Financial Accountability in the European Union Institutions, Policy and Practice
This book offers comprehensive coverage of various aspects of financial accountability around the EU budget – how it is spent via policies, how institutions engage in checking policy performance (what taxpayers’ money actually delivers), and therein, the issues of monitoring, controlling, auditing, scrutinising and communicating budgetary expenditure.
Presenting conceptual and theoretical approaches including financial accountability, learning, multi-level governance, implementation and throughput legitimacy, it looks at EU institutions (European Parliament, European Court of Auditors, European Ombudsman, European Public Prosecutor’s Office) and national bodies (supreme audit institutions at the national level), examining their contact with the EU budget. It details the historical development of accountability mechanisms (the ‘statement of assurance’, financial corrections, and parliamentary oversight by the Budgetary Control Committee (CONT)), and examines policy areas such as those of agriculture, social policy and cohesion (including Structural Funds and the Common Agricultural Policy), exploring the challenges of financial accountability in practice. Given the recent introduction of non-budgetary financial instruments and tools only partly financed by the EU budget, it sheds light on new burgeoning areas such as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) and the challenges they bring for ensuring the accountability of public money.
This book will be of key interest to scholars and students of audit and evaluation, budgetary spending and financial control and, more broadly, public administration, public policy and EU institutions and politics.
Introduction: Situating and contextualising financial accountability in the European Union
Paul Stephenson, María-Luisa Sánchez-Barrueco and Hartmut Aden
PART I: Institutional Perspectives: Mandates and Powers
1. Financial Accountability in the Broader Framework of Accountability Studies
2. The Strategic Involvement of the European Parliament in Establishing the European Social Fund
3. Analysing the Origins of the ‘Statement of Assurance’: The European Court of Auditors after the Maastricht Treaty
4. On the Interplay between Good Administration and Sound Financial Management: The View from Strasbourg
5. Comparing the Audit Capacity of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in the Context of European Multilevel Governance (MLG)
Anchrit Wille, Sietse Papenborg, Imogen T. Liu, Anika Heinmaa and Philippine Dauteuil
PART II: Policy Perspectives: Cohesion Policy and the Structural Funds
6. The Multiple Accountabilities of EU Cohesion Policy: Wicked problem or north star?
7. The Accountability of financial Instruments in EU Cohesion Policy: Lessons learnt from the European Court of Auditors
8. The Evolution of the Internal Control System for the Structural Funds: Between the European Commission and national authorities
9. Financial Accountability and the Quality of Performance in EU Cohesion Policy: The case of Italy
10. The Implementation and Accountability of EU Cohesion Policy in The Netherlands
PART III: Perspectives from Practice: Financial Accountability Challenges
11. Communicating Financial Accountability in an Age of Disinformation: The results of a cross-national survey of supreme audit institutions (SAIs)
12. Delivering Value for Money? The problematic accountability of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM)
David Howarth and Aneta Spendzharova
13. Ensuring the Accountability of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)
14. Making Taxpayers’ Contributions to the EU Budget Visible: Towards greater transparency and legitimacy
15. Suspending EU Funds to Member States that Breach the Rule of Law: A new accountability mechanism?
16. Protecting EU Financial Interests through Criminal Law: The shortcomings of the PIF directive and repercussions for the functioning of the EPPO
Demelsa Benito Sánchez
17. Securing Impact from Audit: Budgetary scrutiny by the European Parliament and its use of findings by the European Court of Auditors