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Reform of the audit market

New EU regulatory framework on statutory audit

03.09.2014

The Commission services published “Questions and answers” in order to facilitate the implementation of the new EU regulatory framework on statutory audit, and contribute to a consistent application of the new framework across the Union. The Q&A is a work in progress. Additional questions can be submitted to markt-f4@ec.europa.eu.

16.06.2014

New legislation to improve the quality of statutory audit across the EU has now entered into force. Key measures include strengthening the independence of statutory auditors, making the audit report more informative, and improving audit supervision throughout the Union. Stricter requirements will apply to public-interest entities. The new legislation will become applicable in mid-2016.

27.05.2014

The Official Journal of the European Union published the amending Directive and the new Regulation on statutory audit.

Commission proposals

03.04.2014

The European Parliament approved in plenary session the preliminary agreement on a revised Directive and a new Regulation on statutory audit. The new rules will strengthen the quality of statutory audit, reinforce the independence of statutory auditors, and improve supervision. Stricter requirements will apply to the statutory audit of public-interest entities.

17.12.2013

The EU Member States and the European Parliament reached a preliminary agreement on a revised Directive and a new Regulation on audit. COREPER endorsed the compromise texts on 18 December 2013. The co-legislators will formally approve the compromise texts in the next months.

30.11.2011

The Commission adopted proposals for a regulation on the quality of audits of public-interest entities and for a directive to enhance the single market for statutory audits.

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Consultations

Consultation on audit policy (13.10 – 8.12.2010)

On October 2010 the Commission launched a consultation on the role of the auditor, the governance and the independence of audit firms, the supervision of auditors, the configuration of the audit market, the creation of a single market for the provision of audit services, the simplification of rules for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Practitioners (SMPs) and the international co-operation for the supervision of global audit networks. The deadline for responses was 8 December 2010.

Consultation on ways to help create more market players (11.11.2008 – 28.2.2009)

On November 2008, the European Commission launched a public consultation on control structures in audit firms and on the possible ways forward. This followed an independent study on the ownership rules of audit firms and their consequences for audit market concentration (IP/07/1570).

The consultation was closed on 28 February 2009.

Studies

Study on the effects of the implementation of the "acquis" on statutory audits of annual and consolidated accounts including the consequences on the audit market (2011)

The European Commission has published an independent study providing data on concentration of the audit market in the European Union and its 27 Member States. The study describes the audit market, identifies criteria to assess the functioning of this market and analyses possible measures that might help improve the functioning of the audit market. The study contributes to the Commission’s work on how to improve the functioning of the audit market.

Study on the ownership rules of audit firms (2007)

The European Commission has published an independent study on the ownership rules that apply to audit firms and their consequences on audit market concentration. The study analyses whether changes to the ownership rules of audit firms might help increase the number of international players in the audit market. At present, the European Statutory Audit Directive requires that auditors hold a majority of the voting rights in an audit firm and control the management board. The study will contribute to the Commission’s work on how to improve competition in the audit market.

Conferences

Financial reporting and auditing. A time for change?

On 9 and 10 February 2011, the European Commission held a high-level conference on accounting and auditing issues. The second day was dedicated to the European audit market. Discussions with a wide range of stakeholders considered the need to further improve the European audit market and explore the best possible ways forward.