A joint delegation of the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine (the SAI of Ukraine) and the Budget Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine paid a working visit to Germany, where they held a number of meetings and practical sessions with managers and auditors of the Supreme Audit Institution of Germany (the Bundesrechnungshof), the Regional Audit Institutions of the states of Hesse, Saxony and Bavaria.
In his speech, the Acting Chairman of the Accounting Chamber, Andrii Maisner, took the opportunity to thank the German colleagues for their support and readiness for audit collaboration in practice, and also noted that the unprecedented assistance to Ukraine from the Federal Republic of Germany and the German people (both financial and technical) and the rescue from the war of temporarily displaced persons from Ukraine need joint practical steps made by the supreme audit institutions of both countries.
"Trust, partnership and mutually beneficial development require high-quality control over targeted and effective use of financial resources," Andrii Maisner emphasized.
Within the framework of the visit, with the assistance of the President of the the Bundesrechnungshof, Mr. Kai Scheller, the Acting Chairman of the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine Andrii Maisner and a member of the delegation, People's Deputy of Ukraine Pavlo Frolov met and talked with the members of the Budget Committee of the Bundestag Mr. Martin Gerster, Ms. Bettina Hagedorn, Mr. Karsten Klein, Dr. Michael Espendiller, Ms. Paula Piechotta and Dr. Ingeborg Gräßle.
In his speech and during bilateral meetings with Andrii Maisner, Mr. Kai Scheller repeatedly emphasized the readiness of his German colleagues for active practical cooperation (in particular, providing consultations, methodological support), and also positively assessed the prospects for carrying out parallel audits and other forms of cooperation between the SAIs of Ukraine and Germany. The position of the President of the Bundesrechnungshof (the SAI of Germany) and the need to expand the powers of the Accounting Chamber in accordance with the principles of INTOSAI were also supported by both Presidents of the Regional Audit Institution of the State of Saxony, Mr. Jens Michel, and the Regional Audit Institution of the State of Hesse, Walter Wallmann. In their speeches and presentations, they emphasized the importance of coverage by the Accounting Chamber’s external audit of the system of public finances in Ukraine at all levels: from the level of government to municipalities and local communities. The German colleagues also supported the Ukrainian side's initiative on joint audit activities.
Representatives of the SAIs of Ukraine and Germany worked out audit practical cases and agreed to conduct mutual verification of audit methodologies in the near future to model the different forms and types of interaction in practice. After all, in addition to the importance of professional development and mutual exchange, there is an objective need for external public audit to ensure proper transparency and accountability of the use of funds coming from Germany to Ukraine both for targeted budget support and in other forms support.
During the practical sessions, the participants paid special attention to the topic of audits in the municipal sector and in the system of state monopolies. German audiences shared their experience and presented practical cases on audits in the following areas: support for temporarily displaced persons, highways, railway infrastructure, construction and management of federal real estate, municipal economy, etc.
In addition, People's Deputy of Ukraine Pavlo Frolov informed the German colleagues that a new draft law on bringing the mandate of the Accounting Chamber into compliance with INTOSAI principles and best European and global practices is currently being prepared for submission to the Parliament (the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine).
"This future law is a reaction to the time challenges and to the evaluation by European partners of the state of external public audit in Ukraine. The European integration and commitments made for Ukraine's accession to the EU, restoration of the country with the support of international partners and ensuring transparency and accountability in the public finance system are objective requirements for renewing the mandate of the Accounting Chamber and strengthening its role on the quality of public finance management in Ukraine", Pavlo Frolov, a member of the VRU Budget Committee, noted.
As part of the visit to Germany, a meeting was also held in Würzburg with representatives of the Regional Audit Institution of the State of Bavaria led by the President Mr. Christopher Hillenbrand. He expressed readiness for audit cooperation and the involvement of Accounting Chamber’s specialists in the exchange of practical skills and best practices based on the institution chaired by him. Andrii Maisner thanked the Bavarian colleague and assured him of the readiness of the Accounting Chamber to work on topics relevant to Bavarian and Ukrainian auditors for practical interaction. Both heads of audit institutions emphasized the important role of systematic international cooperation with the Bundesrechnungshof as a coordinator and with Regional Audit Institutions, which have exceptional audit experience. All German colleagues are ready to share it with Ukrainian colleagues for the institutional development of the SAI of Ukraine and the possible holding of joint audit events in different forms.
During the event, a meaningful professional dialogue took place with Bavarian colleagues responsible for various audit areas and the Vice President Suzanne Frank.
The meeting took place directly in the circle of the Grand Presidium of the Regional Audit Institution of the State of Bavaria, which is an expression of special gratitude and demonstrates the seriousness of cooperation intentions.
The visit of the delegation took place with the support of GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH).
Bilateral cooperation between the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine and the Bundesrechnungshof was initiated in 2003, when within the framework of the TACIS project "Audit of public finances" the staff of the Accounting Chamber visited the Bundesrechnungshof.
In 2007−2008, the supreme audit institutions of Ukraine, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia and the European Court of Auditors conducted the international coordinated audit of Chernobyl Shelter Fund. The control measure was carried out within the framework of the activity of the EUROSAI WGEA Special Subgroup on the Audit of the Natural, Man-caused Disasters Consequences and Radioactive Wastes Elimination in accordance with the powers of the participating SAIs. The Accounting Chamber was the coordinator of that audit.
For today, the cooperation of the Accounting Chamber with the SAI of Germany takes place at the expense of the co-chairing of the SAI of Germany in SG1 of EUROSAI "Supporting effective, innovative and relevant audits by promoting and brokering professional cooperation". The Accounting Chamber participates in the meetings of the SG1 EUROSAI, which are moderated by the SAI of Germany.
Another area of cooperation between both SAIs is participation in the Danube cross-border cooperation program, which at the end of November 2022 was officially approved by the European Commission as a new transnational cooperation program for the Danube region for the period 2021−2027. The program includes EU Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia), Accession Countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia), as well as Neighbouring Countries (Moldova and Ukraine). The main areas of the program: depopulation, migration, economic inequality, energy dependence and climate change.