Procedure : 2016/2206(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0149/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0149/2017

Debates :

PV 26/04/2017 - 19
CRE 26/04/2017 - 19

Votes :

PV 27/04/2017 - 5.24

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0155

REPORT     
PDF 519kWORD 78k
31.3.2017
PE 593.896v03-00 A8-0149/2017

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Union agencies for the financial year 2015: performance, financial management and control

(2016/2206(DEC))

Committee on Budgetary Control

Rapporteur: Inés Ayala Sender

AMENDMENTS
1. MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

1. MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Union agencies for the financial year 2015: performance, financial management and control

(2016/2206(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its decisions on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Union agencies for the financial year 2015,

–  having regard to the Commission’s report on the follow-up to the discharge for the 2014 financial year (COM(2016)0674), and to the accompanying Commission staff working documents (SWD(2016)0338 and SWD(2016)0339),

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ specific annual reports(1) on the annual accounts of the decentralised agencies for the financial year 2015,

–  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(2), and in particular Article 208 thereof,

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1271/2013 of 30 September 2013 on the framework financial regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 208 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(3), and in particular Article 110 thereof,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ special report No 12/2016 on the “Agencies’ use of grants: not always appropriate or demonstrably effective”,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinions of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0149/2017),

A.  whereas this resolution contains, for each body within the meaning of Article 208 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012, cross-cutting observations accompanying the discharge decisions in accordance with Article 110 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1271/2013 and Article 3 of Annex IV to Parliament’s Rules of Procedure,

B.  whereas in the context of the discharge procedure, Parliament stresses the special importance of further strengthening the democratic legitimacy of the institutions of the Union by improving transparency and accountability, implementing the concept of performance-based budgeting and good governance of human resources;

1.  Emphasises that the agencies have significant influence on policy and decision-making and programme implementation in areas of vital importance to European citizens, such as health, the environment, human and social rights, migration, refugees, innovation, financial supervision, safety and security; reiterates the importance of the tasks performed by agencies and their direct impact on the daily lives of Union citizens; insists on the essential role that agencies have in enhancing the visibility of the Union in the Member States; reiterates also the importance of the autonomy of the agencies, in particular of the regulatory agencies and those with the function of independent information collection; recalls that the main reason for establishing agencies was for the purpose of making independent technical or scientific assessments;

2.  Notes from the Court of Auditors’ (the “Court”) summary of results from its 2015 annual audits of the Union agencies and other bodies (the “Court’s summary”) that the agencies’ 2015 budget amounted to some EUR 2,8 billion, representing an increase of about 7,7 % compared to 2014 and about 2 % of the Union’s general budget; points out that the major part of the agencies’ budget is funded through Commission subsidies, whereas the rest is income from fees or other sources which amount to almost one-third;

3.  Takes note that the agencies employ 9 965 permanent, temporary, contract or seconded staff representing a noticeable increase of 6,25 % compared with the previous year, thus creating a need to monitor closely developments in this regard; understands, however that the number of staff increased the most in agencies dealing with migration matters and the prevention of serious crime and terrorism, both of which were renewed and strengthened as priorities of the Union in 2015;

4.  Notes from the Court’s summary that it issued an unqualified opinion on the annual accounts of all agencies except for the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex); notes in addition that the transactions underlying the agencies’ accounts were legal and regular for all agencies except for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology for which the Court has issued a qualified opinion;

5.  Acknowledges that in 2015 the agencies proceeded with executing their work programmes as envisaged; notes however that the ongoing discussions regarding the revision of the Financial Regulation and the future multi-annual financial framework post-2020 present a valuable opportunity to take a forward look and to exploit these opportunities to implement positive change regarding the management of the agencies’ budgets, deliverables and their multiannual work programmes;

6.  Recalls that the discussion of the draft annual work programmes and the multiannual strategies of the agencies in the committees responsible should help to ensure that the programmes and strategies are balanced, reflect the actual political priorities and contribute to achieving the goals set in the Europe 2020 strategy;

