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The Court of Auditors of the European Union

These Rules of Procedure set out the internal workings of the Court of Auditors of the European Union, which carries out audits of the financial management of the Community budget. The Court checks that EU revenue has been collected and monitors the execution of expenditure.

ACT

Rules of Procedure of the Court of Auditors of the European Union [Official Journal L 103 of 23.04.2010].

SUMMARY

These Rules of Procedure, which entered into force on 1 June 2010, lay down the internal workings of the Court, the rules on nominating the President and the decision-making procedure. It is the Court itself that establishes its own Rules of Procedure, subject to the approval of the Council acting by qualified majority.

Role

Article 287 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) defines the role and prerogatives of the Court of Auditors.

The Court therefore audits the legality of the revenue and expenditure of the EU and its bodies. The audit completed by the Court is carried out with the aim of both improving financial management, as well as making European citizens aware of how public funds are used.

The audit carried out by the Court shall be:

  • based on records and, if necessary, performed on the spot in the other European institutions;
  • performed on the premises of any body which manages revenue or expenditure on behalf of the EU;
  • performed in the Member States, including on the premises of any natural or legal person in receipt of payments from the European budget.

In its role as auditor, the Court shall cooperate with the national services and the European institutions. Moreover, it is able to request any information required to successfully complete its task from the EU institutions and bodies, organisations in receipt of payments from the European budget or from national audit institutions.

In respect of the European Investment Bank's activity in managing expenditure and revenue, the Court's rights of access to information held by the Bank shall be governed by an agreement between the Court, the Bank and the Commission.

The Court of Auditors must notify the relevant authorities of any irregularity. To this end, it shall work closely together with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

Despite its name, the European Court of Auditors has no judicial powers and therefore no power to impose sanctions. After the close of each financial year it shall draw up an annual report to be published in the Official Journal. This report concerns the management of the European budget by the competent institutions. It is a fundamental part of the European Parliament’s decision-making process regarding the granting of the budget discharge to the Commission.

The Court of Auditors also provides the Council and the Parliament with a statement of assurance concerning the reliability of the accounts and attesting that the European budget has been used well. In addition, the Court may also, at any time, submit observations, particularly in the form of special reports, on specific questions and deliver opinions at the request of one of the other European institutions.

Composition of the Court

Articles 285 and 286 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU establish rules regarding the composition of the Court of Auditors.

The College shall be the main decision-making body of the Court. It shall comprise one Member from each Member State of the EU. Members shall be appointed by the Council acting by qualified majority following consultation of the European Parliament, on the basis of proposals from the Member States. Members eligible for appointment by the Member States must belong to an external audit body in their own country or possess a specific qualification for this post. They shall carry out their duties at the Court of Auditors entirely independently. Their term of office is six years and may be renewed.

The Members of the Court shall elect the President of the Court by secret ballot. The candidate who, in the first round of voting, obtains a two-thirds majority of the Members' votes shall be elected President. If this majority is not reached, the candidate must obtain the majority of votes in the second round of voting. The term of office is three years and may be renewed. The President's duties shall be to:

  • draw up the agenda;
  • call and chair meetings of the Court;
  • ensure that discussions run smoothly;
  • ensure that the Court's decisions are implemented;
  • ensure that the departments of the Court operate properly and that its various activities are managed soundly;
  • appoint an agent to represent the Court in litigation;
  • represent the Court in its external relations and in its relations with the other European institutions, etc.

The Court shall appoint the Secretary-General of the Court, who shall be responsible for the Court's Secretariat, by secret ballot. In addition, chambers and committees shall be set up. The chambers have the task of preparing opinions and reports adopted by the Court. The committees shall deal with matters not covered by the chambers.

The Court shall decide in formal session, by the majority of its Members, on the adoption of the annual report, special reports and opinions. The Court's meetings shall not be public, unless the Court decides otherwise. The Court may also decide, on a case-by-case basis, to adopt decisions by the written procedure.

Origins of the Court

The Court of Auditors was founded by the Treaty of Brussels, which was signed on 22 July 1975 and entered into force in October 1977. The Treaty of Maastricht (1992) gave the Court the status of a full institution. The seat of the Court is in Luxembourg.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Rules of Procedure of the Court of Auditors of the European Union

1.6.2010

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OJ L 103 of 23.4.2010

Last updated: 06.08.2010
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