Procedure : 2021/0803(NLE)
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Document selected : A9-0004/2022

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<Titre>on the nomination of Marek Opiola as a Member of the Court of Auditors</Titre>

<DocRef>(C9‑0406/2021 – 2021/0803(NLE))</DocRef>

<Commission>{CONT}Committee on Budgetary Control</Commission>

Rapporteur: <Depute>Claudiu Manda</Depute>



on the nomination of Marek Opiola as a Member of the Court of Auditors

(C9‑0406/2021 – 2021/0803(NLE))


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 (C9‑0406/2021),

 having regard to Rule 129 of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0004/2022),

A. whereas, by letter of 5 November 2021, the Council consulted Parliament on the nomination of Marek Opiola as a Member of the Court of Auditors;

B. whereas Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control then 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;

C. whereas the committee subsequently held a hearing with the nominee on 10 January 2022, at which the nominee made an opening statement and then answered questions put by the members of the committee;

1. Delivers an unfavourable opinion on the Council’s nomination of Marek Opiola as a Member of the Court of Auditors and asks the Council to withdraw its nomination and submit a new one to Parliament;

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




Personal data


Period of employment






1 February 2021 →

European Court of Auditors

Member of the Court

Member of the Chamber V on Financing and Administering the Union


 Reporting Member for the tasks:

 2020 Annual Report – Chapter 9: Administration.

 Opinion No 2/2021 concerning the Commission’s proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 609/2014 in order  to enhance predictability for Member States and to clarify procedures  for dispute resolution when making available the traditional, VAT and GNI based own resources.

 2021 Annual Report – Chapters: Administration, Revenue.

 Performance audit: Have the EU institutions overcome their Covid-19 crisis and emerged more resilient?



Period of employment





Period of employment



Committee membership




Period of employment




Committee membership




27 November 2019 – 1 February 2021

Supreme Audit Office of Poland




 12 November 2019 – 27 November 2019

 Sejm of the Republic of Poland of the 9th term

Member of Parliament - Deputy of the Sejm

 Special Services Committee

 Rules, Deputies’ Affairs and Immunities Committee

 National Defence Committee



2015 – 2019

Sejm of the Republic of Poland of the 8th term

Member of Parliament - Deputy of the Sejm


 Special Services Committee

 Committee Chair (from 2015 to 2019)

 Rules, Deputies’ Affairs and Immunities Committee

 Committee Deputy Chair (from 2015 to 2019)

 National Defence Committee


Permanent parliamentary delegation membership 

   Delegation of the Sejm and the Senate of the Republic of Poland 

 to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly

  Head of Delegation (from 2016 to 2019)







Period of employment




Committee membership


Permanent parliamentary delegation membership 







2011 – 2015

Sejm of the Republic of Poland of the 7th term

Member of Parliament - Deputy of the Sejm


 Special Services Committee

 Committee Chair (from February 2013 to August 2013)

 Committee Deputy Chair (from July 2012 to February 2013)

 National Defence Committee

  Sub-Committee on the International Co-operation and NATO 

  Sub-Committee Chair (from 2011 to 2013)

 Delegation of the Sejm and the Senate of the Republic of Poland

  to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly

  Deputy Head of Delegation (from 2012 to 2015)



Period of employment




Committee membership


Permanent parliamentary delegation membership 

2007 – 2011

Sejm of the Republic of Poland of the 6th term

Member of Parliament - Deputy of the Sejm


 Special Services Committee

 National Defence Committee

 Sub-Committee on the International Co-operation and NATO 

 Sub-Committee Chair (from 2009 to 2011)


 Delegation of the Sejm and the Senate of the Republic of Poland  to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly

 Deputy Head of Delegation (from 2007 to 2011)



Period of employment




Committee membership




2005 – 2007

Sejm of the Republic of Poland of the 5th term

Member of Parliament - Deputy of the Sejm


 National Defence Committee

 Committee Deputy Chair (from 2006 to 2007)

