On Wednesday 26 October Klaus-Heiner Lehne presented the European Court of Auditors’ (ECA) 2015 annual report on the implementation of the EU budget and the European Development Funds at a plenary sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
At an earlier presentation of the report (on its publication date of 13 October) to the Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control, Mr Lehne had warned that EU institutions had, to a degree, lost the trust of EU citizens, and that regaining that trust would present a major challenge to the EU in the months and years to come. His view was that the ECA would have an important role to play in this regard.
Stressing the importance of sound financial governance in the EU, he said that whatever shape reform might take, it must be built on solid financial foundations. ‘EU financial governance needs to improve. If we are to create an EU financial system fit for regaining our citizens’ trust, the EU has to make the right reforms and make them soon’.
He singled out four elements of particular importance: the EU must keep good accounts, make sure its financial rules are applied correctly, secure value for money for its citizens, and both ensure transparency and provide assurance with regard to its spending.
The ECA’s annual report forms an important basis for the European Parliament’s decision as to whether to grant discharge to the European Commission and other bodies responsible for implementing the EU budget.
Mr Lehne is due to present the annual report to the Council of Ministers (ECOFIN) on 8 November. As is the case every year, the other Members of the ECA will also be presenting the annual report to their national parliaments and authorities in the Member States.