbursement in Cohesion - an error-prone and sub-optimal use of EU funds, Electricity production from wind and solar photovoltaic power in the EU, European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority’s (EIOPA) contribution to the supervision of and financial stability in the EU's insurance sector, Consulting the public when preparing EU law, Collection of VAT and customs duties on cross-border e-commerce, Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived. Our Directorate of Information, Workplace and Innovation helps our staff to make effective and efficient use of information technologies, promoting innovation and knowledge management. In 2018, we decided to present our financial audit results for EU agencies in a more user-friendly format. We plan to modernise the K2 building, optimising the organisation its workspaces and upgrading some technical installations. Since 1994 the ECA has been required to provide a "Declaration of Assurance", essentially a certificate that an entire annual budget can be accounted for. We check whether the EU's spending complies with the rules and whether its policies and programmes provide value for money.

Inspections take place not only of EU institutions but of any state which receives EU funds, given that 90% of income and expenditure is managed by national authorities rather than the EU. The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has signed off the 2019 accounts of all 41 EU agencies as reliable and confirmed that they are playing an increasingly important part in the Union.

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