The European Court of Auditors’ position as external auditor of the proposed European Monetary Fund (EMF) should be set out more clearly, according to an Opinion published today by the Auditors. They also propose that oversight of the Fund by the European Parliament should take into account the auditors’ work.
The European Commission has proposed setting up the EMF to replace the existing European Stability Mechanism, which provides financial assistance to euro-area countries in severe financial difficulties. Because it is capitalised through an agreement between member countries, the European Stability Mechanism falls outside the scope of the EU budget.
In the Opinion, the Auditors welcome the Commission’s proposal, but stress that it should entail a robust accountability framework, with parliamentary oversight of the new Fund based on an external audit opinion of the ECA. To reinforce accountability and public scrutiny, the Auditors call for a clear and formal procedure to consider audit reports in the discharge procedure. At present, the Commission proposes that the ECA, private auditors, and the Fund’s own Board of Auditors should audit financial regularity, compliance, performance and risk management in respect of the EMF.
“We welcome the aim of the Commission proposal to bring the ESM within the EU legal framework”, said Alex Brenninkmeijer, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the Opinion. “Multiple audit mandates should generally be avoided in order to reduce the risk of conflicting opinions, duplications or overlaps.”