A delegation by the European Court of Auditors (ECA), led by President Klaus-Heiner Lehne, is today on an official visit to Estonia as the country holds the presidency of the Council of the EU until 2018. The visit is part of the ECA’s strategic goal to strengthen ties with the Council and to cooperate more closely with the Member States in responding to the challenges the EU is facing.
President Lehne is accompanied by the ECA Member for institutional relations, Mr Rimantas Šadžius, and the ECA’s Estonian Member, Juhan Parts. The ECA delegation will meet Estonian Prime Minister Mr Jüri Ratas and members of the Parliament (Riigikogu), Finance Minister Mr Toomas Tõniste and Auditor General Dr Alar Karis, as well as the staff of the national audit office (Riigikontroll).
President Lehne will emphasise the need for both the ECA and the Member States’ supreme audit institutions to work together towards securing public trust in European and national institutions against the backdrop of the economic and political challenges Europe is facing. The ECA this year celebrates its 40th anniversary as the independent guardian of the EU taxpayer’s financial interests, providing reliable and unbiased information about EU spending and focusing increasingly on auditing the added value for the public delivered by EU investments. "Citizens rightly expect every euro spent at EU level to bring added value. This is crucial for convincing them of the EU's benefits," Lehne is expected to say.
Mr Lehne will also acknowledge the importance of the Council presidency’s priorities for the work of the EU auditors, in particular in the area of digitisation, in which Estonia plays an important role not only in Europe, but globally, and which also affects the work of public auditors. A main goal of the ECA's new strategy for 2018-20 is to gear the organisation towards its products and get clearer messages across to its audiences. In this context, Mr Lehne will inform the institution’s partners in Estonia of the ECA’s continuous efforts to update its work structure and approaches, in view of contemporary challenges and opportunities, and to remain as relevant and useful as possible to the users of its work, political authorities and the general public alike. "The ECA must be in position to issue the right audit products at the right time to make best use of the soft power vested in us”, Lehne is expected to say.
On Wednesday 13 September, Mr Lehne will also address the Young Eurosai Conference of European supreme audit institutions, which takes place in Tallinn from 11 to 14 September 2017 under the title “Updates available.”