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The Institutions of the European Union

The Institutions of the European Union (5th edn)

Dermot Hodson, Uwe Puetter, Sabine Saurugger, and John Peterson
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date: 01 July 2022

p. 22510. The European Court of Auditors and the European Ombudsman

the EU’s ‘watchdogs’locked

p. 22510. The European Court of Auditors and the European Ombudsman

the EU’s ‘watchdogs’locked

  • Andreea Nǎstase
  •  and Christine Neuhold

Abstract

Both the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and the European Ombudsman (EO) have been coined as European Union (EU) ‘watchdogs’. They have very different mandates: the Court audits the EU’s finances and the Ombudsman investigates complaints of maladministration by EU institutions and bodies. It might then come as a surprise that they have quite a lot in common. Their main EU institution of scrutiny is the European Commission, and they need to preserve their independence as oversight institutions. Neither has the power to impose sanctions on the institutions they investigate. Both the Court and the Ombudsman also cooperate with their national counterparts. In this chapter, we shed light on these EU ‘watchdogs’, which have thus far been under-researched. We do this by examining the key features of their institutional set-up and how they work. We also analyse how they have succeeded in interpreting their role beyond legal provisions and how they have dealt with crisis.

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