7.  Notes with satisfaction that some agencies already cooperate according to their thematic grouping, such as the justice and home affairs agencies(4) and the European supervisory authorities(5) ; encourages other agencies which have not already started, to cooperate further with other agencies within the same thematic grouping whenever possible, not only in establishing shared services and synergies, but in their common policy areas as well; encourages the Court to consider presenting landscape reviews of the agencies’ common policy areas; calls on the Commission and the Council when deciding on the relocation of the agencies based in the United Kingdom also to take into account the possibilities to better cooperate with other agencies in the same thematic grouping and introduce shared services;

8.  Believes that within the framework of the discussions on the new approach for a Union budget based on results, as well as on the basis of both the progress achieved in improving thematic cooperation and the exercise undertaken by the agencies in the report “How do EU agencies and other bodies contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy and to the Juncker Commission Agenda?”, all the Union institutions involved, namely the Commission, the Parliament and the Court, should also take this thematic approach into account in the annual discharge procedure, following the draft proposal in Annex 1;

9.  Notes with concern that Union regulatory agencies in charge of the risk assessment of regulated products, in particular the European Food Safety Authority, the European Chemicals Agency or the European Medicines Agency do not have the financial and legal resources to fulfil their mission properly;

Common approach and the Commission’s Roadmap

10.  Recalls that in July 2012, Parliament, the Council and the Commission adopted a common approach on decentralised agencies(6) (the “Common Approach”), a political agreement concerning the future management and reform of the agencies; recalls in addition that the Common Approach was implemented through the Commission’s Roadmap of December 2012 (the “Roadmap”);

11.  Notes the second progress report on the implementation of the Common Approach and appreciates the progress made in many areas towards rationalising their functioning; welcomes the Commission’s and the agencies’ efforts and progress made in the implementation of the roadmap;

12.  Notes that most of the Roadmap actions implemented by the agencies helped to improve their accountability and transparency, which further demonstrates the considerable efforts taken by the agencies to implement the Common Approach, despite the pressure in terms of resources, and shows that agencies are responsible, accountable and transparent; notes in addition, as the EU Agencies Network (“the Network”) has observed, that the implementation of the actions foreseen in the Common Approach is effectively complete;

13.  Is concerned however that the implementation of the actions had in addition a generally negative impact on the agencies’ efficiency, as well as that in certain areas the implementation resulted in significant increases in costs, both in terms of human and financial resources; notes moreover that these increased costs were experienced during the implementation of the actions, but will also continue on an ongoing basis in the future;

14.  Acknowledges the administrative burden that the implementation of the Roadmap has caused to the agencies, as well as the “outsourcing” of several tasks related to collecting and consolidating agencies’ data and input to the Network, in particular with regard to the budgetary and discharge procedure; calls on the Commission and the budgetary authority to recognise these efforts; calls on the Network to provide an analytical study to assess whether the support currently provided by the existing permanent secretariat is sufficient for meeting the agencies' needs;

15.  Notes that in the context of the implementation of new mechanisms to improve reporting procedures, the previous reporting mechanisms should be discontinued to avoid duplication of tasks and double reporting systems in order to achieve greater efficiency;

16.  Believes that the agencies should continue to develop, in close cooperation with the Commission, the Parliament and the Court, comprehensive indicators that measure the overall results and efficiency of their activities; notes that the overall objective should be a balanced number of indicators that enhance agencies’ transparency and accountability and support decisions of the budgetary authority on budget and staff allocation;

Budget and financial management

17.  Recalls that the principle of annuality is one of the three basic accounting principles, together with unity and balance, which are indispensable to ensuring the efficient implementation of the Union budget; takes note from the Court’s summary that an elevated level of carry-overs of committed appropriations remains the most frequent issue of the budgetary and financial management affecting 32 agencies, compared with 28 in 2014; notes moreover from the Court that it continued to report on these matters following its internally defined threshold for the different titles of the agencies’ budget;

18.  Notes, however, that carry-overs may often be partly or fully justified by the multiannual nature of the agencies’ operational programmes and do not necessarily indicate weaknesses in budget planning and implementation, nor are they always at odds with the budgetary principle of annuality; notes the fact that the carry-overs resulting from these operational programmes are in many cases planned in advance by the agencies and communicated to the Court, which facilitates the explicit distinction between planned and unplanned carry-overs;

