Procedure : 2019/0802(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0194/2019

Texts tabled :

A8-0194/2019

Debates :

Votes :

PV 16/04/2019 - 8.6
CRE 16/04/2019 - 8.6

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2019)0364

REPORT     
PDF 202kWORD 65k
10.4.2019
PE 636.163v02-00 A8-0194/2019

on the nomination of Viorel Ştefan as a Member of the Court of Auditors

(C8-0049/2019 – 2019/0802(NLE))

Committee on Budgetary Control

Rapporteur: Indrek Tarand

PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION
 ANNEX 1: CURRICULUM VITÆ OF Viorel Ştefan
 ANNEX 2: ANSWERS BY Viorel Ştefan TO THE QUESTIONNAIRE
 PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

on the nomination of Viorel Ştefan as a Member of the Court of Auditors

(C8-0049/2019 – 2019/0802(NLE))

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 286(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8-0049/2019),

–  having regard to Rule 121 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0194/2019),

A.  whereas Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control proceeded to evaluate the credentials of the nominee, in particular in view of the requirements laid down in Article 286(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

B.  whereas at its meeting of 8 April 2019 the Committee on Budgetary Control heard the Council’s nominee for membership of the Court of Auditors;

1.  Delivers an unfavourable opinion on the Council’s nomination of Viorel Ştefan as a Member of the Court of Auditors;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and, for information, to the Court of Auditors, the other institutions of the European Union and the audit institutions of the Member States.


ANNEX 1: CURRICULUM VITÆ OF Viorel Ştefan

Studies and specializations

  2002, Ph.D. in Economics, “Lower Danube” University of Galati

  1980, Graduate of the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the “AI. I. Cuza” University of Iasi

Professional activity

  February 2018 - Present, Vice Prime Minister

  June 2017 - January 2018, Member of the Chamber of Deputies, Chairman and member of the Committee for Budget, Finance and Banks

  January 2017 - June 2017, Minister of Public Finance

  2016 - Present, Member of the Chamber of Deputies

  2012 -2016, Member of the Chamber of Deputies

  2008 - 2016, Member of the Chamber of Deputies

  1996-2008, Senator

  1996 - 2002, Chairman, NAVROM SA Galati River Navigation Company

  1991- 1996, CEO, NAVROM SA Galati River Navigation Company

  1987- 1991, Head of Service, Romanian River Navigation Company NAVROM SA Galati

  1980 - 1987, Economist, Romanian River Navigation Company NAVROM SA Galati

Activity, offices held in a political party

Member of the Social Democratic Party since 1993

  1996 -2015, Vice President, PSD Galati Organization

  2015 - 2018, Vice President of the Social Democratic Party

Activity, offices in a trade union, employers’ organization etc.

  1992 - 1998, Chairman, the Naval Transport Employers’ Association

Previous parliamentary activities and offices

  July 2017-January 2018, Chairman of the Committee for Budget, Finance and Banks, Chamber of Deputies

  January 2017 - June 2017, Minister of Public Finance

  2016 - January 2017, Chairman of the Committee for Budget, Finance and Banks, Chamber of Deputies

Legislative initiatives: 1

Plenary interventions:

Speeches: 3 (in two sessions)

  2012- 2016

Member of the Chamber of Deputies, Chairman of the Committee for Budget, Finance and Banks;

Member of the Joint Special Committee of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate for approving the Draft Law on certain measures related to the gold and silver ore exploitation in the Rosia Montana perimeter and stimulating and facilitating the development of mining activities in Romania;

Chairman of the Friendship parliamentary group with the Russian Federation;

Secretary of the Friendship parliamentary group with the Federal Republic of Brazil.

Legislative initiatives: 42, out of which 11 were promulgated laws;

Plenary interventions:

Speeches: 110 (in 51 sessions)

Draft decisions initiated: 1

Motions: 2

  2008-2012

Member of the Chamber of Deputies, Chairman of the Committee for Budget, Finance and Banks;

Member of the Joint Special Committee for analysing the crisis in the functioning of justice;

Chairman of the Friendship parliamentary group with Japan;

Member of the Friendship parliamentary group with the Hellenic Republic;

Member of the Friendship parliamentary group with the State of Israel.

