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The Supervision of the Public Finances of Member States of the European Union by European Law

Posted on 18 December 2014

Eloïse Beauvironnet Blot, within the framework of her doctoral thesis in the Faculty of Law at the Université Paris Descartes (Paris V), was offered a period of study at the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence. The objective of her research was to analyse the supervision exercised in European law, by means of a study comparing the French budgetary model with those of other Member States. Her research in the Archives was possible thanks to the annual programme of grants for research on the history of European finances offered by the Court of Auditors of the European Union.

During her stay at the Archives, Eloïse Beauvironnet Blot consulted the historical fonds of the European Court of auditors which were deposited in the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence. These documents allowed her to study the role of the actors who contributed to the supervision of the national budgetary policies within the Union and to retrace the contracts between the Court of Auditors and the national control organs.

The consultation in particular of the various court notices, most notably those relative to the propositions concerning budgetary discipline allows for a detailed study of the modalities and principal actors in this discipline as well as its evolution. To complete her research, Eloïse Beauvironnet Blot also consulted the archival fonds of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, the European Investment Bank as well as the private fonds of Klaus Meyer and Pier Virgilio Dastoli.

Since 2011, European integration bears testimony to a change which has led various commentators to evoke the beginnings of a “new budgetary law”. Shaped by the reform of the Stability Pact and the growth, initially in favour of the six pack of the Stability Treaty, followed by the coordination and the Governance, and finally the two pack, the novelty of this law derived from its principal characteristics, to erect a budgetary discipline at the centre of its interests and framed by the European authorities, invested with a reinforced sanctioning power with regard to Member States. Firstly, economic, then monetary, European integration will be in addition, budgetary, dynamic; breaking with the concept of public finances which prevailed until now, that of a bastion of state sovereignty, no longer forming part of European law.

The object of Eloïse Beauvironnet Blot’s research is also to analyse the manifestation of the consequences of this budgetary integration, by means of a comparable study of the French case, and the budgetary models of Germany, Belgium, Italy, Rumania and the United Kingdom. How was the supervision of the European Union on the public finances of Member States exerted? If this question is posed with acuity in the present context, the fact is that if a novel setting is offered to budgetary policy in future years it will be characterised by an intervention of new actors, new procedures and new principles. From profound changes there must be expected, both in the relations that exist in the European Union and its Member States, and within the national legal orders, which is what her research proposes to analyse.

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Consultation of the historical files of the European Court of Auditors