V. Adamkaus pranešimas ES šalių sukščiausiųjų audito institucijų Ryšių palaikymo komiteto kasmetiniame susitikime

Valdas Adamkus

Distinguished audience,

dear guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st will go down in human history as an especially turbulent time during which many fundamental economic changes took place. Looking back on the crisis and on the crumbling banks, we must ask ourselves how we can protect ourselves from different levels of manipulation, fraud, and the falsification of financial accountability.

In 2010, the European Commission indicated that, along with oversight and company management, auditing should be one of the primary ways to ensure financial stability because it serves to validate all companies’ financial conditions. This validation serves to reduce the risk of data manipulation and to eliminate the bankruptcy expenses that companies, interested entities and the public might otherwise face.

Rigorous audits are important in restoring the market’s trust – they help protect investors and reduce expenditures.

With this in mind, the auditors have an important role – they are entrusted by law to execute legal audits. In executing this responsibility, they fulfill a public service by delivering an objective opinion on the truth and fairness of the financial statements of the subject being audited. The auditors’ independence and competence are and must be the fundamentals of the auditing field.

Modern life presents each of us with great challenges. In order to achieve our goals as efficiently as possible, it’s important to know how to appropriately understand and use the evaluations and suggestions offered by audits.

When presenting the EU’s economic growth strategy for the coming decade “Europe 2020”, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso said this:

In a changing world, we want the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy.

These three mutually reinforcing priorities should help the EU and the Member States deliver high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion.

Concretely, the Union has set five ambitious objectives – on employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy – to be reached by 2020. Each Member State has adopted its own national targets in each of these areas. Concrete actions at EU and national levels underpin the strategy.

In order to achieve our ambitious goals, we must be able to plan with the resources that we have today. The European Court of Auditors and national audit institutions play an important role in this.

The European Parliament, Council and Commission, as well as member states, all make use of the European Court of Auditors’ work.

According to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Commission is responsible for the execution of the European Union’s budget. Part of the budget (agriculture, rural development, regional and social policies,

and fishery programs, which account for roughly 80 percent of the Union’s budget) is controlled together with member states. They work together with the Commission by putting oversight and control systems in place. As such, both the Court’s auditors and the auditors of national institutions have the obligation to evaluate the funds allocated by the European Union to a specific state.

National auditing institutions, accountable to their parliaments, have the good tasks of helping to use national resources as wisely as possible and assisting the state to reach its goals by soundly managing public finances.

I am glad that the National Audit Office of Lithuania, the supreme audit institution, is an equal partner with the relevant institutions of other member states.

This office ensures that the nation’s wealth is used legitimately and effectively, and monitors how the nation’s budget is executed. It also successfully fulfills the functions of an audit authority, with which it was entrusted by the European Council and Commission’s regulations.

It assisted the successful evaluation and closure of the support received from the EU structural funds for 2004-2006, and it is currently serving as a 2007-2013 EU structural support auditor.

When speaking about Lithuania’s EU presidency in 2013, the president of Portugal’s court of auditors, Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins, handed over the symbolic Contact Committee baton to national auditor Giedrė Švedienė as a token of trust placed in the Lithuanian institution’s competence and work.

I see the long-term collaborative work between the highest audit institutions and the European Court of Auditors as deeply meaningful. Can there be a better path to perfect results?

I believe that, during this seminar, the leaders of the EU national audit institutions and the European Court of Auditors will find the best solutions to improve the public sector‘s accountability and the execution of the tasks assigned to national audit authorities.

I wish you every success in your work.

Valdas Adamkus