 Special Services Committee

 Rules, Deputies’ Affairs and Immunities Committee



Period of employment





2002 – 2005

Law and Justice Party Headquarter

 Presidential Office

 Executive Office



Period of employment











1997 – 2002

Military Troop, Unit no. 2420

Civilian employee




Period of education

Name of university


Diploma type


Period of education

Name of university


Diploma type




2003 – 2004

University of Warsaw

Postgraduate studies on the National Security

Postgraduate diploma


1995 – 2003

University of Warsaw

Faculty of Journalism and Political Science 

Master of Arts in Political Science


Knowledge of languages




Access to classified information


Hobbies and interests



Level of language proficiency - good


Access to the top-secret, EU secret, NATO secret information


Shooting, canoeing, sailing





Questionnaire for the renewal of Members of the Court of Auditors

  Written reply to the questionnaire by Mr Marek Opiola

Performance of duties: lessons learnt and future commitments

1. What are your main achievements as a member of the ECA? What were the biggest setbacks?

During the 9 months of my mandate at the ECA, I have been able to confirm that the Court as the Institution responsible for independent external audit is a truly professional and well-functioning organisation where I have had the opportunity to meet many highly qualified and dedicated Members and staff. In this context, I therefore have sought to make my own contribution to the work of the Court. I consider that having rapidly become familiar with the work and specificities of the Court is the greatest achievement I have made during my short term in office. I consider that my second biggest achievement has been serving as the Disabilities Ambassador where I have worked towards the creation of a truly inclusive environment. The new ECA Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Action Plan foresees that ECA Members will be Ambassadors for Diversity and Inclusion by engaging in various activities in this area. I am honoured that my initiative regarding the sponsorship of actions aiming at raising disability awareness has been approved. At this moment, together with the Court’s staff, I am preparing an event called the Disability Awareness Week to be held from 29 November to 3 December 2021.

Given that I have been ECA Member for a rather short time, I have encountered only some challenges and not setbacks. The biggest one was taking up my duties during the pandemic crisis, when teleworking was mandatory. Whilst the tools available allowed me to carry out my duties uninterruptedly, I feel that working on site would have created better conditions for exchanging views and discussing complex issues with other Members of the Court.

2. What are the main lessons learnt in your field of competences / results achieved in your duties and audit tasks?

During my mandate, I have had the opportunity to put to use the experience I gained during my service as the Vice-President of the Polish Supreme Audit Office, but I have also acquired experience and knowledge of the work of the ECA and the accountability framework within which it operates. In a relatively short period of time, I have been able to carry out and oversee with my team the audit work for the preparation of Chapter 9 on Administration of the 2020 ECA Annual Report. I have taken on a number of new tasks and prepared task plans for two chapters of the 2021 Annual Report – on Administration and Revenue, as well as for the performance audit on the functioning of the EU institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was also the Reporting Member for the Court’s opinion on draft amendments to the procedure for making own resources available. I am currently embarking on a task on the digitalisation of EU funds management, in which we aim to examine how the EU is using data and technology to manage and control its expenditure. I am committed to contributing to the improvement of the Court’s products taking into account the needs of our main stakeholders, in particular the European Parliament, as well as delivering relevant and timely special reports.

3. What added value could you bring to the ECA on your second term and/or particularly in the area you would be responsible for? Would you like to change your area of responsibility? What motivates you?

I would be honoured to serve the Court for a second term as a Member and to help to bring this institution closer to the citizens. I would like to use the experience I have gained so far to further improve the audit work and to provide useful audit results to all stakeholders, specifically in the areas covered by the chapters of the Annual Report and the performance tasks for which I am responsible. Whatever are the tasks I may be entrusted with in the future, I will strive to make all reports increasingly useful and responsive to the needs of policymakers, thereby contributing to a more efficient use of the budget and helping to strengthen the EU’s governance, transparency and accountability framework.

