On June 5 and 6, 2018, Ivan Klešić, Auditor General and his associates participated as an observer at the meeting of the Heads of the Supreme Audit Institutions of the Visegrad Group, Austria and Slovenia, held in Budapest, Hungary. The main topics of the meeting were related to auditing of UN Sustainable Development Goals, assessment of institutional capacity and cooperation with citizens. During the meeting, representatives of the State Audit Office held a presentation on interaction with citizens and the need to opening audit institutions, and presented the status of preparation for the Contact Committee to be held in Dubrovnik in October 2018.
In the period from May 31 to June 1, 2018 representatives of the State Audit Office participated at the Contact Committee’s seminar on Public Procurement held in Athens, Greece. The organizer of the seminar was the Greek National Audit Office. The seminar was attended by 47 representatives from the 26 Supreme Audit Institutions of the European Union, European Court of Auditors, OECD / SIGMA and five candidate countries for accession to the European Union. The seminar discussed the new EU Directive on Public Procurement, the most common problems in the public procurement system, public procurement directives and audits in the area.
On May 17, 2018 Kay Scheller, President of the Court of audit of the Federal Republic of Germany and associates have officially visited the State Audit Office of the Republic of Croatia. On this occasion, Ivan Klešić, Auditor General of the Republic of Croatia and his associates have presented a role and responsibilities of SAO in our country, cooperation with the Croatian Parliament, an approach to combating fraud and corruption within the framework of audit in the usage of EU funds and preparations for the Contact Committee meeting which will be held in October 2018 and hosted by our Office. Representatives of the Court of audit of the Federal Republic of Germany presented a “real-time” audit model and its objectives and benefits, as well as the ways in which they consult its Government and what are the benefits of those activities. Heads of both institutions have also talked about the possibilities of future co-operation.
In the frame of the Twinning project “Further Improvement of Administrative Capacity and External Audit Efficiency”, Component 3, “Sound cooperation with Parliament” which State Audit Office of the Republic of Croatia is implementing in State Audit Office of the Republic of Macedonia, representatives of the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia headed by Liljana Kuzmanovska, Chairperson of the Committee for Financing and Budget and representatives of the State Audit Office headed by Naser Ademi, Deputy Auditor General, were in study visit in Zagreb from 23 to 26 April 2018. Within study visit representatives of State Audit Office of the Republic of Croatia have introduced guests with preparation and submitting audit reports to Croatian Parliament, ways of discussion, conclusions of Croatian Parliament on audit reports of State Audit Office of the Republic of Croatia and two audit institutions have exchanged work experiences. In the frame of study visit, meetings with Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, vice president of Croatian Parliament, Arsen Bauk, Head of Croatian - Macedonian Interparliamentary Friendship Group, Grozdana Perić, President of the Finance and State Budget Committee and Ermina Lekaj-Prljaskaj, Member of the Parliament, representative of Albanian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Montenegrian and Slovenian national minority, were held. Further, Ivan Šuker, member of the Parliament and member of the Finance and State Budget Committee and Dragica Zgrebec, former member of Parliament, have informed guests on ways of cooperation between Croatian Parliament and State Audit Office of the Republic of Croatia, importance of discussions on the audit reports and gave their view on the importance of the State Audit Office.
From 15 to 17 April 2018 representatives of the Office, together with representatives of the SAIs of Italy, France, Lithuania and Malta, participated in the meeting of the EU Contact Committee’s Expert Network on the Independent Assessment of Public Economic Policies, held in Rome. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the effects of increased activities in the area of independent economic policy assessment conducted by supreme audit institutions, where presentations on national experiences were held.
Ivan Klešić, Auditor General and Oscar Herics, a Member of the European Court of Auditors, presented to the Croatian Parliament on March 22, 2018, at a joint thematic meeting of three committees (the Finance and Budget Committee, the Regional Development and EU Funds Committee and the Maritime Traffic and Infrastructure Committee), a Synthesis Report on the co-ordinated audit on Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS).
The report, jointly drafted by the European Court of Auditors and the Supreme Audit Institutions of the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Poland, contains the basic information on JASPERS as a body of the European Commission assisting EU member states in the preparation of EU funds withdrawal projects, audit objectives and major results the audits performed separately by these three institutions. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds were present at the presentation of the Report.
The meeting was chaired by Grozdana Perić, Chairman of the Finance and Budget Committee, who presented the contents of the Report in the introductory section and briefly explained the role of JASPERS. Oscar Herics introduced audience with the methodology and audit approaches applied in this audit, as well as with the co-operation between the three audit institutions, which is a positive example in the area of EU funds management. Ivan Klešić described the audit objectives, audit subjects in audits carried out by SAIs of Croatia and Poland and the European Court of Auditors, and outlined the main common conclusions and recommendations.
The discussion highlighted the importance of the cooperation of beneficiary countries with JASPERS, as well as the recommendations given to audit entities, whose implementation would increase the efficiency of withdrawal of EU funds. Also, an advantage of such parallel co-ordinated audits was emphasized, as a good way to facilitate more effective, reliable and comprehensive review of complex issues involving a large number of participants at national and EU level.