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Annual accounts and reports

The Commission uses a dual accounting system that includes:

  • budget accounts - giving a detailed record of budget implementation
  • general accounts - used to prepare the balance sheet and economic result (financial statements).

The general accounts provide a picture of the EU budget's assets and liabilities because they are maintained using the accrual accounting principle: therefore, transactions are registered when they are incurred, not necessarily when cash is paid out or received.

Annual accounts

Every year the Commission's Accounting Officer must produce the annual accounts for the EU and for the Commission.
The EU's annual accounts consist of

  • the financial statements (and its notes)
  • the consolidated reports on the implementation of the budget.

The consolidated EU accounts include the accounts of the European institutions and agencies.

The goal of these accounts is to provide a fair presentation of the financial situation for a given year. The annual accounts must also be clear, comprehensible and allow comparisons to be made between financial years.

When are the accounts presented?

The timetable for preparing and publishing the annual accounts is laid down in the Financial Regulation:

  • Provisional accounts are prepared and sent to the Court of Auditors for audit by 31 March.
  • The final accounts are then approved by the Commission and sent to the Court of Auditors and the discharge authorities - the Parliament and Council  by 31 July.

Annual accounts of the EU (classified by budget year) in the Documents section.

Annual activity reports and the synthesis report

By the end of March every year each Commission Directorate-General must produce an activity report for the previous financial year which includes:

  • results obtained and the corresponding amounts spent, compared with the intentions announced at the beginning of the year in the DG's annual management plan
  • a report to the Commission on the performance of the Director-General as authorising officer by delegation. Includes a declaration by the authorising officer, which may contain reserves
  • the DG's annual accounts and financial reports.

The annual activity reports are examined by the Commissioners in their assessment of the Commission's financial situation. They also look at the internal auditors annual report and the documents on the operation of the internal control systems. They then prepare a summary called a 'synthesis report' detailing actions to be taken to correct any weaknesses identified.

This report is sent to the Parliament and Council, and is one of the main documents used by the European Court of Auditors to prepare its annual statement of assurance, which evaluates the EUs management of its resources.

The annual activity reports from the Commission are accessible online

Financial reports

The annual financial report reviews the way the budget has been spent and the results on the ground.

It contains four sections:

  • overview of EU finances in a given year;
  • EU revenue;
  • Expenditure from the EU budget
  • Annexes (Expenditure and revenue by heading, type of resource and Member State; Operating budgetary balances; Recoveries and financial corrections and Borrowing and lending activities).

Financial report for the financial year 2014: Website, PDF

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