In democratic societies, information that is complete, accurate and readily available is essential for effective scrutiny and decision-making. It helps promote sound financial management and serves as a basis for accountability. Like each Member State, the EU has an external auditor which acts as an independent guardian of the financial interests of its citizens. In its capacity as the EU's external auditor, the ECA checks that EU funds are correctly accounted for and that they are spent in compliance with the relevant rules and legislation and achieve value for money.
Helping the EU to improve public accountability
The results of the ECA’s work are used by the Commission, the Parliament, the Council and the Member States to oversee and improve the financial management of the EU budget. The ECA’s work provides an important basis for the annual “discharge” procedure whereby the Parliament, on the basis of recommendations from the Council, decides whether the Commission has met its responsibility for the execution of the previous year’s budget.
Cooperation with other supreme audit institutions
In the areas of the budget where management is shared, Member States cooperate with the Commission on setting up supervisory and internal control systems to ensure that EU funds are spent properly and in accordance with the rules. Internal control thus has both an EU and a national dimension. In addition to the work done by the ECA, many supreme audit institutions in the Member States audit the European funds that are managed and spent by their national administrations.