Welcome of the President of the Corte dei conti Mr. Raffaele Squitieri on the occasion of the "Seminar and training activities aimed at exchanging professional experiences amongst the Supreme Audit Institutions of France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain and the EU Institutions within the activity of prevention and fight against fraud and other irregularities affecting financial interests of EU"
It is with great pleasure that I express my welcome on the occasion of this important
international seminar which sees five Supreme Audit Institutions of the Member States of the
European Union to debate on an important issue such as that of prevention and fight against
Community fraud and other irregularities affecting the financial interests of the Union.
It is obvious that effective action against fraud can be conducted only through the absolute and continuous synergy among the Audit Institutions. In this sense, the Italian Corte dei conti is in the forefront collaborating with OLAF – which I take this opportunity to thank for the contribution to the initiative of today - and the SAIs of France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, Institutions that have a similar structure whose different functions – prosecuting, jurisdictional and audit - contribute to make the intervention aimed at guaranteeing the proper use of public resources more effective. Holding at the same time audit and jurisdiction represents a model that we defend and we consider a valuable asset for the citizens of our communities.
The feature of incisiveness, for the Italian Corte dei conti, is enhanced by the decentralization with local Prosecutor offices and Jurisdictional Chambers allocated throughout the territory, thus allowing a thorough understanding and a sharp intervention on local situations. The dissemination over the territory of the Corte dei conti has developed during several years of investment and experience; the information that have been accumulated in local Chambers and Prosecutors’ Offices constitute a huge database of all forms of waste, irregularities, criticalities, of thousands of public bodies, that this Institution can place at the service of the country.
The fight against fraud, and in particular to those against EU funds, represents the boundary of our action, which can be accomplished with greater success precisely because it takes place within the same Institution that, carrying out a widespread audit on all levels of government of the Republic, reduces the area of risks that legality may run. This activity of deterrence may be less striking if compared to the prosecution of the crimes and to the loss of revenue, but it is a valuable service to the community made it possible only by our history and hoarded experience.
Therefore I believe that every possible moment of comparison is very important, not only to fulfill the duty of cooperation which international agreements remind us but, most of all and in actual fact, to compare the different experiences and therefore to develop strategies increasingly functional in order to strengthen the common interest of Europe and its citizens. In the last few days I had a fruitful meeting with the President of the European Court of Auditors Mr. Caldeira in this sense and on these topics.
The supranational cooperation finds wide space in the field of economic governance that, for Italy, implies the general compliance with the internal stability pact and the regularity of the public finances balance; this principle has been taken on by our Constitution, but needs to be integrated into an economic growth process.
And since mismanagement, corruption and fraud are a powerful obstacle to growth, the national and European institutions have the duty to put the utmost care in order to guarantee to the citizens of each State the best use of their money and to strengthen ethical values such as the observance of the law, the fairness of action, the respect for common assets and resources.
The history of our Institutions entrusts us with a common responsibility: that of being the core of European Union audit system, in cooperation with the European Court of Auditors.