Right of access to documents
The conditions, limits and procedures applicable to access by the public to European Court of Auditors documents are governed by Decision No 12/05 of 10 March 2005, as amended by Decision No 14/2009, adopted by the Court at its meeting of 5 February 2009.
Communication policy covers the process of communicating the European Court of Auditors' role, work and the results it obtains to the outside world. It covers three main aspects:
- Relations with other institutions, professional bodies and recipients of EU aid at the level of, and within, European Institutions, Member States and non-member states;
- Relations with the public through Internet, publications and events; and
- Relations with the media.
The Court's standards
- Communication policy follows the basic principles of openness and transparency and covers the process of communicating the European Court of Auditors' role, work and the results of its work to the outside world.
- The principal aim of communication policy is to ensure that the results of the Court's work are known and understood and to place particular emphasis on how the Court is meeting its objective of contributing to improving financial management.
- An important objective of communication policy is to help account to the citizens of the Union for the Court's work.
- Communication policy helps raise awareness of the Court in both the Community context and the outside world, thereby increasing the chance that its work results in real change.
- Communication policy does not set audit objectives, nor the contents of reports, but influences these processes in order to ensure a clear and unambiguous presentation of audit findings, conclusions and recommendations.
- In order to protect the professional relationship between auditor and auditee, the Court cannot provide a greater level of specific information to the outside world than is provided in its adopted reports.
- Press releases are issued for all the Court's published reports and specific matters of interest in the life of the institution.
- The official spokesperson for the Court for a particular Special Report or specific subject is the "rapporteur" Member, for other matters it is the President. The Court holds press conferences for the Annual Report and, on a selective basis, for Special Reports, Opinions or other matters.
- The Court's website is the most comprehensive and up-to-date information source on the Court.
- The Communication and Reports Division, on behalf of the President, coordinates, records and follows up all day-to-day contact with the press and requests for information from other parties.
The European Court of Auditors' language policy
The Court of Auditors draws up audit reports and issues opinions on all of the European Union's fields of activity. When they are published in the Official Journal of the European Union, these documents must be available in the official languages of the Union. The related translation work is entrusted to the Court's Translation Directorate.
For internal purposes (Court, Chamber and Administrative Committee meetings), the European Court of Auditors has adopted "limited multilingualism" as a solution, i.e. using two key/drafting languages (English and French). The Translation Directorate consists of one language unit for each official language.
All of the documents stemming from the Treaty, in particular the Annual Report, Special Reports, Special Annual Reports, Opinions, letters from the President and observations are translated into the Union's official languages. The same is true of documents forwarded officially to the European Institutions and a number of other documents such as certain competition notices, vacancy notices, Court Decisions and staff notices. The same rule also applies to documents for general circulation, such as Court brochures, documents providing information on the Court's work or documents for internal use and circulation to the national audit institutions, such as the Audit Manual.