Legislative initiatives: 14, out of which 2 were promulgated laws

Plenary interventions:

Speeches: 50 (35 sessions)

Questions and interpellations: 10

Motions: 10

  2004 - 2008

Senator, Vice-Chairman, Committee for Budget, Finance, Banking and Capital Market;

Member of the Joint Special Standing Committee of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate for Budget Execution Control of the Court of Accounts for 2003;

Member of the Friendship parliamentary group with the Republic of Armenia;

Member of the Friendship parliamentary group with Iceland;

Member of the Friendship parliamentary group with the Hellenic Republic.

Legislative initiatives: 16, out of which 3 were promulgated laws

Plenary interventions:

Speeches: 287 (156 sessions)

Political statements: 1

Motions: 13

  2000 - 2004

Senator, Chairman, Committee for Budget, finance, Banking and Capital Market;

Member of the Friendship parliamentary group with the Syrian Arab Republic;

Member of the Friendship parliamentary group with the Hellenic Republic;

Member of the Friendship parliamentary group with the State of Israel.

Legislative initiatives: 4, out of which 1 was promulgated law

Plenary interventions:

Speeches: 276 (94 sessions)

Member in 8 mediation committees

  1996-2000

Senator, Member of the Committee for Budget, Finance, Banking and Capital Market;

Member of the Joint Committee of Chamber of Deputies and Senate for the Budget Control of the Court of Accounts;

Member of the Friendship parliamentary group with the French Republic;

Member of the Friendship parliamentary group with the Republic of Austria.

Activity, offices in other national organizations

-  1995-2001, Chairman. The Association of Shipowners and River Operators in Romania (AAOPFR)

Orders, decorations

National Order ‘For Merit’ in rank of Knight


ANNEX 2: ANSWERS BY Viorel Ştefan TO THE QUESTIONNAIRE

Professional experience

1.  Please list your professional experience in public finance be it in budgetary planning, budget implementation or management or budget control or auditing.

My professional experience in the field of public finance, including budgetary planning, implementation and management, budget control and auditing, was acquired over 22 years of service in the Romanian Parliament, as Minister of Public Finance in 2017 and as Deputy Prime Minister in the Romanian Government from 2018.

In Parliament, I served continuously on two specialist committees in both houses, 12 years on the Senate Committee on the Budget, Finance, Banks and the Capital Market and 10 years on the Committee on the Budget, Finance and Banks in the Chamber of Deputies.

During that time, I served for 10 years as committee chair and six years as deputy chair.

As committee chair, I was responsible for managing parliamentary procedures for the adoption of government budgets and social security budgets, as well as the budgets of the two houses and of the institutions and public authorities accountable to Parliament or working together with it, including the Romanian Court of Audit.

Over each budget year, I was responsible for coordinating parliamentary oversight of the fund management activities of authorising officers, involving specific procedures such as hearings, analyses or surveys. At the end of each year, it was my task to evaluate and discuss the special budget implementation reports and present to the both houses.

Budget implementation was assessed and expert reports adopted in the course of ongoing institutional dialogue with the representatives of the Romanian Court of Audit, based on the reports, conclusions and opinions of audit teams. My collaboration with this institution gave me a grasp of the principles and mechanisms of sound auditing and, above all, its importance in ensuring the proper management of public funds.

22 years of direct and continuous involvement in the work of those specialist parliamentary committees helped me to understand and actively participate in the formulation and implementation of public policies at national level in a number of economic and financial disciplines, including: taxation, the financial markets (banking, securities, insurance, private pensions), monetary policy and public borrowing or investment policies.

My appointment as Minister of Public Finance was not only a real challenge to me in career terms, but also an opportunity to demonstrate my ability to manage public finances. While I had previously been chiefly involved in legislative and monitoring activities, my new appointment gave me the opportunity to put my skills into practice and gain a deeper insight into public finance from the executive standpoint. In this way I was able to gain solid experience in the formulation of fiscal and budgetary strategy, budget planning, administration of state revenues, the State Treasury and public debt, customs policy and legislation, the organisation and conduct of internal audits in public bodies, the coordination of relations with international financial institutions, promotion and implementation of public procurement, the administration of state aid schemes, centralised public inventory management and improved public investment management, to name but a few.

