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Financial Accountability in the European Union

EU Accountability Conference 2014

  • How to achieve accountability at MS level for shared management?
  • What should the remit for auditors at EU and national level be?
  • How to account for EU policy’s effectiveness and measure impact?
  • How should the European Central Bank (ECB) be held to account?
  • Why is the ESM/ESFS a special case, and challenge, for public audit?
  • How to democratically control public-private partnerships (PPPs)?

Tuesday 14 October’s EU Accountability Conference in Brussels saw the European Court of Auditors (ECA) truly out in force with as many as 40 staff members there to support Irish Member, Kevin Cardiff, and team leader, Jacques Sciberras, as they officially presented their innovative Landscape Review to a packed room of 150+ participants from the EU institutions, new European financial bodies, national audit offices and academia.

The event was introduced by Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the EP and former Commissioner, and presided by Vitor Caldeira who heads up the ECA. There were four parallel sessions: on accountability in the EU, accountability of central banks and supervisors, accountability for crisis and post-crisis structures, and accountability for the leveraging of EU funds with outside participation (non-EU Budget).

Chairs included Danish ECA member, Henrik Otbo, Croatian ECA member Neven Mates, former Irish MEP Gay Mitchell, and Dutch former ECA member Gijs de Vries. Academic perspectives were given by Julie Smith (Cambridge), Brigid Laffan (EUI), Mark Hallerberg (Hertie School of Governance), Christopher Bovis (Hull). Chair of the EP’s Budgetary Control Committee, Ingerborg Hassle, closed the morning session. Participants now await the ECA’s imminent second Landscape Review.

To find out what ‘brushing the hedgehog’ means, and learn more about how the EU is striving to adapt its audit structures to the ever more complex finances of European economic governance, see the many useful presentations, slides and speeches here.

By Paul Stephenson

This post was originally published at on October 16, 2014

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