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Luxembourg, 14 December 2012

Providing the European Commission with recommendations on how to improve its financial management of the EU budget is one of the primary missions of the European Court of Auditors. The Court’s report shows that its recommendations have been taken on board by the Commission.

The report shows that the Commission does take action to implement the Court’s recommendations. The vast majority of the recommendations have been either fully implemented or implemented in most respects. Non-implementation only occurred in one case. The Court found that the Commission has a system in place to manage the implementation of the Court’s recommendations and the requests by the Parliament and Council, but this system needs to be strengthened to enable the Commission to respond in a timely, efficient, and effective manner.

“I am pleased to see that the Commission takes action to implement the Court’s recommendations for improving the management of the EU budget”, said Henrik Otbo, the ECA member responsible for the report, “But there is also room for improvement - the Commission needs to improve its system for handling recommendations in order to respond in a timely, efficient and effective manner. The Court intends to make a yearly follow-up report and by doing so it wishes to contribute further to improving sound financial management in the EU.”

Notes to the editors:

European Court of Auditors (ECA) special reports are published throughout the year, presenting the results of selected audits of specific EU budgetary areas or management topics.

This special report (SR 19/2012) entitled “Follow-up of the European Court of Auditors’ Special Reportsreviews the extent to which the Commission has implemented the recommendations of seven of the Court’s special reports from the 2003-2009 period. The Special Reports followed up covered three budgetary areas: agriculture, energy, and external actions. The Court assessed the actions taken by the Commission in response to the Court’s recommendations. The follow-up of audit reports is considered by international auditing standards as the final stage in the performance audit cycle of planning, execution and follow-up.

Approximately two-thirds of the recommendations reviewed related to effectiveness issues (e.g. the setting of strategic objectives, the preparation of project proposals, the design of projects, project performance, and monitoring and evaluation), with the remaining recommendations dealing with economy and efficiency issues (e.g. the occurrence of overpayments and the quality and timeliness of project selection methods). The Commission has fully implemented 29 % of the recommendations examined, while 49 % have been implemented in most respects, 20% in some respects, and 2% have not been implemented.

The Court’s follow-up exercise indicates that, the Court’s audit reports have contributed to improvements in financial management taking place in a number of areas of the EU budget.


Aidas Palubinskas

Press Officer European Court of Auditors

Desk: +352 4398 45410 Mobile: +352 621 552224 Twitter: @EUAuditorsECA

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