My experience in the Ministry of Public Finance, together with my parliamentary work, helped prepare me for my duties as Deputy Prime Minister.

My new responsibilities basically consist of coordinating economic policies and strategies and harmonising and optimising interinstitutional cooperation, while focusing on streamlined governance, administrative cost reductions, an end to the duplication of work, systems restructuring and the speeding up of public service computerisation and digitisation.

Obviously, this can only be achieved though the ongoing monitoring of the budgetary administration activities of authorising officers.

2.  What have been your most significant achievements in your professional career?

My career can be divided into two successive stages, both of which have helped me to understand the mechanisms at work behind microeconomic and macroeconomic developments.

On graduating, I embarked upon a career in business, where I successively obtained all the requisite skills, starting out as a junior trainee and working my way up to the top as general director, manager, chief executive officer and chairman of the board.

All this took place during a difficult period of transition to a market economy in Romania, necessitating radical restructuring, the introduction of modern management methods, adjustment to the new deregulated markets and the reconfiguration of internal, regional and international trade flows.

I consider my first career achievement to have been the restructuring and privatisation of the rigid, underperforming state enterprise for which I had been working, as indicated above, transforming it into a private listed company obtaining outstanding economic results and still providing thousands of jobs in Romania today.

The experience I gained during this period formed the basis for my PhD thesis, which was effectively the culmination of this stage in my career.

The second stage commenced 22 years ago when I decided to enter the public service and became a Member of the Romanian Senate. I then set about acquiring the new skills necessary for me to address the macroeconomic issues arising, and having been returned to the Romanian Senate for a second term, was unanimously designated by my fellow senators as Chair of the Committee for the Budget, Finance, Banking and the Capital Market. I consider this to have been a major achievement in my parliamentary career. I dedicated myself exclusively to this area of activity and my professional skills gained recognition from all political groups and relevant bodies in the Romanian Parliament and in the eyes of the general public. It is mainly for this reason that I was selected with the support of all political groups to head specialist committees throughout my parliamentary career.

My appointment as Minister of Public Finance was also a major milestone in my career.

At the same time, I derived great satisfaction from the excellent team of experts that I was responsible for coordinating, ensuring a positive and constructive working environment, adherence to sound principles, mutual respect and appreciation for the skills and abilities of each, accompanied by recognition of the work of our predecessors and awareness of the need for consistency and continuity in the management of fiscal and budgetary policies and strategies.

Good and constructive collaboration with other institutions in this area (National Bank of Romania, Financial Supervisory Authority, Competition Council, Court of Audit, etc.) also produced important results and are a reflection of my professional skills.

My appointment as Deputy Prime Minister has been the culmination of my career and I intend to remain worthy of this great honour and fulfil my duties according to the principles of fairness and professionalism until my last day in office.

3.  What has been your professional experience of international multicultural and multilinguistic organisations or institutions based outside your home country?

While I have not held a salaried post in any international institution or organisation, I have gained international, multicultural and multilingual experience in the course of my political career through membership of parliamentary friendship groups with: Japan (Group Chair), the Russian Federation (Group Chair), the Federative Republic of Brazil (Group Secretary), the Swiss Confederation, the State of Israel, the Hellenic Republic, Iceland, the Republic of Armenia, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Republic of Austria and the French Republic.

This gave me the opportunity to interact with MPs from those countries. The parliamentary friendship groups served to promote bilateral cooperation in all areas of common interest, their spheres of activity being extremely diverse, including political and parliamentary dialogue, as well as bilateral economic, cultural and scientific relations.

While Minister of Public Finance, I represented Romania on the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank. This taught me how to work more efficiently in an international, multicultural and multilingual environment. I was also called upon in this capacity to coordinate dialogue between the Romanian authorities and International Monetary Fund and World Bank delegates.

