Commissioner Barnier will launch a Green Paper on auditing in the autumn

Commissioner Barnier will launch a Green Paper on auditing in the autumn

Commissioner Barnier will publish a Green Paper in the autumn on the role of auditors. The objective of this green paper is to initiate a debate on the role and the governance of auditors, as well as the possible changes which could be foreseen in this domain.

The Green Paper will also cover issues such as the concentration in the audit market and its implications on financial stability, the emergence of small and medium sized practitioners, the audit of SMEs and international standards on auditing. The Green Paper follows on from various external studies and preliminary public consultations undertaken by the Commission services on these issues.

For Commissioner Michel Barnier, "While the role of the main economic and financial actors (banks, hedge funds, credit rating agencies etc) were immediately called into question following the financial crisis, the role of the auditors has not really been questioned until now. Governments have so far focussed their attention on the urgent measures necessary to stabilise the markets. Now we are entering a less reactive phase and I am convinced that it is the right time to launch a real debate at European level on the subject of audit. This conviction is reinforced by the questions recently raised in the context of the audit of the accounts of the American bank Lehman Brothers."

On the other hand, certain aspects of European policy in this domain require action in the shorter term. While the large audit firms have centralised their management and decision making structures at European level, their supervision continues to be done on a national basis. It is time to launch the debate and work towards the reinforcement of the supervision of audit firms at European level.

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