EU statutory audit rules approved. By Dan Martin

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The EU Council of Ministers has approved new European regulations on statutory audits.

Aimed at reinforcing the reliability of company financial statements and reigniting public confidence following accounting scandals like Enron, the EU directive establishes minimum requirements for statutory audit of annual accounts.

In its approval of the scheme the Council accepted amendments put forward by the European Parliament after criticism that the original proposals' insistence that all public companies have a separate audit committee was too bureaucratic.

In a statement, the Council said: "The directive broadens the scope of application of existing EU legislation by specifying the duties of statutory auditors, their independence and ethics, introducing requirements for external quality assurance,...

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