Passage of a forthcoming European Union directive that would tighten auditing standards - but which does permit, under specified conditions, the European profession to supply customers with some other services - could lie behind a survey that reveals that the principles-based approach to auditor independence is now widely used throughout Europe.The survey was conducted by the European Federation of Accountants on the regulation of auditor independence, and follows the implementation of a 2002 EU "recommendation" on auditor independence.

The survey carried out by the Brussels-based federation, which represents the accountancy profession in Europe, found that 85 percent of the countries (which include 25 in the EU, plus Norway) now have in place a principles-based approach to independence. Even rules-based systems "now generally had some reference to principles, or attempt to do so in devising rules."

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