ECA Publishes a Communication on Access to ECB Banking Supervision Documents and Information


On January 14, the European Court of Auditors (“ECA“) published a communication to the European Parliament on the European Central Bank’s (“ECB“) position on the ECA’s access to audit documents and information relating to its banking supervision role under the single supervisory mechanism (“SSM“).

The ECA criticizes the ECB’s failure to provide documents requested during audits of the ECB that the ECA reported on in November 2016 and in January 2018. It also highlights the Single Resolution Board’s (“SRB“) decision to remove any data originating from the ECB from evidence provided to the ECA during the ECA’s audit of the SRB in 2017.

In its October 2017 report on the SSM, the European Commission stated that the ECB was obliged to provide the ECA with any document or information necessary to carry out the tasks corresponding to its legal mandate and called on the ECB and the ECA to conclude an inter-institutional agreement on information exchange. The ECA states that the ECB has not yet provided comments on a draft memorandum of understanding (“MoU“) provided by the ECA in February 2018.

The ECA argues that the ECB’s current position on the ECA’s access to audit documents and information prevents the ECA from properly carrying out its statutory responsibilities under the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (“TFEU“).

The ECA calls on the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission to:

  • Amend the SSM Regulation (1024/2013) to stipulate clearly that the ECA is empowered to perform performance audits of the ECB’s supervisory functions and that, in line with the TFEU, the ECA enjoys full rights to access any document it considers necessary for this purpose.
  • Provide full support for the ECA’s tasks and rights to access documents relating to the ECB and banking supervision in particular.