4.  Have you been granted discharge for the management duties you carried out previously, if such a procedure applies?

Such a procedure has not been applied

5.  Which of your previous professional positions were a result of a political nomination?

As I indicated in reply to the second question, my career can be divided into two separate stages. In the first stage of my career, I worked my way up in business from junior recruit to chairman of the board without this being attributable to any political influence. It goes without saying that promotion criteria in a private listed company are entirely performance related.

The second stage of my career has been in Parliament which, by definition, involves political players governed by democratic principles. I enjoyed political support on entering Parliament and for my appointments as Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister.

I would, however, also like to say a few words about my appointment as head of the specialist parliamentary committees. Given that candidates are always selected above all on the basis of professional criteria and specific skills, I was able to secure the support of all political groups on each occasion, regardless of whether they were in government or opposition.

6.  What are the three most important decisions to which you have been party in your professional life?

In the course of my career, I was able to participate actively in the adoption of many important decisions that determined Romania’s transition to a functioning market economy, followed by its accession to NATO and the European Union.

I should like to mention just three important decisions that helped to modernise the Romanian Court of Audit and bring its constitutional and legal profile into line with European and international models and good practices.

(1)  The revision of the Constitution in 2003 strengthened the independence of the Court of Audit and provided additional guarantees for its stability. A new plenary reselection mechanism was introduced, eliminating any possibility of excessive or random political interference. Its remit was redefined creating the constitutional basis for the establishment of specialist courts. The Financial Prosecution Service was dismantled and its prosecutors reassigned to the Public Ministry.

As Chair of the Senate Committee for the Budget, Finance, Banking and the Capital Market, I actively participated in the assessment, justification, formulation and final drafting of the amendments to this section of the Constitution.

(2)  In 2005, as Deputy Chair of the Senate Committee for the Budget, Finance, Banking and the Capital Market, I drafted the report to the plenary for adoption of the law establishing the Audit Authority, an independent operational entity within the Court of Audit

with the task of auditing European funding in line with the general principles of management and control.

(3)  In 2008, as deputy Chair of the special Senate committee, I was responsible for coordinating the laborious process of modifying and completing the law on the organisation and functioning of the Court of Audit. Together with Court of Audit staff, I managed to draw up a report and present it to the plenary Senate. It was on this basis that Law 217/2008 was adopted.

The new provisions made a decisive contribution to bringing the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Audit into line with EU provisions, taking as the point of departure the principles embodied in the 2007 Mexico Declaration on the independence of supreme audit institutions.

New rules were introduced on the independence of the Court auditors and external public auditors. The financial independence of the institution was strengthened. The reporting rights and obligations of the Court were established, together with freedom to decide on content, publication and dissemination. Unrestricted access to information was ensured.

Following the adoption of these regulations, the Romanian Court of Audit acquired a major role in the process of public service reform through increased accountability for the deployment and management of public funds, including funding from Europe or from other international financial institutions.

Independence

7.  The Treaty stipulates that the Members of the Court of Auditors must be ‘completely independent’ in the performance of their duties. How would you act on this obligation in the discharge of your prospective duties?

Independence is a fundamental tenet of external public auditing and the most important principle for supreme audit institutions, as indicated in the Lima Declaration, the worldwide public audit reference document that effectively guarantees the independence of these institutions.

The crucial principle of independence was firmly established in the Mexico Declaration and has been further underpinned by recent United Nations resolutions.

The Lima Declaration, adopted as early as 1977, unequivocally states that supreme audit institutions can only carry out their tasks objectively and efficiently to the extent that they are independent of the audited entity and free of any external influences.

I am also familiar with the European Union treaty provisions that clearly require members of the European Court of Auditors to be fully independent in the performance of their duties in the general interest of the European Union, specifying that they should neither seek nor accept instructions from any governmental or other entity.

If I were to be appointed as a Member of the European Court of Auditors, an extremely important post, I would fully appreciate the need to adhere strictly to the principle of independence and hence be completely independent in the exercise of my duties, ensuring that nothing could influence my independence, fairness, impartiality, objectivity and professionalism.

I will equally respect and adhere to the values ​​and Rules of Procedure of the European Court of Auditors, the code of conduct laid down by the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI), the ethical standards of European audit courts, the ECA Code of Conduct and any other relevant provisions.

