One in four new audits by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) this year will deal with the EU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery package, the ECA announced in its audit plan for 2021, published today. Moreover, in the coming five years, the EU auditors will aim to contribute to a more resilient and sustainable European Union which upholds the values on which it is based. They will continue striving to provide citizens with strong audit assurance, improving the accountability and transparency of EU action and auditing its performance in the areas that matter most, according to the institution’s new strategy for 2021-2025, also released today.
The EU auditors’ 2021+ work programme, which extends into the following year, lists 73 special reports and reviews they plan to publish in 2021 and 2022 in four strategic areas:
• the EU’s economic competitiveness and cohesion
• climate and resource challenges
• security and European values
• fiscal policy and public finance.
These publications will focus mainly on assessing the performance of EU action in select areas such as vaccine procurement, food security and free movement during the pandemic, national recovery plans, digitalisation of schools, e-government, circular economy, climate mainstreaming, sustainable fishing, fighting fraud in the common agricultural policy, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), EU banking supervision, and lobbying of lawmakers. The auditors have selected these areas based on an assessment of the main risks in relation to EU spending and policy delivery.
“Our 2021 work programme marks the start of our new strategy that will guide our work as the EU’s independent external auditor until 2025,” said ECA President Klaus-Heiner Lehne. “EU citizens can continue counting on us on key issues for the future of the EU: we will target our audits at the areas where we can add most value, highlighting what works well and drawing attention to what does not. This also applies to the new EU measures to protect citizens from the adverse effects of the pandemic.”