Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome you to Moscow and I hope your work is effective and meaningful. I am happy to be among colleagues because at one point in my career I was in charge of the Main Audit Directorate under the President of the Russian Federation and much of its activity was concentrated on financial auditing.
Today, integration processes on our continent are proceeding quickly. The emergence of new challenges calls for fresh approaches and imaginative decisions. This determines the tone and the themes of debates both at the national level and at the European institutions.
It is a great honour for us to host you in Moscow. And we expect that the results of the Moscow EUROSAI Congress will not only strengthen cooperation in the sphere of financial auditing, but will make an important contribution to the building of a common economic and legal space in Europe.
We in Russia are committed to building a civilised economic infrastructure. Accordingly, the activities of business entities are becoming more transparent and there is stricter budget discipline. All this is having a positive impact on business activities in the country and tends to attract investments in the domestic economy.
In connection with this, one of the Russian Government’s priorities is to develop an effective system of state financial auditing. Its key task is to make governance more effective by providing society with objective information on the performance of state institutions.
Russia has practically put in place all the necessary elements of the system of state financial auditing. It combines both the relevant agencies of the executive branch and the parliamentary financial auditing bodies. What is important is mutual transparency and mutual complementarity of these structures.
Along with the Audit Chamber there is the Control and Auditing Directorate at the Finance Ministry of the Russian Federation which has its own territorial agencies. The Financial Monitoring Committee is a key tool in combating money laundering.
I think it is important to note that the financial auditing agencies in the Russian Federation are based not only on national legislation, but also on international law as well as the basic principles enshrined in the Lima Declaration adopted at the 9th Congress of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions.
I have mentioned the recent positive shifts in Russia, but I have to be honest and admit that all these processes are still ongoing.
That is why your participation in joint work with us is so important. The very fact that you have come to Moscow already goes a long way to boost the prestige of these agencies and organisations and I am sure will exert the most favourable impact on their work.
Russia today is open to the broadest interaction in the sphere of the state audit. We are ready for joint efforts to protect financial systems from being infiltrated by trans-border crime and to track down and neutralise the capital that supports terrorists. It is one of the most important tasks that must unite us all.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Moscow Congress is the first forum of your organisation in the 21st century. You are to form a new agenda for this sphere of cooperation that is specialised but very important for us all. I am sure you are aware of your responsibility.
We offer our heartfelt wishes of success to this congress and to you in your daily activities.
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Allow me once again to cordially welcome you to Moscow. It is a great honour to host such a large number of major European specialists on financial auditing.
I noticed that the name of the German representative is Mr Engels. Thank God, he is not accompanied by Marx. But seriously, we are glad to welcome all of you and I have no doubt that your joint work will do much to promote the solution of common problems and the achievement of common goals. And indeed, the President of the French Audit Chamber in his presentation spoke about some things that caught my attention: accounting and budgetary procedures. He singled that out as one of the problems. It is a problem for us too. I used to think that only we have the problem of fast-changing legislation and criticise our government on that account. But it turns out that other countries also have this problem.
I also noticed the task that the distinguished French colleague determined because it is interesting for us too. Namely, to shape opinion on the management of budgetary assets and government property, the opinion of auditors and the opinion of specialists in the field of financial control. I think it would be very helpful to the executive branch in its practical work.
I have listened attentively to Mr Stepashin’s speech. And I would allow myself to contribute at the start of your work. The Chairman of the Russian Audit Chamber said among other things: “We, Russia need a system of municipal and federal auditing.” I find it hard to agree with that because under the Russian Constitution the municipality is not part of the system of government bodies and the creation of a single audit system could be seen as state interference in the activities of the municipalities. Therefore, I think we should rather be speaking about uniform principles of the functioning of such systems.
But I assume that during the course of your work you will discuss all the professional aspects in detail and will be able to come up with common conclusions and recommendations.
Once again I would like to welcome all those present, but special thanks are due to the Chairman of the Duma of the Russian Federation. Russian participants will know that his active and very effective work was rewarded the day before yesterday by his expulsion from the ranks of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. It is a strange decision, but I do not dare to interfere in internal party life and I just hope that now he will have more time to devote to his government work, including the monitoring of how the Russian budget money is spent.
Thank you and all the best.