19.  Points out that the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) agreed, in principle, on a transparent distinction between “planned” and “unplanned” carry-overs which has been followed by Eurofound for many years; encourages the Network, the agencies and the Court to explore whether the procedure for the distinction of planned and unplanned carry-overs and their transparent communications could be established, until such time as the matter is included in the Financial Regulation;

20.  Highlights that the level of carry-over cancellations is indicative of the extent to which the agencies have correctly anticipated their financial needs and is a better indicator of good budgetary planning than the level of carry-overs;

21.  Stresses therefore the need to establish clear definitions of “planned and communicated” carry-overs in order to streamline the Court’s reporting on this issue, as well as to enable the discharge authority to discern between the carry-overs indicating poor budgetary planning, and the carry-overs as a budgetary tool which support multiannual programmes as well as procurement planning;

22.  Demands in this regard to include the definition of “planned and communicated” carry-overs together with other necessary guidelines in the next revision of the Financial Regulation and the Framework Financial Regulation; invites the Commission, the Court and the Network to discuss and to propose possible solutions to this issue, in order to streamline in particular the financial management in the areas of multiannual programming and procurement;

23.  Observes that the audited budgetary implementation reports of certain agencies differ from the level of detail provided by most other agencies, which demonstrates the urgency for clear guidelines on the agencies’ budget reporting; acknowledges that the agencies with the different reporting have outsourced the role of accounting officer to the accounting officer of the Commission, as well as that the different level of detail was based on the practices of the Commission's reporting; supports the Commission's intention on establishing guidelines for the agencies' budgetary reporting for the 2016 accounts; calls on the Network and the Commission to report to the discharge authority on future developments regarding this issue;

24.  Notes that the agencies generally award and pay grants in compliance with rules; invites the agencies to improve their grant management and to focus on measuring the effectiveness of the grants awarded;

25.  Urges all agencies to each formulate a comprehensive business continuity plan addressing the connected risks of budgeting and business volatility that could arise as a result of unexpected and serious events or circumstances;

26.  Welcomes the Court's findings and recommendations in its special report No 12/2016 on the agencies' use of grants;

Cooperation among agencies and with other institutions – shared services and synergies

27.  Highlights the benefits of sharing services, which enable consistent application of administrative implementing rules and procedures that concern human resources and finance issues, as well as the potential efficiency gains of sharing services between the agencies, in particular when considering the budget and staff reductions that the agencies are facing;

28.  Notes with concern that some agencies continue to have dual operational and administrative headquarters; regards it as essential that all dual headquarters which do not offer any operational added value should be done away with at the earliest opportunity;

29.  Acknowledges the Network’s observation that with the aim of guaranteeing efficiency gains in terms of financial and human resources, the agencies worked to avoid duplication and make information sound, accurate and easily accessible; notes with satisfaction that these efforts resulted in an online shared services catalogue in which all the agencies within the Network are expected to participate, either by offering and proposing new services or by requesting services through the centralised platform, and in which, as of January 2017, 21 agencies offer a total of 184 services to be shared, including the exchange of documentation and participation in expert fora;

30.  Acknowledges furthermore that the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Fisheries Control Agency signed a “proof of concept” pilot project that could serve to explore the viability of EUIPO to provide IT disaster recovery services at a very low price to other agencies within the Network; agrees that such a scheme can bring not only benefits in terms of better ICT services and lower operational costs, but also a stronger Network and an increased ICT maturity; calls on the Network to report to the discharge authority on further developments regarding this pilot project;

31.  Observes that the European Food Safety Authority, on behalf of 20 agencies, launched a joint open call for tenders in order to select a “Cloud Service Brokerage” provider; notes with satisfaction that the contract, awarded in September 2016, could according to European Food Safety Authority provide an overall financial saving of EUR 2,5 million to the agencies;

