Procedure : 2014/2082(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0114/2015

Texts tabled :

A8-0114/2015

Debates :

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

Votes :

PV 29/04/2015 - 10.17
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0126

REPORT     
PDF 149kWORD 70k
31.3.2015
PE 539.745v02-00 A8-0114/2015

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013, Section VI – European Economic and Social Committee

(2014/2082(DEC))

Committee on Budgetary Control

Rapporteur: Ryszard Czarnecki

AMENDMENTS
1. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

1. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013, Section VI – European Economic and Social Committee

(2014/2082(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013(1),

–       having regard to the consolidated annual accounts of the European Union for the financial year 2013 (COM(2014)0510 – C8‑0151-2014)(2),

–       having regard to the Court of Auditors’ annual report on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2013, together with the institutions’ replies(3),

–       having regard to the statement of assurance(4) 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 Article 314(10) and Articles 317, 318 and 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(5),

–       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(6), and in particular Articles 55, 99, 164, 165 and 166 thereof,

–       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 (A8-0114/2015),

1.   Grants the Secretary-General of the European Economic and Social Committee discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Economic and Social Committee 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 European Council, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Court of Auditors, the European Ombudsman, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European External Action Service, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

2. MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

with observations forming an integral part of the decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013, Section VI – European Economic and Social Committee

(2014/2082(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to its decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013, Section VI – European Economic and Social Committee,

–       having regard to the Decision of the European Ombudsman of 26 February 2015 closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/1/2014/PMC concerning whistle-blowing,

–       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 (A8-0114/2015),

1.   Welcomes the fact that on the basis of its audit work, the Court of Auditors concluded that the payments as a whole for the year ended on 31 December 2013 for administrative and other expenditure of the institutions and bodies were free from material error;

2.   Notes with satisfaction that in its 2013 annual report, the Court of Auditors observed that no significant weaknesses had been identified in respect of the audited topics related to the human resources and the procurement for the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC);

3.   Notes that in 2013 the EESC budget amounted to EUR 130 104 400 (EUR 128 816 588 in 2012), with a utilisation rate of 94,1 %; regrets the decrease of the utilisation rate in 2013 when compared to the 96,8 % in 2012;

4.   Stresses, however, that the EESC budget is purely administrative, with a large amount being used on expenditure concerning persons working within the institution and the remaining amount relating to buildings, furniture, equipment and miscellaneous running costs; takes note of the EESC explanation for the utilisation rate decrease being due to precautionary measures;

5.   Points out that the reasons behind the unexpected ruling on salary adjustment are no longer of application following the agreement on the new Staff Regulation in 2014;

6.   Notes the rise by 1 % in the 2013 budget compared to the previous annual budget; supports the EESC's efforts to limit the budgets of the coming years, thereby ensuring a flat rate increase;

7.   Takes note of the follow-up observations to Parliament's 2012 discharge resolution attached to the EESC annual activity report; reiterates its call to be informed about the detailed spending review and the results of that exercise;

8.   Welcomes the EESC’s intention to plan its work more efficiently within the legislative process, without necessarily increasing the number of opinions, placing an emphasis instead on the quality of its opinions;

9.   Takes note that the EESC has implemented the new reimbursement rules of members' travel expenses based on real costs, as recommended by Parliament; recalls that the system should be fully operational in the autumn of 2015 when the next EESC term begins;

10. Takes note of the cooperation between the EESC and Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control, in particular in relation to the discharge exercise;

11. Notes that the use of external translation has decreased to 2,9 % in 2013, compared with 4,5 % in 2012; finds, however, that the productivity of the internal translation service has also decreased;

12. Notes with concern that translation costs vary enormously from one Union institution to another; asks consequently that the Interinstitutional Working Group on Translation determine the causes of these disparities and put forward solutions with a view to ending the inequality and harmonising translation costs, without in any way impairing quality and linguistic diversity; notes, with this in mind, that the working group should relaunch interinstitutional collaboration in order to share best practices and outcomes and determine those areas in which interinstitutional cooperation or agreements could be strengthened; notes that the working group should also aim to establish a unified methodology, common to all the institutions, for the presentation of translation costs in order to simplify cost analysis and comparison; notes that the working group should present the results of this work before the end of 2015; calls on all the institutions to play an active part in the proceedings of the Interinstitutional Working Group; points to the fundamental importance of preserving multilingualism in the Union institutions in order to ensure that all Union citizens can enjoy equal treatment and equal opportunities;

