External Scrutiny Institutions

Ian Harden

in The Oxford Handbook of the European Union

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199546282
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 External Scrutiny Institutions

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This article discusses the EU's external security institutions: the Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), the Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the Court of Auditors (ECA), and the European Ombudsman. None of the four institutions can impose formal sanctions and only one, the EDPS, can give legally binding orders and take action to enforce them. The ECA and the Ombudsman are sometimes described as ‘toothless’, because their work does not lead to decisions that can be enforced. OLAF has not been so described, probably because its investigatory work is sometimes followed up by compulsory recovery of funds, prosecution, or disciplinary action. From a formal legal perspective, however, its role is purely administrative. All four institutions are external scrutiny mechanisms, and as such are tasked with making the EU and its management accountable, and normally address their reports to the public and/or to the legislature.

Keywords: Data Protection Supervisor; Anti-Fraud Office; Court of Auditors; Ombudsman; EU

Article.  5778 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; European Union

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