Most Member State have, with some variations, a parliamentary democracy in which the autonomy of parliament is undisputed. Does this also go for a parliament’s financial autonomy? And if so what are the consequences for transparency and accountability? Being their electorate representatives parliamentarians are almost by definition in the public eye. But how does parliament decide on its own funding and how does it give account of the use of this funding? And what is the role of external audit in this, both conceptually and in practice, in auditing – for most supreme audit institutions - its main stakeholder? To what extent does this contain a conflict of interest? And how different are situations between Member States on this issue?
We address these questions, and more, in this June/July 2018 edition of the Journal, being this time a bimonthly in view of the summer break. The special theme of this edition is ‘Financing and auditing of parliament.’ We start with an interview with Danièle Lamarque, the ECA Member organising a symposium on the funding of parliaments with as subtitle ‘Financial autonomy under discussion.’ Besides subsequently presenting the key elements of the discussions held during this symposium, we also interview Francis Delpérée, a Member of the Belgium Parliament with specific views on this topic. The academic discussion is further deepened by two scholars, while also practitioners on the budget, being responsible for finances in two respective parliaments, are presented. Furthermore, the Journal contains articles on what the ECA has done when it comes to assessing the European Parliament’s financial management and other actions, including an interview with Pietro Russo, the reporting ECA Member for this area. What external auditors do in Member States is reflected in an interview with Vítor Caldeira, President of the Portuguese Tribunal de Contas and former ECA President. How it works in the USA is shared by Kate Siggerud, top official in the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
05 Accountability of parliaments contributing to the balance of powers
11 Parliaments and SAIs: who is working for whom?
14 Public funding of parliaments in Europe: financial autonomy under discussion
21 ECA audit work regarding the European Parliament
31 Auditing a national parliament: perspectives from the President of the Tribunal de Contas
Plus: articles on the EP single seat study, a comparative article mapping SAIs’ relations with parliament, results of the Spring 2018 Eurobarometer survey, an interview with Annemie Turtelboom, ECA Member since 1 May 2018, and the swearing-in ceremony at the Court of Justice of the European Union. Furthermore, articles on how the ECA recently reached out to stakeholders and information on publications made last May and June.