During my first mandate, I have been involved in presenting the work of the Court and the role of the EU in Poland. I intend to continue and expand this activity in my next mandate. On the one hand, I am motivated by the positive working atmosphere between the Members of the Court and the commitment of its staff and, on the other hand, by the interest in the impact of our work. I intend to continue to work towards improving the way we communicate with the European Parliament, the Council and all those interested in the results of our audits.

4. How do you make sure to reach the planned audit objectives of an audit task? Have you ever been in the situation where you could not realize the audit task and for which reasons? How do you operate in such controversial situations?

The role of a Member of the Court is both to oversee and to provide ongoing support to the audit process. I believe that continuous exchange of information with the team and careful planning of the audit contribute to securing a sound basis for an audit and to preventing disruptions. By working closely with the audit team, it is possible to adapt an audit to any changes in the circumstances in a sensible way or, if this is not possible, to cancel the audit in extreme cases. This of course requires bringing the matter to the attention of the Chamber or in some cases also of the Court. So far, I have not experienced a situation where I could not complete an audit task. All audit tasks I have overseen, have been completed, or are progressing according to the established timetable, with objectives being achieved as planned at each stage.

The experience from the pandemic period shows that external factors beyond the control of the audit team may significantly affect the implementation of the audit. Any such situation requires innovative solutions, adapting both the audit programme and its implementation. I think the Court showed the flexibility and the ability to continue its work and fulfil its mandate during that difficult period.

5. If you were reconfirmed for a second mandate and hypothetically, if you were elected Dean of a Chamber in the ECA, how would you steer the work to define its priorities? Could you give us two or three examples of areas to focus on in the future?

Generally, the Dean’s duties are to coordinate the work of the Chamber in a way that ensures the effective and efficient functioning and the good quality of the adopted reports. It is necessary to have a strategy, to be impartial, and to have a sound knowledge of the relevant procedures and the documents. At the same time, one must not lose sight of the overall picture of the issues to be addressed. If I were to be entrusted with the role of Dean, I would concentrate on ensuring the smooth functioning of the Chamber with a view to producing high quality reports. This includes the timely preparation of documents for discussion and adoption by the Members.

In terms of priorities for the work of the Chamber, I would put more emphasis on the greater use of modern IT tools to digitise the audit process as well as to include this subject on our audit agenda. In my opinion, the digitisation of reporting and data monitoring is one of the key elements for ensuring proper supervision of the correct use of the EU funds under the NGEU and RRF in the coming years.

I would also prioritise topics related to the NGEU. This is an innovative instrument without precedent in the recent history of the European Union. Its implementation is a major challenge for the entire European Union. The ECA, as an independent audit body, has a fundamental role to play to ensure accountability in the use of funds throughout the implementation cycle. 

6. If you had to manage the selection of audit tasks in view of the preparation of the ECA annual working programme, on which basis would you make your choice among the list of priorities received from the Parliament and/or the CONT committee?

What would you do if a political priority does not correspond to the ECA risk assessment of the Union’s activities?

Thanks to a structured procedure for the gathering of audit proposals via the Conference of Committee Chairs, each year we incorporate a significant proportion of the proposals made by the EP’s committees into our work programme for the following years. Decisions to include Parliament’s proposals are taken on the basis of a number of criteria including also the feasibility of audit. Obviously, Members have a degree of discretion and individual judgement in this process, which allows us to consider a wide range of the EP and CONT committee’s proposals for audits and, where possible, to incorporate them to our planning.

In case a political priority does not correspond to the Court of Auditors’ risk assessment of the European Union’s activities and if this would have impact on the choice of audit tasks for the ECA’s annual work programme, I would become familiar with the arguments of the parties involved and analyse them for their relevance and usefulness of the topic for the European Union and its citizens.

Management of portfolio, working methods and deliverables

7. Producing high quality, robust and timely reports is key:

 How would you ensure that the data used in an audit are reliable and that the findings are not outdated?

