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Hungarians Promote Formation of Association of European Government Control Organizations

by James R. Bonnell, USAID Regional Inspector General, Budapest, Hungary

Dr. Sándor Rubicsek, President of the Hungarian Government Control Organization, organized and hosted a March 25-27,1998 Conference of European Government Control Organizations. The intent of the Conference was to share information among the participants about the control organizations established in their respective countries; develop relationships among the authorities performing similar control activities; and establish the European Association of Government Control Organizations.

The Conference was attended by representatives from 22 European countries. During the first day and a half, each country=s representative gave a 10-15 minute presentation on their country=s control systems. While the number and shortness of the presentations made it difficult to absorb the information, the presentations disclosed many similarities among some countries= control systems and, at the same time, marked differences in the way countries went about establishing and implementing governmental controls over public expenditures. For example, some countries had a similar type organization as the Hungarian Government Control Organization while many others did not. Also, some countries had very centralized controls over government expenditures while others established decentralized systems. These presentations stimulated discussions among participants during breaks and clearly demonstrated the need for and benefits of sharing information of this type.

The remainder of the Conference was devoted to exploring and debating the concept of establishing a European Association of Government Control Organizations. The Hungarian Government Control Organization had prepared a draft Memorandum of Association which had been provided in advance to Conference participants. The draft memorandum was discussed and debated and a working group was formed to address concerns and views expressed by various Conference participants. Because there were many concerns raised about various aspects of the proposed Association, such as the dues structure, who would represent participating countries on the Association, and the fact that most delegates could not commit their respective governments to joining the Association, it was decided to defer forming an Association until later this year.

Instead, the Conference delegates unanimously approved and signed a Declaration recognizing the desirability of creating a flexible structure designed to promote contacts and the exchange of information among practitioners in the field of government control. Key elements of the declaration include:

  • Defining government control to mean the management controls and the financial and budgetary controls carried out by non-judicial government bodies and related institutions.
  • Establishing the principles for creating the European Association of Government Control Organizations.
  • Creating a working group comprised of delegates from Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish Kingdom, France, Hungary, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom to review and amend the initial draft memorandum of association, prepared by the Hungarian Government Control Office. This was to be accomplished by June 30, 1998.
  • Agreeing to hold a second European Conference of Government Control Organizations in Budapest, Hungary in late November 1998 to establish the Association.

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