The ECA’s ethical guidelines are based on the values of independence, integrity, objectivity, transparency and professionalism. They apply to all ECA Members and staff.
The ECA recognises the requirements set out in the
INTOSAI Code of Ethics (ISSAI 130) and has included them in the first part of its
ethical guidelines, which are applicable to all ECA Members and staff. The aim of these guidelines is to help ensure that daily decisions, both in auditing and in running the institution, comply with the principles laid down in the INTOSAI Code. The second part of the guidelines focuses on the ethical obligations applicable to staff who are subject to the Staff Regulations of officials.
Code of Conduct for ECA Members
ECA Members are subject to a
code of conduct setting out their obligation to observe the following ethical principles: integrity, independence, objectivity, competence, professional behaviour, confidentiality, transparency, dignity, commitment, loyalty, discretion and collegiality.
The ECA publishes its Members’ declarations of interests and the absence of conflicts of interest on the
Reviews of the ECA’s ethical framework
A peer review of the ECA’s ethical framework was carried out in 2019 by the supreme audit institutions of Poland and Croatia, both of which are experienced in the field. The
peer review report concluded that the ECA had established sound standards, particularly with its ethical guidelines for all staff and the code of conduct for its Members. The peer review team did, however, make specific recommendations for an even clearer, more coherent and continually improving ethical framework at the ECA.
A further review of the ECA’s ethical framework was finalised in 2022. Following an evaluation by an external consultant, who provided a number of recommendations in different areas, the ECA’s Ethical Guidelines were updated.
The Ethics Committee is composed of three members appointed by the Court on the basis of a proposal by the President for a term of three years (with the possibility of one renewal): two ECA Members and an external member chosen on the basis of their abilities, experience and professional qualities.
The Ethics Committee discusses any ethical matters that it considers to be relevant to the ECA's standards and reputation, including assessing the outside activities of its Members.
Joëlle Elvinger, ECA Member
Nikolaos Milionis, ECA Member
Melchior Wathelet, former Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union
François-Roger Cazala, ECA Member
Baudilio Tomé Muguruza, ECA Member
Maria Eugénia Martins de Nazaré Ribeiro, former Judge at the General Court
The Secretary-General appoints ethics advisers from among the ECA staff.
Any member of staff has the right and opportunity to seek confidential and impartial advice from these advisers with regard to the following:
the values and principles that are expected of staff (e.g. independence, integrity, impartiality, professionalism);
specific sensitive matters, such as actual or apparent conflicts of interest, acceptance of gifts, etc.
Gifts and hospitality
The ECA’s Members may not accept gifts worth more than 150 euros. If, by virtue of diplomatic custom, they receive gifts that are worth more than this amount, they must hand them over to the Secretary General. The Court’s secretariat must keep a register of gifts with a value of more than 150 euros, which must be made publicly available if requested. ECA Members may not accept payment in any form for outside activities or publications occurring during their term of office. Should a payment be made, it must be donated to a charity of their choice.
ECA staff may not accept gifts, favours such as meals and accommodation, or any other advantage with a pecuniary value of more than 50 euros offered by third parties. Gifts worth between €50 and €150 may only be accepted with the permission of the Appointing Authority.
Occupational activities of senior officials after leaving the service
Under Article 16 of the Staff Regulations, after leaving the service, all officials continue to be bound by the duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance of certain appointments or benefits. Any former officials who intend to engage in an occupational activity within two years of leaving the service must inform their former institution, so that it can decide whether to forbid it or grant approval (subject to restrictions, where appropriate).
Furthermore, in the case of former senior officials, the third paragraph of Article 16 of the Staff Regulations provides that, during the 12 months after leaving the service, the Appointing Authority will, in principle, prohibit any lobbying or advocacy activity vis-à-vis staff of their former institution for their business, clients or employers on matters for which they were responsible during their last three years in the service.
The fourth paragraph of Article 16 of the Staff Regulations requires each institution, in compliance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council, to publish information annually on the implementation of the third paragraph, including a list of the cases assessed.
Information on the occupational activities of senior ECA officials after leaving the service is presented in this report:
Communication on the publication of information concerning the occupational activities of senior officials after leaving the service (Paragraphs three and four of Article 16 of the Staff Regulations) – 2020 Annual Report.