Every year the ECA audits the revenue and expenditure of the EU budget and provides its opinion on the extent to which the annual accounts are reliable and income and spending transactions comply with the applicable rules and regulations.
EU spending totalled €159.1 billion in 2019. This amounts to 1% of EU gross national income and represents approximately 2% of total public spending in EU Member States. The EU budget is agreed annually — within the context of seven year financial frameworks — by the European Parliament and the Council. 2019 is the last but one year of the current seven-year budget.
Ensuring that the budget is properly spent is primarily the responsibility of the European Commission, along with the other EU institutions and bodies. But for around two-thirds of spending – principally natural resources and cohesion – this responsibility is shared with the Member States.
Our auditors test samples of transactions to provide statistically-based estimates of the extent to which revenue and the different spending areas are affected by error (‘error rate’).