News2019.09.20 09:30

Lithuania could face EU sanctions for eroding independence of national auditor

Vaidotas Beniušis, BNS 2019.09.20 09:30

Lithuania's Auditor General Arūnas Dulkys said there's a growing threat to the independence of the National Audit Office which could lead to EU financial sanctions.

The law, adopted earlier this year and stipulating that staff for the National Audit Office are selected by the Civil Service Department, undermines the Office's independence, Dulkys said on Thursday after meeting the Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda.

"I feel like being under siege since January. My hands are tied in terms of staff management," Dulkys told BNS after his meeting with Nausėda.

"If the European Commission has doubts wheter employees that carried out audits at the National Audit Office were independent, the European Commission might take action to halt funding for Lithuania," the auditor general warned.

According to Dulkys, the National Audit Office's independence is important for the European Commission and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, as it assesses state budget.

The European Court of Auditors is also closely monitoring the situation, and it might attract attention of the European Parliament as well, he added.

After the meeting, the president's office said it might propose amendments to the Law on National Audit Office.

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