As an EU institution, the ECA performs its audits within a framework set out in EU legislation.

European Court of Auditors - an EU institution

The ECA is an institution of the European Union. It gained this status in when the Maastricht Treaty entered into force.

European Court of Auditors - the EU's independent external auditor

"The Court of Auditors shall carry out the Union's audit" (TFEU Article 285)

We carry out audits with two aims: improving financial management, and making information available to EU citizens about the use of EU funds.

Our duties under the Treaty

Our mandate comes from the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The Treaty gives us the following specific roles:

We produce an annual report on the EU’s revenue and expenditure.

  • We examine the EU’s financial accounts in detail. When we suspect that something is wrong in the accounts, we report it and refer it for further investigation.

  • In our annual report, we give the European Parliament and the Council our official opinion – a “statement of assurance” – about whether the EU’s accounts are reliable, and whether the underlying transactions were legal and regular.

We investigate other issues relevant to EU spending.

  • We issue special reports with our observations on specific issues: for example, the effectiveness of EU spending in a given area.
  • The other EU institutions can ask us to give a formal opinion on any matter concerning the EU budget.

And we help the European Parliament and the Council to perform their own checks on how the budget is spent.

The main legal provisions governing our audit work are Articles 310 to 325 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Three articles are especially relevant:

Rules of Procedure

Our operations are governed by various internal rules and procedures. The most important of these are our Rules of Procedure, which set out how our organisation functions. The Rules of Procedure are required under the Treaty to be approved by the Council of the European Union.

Ethical Framework

The Ethical Guidelines and the Code of conduct of ECA Members are available on the Ethics page.

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