The European Court of Auditors (ECA) hosted an international symposium on the public funding of parliaments in Europe on 22 and 23 March 2018 at its premises in Luxembourg.
The aim of the symposium was to draw inspiration from the budgetary systems of European states, at a time when budgetary issues are dominating economic, political and administrative agendas across Europe.
Drawing on the experiences of ten European countries, several high-profile academics and international figures discussed the rules governing the status of the elected and non-elected members of parliament in these countries and of MEPs, and exchanged ideas.
“I am delighted that my colleague, Ms Danièle Lamarque, has taken the initiative to hold this meeting here in Luxembourg”, said Mr Klaus-Heiner Lehne, President of the European Court of Auditors. “Away from the spotlight of adversarial politics, with our independence enshrined in the European treaties, I think we are a suitable neutral ground to discuss and debate such important and sometimes difficult issues for our parliamentary democracies”.
“The European Court of Auditors is the external auditor of the European Parliament”, said Ms Danièle Lamarque, ECA Member. “We fulfil our mission by conducting audits and issuing opinions, set out in two types of report: annual reports and special reports.”
The public funding of national parliaments is a very topical issue, but one which is under-researched in academia and is only just starting to attract more attention in Europe. Raw budgetary data is difficult to access, and the financial and administrative autonomy of parliamentary assemblies has sometimes been called into question in recent years. This symposium on comparative public finance law followed numerous studies on the governance of parliamentary assemblies in Europe, including on the monitoring of expenses and allowances, and provided an opportunity to exchange ideas on an essential and particularly topical issue.