Brussels, 25 June 2009
Accounting and auditing: Commission takes action to ensure that Member States implement EU rules
The European Commission has decided to refer Austria, Ireland Italy and Spain to the European Court of Justice over non-implementation into national law of the Statutory Audit Directive. The Commission has also decided to send formal requests to Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal as they have failed to fully implement into their national laws the latest Directive in the field of accounting within the prescribed deadline. These formal requests take the form of "reasoned opinions", the second stage of the infringement procedure laid down in Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.
Statutory Audit Directive – Austria, Ireland, Italy and Spain
The Commission has decided to refer four Member States to the European Court of Justice, namely Austria, Ireland, Italy and Spain, over their failure to notify the Commission all their national measures transposing the Directive 2006/43/EC on statutory audits of annual accounts and consolidated accounts.
The Directive overhauls regulation of the audit profession to increase the quality of audits in Europe following corporate scandals in the past. In particular, it introduces a requirement for each Member State to establish systems of external quality assurance and public oversight of the audit profession and provides for measures to improve co-operation between regulatory authorities in the EU. The Directive also sets out a number of ethical principles to ensure the independence and objectivity of statutory auditors and clarifies their duties.
The transposition deadline for the Directive was 29 June 2008.
Accounting: Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal
The Commission has decided to address reasoned opinions to Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal as they have failed to fully implement into their national laws the latest Directive in the field of accounting within the prescribed deadline.
The Directive (2006/46/EEC) increases the maximum thresholds that may be applied by Member States in determining which companies may be exempted from certain disclosure requirements. It also extends the disclosure requirements for companies on material transactions with related parties, such as key management members and spouses of board members, and on arrangements that do not appear in the balance sheet, such as transactions or agreements which companies may have with entities. Furthermore, an annual corporate governance statement as a specific and clearly identifiable section of the annual report also has to be disclosed.
Once implemented, non-listed European companies will also have to provide more information to the investors and other citizens about risks they are facing. At the same time, the Directive takes into account the interest of small and medium-sized companies by allowing their exemption from certain reporting requirements, thus eventually reducing their administrative burdens.
The transposition deadline for the Directive was 5 September 2008.
The latest information on infringement proceedings concerning all Member States can be found at: