The annual meeting of the Contact Committee was chaired and hosted by the State Audit Office of the Republic of Croatia in Dubrovnik on 11 and 12 October 2018. In addition to delegations from the Member States' supreme audit institutions (SAIs) and the European Court of Auditors, the heads of candidate countries' SAIs and representatives of SIGMA attended the meeting as active observers.
The meeting was opened by Ivan Klešić, Auditor-General of the Republic of Croatia, and Grozdana Perić, Member of the Croatian Parliament and Chair of its Finance and Budget Committee.
The first day of the meeting was devoted to the seminar on "Interaction with Citizens - Opening SAIs". Against the backdrop of current developments at national and supranational level (such as Brexit, migration, security and climate change), the seminar theme offered a wide range of topics and the chance to discuss relevant challenges and opportunities for the SAIs to enhance their efficiency.
The seminar was introduced by Ivica Tolić, Member of the European Parliament, Karen Hill, Director of SIGMA, and Laetitia Veriter, Director of Citizens for Europe. Mr Tolić presented the state of the European Union, while Ms Hill provided SIGMA's perspective on and experiences with citizen interaction. Ms Veriter reiterated the need to explore possible ways of engaging citizens in public audit.
The ensuing panel discussion between Charles Deguara, Auditor-General of Malta, Kay Scheller, President of the SAI of Germany, and Klaus-Heiner Lehne, President of the European Court of Auditors, revealed positive experiences and limitations regarding SAI interaction with citizens. The participants agreed that to leverage the full potential of interaction with citizens, SAIs would have to invest more in building relationships.
The second day of the meeting was devoted to reporting on ongoing and recently completed Contact Committee activities, as well as EU-related audits carried out by the SAIs of Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and Poland.
At the end of the meeting, the Contact Committee Chairmanship was handed over to the President of the SAI of Poland, which will host the 2019 Contact Committee meeting in Warsaw.