Written Answers. - European Court of Auditors.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

93 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the criteria used by the Government in selecting Ms Geoghegan-Quinn for nomination to the European Court of Auditors; if he is satisfied that the person nominated has the qualifications required for the position and will be approved by the European Parliament; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17740/99]

The treaty establishing the European Community provides that members of the European Court of Auditors shall be chosen from among persons who belong or have belonged in their respective countries to external audit bodies or who are especially qualified for this office.

The treaty also provides that the European Parliament is to be consulted on appointments to the Court of Auditors. The European Parliament, in a resolution of November 1992, has set out the criteria by which it will be mainly guided in adopting its opinion on those nominated for appointment to the Court of Auditors. One of those criteria is that nominees should have high level experience acquired in public finance or in management or management auditing.

The Parliament also stated in its resolution that, in addition to assessing individual merit, it would ensure that a sensible balance is maintained in the composition of the Court of Auditors as a whole. By way of example, it stated that, while the composition of the court at the time was fairly successful in terms of the varied origin of its members, the lack of female representation was unjustifiable.

The Government has no doubt that Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn both fulfils the requirements for appointment to the Court of Auditors set out in the treaty and meets the criteria established by the European Parliament in that regard.

The Government is convinced that Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn has the ability and experience to be an excellent member of the Court of Auditors. She has a wide range of experience of all aspects of Government and public administration and her ministerial positions will be particularly relevant to her new role.