32.  Acknowledges that the Network is currently developing a new tool on joint procurement, which is included within the shared services area in the “EU Agencies’ Extranet”; notes with satisfaction that this tool would serve and support several agencies, thus creating an additional lever for sharing a common external service provider, with subsequent resources savings and volume effect;

33.  Emphasises the importance of cooperation and exchange of ideas and practices between the agencies within the framework of the Union agencies performance development network, which contributes to more balanced governance and greater coherence between them; stresses that the network must contribute to greater efficiency and not create additional costs and more bureaucracy;

34.  Welcomes the increasing systematisation in cooperation between the European Training Foundation and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, creating further synergies in their respective mandates through their joint annual work programme, in particular through the development of a common Riga Monitoring Framework and their collaboration with the International Labour Organization on finalising work on six methodological guides on skills anticipation and matching tools and methods;

Human resources management

35.  Recalls that paragraph 27 of the inter-institutional agreement(7) calls for a progressive reduction of staff by 5 % in all institutions, bodies and agencies to be effected between 2013 and 2017; welcomes the fact that most agencies have already met or exceeded the 5 % reduction based on their respective 2012 establishment plans;

36.  Notes with concern that the Commission applied an additional levy of 5 % of staff to the agencies in order to create a redeployment pool from which it would allocate the posts to the agencies with new tasks entrusted to them or in a start-up phase; is particularly concerned that with the additional staff reduction, fulfilment of the agencies’ mandates and annual work programmes proves increasingly difficult, particularly for the agencies classified by the Commission as “cruising speed agencies”; calls on the Commission and the budgetary authority to ensure that potential further cost saving measures do not hinder agencies´ abilities to fulfil their mandates effectively; notes that there are many instances where the agencies' capacity to fulfil their responsibilities has been compromised, such as European Food Safety Authority’s ability to ensure food safety, or Eurofound's capacity to take on new tasks relating to migrants and refugees;

37.  Emphasises that geographical balance, namely the relationship between staff nationality and the size of Member States, should still remain an important element of resources management particularly with respect to the Member States that have acceded to the Union since 2004, welcomes the fact that the agencies of the Union have reached a more balanced composition of officials from the Member States which joined the Union before and since 2004; but points out that these Member States are still underrepresented at the higher level of administration and in managerial posts for which progress is still awaited;

38.  Is convinced that the agencies’ staff financed by fees paid by industry, and consequently not financed by the Union budget, should not be, in principle, affected by the additional staff reduction above the 5 % as requested by the inter-institutional agreement; urges the Commission and the budgetary authority to treat the agencies financed primarily by the Union budget as a separate case and to put forward a specific framework for agencies financed mainly by industry, which should be in proportion to the services provided by the agency concerned;

39.  Notes that by implementing projects and programmes funded by the Union agencies play a direct role in job creation across the Union; notes, furthermore, that jobs are created by the Union's various funding programmes in several very different ways, including the use of incentives such as payment of bonuses, resulting in significant disparity in the quality of jobs created by the Union; urges the Commission to undertake a thorough and comprehensive evaluation of the impact of funds, programmes and projects financed through the Union budget on direct job creation; asks the Commission to publish such an evaluation as soon as possible and to present it to the Parliament;

40.  Acknowledges the efforts taken aboard to establish the equal presentation of both genders among the staff and members of the agencies' management; urges those agencies whose staff records still show an unsatisfactory gender balance for this imbalance to be further corrected and the results communicated back to the discharge authority as quickly as possible;

Conflicts of interest and transparency

41.  Notes from the Network that all agencies already adopted generic rules on whistleblowing as part of the ethics guidelines on whistleblowing and in accordance with the provisions of the staff regulations; notes with concern however, that only 65 % of the agencies adopted additional internal rules on whistleblowing; acknowledges the Network’s observation that, in the cases where the relevant rules are not yet in place, the process is ongoing, with adoption of such rules pending; notes that in several cases, the agencies are waiting for guidance or input from the Commission before they can finalise their rules; acknowledges moreover that the rules should be finalised and implemented in the first half of 2017; calls on the agencies which have still not adopted the internal whistleblowing rules to do so without delay and by doing so reinforce their internal whistleblowing policies in order to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in the workplace, regularly inform and train employees on their duties and rights, ensure protection of the whistleblower from reprisal, follow up the substance of whistleblowers' alerts in a timely manner keeping both the whistleblower and any potentially involved person informed of the progress of the procedure, and put in place a channel for anonymous internal reporting; calls on the agencies to report back annually to the discharge authority on the number of whistleblower cases and their follow-up activities; calls on the agencies and equally on the Commission to provide the necessary guidance and approval where required;

