The Network of EU Independent Fiscal Institutions (IFIs) – a forum of independent fiscal watchdogs operating in EU countries – has issued a robust call for appropriate action at the EU level to reinforce and protect such institutions. The Network proposes that adequate standards for the design and operative capacity of IFIs are developed and possibly incorporate into EU legislation. The Network and its member institutions also call for a specific and recurrent monitoring process at the EU level that would verify compliance with the agreed standards.
The statement of the Network highlights the fragile nature of budgetary oversight bodies referring to instances in which IFIs were subjected to decisions with a potential to affect adversely their functional autonomy and the capacity to provide clear and consistent signals about fiscal policy. Many EU IFIs are young institutions, and there is undue heterogeneity in the conditions in which they operate relative to the differences in their legal mandates. Experience shows that any deficiencies are best corrected in the first years of their functioning which are critical in shaping the future of the institutions.
While recognising that the reform of the EU fiscal framework is not currently on high on the EU policy agenda, the Network argues that safeguarding the IFIs today will benefit the functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union regardless of what the exact outcome of current and future reforms will be.