Press Releases S&D Group votes to postpone the European Court of Auditors’ 2020 discharge to October

S&D Group votes to postpone the European Court of Auditors’ 2020 discharge to October

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament’s committee on budgetary control (CONT) considered that more time was needed before deciding to grant the European Court of Auditors (ECA) the discharge for the 2020 accounts. A series of media investigations and serious allegations done by journalists reported that the ECA’s top management had failed to respect internally the standards of ethics and the sound financial management expected of this institution. These allegations concern in particular the ECA president Klaus-Heiner Lehne. The S&D Group’s decision comes after a thorough examination by the Rapporteur of all the information provided by the ECA, as well as the applicable rules.

Isabel García Muñoz, spokesperson of the EP’s committee on budgetary control on the issue and S&D MEP, said:

“I took a very careful and serious note of both the allegations made by media as well as all the documents provided to me by President Lehne and the European Court of Auditors. At this point, I cannot say there is enough ground to ensure everything is correct in terms of the way the ECA spent its money in 2020 or with the recent revisions made to its internal rules. This is why I cannot recommend granting discharge to this institution, which is crucial for the functioning of the Union, for the management of its budget or to keep the trust of our citizens.

“The answer to the question ‘who does control the controller?’ needs a very sincere and thorough answer. The credibility of the EU institutions is at stake. I really hope the European Court of Auditors will take very seriously the recommendations that I and my S&D colleagues introduced in my report about transparency, including the ways this institution spends its money, in order to restore the damage caused to its credibility and to raise no concerns in the future.”

With the decision to postpone granting discharge to the European Court of Auditors, the members of the committee on budgetary control will have a final vote in the autumn concerning the 2020 exercise. By then, Mrs. García Muñoz and her colleagues from the S&D Group will have examined all new elements provided at the disposal of the European Parliament.

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