The court of auditors and the European anti-fraud office
Title: The court of auditors and the European anti-fraud office
Author: LAFFAN, Brigid
Citation: Dermot HODSON and John PETERSON (eds), The institutions of the European Union, Oxford : Oxford University Press,  ; New European Union series, pp. 258-280
This chapter analyses two of the European Union’s organizational entities designed to protect the financial interests of the Union: the European Court of Auditors (ECA), a full EU institution since the 1993 Treaty on European Union (TEU); and OLAF, the EU’s Anti-Fraud Office, which is a department (service) of the European Commission. These bodies are part of the scrutiny and accountability framework of the Union. The chapter examines their origins, how their internal structures have evolved, their powers, and their place in the institutional landscape of the Union. Their growing importance arises from the expansion of the EU budget, evidence of mismanagement and fraud against the financial resources of the Union, the emergence of an accountability culture in the EU, and enlargement. Notwithstanding institution-building and a tightening of the regulatory environment, there remains a lack of clarity in roles under shared management practices between the Commission and the member states—especially since the costs of controls principally burden the latter, while effective implementation of reforms is still in question. There is of course significant EU spending outside shared management in other parts of the world. Entering a new phase in its evolution as an institution, the Court of Auditors has begun a reform process designed to increase its visibility and presence in the Union’s institutional landscape. This has been prompted by two international peer reviews and an EP report and resolution on the Court.
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