On 2 February 2018, the Secretary-General of International IDEA, Yves Leterme, welcomed a delegation from the European Court of Auditors (ECA) at the headquarters of International IDEA in Stockholm, Sweden, to discuss the results of a recent ECA Audit of EU Election Observation Missions.
Last December, the ECA published a special report on EU Election Observation Missions, named “Election Observation Missions – efforts made to follow up recommendations but better monitoring needed”. The ECA report followed an audit, the main purpose of which was to assess whether the implementation of recommendations by EU Election Observation Missions—specifically in the cases of Ghana, Jordan, Nigeria and Sri Lanka—had been sufficiently supported by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission. It found that the EEAS and Commission had made reasonable efforts to support the implementation of recommendations, but also that more consultation is needed on the ground, and that Election Follow-up Missions can be used more often. A central overview of the recommendations, and a systemic assessment of their implementation status, the ECA found, is needed as well.
In the meeting with the ECA, the findings of the report were discussed, as well as their relevance to the activities of International IDEA. The importance of partnering with local and democracy assistance organizations and following up through in-country technical assistance by EU delegations was emphasized, in order to support the implementation of recommendations and focus on the entire electoral cycle.
The delegation of the European Court of Auditors consisted of Ville Itälä, Member of the ECA; Kristina Maksinen, head of task; and Turo Hentilä, head of private office. They met with the Secretary General of International IDEA, Yves Leterme; Therese Laanela, Senior Programme Manager for Electoral Processes; Virginia Beramendi-Heine, Programme Officer for Electoral Processes; Keboitse Machangana, Director of Global Programme; Elizabeth Kakai, Head of Internal Audit; and Annika Silva-Leander, Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General.