I am firmly convinced that a Member of the Court of Auditors must remain fully independent of any kind of interests, pressures, etc. from EU Member States or their institutions, political parties, interest groups or private companies and from any other public or private entities.

I should like to add here that, throughout my career, during which I held a number of important positions in the Romanian Parliament and Government, acting as Chair of the Budget, Finance and Banking, Minister of Public Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, I always attached great importance to the principle of independence and adhered to it scrupulously in the exercise of my functions.

8.  Do you or your close relatives (parents, brothers and sisters, legal partner and children) have any business or financial holdings or any other commitments, which might conflict with your prospective duties?

Neither I myself nor any close relatives (parents, brothers or sisters, legal partner, or children) are involved in business activities, are bound by any commitments or have business holdings that might conflict with my future duties.

My shareholdings are minority portfolios that give me no say or involvement in the running of the businesses in question or in their dealings and transactions.

In accordance with the relevant Romanian legislation, I have, since 2003, publicly disclosed my assets and interests on the websites of both houses, where they can be consulted by anyone at any time.

9.  Are you prepared to disclose all your financial interests and other commitments to the President of the Court and to make them public?

I shall notify the President of the Court of Auditors of all my financial interests and commitments and make them public.

10.  Are you involved in any current legal proceedings? If so, please provide us with details.

I am not involved in any legal proceedings.

11.  Do you have any active or executive role in politics, if so at what level? Have you held any political position during the last 18 months? If so, please provide us with details.

I am a member of the Social Democratic Party and Deputy Chair of the Galati PSD.

From October 2015 to March 2018, I was national PSD Deputy Chair. I stepped down on 10 March 2018.

12.  Will you step down from any elected office or give up any active function with responsibilities in a political party if you are appointed as a Member of the Court?

If I am appointed as a Member of the European Court of Auditors, I will resign from the Romanian Parliament and from all my posts and functions in the party.

13.  How would you deal with a major irregularity or even fraud and/or corruption case involving persons in your Member State of origin?

I believe that, regardless of the Member State or persons concerned by serious cases of irregularity, fraud or corruption, all Members of the European Court of Auditors must be not only independent but also impartial and accordingly treat such cases with the same rigour and take appropriate action.

As a Member of the European Court of Auditors, I will deal with any such cases with complete impartiality and objectivity since, irrespective of the Member State of origin of those involved in serious cases of irregularity, fraud or corruption, they should be treated in the same way and the appropriate measures implemented in a uniform and equitable manner.

In accordance with the European Court of Auditors' procedures, I will promptly inform its President and OLAF if I find myself confronted with such a situation.

I would consider totally inadmissible the very idea of ​​treating in a different way and using subjective criteria serious cases of irregularity, suspicion, fraud or corruption involving persons from my Member State of origin, given my responsibility as a Member of the European Court of Auditors to protect the financial interests of all EU Member States for the benefit of European taxpayers. There can, therefore, be no question of adopting a biased approach to such cases.

Furthermore, throughout my career, I have, in all circumstances and in every situation, displayed adherence to, and been guided by, principles such as independence, impartiality, objectivity, honesty and professionalism.

Performance of duties

14.  What should be the main features of a sound financial management culture in any public service? How could the European Court of Auditors help to consolidate this culture?

It is generally accepted that sound financial management in any institution or public entity is based on the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. While the principle of economy means that the right resources must be made available promptly, in the appropriate quantities and as cost-effectively as possible, efficiency means optimum use of given resources to ensure the best possible results. Effectiveness means the extent to which the results of an activity correspond to or meet established targets.

These three principles form the basis of not only sound management of public funds but also good economic governance in the business world.

Given that sound financial management is based on these principles - economy, efficiency and effectiveness, also known as the 3E principle - it is clear that public institutions must appropriately set their targets, performance indicators, systems control and internal audit procedures to ensure a high degree of compliance and achievement of objectives.

Only institutions implementing such a culture, involving the sound management of public funds, are perceived by stakeholders and taxpayers to be transparent and accountable institutions capable of managing public funds efficiently and effectively and ensuring good governance for the ultimate benefit of Member State citizens.