The audits of the Court are carried out in accordance with international auditing standards, and their timeliness is very important. I think the legislative procedure of the European Union should also be taken into account when planning audits. The Court already has robust procedures in place to ensure data reliability, such as an internal control of data quality, combined with confirmation of findings with the auditees through an adversarial procedure. However, we need to further develop our observation databases and improve the digitised platform for internal exchange of audit results.

 How would you improve the quality and pertinence of the recommendations?

As far as recommendations are concerned, I believe that they should be precise, achievable and understandable for the auditees, clearly specifying the addressee and the deadline for implementation. When formulating recommendations we should also pay attention to their cost-effectiveness and to the limitation of unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles. I also believe that the recommendations should be relevant. It is therefore of utmost importance to prioritise those recommendations that are expected to add the most value. This would increase their impact and allow the Court to perform a more meaningful and in-depth follow-up of the actions taken by the auditees to address the reported deficiencies.

The Court has procedures for validating our recommendations. The formulation of recommendations is preceded by a discussion of the findings within the audit team and with the auditees. This facilitates a better mutual understanding and helps improving the recommendations, although this does not mean that an agreement is reached in every case. However, such a dialogue is important, as the auditees’ acceptance of recommendations increases the chances that adequate measures are taken to remedy the identified weaknesses.

8. The aim of the ECA’s reform is to establish a stronger accountability relationship between the audit team and the rapporteur member:

 Given your experience, do you think that the role of a member is to be more involved in the audit work?

The Court has defined the role for audit managers, principal managers, directors and, of course, the relevant Member of the Court and his or her cabinet. In my experience, the Member can play an active role throughout the audit process while leaving the specific audit work to those best equipped to do it - the audit teams. Personally, I consider myself a team player who can listen, and I cannot imagine serving as an ECA Member without working closely with the audit team. I respect autonomy within the allocation of tasks and at the same time I consider the exchange of information between all those involved and the maximum interaction with the audit team as an absolute priority.

 Would you change the way you work with an audit team? If yes, how?

I consider that the way I cooperate with the audit teams is appropriate. It is based on a close contact with the audit teams and regular discussions on the work progress. I respect the independence of staff and leave the audit work to those best-qualified to perform it. It allows to maintain an appropriate level of motivation and productivity.

9. What would be your suggestions to further improve, modernise the ECA functioning, programming and work (audit cycle)? After your first mandate, could you give us a positive aspect of the ECA working and a negative one?

I consider the Court to be a well-functioning audit institution, although there are areas where further improvements could be made.

When thinking about positive aspect of ECA`s functioning, one should have in mind the exceptional nature of the last few months of the pandemic. All the institutions, including the ECA, had to change from one day to the next the way they functioned and quickly put in place the necessary arrangements to ensure business continuity and the fulfilment of their respective mandates. The IT systems put in place and the huge commitment of staff made it possible to switch to remote working immediately. The experience gained over the past year will undoubtedly change the way auditors and audit institutions work. The ECA is now making efforts to make better use of the IT systems to digitise the audit process. These efforts can help to improve the audit processes and reduce the bureaucratic burden on the auditees. As part of the audit work for which I am responsible in relation to two chapters of the Annual Report - Chapter 3 Revenue and Chapter 9 Administration - I am working with the audit teams on solutions to digitise the audit process and to improve the access to audit results.

During my first mandate, I was pleased to see that the Court, as a collegial body, was able to deal intensively and persistently with complex issues and to reach consensus even on difficult cases. We are currently developing the audit approach for the NGEU and RRF. On the one hand, the innovative nature of the implemented instruments requires us to develop a completely new approach, on the other hand, important elements of the implementation system are not fully defined by the EC and are being developed in parallel with the implementation process.

As far as the planning of work is concerned, a strong link between the ECA strategy and work programme is essential. I believe that the ECA`s programming process could be further improved by enhancing its multiannual character. When choosing which audit tasks should be carried out, I think we should look not only at the relevance of audit topics but also at their timing and sequence to ensure that the audits can build on each other. Choosing tasks based on strategic considerations and having in mind their complementarity would lead to maximising the impact of ECA`s work and bring added value.

