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29/04/2015   Auditor General: fiscal discipline culture is yet to develop

Auditor General Arūnas Dulkys made a presentation at an international conference “Sustainability of Public Finances: Challenges after the Euro Adoption”, which was held today at the Seimas to discuss lessons of the financial crisis in order to maintain the sustainability of public finances and look into the challenges of ensuring the sustainability of public finances in the Member States.

After the adoption of the euro, a number of important regulatory changes have taken place in the area of public finances, such as the application of the Constitutional Law on the Fiscal Treaty and related laws in addition to the fiscal discipline rules of the European Union. From this year onwards, Lithuania has to submit its next year’s draft national budget for the opinion of the European Commission by 15 October, there are stricter requirements for the independence of macroeconomic forecasts, sustainability indicators and limitation of expenditure, the National Audit Office has been given the role of an independent budget policy control authority.

Until now, the Seimas and the National Audit Office used to become involved in the budgeting cycle only from the date laid down in the Constitution, i.e. 75 days before the end of the budgetary year, when the government submits the draft national budget to the Seimas. “Since the beginning of this year, the Seimas has been playing an important role in shaping the ex ante budget policy in the medium term, meanwhile the National Audit Office will be consistently performing budget policy monitoring, i.e. the role of the watchdog, from early spring to late autumn,” said Auditor General Arūnas Dulkys presenting the new function of the National Audit Office.

Lithuanian legislation does not provide for sanctions for non-compliance with the fiscal rules, so fiscal discipline depends largely on the political will. According to the Auditor General, fiscal discipline is a reflection of the political culture. “The most worrying thing for us, as the supreme audit institution, is a lack of best practice examples of compliance with fiscal discipline in the European Union history to be followed by our politicians. The evolution of the EU has been full of compromises. Fiscal discipline culture is yet to develop, so we are facing a challenging job,” said Mr Dulkys.

The conference was organised by the European Commission Representation in Lithuania, together with the National Audit Office and the Ministry of Finance, as well as in cooperation with the Office of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.

 

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Last updated on 10 June 2015

National Audit Office of Lithuania

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