42.  Notes that out of the 16 agencies which use expert groups, scientific panels and committees, 13 took into account into their staffing policies the concerns raised by the Ombudsman’s own-initiative inquiry OI/6/2014/NF concerning the composition of the Commission expert groups; encourages the remaining agencies to take the Ombudsman’s concerns into account as soon as possible;

43.  Takes note that the CVs and declarations of interests of the management board members, management staff and in house experts were published by 84 % of the agencies, compared with 74 % in the previous year; notes moreover that 60 % of the agencies check the factual correctness of the given declarations of interests of experts, management board and staff at least once a year; calls on all the agencies to adopt strict guidelines for a coherent policy on the prevention and management of conflicts of interest and to implement this in accordance with the Roadmap on the follow-up to the Common Approach; calls on the remaining agencies which have not yet introduced such a policy to regularly verify the declarations on a regular basis to ensure necessary public oversight and scrutiny of management;

44.  Welcomes the efforts of agencies to maximise transparency with the publication of declarations of interest and CVs on their websites; notes, however, that in several cases, some of these documents are missing; recalls however that the agencies lack the appropriate provisions in their founding regulations to make such document provision obligatory; expects therefore that any revision of the concerned agencies' founding regulations will stipulate a mandatory declaration of interest and CV from each board member; calls also on the Commission to take advantage of the ongoing revision of the Financial Regulation to similarly address this issue as far as possible;

45.  Calls on the agencies, in this regard, to take further actions towards more transparent management; stresses that constant and efficient internal monitoring is essential for the tracking and detecting of possible conflicts of interest;

46.  Notes that the agencies have shown a commitment towards preventing, detecting and deterring fraud or any other irregularity and taking the appropriate actions in the event of their occurrence; notes with satisfaction that the Network established an anti-fraud working group of the Inter-Agency Legal Network, with the aim to enhance harmonised and standardised approaches for anti-fraud strategies among the Agencies; acknowledges the Network’s observation that the majority of agencies indicated an increase of awareness of anti-fraud prevention; acknowledges moreover that in order to facilitate and share best practices, speakers from the European Anti-Fraud Office and/or the Court have been regularly invited to the aforementioned Inter-Agency Legal Network working group, as to present their institutional point of view as well as to provide support and raise awareness of the agencies in matters relating to fraud;

47.  Emphasises that all agencies should have controls and guidance in place with regard to legal costs relating to judicial proceedings in which an agency was or is a party; encourages the agencies to share best practices on this matter;

48  Calls on the agencies to develop common guidelines for applying public access to documents, especially as regards intellectual property rights;

49.  Encourages the agencies to further strengthen their visibility and to continue to develop various communication channels that would present their work and activities to wide public;

50.  In several agencies the members of the management board and the executives published a declaration of absence of conflict of interest instead of a declaration of interest; underlines that it is not for the management board or for the executives to declare themselves free of conflicts of interest; stresses that this constitutes in itself a conflict of interest; calls for an independent verification of the declarations of interest;

Communication and visibility

51.  Takes note that the agencies are actively promoting their work through various channels, in particular by regularly updating their websites to provide information and promote the work delivered; notes in addition that social media is increasingly becoming a standard communication tool for the agencies; observes that open-days, targeted campaigns and videos explaining the core work of agencies are some of the activities used in educating the citizens and providing them with opportunities to learn more about the work of the agencies and the Union institutions; acknowledges that the general or specialised media relations activities are regularly measured through different indicators, and that each agency has its communication plan with specific activities tailored for its needs;

