ECA Journal – Strategy development in a rapidly changing world

Source: EU Court of Auditors

How do you plot your course for the future in times of rapid change, if not disruption, in an increasingly complex world? What do you identify as strategic goals, in view of the means you have to realise them, and how do you get commitment to embark on such on course? Designing such a strategy is a challenge many organisations – both in the private and the public sector, and including external audit institutions – need to take on to be future-proof and fit for purpose.

In January 2021, the ECA adopted a new strategy for the 2021-25 period, to guide the institution in the coming years, following a participative process, involving the ECA’s staff, management and stakeholders. With its new strategy, the ECA aims to be well equipped to make a valuable contribution to a more resilient, sustainable and fair European Union and to strengthen its role as the EU’s independent external auditor, in constant exchange with its environment and the world at large.

In this context, this ECA Journal edition looks at the challenges of strategic planning and thinking from multiple perspectives, considering the particularities and similarities in the public and the private sector at international, European and national level. What are the key issues for and characteristics of strategy development in general, and the new 2021-2025 ECA strategy in particular? How do Presidents of EU institutions react to the ECA’s new strategy? How do other EU institutions, other international organisations and businesses, approach their strategic planning and what is the role and impact of strategies on the European project?

In addition, we investigate what use is made of strategies in the public audit sector, often seen as mostly involved in looking back and analysing what went wrong, rather than looking forward to analyse what needs to be done to achieve strategic goals. Furthermore, this Journal explores how the academic world can help achieve strategic objectives, for example in connection with using new technologies, scenario planning or strategic thinking exercises.

This edition’s highlights:

13 Addressing future opportunities ‘with our eyes wide open’ Interview with Ann Mettler, Vice President Europe at Breakthrough Energy

24 Scenario planning – a strategic approach to engaging the future Interview with Rafael Ramirez, Director of the Oxford Scenarios Programme and Professor of Practice, and Trudi Lang, Senior Fellow in Management Practice, of the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

33 Embedding strategic foresight in EU policymaking: charting the course towards more pro-active and anticipatory policies Interview with Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight

39 Strategic thinking at all levels – designing better policies for a better life Interview with Nadia Calviño, Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and Minister of Economic affairs and Digital Transformation

49 The 2021-25 ECA Strategy – what is key and what is new about it? By Andreas Bolkart, Directorate of the Presidency

53 EU institutional leaders reacting to the 2021-2025 strategy of the European Court of Auditors By Gaston Moonen

57 The ECA 2021-25 Strategy – In times of rapid changes, the strategy sets out ambitious goals for the upcoming five years  Interview with Annemie Turtelboom, ECA Member

98 Auditing the legality and regularity of the NGEU – a strategic challenge for the ECA in the years to come By Mariusz Pomienski, Judit Oroszki and Paul Sime, Directorate of Chamber V, Financing and administering the Union

108 Director’s cut – A strategy focusing on both the what and how, anchored in a firm set of values Interview with Martin Weber, ECA Director ‘Investment for cohesion, growth and inclusion’

125 Strategic planning at the Swedish National Audit Office: a fresh approach By Helena Lindberg, Auditor General of Sweden

130 Dynamic planning as a means of embracing rapid change – the experience of the Tribunal de Contas of Portugal By José F.F. Tavares, President of the Tribunal de Contas of Portugal

144 Making the EU institutions ready for the future, for pragmatic and democratic reasons Interview with Damian Boeselager, Member of the European Parliament

150 Back to the future – European values and achievements of the past as an inspiration to getting the basics right Interview with Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz, Member of Parliament, Poland

156 Supreme audit institutions and accountability: opportunities, challenges and capacity

By Professor Claudio M. Radaelli, Silvia Dell’Acqua, and Gaia Taffoni, European University Institute

Furthermore, with over 35 articles on the main theme, this ECA Journal features interviews with Stephen Quest, Director-General of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Helga Berger, ECA Member, Zac Kolias, Secretary-General of the ECA, and Eduardo Ruiz Garcia, former Secretary-General of the ECA.

Other views on various aspects of strategy development, including audit, are set out in articles by Kumardev Chatterjee, Serial Tech Innovator; Dexter Docherty and Alanna Markle, OECD; Jüri Kurss, Urmet Lee and Ines Metsalu-Nurminen, National Audit Office of Estonia; Stephen Sanford, United States Government Accountability Office; Dafina Dimitrova and Nils Vösgen, INTOSAI Development Initiative; Manj Kalar, Kalar Consulting; Michael Burnett, External Expert, European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA); Professor Jan Scholtes, ZyLAB and University of Maastricht, Youri van der Zee, University of Amsterdam, and Marcel Westerhoud, Ebben Partners; Patrick Alix and Lise Marie Bruun, public sector auditors; Olger Draijer, CoachConsultant; Ariane König and Bo Manuel Raber, both at the University of Luxembourg, Gerard Drenth and Ciaran McGinley, both at NormannPartners, and Francis Schartz, formerly with the Luxembourg National Council for Sustainability; Huw Griffiths, Holegy; Juhan Parts, Jan Gregor, ECA Member; James McQuade, Financing and administrating the Union Directorate, and Jacques Sciberras, Regulation of markets and competitive economy Directorate; Kamila Lepkowska, Rafal Czarnecki, Derek Meijers and Gaston Moonen, Directorate of the Presidency.

This Journal also covers several ECA Reaching Out activities and an overview of recent ECA publications.

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