Extraordinary Meeting of the Contact Committee of the Heads of the Supreme Audit Institutions of the European Union held at the European Court of Auditors on 8 May 2013
An extraordinary meeting of the Heads of SAIs of the EU and the ECA was hosted by the ECA on 8 May 2013 and chaired by Ms Giedrė Švedienė, Auditor General of Lithuania and Acting Chair of the Contact Committee. It was attended by 59 delegates from 24 EU SAIs, ECA, and SAIs of four candidate countries (Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia). This was the first extraordinary meeting in the history of the Contact Committee.
Two items were on the agenda of the meeting: 1) a draft statement on the importance of appropriate audit and accountability arrangements in the Economic and Monetary Union and related developments; and 2) a preliminary exchange of views on the position paper of the Contact Committee ‘Resolution 6’ Task Force.
Under the first item of the agenda the members of the Contact Committee discussed a Finnish initiative aiming at sending a common statement to the President of the European Council, in view of the upcoming Council discussion scheduled for June 2013 on possible measures and a roadmap to further deepen and complete the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). This Council discussion provided an important opportunity to draw policy makers’ attention to the role of accountability and external public audit when further developing the EMU.
The Contact Committee unanimously adopted a statement on the importance of appropriate audit and accountability arrangements in the Economic and Monetary Union and EU economic governance to be sent to the President of the European Council.
In its statement the Contact Committee called on the European Council to safeguard and strengthen public external audit and accountability when completing the EMU, the banking union and the strengthened co-ordination of economic policies, in particular by:
building a coherent audit and accountability framework;
recognising the importance of public external audit in EU legislation;
strengthening audit arrangements in respect of the banking union;
incorporating audit arrangements in the area of fiscal discipline; and
improving transparency and audit coherence of the financial stabilisation instruments.
A cover letter accompanying the statement was also agreed upon and was signed by the members of the Troika – the Heads of SAIs of Lithuania (Acting Chair), Portugal and the European Court of Auditors.
Under the second item of the agenda a preliminary exchange of views took place on the Position Paper of the Contact Committee Task Force on tasks and roles of external public audit in the light of recent developments in European Union economic governance, which was established by the Contact Committee in October 2012. The Task Force carried out an in-depth analysis and developed a Position Paper presenting a summary of the Task Force’s conclusions and recommendations and outlining ideas on what issues should be addressed by the Contact Committee in the future. It also included proposals on how the Contact Committee could operate more effectively. The Contact Committee asked the liaison officers to explore further and come up with more concrete proposals on the issues presented in view of the following Contact Committee meeting, scheduled for October 2013.