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.
An official visit of the President of the Court of audit of the Federal Republic of Germany to the State Audit Office of the Republic of Croatia
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.
Representatives of the Republic of Macedonia in study visit to the State Audit Office of the Republic of Croatia
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.
A Common Report on the coordinated audit on “Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions” (JASPERS) is published on the website of the State Audit Office, which has been compiled by the State Audit Office, the European Court of Auditors and the State Audit Office of the Republic of Poland. The audit objectives of the three SAIs had a similar focus from an EU respectively national perspective. The ECA assessed whether JASPERS had made a positive contribution to the development and overall quality of the EU-financed projects in those Member States it supported, as well as improved their administrative capacity. The SAI of Croatia assessed whether JASPERS’ impact on the project proposals submitted by Croatia for co-financing from EU-funds was efficient. The SAI of Poland assessed whether JASPERS resulted in an increased quality of grant applications and, as such, a better use of the European funds in Poland, as well as boosted the country’s administrative capacity. The audits covered the period from when JASPERS began operations in 2006 until the end of 2016.The audits covered the period from 2006 (beginning of JASPERS) by the end of 2016. Each SAIs produced its own audit report and published it individually. The main messages of three audit reports are summarized in common report, which was also published on the web pages of the European Court of Auditors ( www.eca.europa.eu ) and the State Audit Office of the Republic of Poland ( www.nik.gov.pl )
State Audit Office participates in the Twinning project in the State Audit Office of the Republic of Macedonia
State Audit Office of the Republic of Croatia and National Audit Office of the Republic of Bulgaria will implement the Twinning project “Further Improvement of Administrative Capacity and External Audit Efficiency” in the State Audit Office of the Republic of Macedonia. The project will be implemented from December 2017 to September 2019. The Delegation of the European Union and the State Audit Office of the Republic of Macedonia will present the project in Skopje on January 25th 2018 at the premises of the Delegation of the European Union. The overall project objective is further improvement of administrative capacities and external audit efficiency of the State Audit Office, whereby the main areas of intervention will be focused on implementation of four components: Further improvement of audit process as per international auditing standards; Strengthening of audit capacities; Sound cooperation with Parliament; Improvement of IT communication and HR management system. A pool of auditors and experts from various EU Supreme Audit Institutions and European Court of Auditors will be involved in the implementation of the project activities and will share knowhow and best European practices. The project is financed with a budget of € 1.400,000 million (95 % IPA Community contribution and 5 % national co-financing).
The Italian Court of Accounts, in the framework of the Contact Committee, initiated the establishment of the Working Group on Prevention and the Fight against Irregularities and Frauds in 2014. The first meeting was held in Rome on 18 and 19 December 2017, involving representatives of the European Court of Auditors (ECA), the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the supreme audit institutions of Italy, Portugal, Romania and Malta and representatives of the State Audit Office of the Republic of Croatia (senior auditors Kord Kordić and Martina Jurjević). The Italian Court of Accounts presented the objectives of the Working Group and emphasized the importance of cooperation between SAIs in protecting EU financial interests by strengthening co-operation and coordination between SAIs and other relevant EU and national institutions. Consequently, the objectives of the Working Group include strengthening the role of SAIs in the prevention and fight against fraud, harmonized treatment in EU Member States, strengthening the chain of control, making proposals for improving EU regulations and using existing irregularities databases. After the introductory seminar presenting the Italian Court of Accounts’ way of working and cooperation with other institutions to prevent irregularities and fraud, discussions were held between participants during which the opinions of individual SAIs and ECA on the mentioned topic were presented as well as the problems that need to be addressed in the planning of future activities related to the issue of separating the EU from national resources in the work of the SAI, the fact that SAIs have no sanction or judicial/investigative powers and that the databases available in the Member States are at different degrees of networking. Key questions were raised to continue the work of the Working Group, which will be analyzed by questionnaire or otherwise, after which work extension will be agreed as well as the date of the next meeting.
At the invitation of Mr. Jorge Bermudez, Auditor General of Chile, Mr. Ivan Klešić, Auditor General of Croatia, accompanied by his associates, officially visited Chile, where he participated in the following events: at the International Conference "SDGs , oversight and strong institutions" organized by the Chilean State Audit Office in co-operation with the World Bank and OLACEFS, with the purpose to consider the Chilean model, and through presentations and panel discussions with leaders and representatives of key state bodies and institutions in Chile, representatives of non-governmental sector, the World Bank, the SAIs of other countries and other key stakeholders, exchange experiences and approaches to the ways and models of inclusion of the supreme audit institutions in this common professional challenge. the bilateral visit was realized as a continuation of a professional dialogue between the State Audit Office of the Republic of Croatia and the State Audit Office of the Republic of Chile initiated during 2016 and continued with the bilateral meeting in Zagreb in May 2017. The purpose of the visit was to get acquainted with the work of the Chilean SAI, its organizational set-up and areas of work, exchange of experiences and ideas related to the implementation of the mandate of the institutions, strengthening external audit contributions to better managing public funds and identifying good practice on both sides. The meetings also discussed the modalities of extending professional cooperation in the future, both within the framework of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) as well as on a bilateral institutional and academic level. at the ceremony of the joint inter-institutional project started at the end of 2016, and resulted in the publication of the book "Administrative Oversight of Public Procurement - Chilean and Croatian Experience" in Croatian, Spanish and English, which was firstly presented in May 2017 in Croatia.