EU auditors join protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

EU auditors join protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Credit: ECA

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) strongly condemned on Wednesday the Russian invasion of Ukraine and started to organise humanitarian help for the victims of the invasion.

“Everyone at the institution stands firmly behind the Ukrainian people”, ECA said in a statement issued on its website and social networks. “These are dark times for Europe. Now more than ever, the EU needs to show unity.”

Immediately after the launch of the Russian attack, ECA President Klaus-Heiner Lehne expressed solidarity on behalf of the institution in a letter to Valerii Patskan, Chairman of the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine, expressing his “horror at the brutal act of aggression” and his “deep sorrow for the suffering of the Ukrainian people”.

The Court has also turned to the international community of supreme audit institutions (SAIs) to coordinate a common approach to supporting Ukrainian colleagues, and to defending the values of independence and democracy.

SAI’s play an important role in every democratic country which applies a separation of powers. Often described as the fourth power, besides the legislative, executive and judicial powers of government, independent audit institutions examine government policies and actions, incl. sensitive issues related to defence and the military. By its audits, they promote transparency and accountability.

Their role is even bigger in the reform process that Ukraine and other countries (candidate countries) that aspire to become EU members after meeting EU’s accession criteria. The European Commission is supporting the SAIs in these countries to develop their capacity to carry out all types of government audits (financial, compliance and performance auditing).

ECA firmly believes that the Russian SAI’s participation in intergovernmental organisations such as INTOSAI and EUROSAI must immediately be terminated. It is further seeking a joint position by the Contact Committee of the Supreme Audit Institutions of the European Union condemning the Russian invasion, to be address to the whole INTOSAI community.

The Court did not reply immediately to a question from The Brussels Times about a follow-up of its initiative to expel the Russian SAI from the international and European audit organisations.

To demonstrate the Court’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people to the outside world, the Ukrainian flag is being flown at Court’s headquarters in Luxembourg. The Court’s buildings will also be illuminated at night in the Ukrainian national colours of yellow and blue.

The institution is helping with more than just gestures. Court staff are providing practical assistance, including collecting money for donation to a humanitarian organisation to help vulnerable people. The Court’s medical service has also organised a donation of first-aid supplies to be sent to Ukraine immediately.

ECA and national state audit institutions carry out audits – sometimes in real time of – of public polices and government decisions against the three E’s: economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. In this case it does not require any audit to determine that Russia by its invasion of a neighbouring sovereign country has violated international law and agreements and that the invasion is counterproductive to its own interests.

Kremlin denies Ukraine’s right to national identity and sovereignty and calls its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” which it launched in “self-defence”. To justify the invasion, it accuses the democratically elected government in Kyiv, which it wants to overthrow, of “neo-Nazism”.

M. Apelblat

The Brussels Times

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