The European Court of Auditors is the fifth institution of the European Union. It was established in 1975 in Luxembourg in order to improve EU financial management; the ECA was created by the 1975 Budgetary Treaty and was formally established on 18 October 1977, holding its first session a week later. At that time the ECA was not a formal institution, it replaced two separate audit bodies, one which dealt with the finances of the European Economic Community and Euratom, one which dealt with the European Coal and Steel Community. The ECA did not have a defined legal status until the Treaty of Maastricht when it was made the fifth institution, the first new institution since the founding of the Community. By becoming an institution it gained some new powers, such as the ability to bring actions before the European Court of Justice. At first its audit power related only to the European Community pillar of the European Union, but under the Treaty of Amsterdam it gained the full power to audit the finances of the whole of the EU.
Despite its name, the ECA has no jurisdictional functions. It is rather a professional external investigatory audit agency; the primary role of the ECA is to externally check if the budget of the European Union has been implemented in that EU funds have been spent and with sound management. In doing so, the ECA checks the paperwork of all persons handling any income or expenditure of the Union and carries out spot checks; the ECA is bound to report any problems in its reports for the attention of the EU's Member States and institutions, these reports include its general and specific annual reports, as well as special reports on its performance audits. The ECA's decision is the basis for the European Commission decisions. In this role, the ECA remain in touch with the other institutions, it is based on this report that the Parliament makes its decision on whether or not to sign off the European Commission's handling of the budget for that year. The Parliament notably refused to do this in 1984 and 1999, the latter case forced the resignation of the Santer Commission.
The ECA, if satisfied sends assurances to the Council and Parliament that the taxpayers' money is being properly used, the ECA must be consulted before the adoption of any legislation with financial implications, but its opinion is never binding. The ECA is composed of one member from each EU Member State, each of whom is appointed unanimously by the Council of the European Union for a renewable term of six years, they are not all replaced every six years, however. Members are chosen from people who have served in national audit bodies, who are qualified for the office and whose independence is beyond doubt. While serving in the Court, members cannot engage in any other professional activities; as the body is independent, its members are free to decide their own organisation and rules of procedure, although these must be ratified by the Council of the European Union. Since the Treaty of Nice, the ECA can set up "chambers" to adopt certain types of reports or opinions; the ECA is supported by a staff of 800 auditors and administrators recruited as part of the European Civil Service.
Auditors are divided into auditor groups which inspect and prepare draft reports for the ECA to take decisions upon. Inspections take place not only of EU institutions but of any state which receives EU funds, given that 90% of income and expenditure is managed by national authorities rather than the EU. Upon finding a fault, the ECA —possessing no legal powers of its own—informs the European Anti-fraud Office, the EU's anti-fraud agency; the ECA is assisted by the Secretary-General of the European Court of Auditors, elected by the College of ECA Members, who—along with general management and assistance to the President—draws up draft minutes and keeps archives of decisions, as well as ensuring the publication of reports in the Official Journal of the European Union. The members elect one of their number as the President of the ECA for a renewable three-year term; the election takes place by a secret ballot of those members. The duties of the President are to convene and chair the meetings of the ECA, ensuring that decisions are implemented and the departments are soundly managed.
The President represents the institution and appoints a representative for it in contentious proceedings. The current President is Klaus-Heiner Lehne, elected on 13 September 2016, he succeeded Vítor Manuel da Silva Caldeira, elected in 2007. Previous presidents have been Sir Norman Price, Michael Murphy, Pierre Lelong, Marcel Mart, Aldo Angioi, André Middelhoek, Bernhard Friedmann, Jan O. Karlsson, Juan Manuel Fabra Vallés † and Hubert Weber; the Secretary-General is the ECA's most senior member of staff. Appointed for a renewable term of 6 years, he is responsible for the management of the ECA's staff and for the administration of the ECA. In addition, the Secretary-General is
Pierre-François Basan was a French engraver. Basan was born in Paris, he was a pupil of Etienne Fessard and Jean Daullé. He was principally occupied as a printseller, published a'Dictionnaire des Graveurs' in 1767, he engraved the following plates: The Gothic Songster. An Ecce Homo. Christ breaking the Bread. St. Maurice'. Bacchus and Ariadne. Christophe Lemenu de St. Philibert. Louis XV, with Diogenes; the Female Gardener. The Card-players. An Incantation. Carle Vanloo. Armand Gaston de Eohan, called the Cardinal de Soubise, he executed several copies after the scarce etchings of Rembrandt. Attribution: This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Bryan, Michael. "Basan, Pierre Francois". In Graves, Robert Edmund. Bryan's Dictionary of Engravers. I. London: George Bell & Sons
Parsons Xtreme Golf is a global golf equipment company that designs, manufactures and sells a line of custom fitted golf equipment, golf accessories, golf lifestyle-related products. The company is based in Scottsdale and was established in 2014 by Bob Parsons, founder of web hosting service GoDaddy. Several of the world's professional golfers use PXG equipment, including Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore, Chez Reavie, Lydia Ko. Parsons Xtreme Golf was founded in 2014 by Bob Parsons, an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, he is an avid golfer who made his money in the technology industry and now invests in ventures that support his passions. Unsatisfied with many golf clubs on the market, he decided to launch his own golf equipment company. Parsons claims to have spent $350,000 annually searching for the right equipment, he stated that he decided to enter the golf club manufacturing business in an attempt to build a better golf club. The company hired Mike Nicolette, a PGA Tour professional in the 1970s and'80s, who served as senior product designer for PING prior to joining PXG.
PXG hired Brad Schweigert PING’s director of engineering, to assume the role of Chief Product Officer. Given no time or budget constraints and Nicolette worked on designing the first iteration of what would become the PXG 0311 forged iron. According to Parsons, PXG’s breakthrough came when its engineers identified the material to fill the hollow-bodied club head. A thermoplastic elastomer was injection molded into the club’s hidden cavity adding cushioning to the club’s thin face, improving performance and feel. In January 2015, Ryan Moore announced that he would be using a set of PXG prototype irons and wedges in the PGA Tour that year; the company offers a full line of equipment including drivers, hybrids, wedges and putters. As of December 2016, the company had grown to seventy employees. PXG has sponsorship deals with seventeen professional golfers who play on the LPGA tours; the company has agreements with Zach Johnson, Charl Schwartzel, as well as Lydia Ko, who left Callaway Golf in January 2017.
Parsons is a former United States Marine. PXG’s club numbering convention is inspired by the United States military occupational code, as a tribute the Marine Corps. PXG sells its products through it Scottsdale headquarters, club-fitters and country clubs, other international distributors. Official website