Other comments

52.  Reiterates its position from the 2013 and 2014 discharge procedures that, according to the agreement of the Parliament, the Council and the Commission in paragraph 54 of the Common Approach, all aspects of outsourced external audits “remain under the full responsibility of the Court, which manages all administrative and procurement procedures required”; reiterates moreover that the new audit approach involving private sector auditors has resulted in a significant increase in the administrative burden on the agencies, as well as that the time spent on procurement and administration of audit contracts created additional expenditure thus straining further the diminishing resources of the agencies; expresses its concern at the possible conflicts of interests in cases where such private auditors or their respective companies also take on audit or consultancy work for the private sector companies with clear business interests with the Union agencies; emphasises that it is imperative to resolve this issue within the context of the ongoing revision of the Financial Regulation and the subsequent revision of the Framework Financial Regulation; calls on all parties involved in these revisions to provide clarity on this issue as a matter of urgency so as to significantly reduce the excessive administrative burden and to return to the preferred approach of a public audit scheme;

53.  Notes from the Court’s summary that the referendum vote of the citizens of the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the Union, which took place on 23 June 2016 and after balance sheet date, is noted in an “Other matter” paragraph in the annual reports of the European Banking Authority and of the European Medicines Agency, which are both located in London, along with other Union premises in the UK such as the Union information offices; takes note that this paragraph clarifies that the accounts and related notes of the two agencies were prepared using the information available at the date of signing of their accounts when the result of UK citizens’ vote were not yet known and the formal notification of the triggering of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union has not been presented; refers, for observations relating to the specific implications for the European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency on this matter, to its resolution of [resolution on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Banking Authority for the financial year 2015 (XXXX XXXX 2017)] and [resolution on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2015 (XXXX XXXX 2017)];

54.  Notes the simultaneous publication of proposals to revise the respective regulations establishing the Union’s three tripartite agencies in accordance with the principles set out in the Joint Statement of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on decentralised agencies of 19 July 2012 ; underlines the importance of preserving and improving the current full tripartite governance of those agencies ensuring active participation of national authorities, European employers’ organisations and European workers’ organisations in their governance and functioning; recalls that staffing cuts have been implemented and reiterates its concern that further cuts could limit the agencies' ability to carry out their mandates;

55.  Notes the ongoing evaluation and fitness check of the four Union agencies under the remit of Directorate-General for Employement, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) which was due to start in December 2016 and with a planned completion date in December 2017(8); takes the view that these evaluations should contribute to Parliament’s informed decisions regarding the effectiveness and impact of agencies' contributions; also stresses the need to exploit synergies in overlapping activities of the four agencies, as well as between the agencies and the Commission itself and to avoid duplication of work.

56.  Welcomes the solid output and flexibility of all agencies in the area of freedom, security and justice; welcomes their flexibility to adapt to evolving political priorities and to respond to unforeseen events; regrets, however, the lack of effective indicators reflecting the impact of their work on internal security, migration, border management and of fundamental rights development; welcomes the efforts made by several agencies to improve their budgetary management by optimising the use of their budgets and by implementing a better budgetary planning process;

57.  Welcomes the commitment of all justice and home affairs agencies to further fine-tune budgetary procedures but stresses, however, that their priority should be to improve operational efficiency on the ground and to address the structural issues identified by the Court and the Internal Audit Service;

58.  Acknowledges the high number of agencies which have been set up in the area of freedom, security and justice but reiterates the importance of the missions which they carry out and their direct impact on citizens' lives; stresses that all agencies have been set up in response to a specific needs; is convinced that all the agencies in this policy area fulfil a distinct and necessary role providing European added value;

59.  Requests that all justice and home affairs agencies identify financial, resource or other bottlenecks hindering their operational performance and to call for adjustments in a timely manner.