I see some room for improvement when using the results of audits carried out by national authorities (parliaments, governments, administration and national audit bodies). I also see a need for strengthening communication efforts in the Member States on both the role and tasks of the ECA and on the results of its work. The ECA has an important role to play in ensuring that the EU actions are transparent and the EU is accountable, thereby contributing to citizens’ trust in the EU. I see a role here for myself as a member of the ECA. In my relatively short first term, I organised a number of meetings with national authorities in Poland (i.e.: the President of Poland, the Minister of the European Affairs, Speakers and Committees of the Sejm and the Senate) to present ECA work. Such activities provide for an opportunity to better reach the Council. I intend to intensify these activities in the second term and reach out even further, also at the local and civic level.

10. Under the Treaty, the Court is required to assist Parliament in exercising its powers of control over the implementation of the budget in order to enhance both the public oversight of the general spending and its value for money:

 With the experience of your first term, how could the cooperation between the Court of Auditors and the European Parliament (Committee on Budgetary Control) on auditing the EU budget be further improved?

I consider the cooperation between the Court of Auditors and the European Parliament to be very good. By optimising the planning of the work programme, the Court is better equipped to produce the relevant reports in proper time, and the procedure for presenting special reports ensures that the Committee on Budgetary Control can become familiar with them as early as possible. I have already had the pleasure of presenting twice to the Committee the Chapter 9 of the Annual Report, for which I am the Reporting Member. Next year, I will present a special report on pandemic resilience of EU institutions and bodies and two chapters of the Annual Report, i.e. the EU revenue and administration.  I would like to use my second mandate to intensify this dialogue. I very much support the practice of seeking inspiration for the ECA’s work programme in the EP. We should also make sure that we publish our products when they are most useful, for example during the debate on new legislative proposals. We should further explore the possibility to intensify the dialogue with special EP committees. I think that joint conferences or thematic panels with expert organisations and think tanks (e.g. with the European Parliament’s Research Service - EPRS) could also provide a good opportunity to exchange expertise on the implementation and effectiveness of the EU law and policies and to strengthen cooperation.

 Similarly, how to strengthen relations between ECA and national audit institutions?

The relations between the ECA and national audit institutions are good, in my view. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work in both institutions. I believe it is important to continue working with other audit and control authorities. I welcome the exchange of experience, including that with the Polish Supreme Audit Office, not only at the highest level, but above all at the operational level between auditors. In the future, I imagine organising dedicated workshops on sectoral issues and on the audit process itself, with the participation of the ECA’s Directors and Heads of Task. I would also like to propose the creation of a common database on audit results to the experts, starting with the RRF. Such a solution would offer the possibility to transfer knowledge on audit findings and recommendations in relation to the design and implementation of this instrument.

11. How will you support the Parliament in the achievement of the shortening of the discharge procedure? What actions can be undertaken from your side?

I think we should strive for a shorter discharge procedure. However, its current timing is largely resulting from the provisions of the legislation and the timing when data are made available to the Court by the Commission and other institutions. I think that the upcoming discussions on the revision of the Financial Regulation might be an opportunity to reflect how shortening of the discharge procedure could be achieved.

Independence and integrity

12. What guarantees of independence are you able to give the European Parliament, and how would you make sure that any past, current or future activities you carry out could not cast doubt on the performance of your duties at the ECA?

I believe that transparency and ethical behaviour is a necessary prerequisite for public confidence. I have performed my role as the Vice-President of the Supreme Audit Office and currently I am performing the function of the Member of the Court, with the utmost diligence and impartiality. My independence has never been called into question and it has always been seen as impartial, independent and providing an ethical service to the EU citizens. When performing my duties, I am impartial, honest and responsible and I comply with the principles of commitment to my work, collegiality and confidentiality. I have no additional activities and I assure you that this will not change in the next mandate.

13. How would you deal with a major irregularity or even fraud in EU funds and/or corruption case involving persons in your Member State of origin? Were you in this situation during your current mandate?

