EU SAIs discuss how to ensure reliability of fiscal data


The Supreme Audit Institutions of the EU member states, representatives from EUROSTAT, national statistical sinstituties and the Finnish government discussed common ways to ensure reliability of fiscal data in a seminar organized by the National Audit Office of Finland in cooperation with Statistics Finland. The event was held under the auspices of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU and was attended by the BNAO President, Mr. Tzvetan Tzvekov, and the BNAO Vice-President, Mr. Toshko Todorov.

The discussions were organized in panel sessions – “Statistics as a reliable data source for fiscal policy planning and decision-making”, “Case examples by SAIs” (Portugal, Sweden, Austria and the Czech Republic) and “The development of public sector accounting standards and reporting practices and the role of SAIs”.

According to Tytti Yli-Viikari, Auditor General of Finland, the European supreme audit and statistics authorities must provide citizens and decision-makers with reliable and substantiated information in a world where a great deal of unreliable and contradictory information is being spread. The reliability of fiscal data can be ensured, for example, by common guidelines, regulation, monitoring, and external audit.

Ms. Mariana Kotzeva, Director-General of EUROSTAT, highlighted the importance of accounting standards for ensuring the the quality of data.

“The European economic crisis was a concrete evidence of what happens when decisions are taken on the basis of unreliable data. It appeared that economic statistics had been distorted, and essential information on liabilities had been withheld. This jeopardised the operation of the entire euro system. It is therefore important that the authorities provide reliable statistical and forecast data on general government finances and that SAIs ensure the reliability of this data.,” said Matti Okko, Director at the National Audit Office of Finland.

“In recent years, the EU has increased its efforts in guidelines and monitoring related to statistics and fiscal policy regulation. However, the responsibility for reliable data and sustainable decisions lies with each Member State,” said Olli Rehn, Governor of the Bank of Finland who served as a European Commissioner during the euro crisis.

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