13. Takes note of the Cooperation Agreement between the EESC, the Committee of the Regions and Parliament, which was eventually signed on 5 February 2014 and has led, first of all, to the transfer of a large number of committee staff to the new European Parliamentary Research Service ; expects that the agreement will evolve in a balanced way, benefit all three institutions equally, and contribute positively to the further rationalisation of resources; calls on each of the institutions, at the end of the first year of their collaboration, to make an individual assessment of the impact that the agreement is having in terms both of human resources and of expenditure, synergies, added value, and substantive quality;

14. Calls on the EESC to include an overview of staff holding management positions sorted by nationality, sex and position in the annual activity report;

15. Expresses concern at the shortage of women holding senior EESC posts (61 % – 39 %); calls for an equal opportunities plan to be set in motion, particularly as regards management positions, with the aim of correcting this imbalance as quickly as possible;

16. Recommends that the EESC continues to develop a regular screening of the budgetary savings resulting from the implementation of the new administrative cooperation agreement with the Committee of the Regions; requests detailed information on the results of this cooperation;

17. Notes that the next mid-term review of that cooperation agreement will be the appropriate moment to evaluate the agreement and correct any shortcomings identified;

18. Requests detailed information on the results of the mid-term review and expects that this evaluation will also include a joint assessment of the budgetary savings resulting from the cooperation;

19. Takes note of the still-limited use of videoconferencing tools; acknowledges that measures are being put in place to extend its use; asks to be informed about the progress achieved on this matter;

20. Considers positive the decrease of the unused rate of interpretation services requested from 7,6 % in 2012 to 5,1 % in 2013; emphasises, however, that this rate is still high and calls for a further reduction in interpretation costs;

21. Considers that at a time of crisis and budget cuts in general, the cost of staff ‘away days’ at the Union institutions has to be lowered and that these events should take place, wherever possible, on the institutions’ own premises, as the resulting added value does not justify such high spending;

22. Is concerned that several major events scheduled to take place during the year 2013 were cancelled or postponed; calls on the EESC to better plan and rationalise the organisation of in-house events;

23. Takes note of the information provided on the new insurance contract which entered into force on 1 July 2012, covering the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change delegates;

24. Deplores the European Civil Service Tribunal judgment published on 22 May 2014 condemning the EESC for breaching the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union when dismissing one of its staff members in 2013; also deplores the ruling handed down on 8 October 2014 in Case T-530/12 P, M. B. G. v EESC, in which the General Court found against the EESC in connection with the reporting of irregularities concerning the former Secretary-General by the head of the EESC Legal Service; calls on the EESC and its new Secretary-General to take the steps required to prevent further serious breaches of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, to inform the EESC Bureau, the members, and the entire staff about the content of the two judgments, and to draw their attention to the fact that officials and other staff covered by the Staff Regulations have an obligation to report irregularities and that the EESC Bureau is an appropriate body to receive such reports; also asks to be informed about the total legal expenses incurred in the last five years in staff cases ultimately dealt with in the courts or by the Ombudsman;

25. Is concerned by the delayed adoption of the internal whistle-blowing rules; calls on the EESC to implement these without further delay;

26. Notes that the internal audit service is composed of a staff of three; notes that extended sick leave significantly reduced the available workforce in 2013; calls on the EESC to reinforce the internal audit service and to expand the scope of audit investigations;

27. Calls on the EESC to include in its annual activity reports, in compliance with the existing rules on confidentiality and data protection, the results and consequences of closed European Anti-Fraud Office cases, where the institution or any of the individuals working for it were the subject of the investigation;

28. Demands that the EESC’s building policy be attached to its annual activity report, especially given that it is important that the costs of such a policy are properly rationalised and that such costs are not excessive;

29. Points to the need to raise the EESC’s profile by stepping up the necessary information and communication policy.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

23.3.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

24

4

0

Members present for the final vote

Nedzhmi Ali, Inés Ayala Sender, Zigmantas Balčytis, Ryszard Czarnecki, Dennis de Jong, Tamás Deutsch, Martina Dlabajová, Ingeborg Gräßle, Rina Ronja Kari, 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, Andrey Novakov

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

Laura Ferrara

(1)

OJ L 66, 8.3.2013.

(2)

OJ C 403, 13.11.2014, p. 1.

(3)

OJ C 398, 12.11.2014, p. 1.

(4)

OJ C 403, 13.11.2014, p. 128.

(5)

OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(6)

OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

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