This morning I joined my fellow Secretaries General on the benches of the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee for public hearings in connection with the annual discharge procedure. Under the EU’s financial regulations, the Secretaries-General are ultimately responsible for the good management of public money and resources. The institutions’ accounts are audited by the European Court of Auditors (represented in the meeting today by Dr Louis Galea) and the Court’s recommendations are passed on to the Parliament. This year the Parliament is considering discharge for the 2010 accounts of the institutions. The rapporteur is Ines Ayala Sender (Spain, S&D Group). The proceedings of the Committee were streamed. This – the public holding of the institutions to account for their use of public monies by directly represented members of parliament – is democracy at work and it is strange to think that it wasn’t always like this (the Court of Auditors was established only in 1975 and direct elections to the European Parliament were first held in 1979). It surely should have been.