Under the Lisbon Treaty’s provisions on the democratic conditions of the European Union, Article 11(2) imposes an obligation on all EU institutions to enter into a structured dialogue with organised civil society. There are seven such ‘Institutions’ (with a capital I), and the European Court of Auditors is one of them. In recognition of this, today Dr Louis Galea, a (Maltese) member of the Court, came before the European Economic and Social Committee’s plenary session to talk on the theme of common objectives – the democratic legitimacy and effectiveness of the EU. The Committee, he declared, ‘plays a distinct role of its own in consolidating the democratic legitimacy and effectiveness of the EU.’ The Court,¬†he further¬†argued, had a complementary role to play in consolidating legitimacy, particularly where public funds were at stake. Like any other such Court or Audit Office, it had ‘the duty to promote the principles of transparency, accountability and public audit, as a necessary basis for democracy.’ While the EU and its institutions had greatly improved, there was still room for further progress, particularly given fresh challenges, such as the initiatives designed to deal with the economic and financial crisis and the Commission’s proposals for administrative and budgetary reforms.