EU Contact Committee
The cooperation network of the EU Contact Committee consists of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of the Member States and the European Court of Auditors (ECA). In the framework of this cooperation the referred audit institutions - according to the Treaty establishing the European Union - cooperate in a spirit of trust while maintaining their independence and taking due account of the constitutional mandate of each institution. The State Audit Office of Hungary became an active and equal partner in this network upon Hungary's EU accession.
According to its mission, the EU Contact Committee (CC) fosters the exchange of professional knowledge and experience on the audit of EU funds and other related issues. In order to contribute to the improvement of EU financial management and good governance, the cooperation network provides mutual support and coordinates common activities in the field of the EU. The Contact Committee also promotes contacts and exchange of information with interested others.
The cooperation of EU Member State SAIs and the European Court of Auditors takes place within the framework of the following fora:
- meeting of the Contact Committee composed of the Heads of EU SAIs and the ECA;
- meeting of the EU Liaison Officers;
- meeting of the Liaison Officers' Task Force on Cooperation supporting the activity of the Liaison Officers; as well as
- meetings of various working groups on general and specific issues of common interest.
The Contact Committee holds its meetings usually once a year. These meetings principally provide forum for discussing issues relevant to the efficiency of the CC cooperation framework and the protection of EU financial interests. Concerning the latter, the CC focuses particularly on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of audits of EU funds, and strives to harmonize these audit activities. In addition, the Contact Committee also discusses specific topical subjects relevant to the financial management of Community funds and other EU-related issues. In 2009, the meeting of the Contact Committee was hosted by the State Audit Office of Hungary.
The Contact Committee meetings are prepared by the EU Liaison Officers, who themselves usually meet twice a year. The tasks of the Liaison Officers also include the coordination of the planning of the ECA audits in the Member States, the organisation of national representation in working groups on specific audit topics and the provision of regular exchange of information.
In order to facilitate and enhance its cooperation, in 2002 the Contact Committee set up a Task Force consisting of a small number of Liaison Officers. The Task Force - led by the National Audit Office of the United Kingdom - aims at enhancing and facilitating the cooperation of the Contact Committee network both in practical and technical terms. In order to achieve its goal, the Task Force developed the guiding principles for cooperation and elaborated proposals for putting these principles into practice. Representatives of the State Audit Office of Hungary have been members of the Task Force since 2006.
The Member State SAIs and the European Court of Auditors aim to optimise the effectiveness and consistency of their audits of Community funds. In order to achieve this, the Contact Committee consequently seeks to promote joint audit and research initiatives, and hence it has established and still establishes working groups on special audit topics. Staff members of the State Audit Office of Hungary are taking on active and - in many cases - initiative role in the activities of these working groups.
Supreme Audit Institutions cooperating within the framework of the EU Contact Committee also take part in the activity of INTOSAI (International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions) - operating as an umbrella organisation for the external government audit community - and of EUROSAI, the European regional working group of INTOSAI.