I believe that the European Court of Auditors plays an essential role in not only promoting and supporting a culture of sound financial management in practice but also in helping to ensure its long-term sustainability in all public institutions. The principal ways of achieving this are, on the one hand, through recommendations contained in the audit reports issued by the European Court of Auditors, which help to improve and streamline the targets being audited by the Court and, on the other hand, through monitoring the implementation these recommendations

The European Court of Auditors also contributes significantly to simplifying legislative framework provisions and administrative procedures, where appropriate, for the purposes of sound financial management, which also involves efforts to reform and simplify the rules governing it.

15.  Under the Treaty, the Court is required to assist Parliament in exercising its powers of control over the implementation of the budget. How would you improve cooperation between the Court and the European Parliament (especially the Committee on Budgetary Control), in order to strengthen public control over general expenditure and its efficiency?

Following a long career in the Romanian Parliament, spanning 22 years of activity, during which I held a number of important posts, such as Chair of the Committee on the Budget, Finance and Banks, I am fully convinced that parliamentary oversight of public budget implementation, whether at Member States or European level, is essential, since it provides the public with evidence that that funds are being used legally and effectively in line with established objectives. This undoubtedly contributes to strengthening the democratic dialogue and, in the long run, leads to greater cohesion in the European Union.

The European Court of Auditors makes an important contribution since it is responsible for providing credible and well-documented information regarding the use of European funds. This information is communicated through the Annual Report, which mainly relates to issues arising from the results of financial and compliance audits as well as special reports mainly concerned with performance audits.

However, the responsibility of the European Court of Auditors extends beyond the mere transmission of its reports to the European Parliament. I believe that close international cooperation based on principles of loyalty, mutual trust and respect for the responsibilities and prerogatives of each institution remains essential and that every effort should be made to provide the relevant information as soon as possible to the members of the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control.

I am totally convinced that the European Court of Auditors considers the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament as its most important partner and the principal stakeholder in the results of its work. Accordingly, it remains in close contact with the committee to provide consistent support for its members for budgetary control purposes.

Continuous and effective dialogue to make the Court aware of MEPs’ expectations and ensure that it acts accordingly, while respecting the principle of independence, would be a recipe for success when it comes to specific ways of improving cooperation between the European Court of Auditors and the Committee on Budgetary Control. This would benefit both institutions and would implicitly meet the expectations of European taxpayers. In addition, more effective communication and innovative ways of presenting the findings and conclusions of the reports should be an ongoing priority for the Court, ensuring that it responds adequately to the expectations of the European Parliament in general and the Committee on Budgetary Control in particular.

16.  What added value do you think performance auditing brings and how should the findings be incorporated in management procedures?

Financial, compliance and performance auditing are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they are complementary activities providing a comprehensive picture that can be of great assistance when it comes to taking important decisions. I am therefore convinced that both financial and performance auditing are of particular value to Parliament and to the public at large.

In almost 22 years of parliamentary activity, I have analysed many reports by the Romanian Court of Audit, which I found particularly useful. On many occasions, I have also consulted reports published by the European Court of Auditors and other supreme national audit institutions in order to gain as complete a picture as possible.

In this way, I discovered over time that greater emphasis has been placed on the role of performance auditing that enhances the value of traditional financial auditing. This trend reflects in particular the expectations of the principal recipients of the audit reports, i.e. Parliament and the public, that important issues be examined promptly and recommendations made to correct any malfunctions or to improve systems and mechanisms that are continuing to underperform.

It is therefore clear to me that it is not enough to simply be aware of the legality and regularity of EU budget implementation. We must also ensure that the funds have been deployed economically, efficiently and effectively at European level, which means improving EU financial management.

The efficient use of European funds is important for all European citizens, which means that the European Court of Auditors plays a major role in conducting pertinent and carefully selected performance audits using appropriate risk analysis procedures that provide significant added value.

17.  How could cooperation between the Court of Auditors, the national audit institutions and the European Parliament (Committee on Budgetary Control) on auditing of the EU budget be improved?

