Dr. Vitor Caldeira, outstanding reformer of EU accountability system

21.11.2019

by Bujar Leskaj ( This article is published in "Albanian Daily News", on November 20-th, 2019 )

 

One of most developed and important supreme audit institutions of Europe and beyond is the European Court of Auditors (ECA). The ECA is the controlling eye of the European Union. D r. Vítor Manuel da Silva Caldeira has been elected for three consecutive mandates as the President of ECA during 2008-2017.

Under his lead, this institution, considered one of the five fundamental institutions of the European Union, together with the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, has acted as an independent guardian of the financial interests of the EU citizens. Over the years, the Court has proven to be a highly professional guardian and deeply committed to its mission and values. Each year, the ECA audits control the spending with economy, effectiveness and efficiency of the EU budget, at a level of over 140 billion euros, or about 285 euros for each citizen of the community, delivered through European Union mutual funds and programs.

EU spending is an important instrument for achieving EU policy objectives. As EU today is facing even greater challenges and increased pressure on its public finances, the role of the ECA is taking an increasing role and importance. The Court warns of the dangers, provides security and guidance to EU policymakers who need to receive credible advice on how to improve public financial management. The ECA strives to ensure that EU citizens are well informed and know as much and clearly how their money is spent. This is the essence of ECA's contribution to strengthening the democratic legitimacy and sustainability of the European Union. Through its audits, ECA has managed to improve EU financial management.

Before joining the ECA, Dr. VítorCaldeira has contributed as OECD adviser in the SIGMA (Support for Improvement in Governance and Management in Central and Eastern European Countries) Program, working with the Ministries of Finance of the Czech Republic in 1997, of Poland in 1998 and of Estonia in 1999. He became a Member of the European Court of Auditors in March 2000, responsiblefor auditing the EU’s banking activities, including the European Central Bank, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the Euro-Atom Agency. He brought innovation and reforming thought in increasing the reliability of the EU accounts, the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions in the various revenue and expenditure areas of the EU budget and promoting the reform of the European Commission’s internal control system.

Dr. Vitor Caldeira contributed as rapporteur for the Court’s Opinion on the single audit model and for a unified EU internal control framework. He worked also as rapporteur for the Performance Audit Manual adopted by the Court in 2007 and was an auditor of the EUROSAI.

During his first term as President of the European Court of Auditors (2008-2010), he promoted and managed a deep reform in the Court’s structure and decision-making process by introducing a system of chambers with a view to optimising management of the Court, thus making it more efficient and effective.

During his second term (2011-2013), Caldeira led the institution in a period during which the Court’s audit reports and opinions on financial legislation assumed even greater importance because of the financial crisis and the urgent need to help ensure better management of EU funds.

Due to his outstanding contribution during the first two mandates, the 28 Members of the European Court of Auditors re-elected Dr.Vítor da Silva Caldeira as the Court’s President in 2014 for a third consecutive three-year term. He promoted ECA’s special annual reports, special reports and activities’ reports and helped bringing new impetus onECA’s findings and recommendations from financial and performance audits reports.

Dr. Caldeira has been a member of the EUROSAI (the European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions)’s Governing Board. He hasfosteredECA’s image and influence among EU candidate and aspirant European countries, by providing them concrete support through ECA’s internships. Under his lead, the ECA proved to be a strong promoter of European SAI’s professional development, especially in the SAIs of EU candidate and aspirant countries. ECA's increased participation in joint or coordinated audits with other SAIs in Europe, but also in all EUROSAI Working Groups and Task Forces, has brought added value to supreme public audit across Europe.

xx

Dr. Caldeira and ALSAI

On May 25, 2015, on the occasion of the 90th Anniversary of ALSAI, the then President of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Bujar Nishani granted the President of the European Court of Auditors, Dr. Vitor Caldeira the award "For Special Civil Merits". “ The European Court of Auditors, - said President Nishani during the ceremony, - has the mission to improve the financial management of the European Union and to ensure that European taxpayers are making the best use of their money. Mr. Caldeira has been chairing this Court for six years since 2008 and the results of his work are visible both in strengthening relations of the EU candidate and aspirant countries with European Union institutions in general, and with Supreme Audit Institutions and with International Audit Organization of EUROSAI in particular. As President of this Court, Mr. Vitor Manuel da Silva Caldeira has made his valuable contribution to the fulfillment of Courts’mission and to the enhancement of cooperation and exchange of good practices between Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in Europe and beyond".

The Court of Audits of Portugal (Tribunal de Contas), one of most developed European supreme audit institutions (SAI-s) and is celebrating these days its 170 thanniversary. Since October 2016, the SAI of Portugal is guided by Dr. Caldeira. O n behalf of Albanian auditors, we dedicate this article to such a personality of European supreme public audit and a friend of Albania and ALSAI.