The 2015 annual meeting of the Contact Committee was hosted and chaired by the State Audit Office of the Republic of Latvia on 18-19 June 2015 in Riga. The meeting coincided with the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The heads of supreme audit institutions (SAIs) of Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey, as well as representatives of the EUROSAI Secretariat and SIGMA, attended the meeting as active observers.
The main discussion topic was the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). Two guest speakers were invited to share their views on the topic. Mr Burkhard Schmidt, (acting) Director of Finance, coordination with EIB, EBRD and IFIs in DG ECFIN at the European Commission, gave a presentation on the financial arrangements concerning the EFSI, and the relevant governance and accountability arrangements. Mr Nicholas Jennett, Director of New Products and Special Transactions at the European Investment Bank, presented the EIB's perspective and role in the EFSI/Investment plan for Europe and outlined the process of identifying and selecting the projects. In the ensuing discussion, the heads of SAIs discussed the progress made towards the adoption of the EFSI regulation and the proposed governance, accountability and audit arrangements. The Contact Committee acknowledged that the EU legislators had addressed certain issues in respect of these arrangements, including introducing greater clarity in relation to the ECA’s audit mandate, and considered that there would be benefits in exploring the impact of the governance and accountability arrangements once they are put in place, and their possible consequence on public audit.
In the session on the prevention and fight against irregularities and fraud and cooperation with law enforcement institutions, the heads of SAIs acknowledged the need for enhancing SAIs’ cooperation and established a relevant working group to address these issues. In the session on the 2014 - 2020 multiannual financial framework they noted the need to focus on performance and results where relevant, the importance of adhering to the principles of economy, effectiveness and efficiency when implementing projects, and the relevance of performance indicators.
The Contact Committee adopted a statement on the accountability and audit arrangements concerning banking supervision following the introduction of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, the aim of which is to raise awareness of this issue. The statement is addressed to the relevant EU institutions and national authorities.
Moreover, the Contact Committee agreed to undertake four collaborative audits. Considering the importance of the Europe 2020 strategy, two audits will be aimed at projects promoting education and employment. One audit will focus on the underlying risks for the sustainability of public finances and one will deal with the implementation of prudential supervision of banks.
The next meeting will be hosted and chaired by the Supreme Audit Office of the Slovak Republic in October 2016.