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European Court Of Auditors

Volume 932: debated on Thursday 19 May 1977

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the powers of the EEC Audit Court; by whom it is appointed and to whom it reports; and what action it is taking in respect of the Audit Boards Qualification of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund on page 69 of R/118/76.

The European Court of Auditors was established by the Treaty of 22nd July 1975 but has not yet formally been set up. The powers of the court, which are set out in the treaty, provide for it to examine the accounts of all revenue and expenditure of the Community and bodies set up by the Community unless precluded by the relevant constituent instrument. The court will be empowered to conduct audit concurrently with expenditure and commitments, to perform the audit on the spot in institutions of the Community and member States, and to request documents and information for this purpose. The court will also be required to assist the Assembly and the Council in exercising their powers of control over the implementation of the budget.The members of the court will be appointed by the Council, acting unanimously after consulting the Assembly. After the close of each financial year the court will be required to draw up an annual report on its audit which will be examined by the Council and the Assembly in turn.It is not the responsibility of the Audit Court to take action on the qualifications by the Audit Board on the accounts for past years. However, since the Audit Court will have the undeniable right to carry out audit on the spot in member States and to call for documents and obtain information it should not experience the same difficulties which caused the Audit Board to qualify its 1974 Report on the Guarantee Section of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund.