Procedure : 2014/2131(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0107/2015

Texts tabled :

A8-0107/2015

Debates :

PV 28/04/2015 - 16
CRE 28/04/2015 - 16

Votes :

PV 29/04/2015 - 10.55
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0164

REPORT     
PDF 192kWORD 88k
31.3.2015
PE 541.308v02-00 A8-0107/2015

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2013

(2014/2131(DEC))

Committee on Budgetary Control

Rapporteur: Ryszard Czarnecki

1. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

1. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2013

(2014/2131(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the final annual accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2013,

–       having regard to the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2013, together with the Joint Undertaking’s replies(1),

–       having regard to the statement of assurance(2) as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors for the financial year 2013, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–       having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 17 February 2015 on discharge to be given to the joint undertaking in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2013 (05306/2015 – C8‑0049/2015),

–       having regard to Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–       having regard to Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(3),

–       having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 209 thereof,

–       having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 71/2008 of 20 December 2007 setting up the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking(5),

–       having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 558/2014 of 6 May 2014 establishing the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking(6), and in particular Article 1(2) and Article 12 thereof,

–       having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(7),

–       having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 110/2014 of 30 September 2013 on the model financial regulation for public-private partnership bodies referred to in Article 209 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(8),

–       having regard to Rule 94 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

–       having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0107/2015),

1.      Grants the Executive Director of the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking discharge in respect of the implementation of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking’s budget for the financial year 2013;

2.      Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.      Instructs its President to forward this decision and the resolution forming an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

2. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

on the closure of the accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2013

(2014/2131(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the final annual accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2013,

–       having regard to the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2013, together with the Joint Undertaking’s replies(9),

–       having regard to the statement of assurance(10) as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors for the financial year 2013, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–       having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 17 February 2015 on discharge to be given to the joint undertaking in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2013 (05306/2015 – C8‑0049/2015),

–       having regard to Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–       having regard to Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(11),

–       having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 209 thereof,

–       having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 71/2008 of 20 December 2007 setting up the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking(13),

–       having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 558/2014 of 6 May 2014 establishing the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking(14), and in particular Article 1(2) and Article 12 thereof,

–       having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(15),

–       having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 110/2014 of 30 September 2013 on the model financial regulation for public-private partnership bodies referred to in Article 209 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(16),

–       having regard to Rule 94 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

–       having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0107/2015),

1.      Approves the closure of the accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2013;

2.      Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Executive Director of the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3. MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

with observations forming an integral part of the decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget for the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2013

(2014/2131(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to its decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2013,

–       having regard to Rule 94 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

–       having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0107/2015),

A. whereas the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking ("the Joint Undertaking") was set up in 2007 for a period of 10 years to accelerate the development, validation and demonstration of clean air transport technologies in the Union for the earliest possible deployment,

B.  whereas the Joint Undertaking started to work autonomously on 16 November 2009,

C. whereas the Joint Undertaking's founding members are the Union, represented by the Commission, and industrial partners such as the leaders of the ‘Integrated Technology Demonstrators’ (ITDs), together with the associate members of the ITDs,

D. whereas the maximum contribution for the period of 10 years from the Union to the Joint Undertaking is EUR 800 000 000 to be paid from the budget of the Seventh Research Framework Programme and other members of the Joint Undertaking are to contribute resources at least equal to the Union’s contribution, including in-kind contributions;

E.  whereas the Joint Undertaking has involved from the start of its operations more than 600 participants in its Programme and has led to new collaborations and to the participation of new organisations;

F.  whereas small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have participated very extensively in the Programme with approximately 40 % of the budget for calls for proposals allocated to them,

Budgetary and Financial Management

1.  Notes that the Court of Auditors ("the Court") stated that the 2013 annual accounts of the Joint Undertaking fairly present, in all material respects, its financial position as of 31 December 2013 and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the year-end, in accordance with the provisions of its Financial Rules;

2.  Notes that the Court, in its report on the Joint Undertaking's annual accounts (“the Court’s report”), indicated that the transactions underlying the annual accounts are legal and regular in all material aspects;

3.  Takes note that the Joint Undertaking's final 2013 amending budget comprised commitment appropriations of EUR 250 400 000 and payment appropriations of EUR 158 200 000; notes furthermore that the commitment appropriations utilisation rate was 90,6 % while the rate for payment appropriations was 87,7 %;

4.  Notes with concern that the lower rate for payment appropriations still reflects delays in budget implementation, although the rate improved in comparison to the previous year (75%); acknowledges that these issues mainly result from the delays in the implementation of activities as well as the length of time that elapses between the publication of calls for proposals and the signature of grant agreements; notes in this regard that as of December 2013, only 14 out of the 38 grant agreements had been signed, with an average signature time of nine months from the time of the call and five months from the end of the negotiations;

5.  Acknowledges from the Court's report that in accordance with the Joint Undertaking's establishing regulation, the members of the Joint Undertaking other than the Commission shall contribute resources of at least EUR 600 000 000, including their contributions to cover running costs; points out that at the time of the Court's audit , the contribution committed by the Union amounted to EUR 713 000 000 while the resources from the members amounted to EUR 409 000 000; calls on the Joint Undertaking to submit a report to the discharge authority concerning the contributions of all members, other than the Commission, including the application of the evaluation rules, together with an assessment by the Commission;

Internal control systems

6.  Acknowledges the Court's opinion that the Joint Undertaking continued to improve its management, administrative, financial and accounting procedures during 2013 and notes in this regard the completion of the "Grant management tool (GMT tool)"; calls on the Joint Undertaking to finish the integration of the GMT tool as well as to integrate into the tool the full information related to ex post audit exercises;

7.      Notes that several weaknesses were identified when the GMT tool was tested by the accounting officer; agrees with the Court's recommendation that follow-up on resolving these weakness is needed, in particular regarding the function used to enter comments made by the financial and verifying officers, as this function is essential to the validation procedure; notes that several developments of GMT have been implemented by the Joint Undertaking in the first half of 2014 and other developments of the system are planned;

8.      Notes that the ex-ante control on activities performed by the Joint Undertaking's members identified one case when, contrary to the provisions of the Joint Undertaking's financial rules and its manual of procedures, the same staff member performed the procedure for validating the commitment in the capacity of both verifying agent and authorising officer; notes furthermore that one payment was made under the conditions described above; acknowledge that the Joint Undertaking has updated the financial back-up system by introducing new actors to perform the roles of financial verifier and authorising officer, and that the initiation and verification/authorisation functions are kept separate; notes moreover a second case identified by the ex-ante control in which the technical assessment report was not available in the GMT tool;

9.  Notes with concern from the Court's report that a series of weaknesses were identified in respect of the ex-ante control of cost claims submitted by the Joint Undertaking's partners, such as:

(a) the ex-ante controls for cost claims checklists were not always complete,

(b) in one case the financial and operational verification tasks and authorisation were performed by the same staff member, as well as three other cases where the tasks of the financial and authorisation officers were performed by the same staff member; notes with concern that these cases are contrary to the provisions of the financial procedures and the principle of segregation of duties;

(c)  in another case a grant agreement with the partner was signed five months after the activities had started, as approved in the negotiation report and in the grant agreement, but in the absence of the requisite declaration justifying the need to begin activities prior to the signature of the grant agreement; notes the important results achieved in relation to the management of grant agreement for Partners in the year 2013 where a total of 106 new grant agreements for Partners were signed, a total of 99 negotiations for new grant agreements with Partners were successfully finalized, a total of 106 amendments of on-going grants were signed and a total of 105 payments were made to Partners;

(d) out of 163 cost claims as of 31 December 2013, 56 had not been submitted; is deeply concerned that 15 of the 56 have delays exceeding one year;

10. Acknowledges from the Joint Undertaking that the cases of the absence of segregation of duties were exceptional cases caused by the absence of other available actors able to perform the duties;

11. Takes note that during 2013, in cooperation with the external audit firm, the internal auditor started an audit of the Joint Undertaking's business processes related to "Coordination and monitoring of the ITD activities" and "Management of the Partners' activities";

12. Ascertains that as a result of the Commission's Internal Audit Service (IAS) observations with regard to Grant Management - Annual Planning, the Joint Undertaking adopted an action plan in March 2013 which, at the time of the audit, was not fully implemented; points out that the main observations in the IAS report concern delays in the implementation of the programme, budget underspending and difficulties in evaluating resource consumption;

13. Acknowledges that on 14 March 2014 the IAS presented the results of the audit concerning the adequacy and effectiveness of the internal control system, with regard to Grant Management and its financial implementation; notes the IAS conclusions that internal control systems in place give reasonable assurances as to the achievement of the business objectives set by the Joint Undertaking for Grant Management and its financial implementation; notes furthermore four important observations and two very important observations concerning the formalisation of the procedure for validating project deliverables, as well as needed improvements to the consolidated ex ante validation and checklists;

14. Notes in addition that the IAS performed an IT risk assessment of the common IT infrastructure that the Joint Undertaking shares with the FCH, IMI, Eniac and Artemis Joint Undertakings;

15. Acknowledges that the mission charter of the IAS was adopted by the Governing Board on 31 March 2011; notes that the Joint Undertaking's financial rules have not yet been amended to include the provisions of the framework Financial Regulation(17) referring to the powers of the Commission's internal auditor due to the pending adoption of Regulation (EU) No 110/2014 on the model financial regulation for public-private partnership bodies referred to in Article 209 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council which entered into force only on 8 February 2014;

16. Acknowledges that the Seventh Framework Programme Decision(18) (FP7 Decision) establishes a monitoring and reporting system related to the protection, dissemination and transfer of search results; notes with concern that the procedures related to the monitoring and reporting system developed by the Joint Undertaking do not fully meet the provisions of the FP7 Decision as regards the dissemination of the research results and their integrations in the Commission's systems; calls on the Joint Undertaking to resolve this issue as a matter of urgency;

18. Notes that between March and October 2013 the Commission carried out the Joint Undertaking's Second Interim Evaluation and assessed it in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and research quality;

19. Is concerned that the report from the interim evaluation produced several recommendations regarding the inadequate number of technical staff to carry out its activities, the need to harmonise progress activity reports and technical evaluations reports across the Joint Undertaking's ITD members, as well as the need for improvements in the procedures for selecting subcontractors; notes furthermore that in order to improve overall compliance and performance, the Joint Undertaking should better document the course of Grant Agreements;

20. Acknowledges that the Joint Undertaking's Executive Director adopted its business continuity plan on 29 November 2013 which covers disaster recovery, immediate steps to be taken thereafter, recovery arrangements and the maintenance of activities;

Legal Framework

21. Takes into consideration that the new Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the Union was adopted on 25 October 2012 and took effect on 1 January 2013 while Regulation (EU) No 110/2014 did not enter into force until 8 February 2014; acknowledges that the Financial Rules of the Joint Undertaking have been amended to take into account Regulation (EU) No 110/2014 on 3 July 2014;

Other comments

22. Notes the Joint Statement by the Parliament, the Council and the Commission(19) and the subsequent political agreement reached on the separate discharge for Joint Undertakings under Article 209 of the Financial Regulation;

23. Calls on the Court to present a complete and appropriate financial assessment of the rights and obligations of the Joint Undertaking for the period up to the date of Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking starting activity;

24. Calls on the Joint Undertaking to submit a report to the discharge authority on the social-economic benefits of the already completed projects; calls for that report to be submitted to the discharge authority together with an assessment by the Commission;

25. Takes note that in December 2013 the Joint Undertaking adopted the Code of Conduct for the prevention and mitigation of conflicts of interest which is applicable to private members of the Governing Board; is concerned that the adoption of the Code of Conduct corresponding to staff members and other actors, including experts, was still pending at the time of the audit; points out that the Joint Undertaking did not develop a database to record conflicts of interest, incompatibilities, declarations and related documents;

26. Observes with concern that the obligation to publish CVs and Declaration of Interests is not applicable to staff members and experts; calls upon the Joint Undertaking to also extend this obligation to staff members and experts; urges the Joint Undertaking to provide a track record of all the resolved conflict of interest cases until the end of September 2015;

27. Requests the Joint Undertaking to adopt comprehensive policies for the management of conflict of interest situations such as divestment of the interest by the public official, recusal of the public official from involvement in an affected decision-making process, restriction of access by the affected public official to particular information, rearrangement of the public official's duties or resignation of the public official from their office until the end of September 2015;

28. Recalls that the discharge authority has previously requested the Court to draw up a special report on the capacity of the joint undertakings, together with their private partners, to ensure added value and efficient execution of Union research, technological development and demonstration programmes;

29. Believes, where appropriate, that links between the Joint Undertaking and the SESAR Joint Undertaking should be strengthened, invites the Commission to work with both Joint Undertakings in order to improve the communication and reinforce synergies and complementarities, ensuring at the same time that there is no risk of overlapping between the activities of the two joint undertakings in question.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

23.3.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

6

0

Members present for the final vote

Nedzhmi Ali, Inés Ayala Sender, Ryszard Czarnecki, Dennis de Jong, Tamás Deutsch, Martina Dlabajová, Ingeborg Gräßle, Rina Ronja Kari, Bernd Kölmel, Bogusław Liberadzki, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Monica Macovei, Fulvio Martusciello, Dan Nica, Georgi Pirinski, Petri Sarvamaa, Claudia Schmidt, Igor Šoltes, Bart Staes, Michael Theurer, Marco Valli, Derek Vaughan, Anders Primdahl Vistisen, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes present for the final vote

Caterina Chinnici, Iris Hoffmann, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Andrey Novakov, Julia Pitera, Miroslav Poche

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Laura Ferrara

(1)

OJ C 452, 16.12.2014, p. 17.

(2)

OJ C 452, 16.12.2014, p. 18.

(3)

OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(4)

OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(5)

OJ L 30, 4.2.2008, p. 1.

(6)

OJ L 169, 7.6.2014, p. 77.

(7)

OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(8)

OJ L 38, 7.2.2014, p. 2.

(9)

OJ C 452, 16.12.2014, p. 17.

(10)

OJ C 452, 16.12.2014, p. 18.

(11)

OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(12)

OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(13)

OJ L 30, 4.2.2008, p. 1.

(14)

OJ L 169, 7.6.2014, p. 77.

(15)

OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(16)

OJ L 38, 7.2.2014, p. 2.

(17)

Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities (OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p.72).

(18)

OJ L 412, 30.12.2006, p.1;

(19)

OJ L 163, 29.5.2014, p. 21.

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