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Court of Auditors

The Court of Auditors, based in Luxembourg, was created by the Brussels Treaty in 1975. It has been considered a European institution since the adoption of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. The Court of Auditors acts in complete independence.

The Court of Auditors is composed of one national from each Member State. Its members are appointed for a mandate of six years (renewable) by a qualified majority of the Council after consulting the European Parliament. Between them they appoint the President of the Court of Auditors, whose mandate is for three years (renewable).

The Court checks the revenue and expenditure of the European Union (and any body created by the Community) for legality and regularity and ensures that its financial management is sound. It also supplies the European Parliament and the Council with a statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions. It draws up an annual report published in the Official Journal at the end of each budgetary year.

Under the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Court of Auditors also has the power to report any irregularities to the European Parliament and the Council, and its audit responsibilities have been extended to Community funds managed by outside bodies and by the European Investment Bank. However, it does not have the power to impose penalties. If it discovers fraud or irregularities, it must inform the European Anti-Fraud Office.

Under the Treaty of Nice, the Court is also able to establish internal chambers to adopt certain categories of report or opinion.

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