As Chair of the Committee on Budgets, Finance and Banking, I noted with interest how supreme audit institutions cooperate internationally with national parliaments and was particularly interested in cooperation at European level in the European Parliament and European Court of Auditors, for example. I am firmly convinced that the cumulative effect must be to raise awareness of areas of common interest and identify the most effective channels of cooperation between parliaments and supreme audit institutions.

I am aware that the supreme audit institutions and the European Court of Auditors have for a long time been cooperating in a joint forum, called the Contact Committee of Heads of Supreme Audit Institutions of the EU Member States and the European Court of Auditors, which involves annual meetings for discussion of topical issues related to the auditing of European funds and protecting community interests. I also know that the European Parliament and, in particular, the Committee on Budgetary Control is carefully monitoring the results of this cooperation and am in favour of closer links for the benefit of the European public.

I also know that the Contact Committee has recently initiated extensive reforms in order to establish closer links for the purposes of cooperation at European level in order to respond as quickly as possible to parliamentary expectations. I would also point out that the Romanian supreme audit institution, the Romanian Court of Audit, has been successfully involved in this process of reforming the Contact Committee and is supporting audit missions of the European Court of Auditors in Romania and identifying new ways of stepping up interinstitutional cooperation, for example through exchanges of experience in the field of external auditing and, in particular, performance auditing.

Cooperation between supreme audit institutions and the European Court of Auditors is being energetically pursued and is proving an effective means of improving cooperation. Joint risk analyses can be used to identify areas of high risk where national and European audit activities can be focused, resulting in more efficient resource allocation, given that findings at national level can be extrapolated at European level.

If I am appointed as a Member of the European Court of Auditors, I will strongly support the strengthening and development of cooperation between the supreme audit institutions, the European Court of Auditors and the European Parliament, bearing in mind that the European Court of Auditors is the logical link between national SAIs and the European Parliament.

18.  How would you improve the EU reporting procedure to provide the European Parliament with all the necessary information on the correctness of EC data provided by the Member States?

I believe that providing the European Parliament with all the necessary information regarding the accuracy of data provided by the Member States is a key objective of the European Court of Auditors in its reporting procedure.

Since it also includes data provided by the Member State authorities, I consider this to a fruitful area for cooperation between the national supreme audit institutions and the European Court of Auditors. To the best of my knowledge, joint cooperation at Contact Committee level has already taken place in this area involving the supreme audit institutions in the verification of statistical data determination. A joint working group involving national statistics institutes has already been set up to provide assurances that any corrections entered in the final budget implementation audit reports are accurately reflected in the final statistical data.

In any case, I fully endorse concerns to ensure that data provided by the Member States is accurate and reflects reality and I undertake to actively help in efforts to identify the levers necessary to improve the Court's reporting procedure in this area.

Other issues

19.  Will you withdraw your candidacy if Parliament's opinion on your appointment as Member of the Court is unfavourable?

I was nominated by the Romanian Government as a candidate for membership of the European Court of Auditors.

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides that the Council shall act after consulting the European Parliament

In the event of an unfavourable opinion from the European Parliament, it will be the responsibility of the Council to take the appropriate decision based on all the relevant elements and the information at its disposal.


PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Title

Partial renewal of Members of the Court of Auditors - RO nominee

References

06341/2019 – C8-0049/2019 – 2019/0802(NLE)

Date of consultation / request for consent

14.2.2019

 

 

 

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

CONT

11.3.2019

 

 

 

Rapporteurs

       Date appointed

Indrek Tarand

1.3.2019

 

 

 

Date adopted

8.4.2019

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

8

12

0

Members present for the final vote

Nedzhmi Ali, Inés Ayala Sender, Martina Dlabajová, Luke Ming Flanagan, Ingeborg Gräßle, Wolf Klinz, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Petri Sarvamaa, Claudia Schmidt, Indrek Tarand, Marco Valli, Derek Vaughan, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes present for the final vote

Andrey Novakov

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Maria Grapini, Dan Nica, Emilian Pavel, Răzvan Popa, Paul Rübig, Lambert van Nistelrooij, Maria Gabriela Zoană

Date tabled

10.4.2019

Last updated: 10 April 2019Legal notice