Every year the ECA audits the revenue and expenditure sides of the EU budget and provides its opinion on the extent to which the annual accounts are reliable and income and spending comply with the rules and regulations.
EU spending totalled €173.3 billion in 2020, representing 1.1% of the combined gross national income of the 27 EU Member States and the United Kingdom. The EU budget is agreed annually – in the context of a seven-year framework – by the European Parliament and the Council. Last year, 2020, was the final year before the new multiannual framework.
Ensuring that the budget is properly spent is primarily the responsibility of the European Commission, along with the other EU institutions and bodies. But for around two thirds of spending – principally on natural resources and cohesion – this responsibility is shared with the Member States.
Our auditors test samples of transactions to provide statistically based estimates of the extent to which revenue and the various spending areas are affected by error ('error rate').