Whenever serious irregularities, fraud or corruption are identified, I will use my honest judgement and objectivity when assessing the findings, regardless of the Member State involved. In the case of suspected fraud, I would therefore take immediate and firm action to have the matter referred to the OLAF and/or EPPO in line with the rules established by the ECA. There cannot be any preferential treatment neither for country nor for person. Such situation has not occurred with regard to persons from my Member State of origin during the audits I have overseen during my current term.

14. The existence of conflict of interests can trigger a reputation risk for the ECA. How would you manage any conflict of interest?

In case of a real or potential conflict of interests, I would comply with the Court’s rules in this regard. In accordance with the legal obligation I have, I would inform the President of the Court and the Ethics Committee. I would declare a conflict of interest for the audit task in question and I would abstain from taking part in the audit activities. I believe that the unconditional will to act quickly and appropriately to protect the integrity of the ECA and its products is required in such cases.

15. Are you involved in any legal proceedings? if so, what kind?

I am not and have never been involved in any legal proceedings. Nor am I aware of any pending proceedings to which I would be a party.

16. What specific commitments are you prepared to make in terms of enhanced transparency, increased cooperation and effective follow-up to Parliament’s positions and requests for audits?

I am committed to the full transparency of the Court’s activities and to strengthening the good relations with the Parliament and, in particular, with the CONT Committee. Audit proposals and requests from the Conference of Committee Chairs, as well as other EP initiatives, are prioritised by the Court. The procedure for presenting our reports to the parliamentary committees is, in my view, a good example of this constructive cooperation.

Other questions

17. Will you withdraw your candidacy to a renewal of mandate if Parliament’s opinion on your appointment as Member of the ECA is unfavourable?

I consider that the relationship between the ECA and the EP is extremely important and that it is based on mutual respect and the ability to listen to each other’s opinions and arguments. I believe that by demonstrating my professional skills I will convince the European Parliament that I meet the requirements to be appointed. However, should the European Parliament not have the sufficient confidence in me, and in the event of an unfavourable opinion on my appointment, I will ask the competent national authority which nominated me to consider further action, including replacing me by another candidate.


18. Being appointed Member of the ECA requires full attention and dedication to the institution itself and to ensure trust for the Union among its citizens:

 What are your views on the best way to assume these professional duties?

Since day one, I have fulfilled my role at the ECA focusing on transparency and cooperation. I intend to continue to fulfil my responsibilities through hard work and commitment.

 What are your current personal arrangements in terms of number of days of presence in Luxembourg? Do you plan to change these arrangements?

My family and I have moved permanently to Luxembourg and, as a result, I have worked from my office at the Court on a daily basis, as far as it was possible under the pandemic related internal rules and restrictions. To date, I have not missed a single meeting of the Chamber or the Court.



Partial renewal of members of the Court of Auditors - PL nominee


13231/2021 – C9-0406/2021 – 2021/0803(NLE)

Date of consultation / request for consent





Committee responsible

 Date announced in plenary







 Date appointed

Claudiu Manda





Discussed in committee





Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Matteo Adinolfi, Olivier Chastel, Caterina Chinnici, Lefteris Christoforou, José Manuel Fernandes, Luke Ming Flanagan, Isabel García Muñoz, Monika Hohlmeier, Jean-François Jalkh, Pierre Karleskind, Joachim Kuhs, Claudiu Manda, Alin Mituța, Younous Omarjee, Tsvetelina Penkova, Markus Pieper, Sabrina Pignedoli, Michèle Rivasi, Petri Sarvamaa, Simone Schmiedtbauer, Vincenzo Sofo, Angelika Winzig, Tomáš Zdechovský

Substitutes present for the final vote

Pascal Durand, Maria Grapini, Mikuláš Peksa, Elżbieta Rafalska, Sándor Rónai, Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel

Substitutes under Rule 209(7) present for the final vote

Robert Roos

Date tabled




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