ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Towards a Core of Ethics Rules in EU Financial Management? The Contribution of the European Court of Auditors

European Union
Governance
Institutions
Maria-Luisa Sánchez-Barrueco
Deusto University

Abstract

This paper aims at bridging the gap between literature on EU public ethics and on EU financial accountability. Whereas research on ethics regimes within the EU and national managing institutions is stiffly growing, insufficient attention has been given to the role of financial accountability organs in setting ethics rules in financial management. Proper accountability implies opening the black box of financial management to examine the whole set of governance institutions which share EU budget management at the EU and national levels. This paper interrogates whether the European Court of Auditors contributes to norm-diffusion with a view to an ethical financial management of EU funds. Its role of "financial conscience" of the EU theoretically places the ECA at the core of administrative ethics in financial management. Does the ECA use its authority to set ethics standards beyond the legislative framework (Financial Regulation and the sectorial rules)? Drawing on a qualitative assessment of ECA's reports and opinions, light is shed on 'administrative ethics' in financial management, as used by the ECA. I precise the relative importance attached to ethics in the technical task of financial control which embodies the core function of the ECA. I then examine the salience of selected unethical management behaviours in the ECA products with a view to establishing a draft typology of norms and values which can be in turn diffused to other EU and national managing institutions.