State audit in western Europe: A comparative study.

  • Peter Keemer

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMPhil


The creation of the European Court of Auditors in 1977 brought together nationals from the nine - and later ten - member states to audit the financial affairs of the European Communities. Differences in the approach to the task among the Members and staff of the Court prompted the question whether this was a reflection of national attitudes to public sector audit in the countries concerned. Having established that existing literature did not provide a ready answer to the question, the study examined and compared the practices of the national audit bodies in six countries - Belgium, Denmark, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The particular purposes were to ascertain whether there are significant differences in what is done, how and by whom, and then to seek reasons for any differences found. The broad conclusions are that, on the state level, the accountability of the Executive for the stewardship of funds placed at its disposal generates a social need for an independent external audit body, but that there are important differences in the way such bodies function. These differences are attributable partly to environmental factors, such as the constitutional and governmental framework in which the audit bodies operate and partly to the characteristics of the bodies themselves. This situation can be expected to impede attempts at co-operation and mutual assistance among audit bodies on such questions as working methods and training, as well as the development of audit standards and audit philosophy in the public sector. On the European level, it appears that when the Court of Auditors was being established insufficient attention was given to the differing approaches to public audit in the member states, or the implications of that situation for the operations of the new audit body.
Date of Award1985
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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