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Statement by MFEA SR concerning the conclusions from the audit by the Supreme Audit Office of the Slovak Republic

Statement by MFEA SR concerning the conclusions from the audit by the Supreme Audit Office of the Slovak Republic

20.12.2017 | Vyhlásenia a stanoviská ministerstva

The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) of the Slovak Republic started a comprehensive audit of processes related to activities for the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU (SK PRES) on 8 March 2017. The ministry fully cooperated with the SAO during the audit, including providing relevant documents and explanations for respective implemented actions. No violation of the law with a need to draw further legal action has resulted from the audit conclusions. The ministry will adopt relevant measures in response to the SAO recommendations within the set deadlines. 
 
From the data, information and knowledge gathered from the acquired materials, documents and publicly-accessible sources, the SAO stated that the SK PRES was generally evaluated as successful and managed at a high standard by the European partners, diplomats, experts, journalists and non-governmental organizations. The SAO made a favourable evaluation of the ministry’s activities, especially with regard to the space that was presented within SK PRES and in cooperation with other ministries for political, professional and cultural presentation of Slovakia abroad, and the other way round, bringing the EU and its themes closer to the citizens of Slovakia. 
 
With regard to a multitude of untrue and misleading information that appeared in relation to the SK PRES activities, MFEA SR reminds once again that the need is to stick to the facts and respect the positions given by the relevant control authorities. With regard to the event for presentation of the SK PRES  logo, the ministry points out that the SAO did not assess the nature of the event, meaning whether it was supposed to be in the form of a press conference or in the form of an event in the Slovak National Theatre. This decision was under the full authority of the ministry. The audit focused on the legality of the procedures applied by the ministry in the ordering and procuring of SK PRES-related goods and services. In that regard the SAO found no violations of law in concluding agreements and in ordering and invoicing the cultural social event “Europe in Slovakia – SK PRES Logo Presentation”. The SAO stated that in selecting Agentúra EVKA, s.r.o. as the agency the ministry proved it had the authority to use the exemption from the Public Procurement Act. 
 
We point out that of the total amount of the financial resources, €69.5 million, that was originally earmarked for SK PRES, a total of €22.25 million was saved, equalling one-quarter of the originally planned budget, with the largest savings made in personnel expenditures, goods and services such as prices received in public procurement bids against the originally-estimated prices for respective orders.
 
With regard to the extent, financial volume, time requirements and a multitude of events of diverse nature, the provision of the activities related to the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU was the most extensive and demanding event ever in the history of Slovakia and under the authority of the MFEA SR.
 
The ministry will implement the SAO’s conclusions within its internal processes to make sure the identified administrative and formal shortcomings will be eliminated and will not occur in the future.