The European Court of Auditors (ECA) today published its work programme for 2019, in which the auditors give details of their audit priorities and the reports they intend to publish next year. They will cover a broad range of issues that reflect the challenges the EU currently faces and focus increasingly on assessing whether EU policies and programmes achieve their objectives and add value. Their audits will address key concerns of sustainable use of natural resources, growth and inclusion, migration, security and global development, the single market, and an accountable and efficient EU.
The auditors plan to assess the implementation of the emergency relocation scheme for refugees and border control arrangements and review the EU’s nascent defence policy. They also aim to examine the effectiveness of cross-border healthcare, outline problems in the EU’s approach to measuring vehicles’ emissions and analyse whether EU climate and energy policies make use of “green” criteria when deciding which investment to carry out. Their audit priorities will also include tasks in the areas of pesticides, investments in road infrastructure connecting European regions, EU funding in the field of culture and state aid for banks.
“We will examine all these areas to establish whether the EU is delivering what it has promised,” said the President of the European Court of Auditors, Klaus-Heiner Lehne. “This will allow us to continue to provide EU citizens and our institutional partners - both at the level of EU and in Member States - with independent, objective reports on key issues for the future of the EU, and highlight what works well and draw attention to what does not.”
The auditors’ work programme comes at an important time for the EU, in the context of the negotiation of its future long-term spending plan for the years 2021 to 2027, which will need to be agreed by end of 2019. Next year will also see the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, a newly elected European Parliament and a new Commission.
The programme provides more information on some 35 special reports and other review-based products the auditors expect to publish in 2019. These reports are mainly a result of the performance audits, which they select based on their assessment of the main risks in relation to EU spending and policy delivery.
In addition, the auditors publish their annual reports on the EU budget, the European Development Funds and the EU agencies and joint undertakings, as well as providing opinions on new or updated EU laws with financial implications.