0

0  0

60.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the agencies subject to this discharge procedure, the Council, the Commission and the Court, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

ANNEX 1: DRAFT PROPOSAL FOR GROUPING OF AGENCIES FOR EP DISCHARGE

STANDING COMMITTEES

 

EU AGENCIES

ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS

EBA; EIOPA; ESMA

 

EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS

CdT; EU-OSHA; Eurofound; Cedefop, ETF

ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FOOD SAFETY

EEA; EFSA; ECDC; ECHA; EMA

 

INDUSTRY, RESEARCH AND ENERGY

EIT, ACER; BEREC; ENISA; EURATOM; GSA

 

TRANSPORT AND TOURISM

EASA; EMSA; ERA;

FISHERIES

EFCA

CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

Eurojust, FRA, Frontex, EASO; EMCDDA; CEPOL, eu-LISA; Europol

WOMEN´S RIGHTS AND GENDER EQUALITY

EIGE

2.2.2017

OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

for the Committee on Budgetary Control

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Union agencies for the financial year 2015: performance, financial management and control

(2016/2206(DEC))

Rapporteur: Marian Harkin

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on Budgetary Control, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Notes the simultaneous publication of proposals to revise the respective regulations establishing the Union’s three tripartite agencies in accordance with the principles set out in the Joint Statement of the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission on decentralised agencies of 19 July 2012 ; underlines the importance of preserving and improving the current full tripartite governance of those agencies ensuring active participation of national authorities, European employers’ organisations and European workers’ organisations in their governance and functioning; recalls that staffing cuts have been implemented and reiterates its concern that further cuts could limit the agencies' ability to carry out their mandates;

2.  Recalls that the discussion of the draft annual work programmes and the multiannual strategies of the agencies in the committees responsible should help to ensure that the programmes and strategies are balanced, reflect the actual political priorities and contribute to achieving the goals set in the Europe 2020 strategy;

3.  Emphasises the cooperation and exchange of ideas and practices between the agencies within the framework of the Union agencies performance development network, which contributes to more balanced governance and greater coherence between them; stresses that the network must contribute to greater efficiency and not create additional costs and more bureaucracy;

4.  Welcomes the increasing systematisation in cooperation between the European Training Foundation and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, creating further synergies in their respective mandates through their joint annual work programme, in particular through the development of a common Riga Monitoring Framework and their collaboration with the International Labour Organization on finalising work on six methodological guides on skills anticipation and matching tools and methods;

5.  Notes the second progress report on the implementation of the Common Approach on EU decentralised agencies(9) and appreciates the progress made in many areas towards rationalising their functioning; welcomes the Commission’s and the agencies’ efforts and progress made in the implementation of the roadmap;

6.  Notes the ongoing evaluation and fitness check of the four Union agencies under the remit of DG EMPL which was due to start in December 2016 and with a planned completion date in December 2017(10); takes the view that these evaluations should contribute to Parliament’s informed decisions regarding the effectiveness and impact of agencies' contributions; also stresses the need to exploit synergies in overlapping activities of the four agencies, as well as between the agencies and the Commission itself and to avoid duplication of work.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

25.1.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

43

8

0

Members present for the final vote

Laura Agea, Brando Benifei, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Enrique Calvet Chambon, Ole Christensen, Martina Dlabajová, Lampros Fountoulis, Arne Gericke, Marian Harkin, Czesław Hoc, Agnes Jongerius, Rina Ronja Kari, Jan Keller, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Jean Lambert, Jérôme Lavrilleux, Patrick Le Hyaric, Jeroen Lenaers, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Javi López, Thomas Mann, Dominique Martin, Joëlle Mélin, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, João Pimenta Lopes, Georgi Pirinski, Terry Reintke, Sofia Ribeiro, Robert Rochefort, Claude Rolin, Anne Sander, Sven Schulze, Siôn Simon, Jutta Steinruck, Romana Tomc, Yana Toom, Ulrike Trebesius, Marita Ulvskog, Renate Weber, Jana Žitňanská

Substitutes present for the final vote

Georges Bach, Heinz K. Becker, Lynn Boylan, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Paloma López Bermejo, Edouard Martin, Evelyn Regner, Csaba Sógor, Helga Stevens, Flavio Zanonato

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

Marco Valli

15.2.2017

OPINION of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

for the Committee on Budgetary Control

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Union agencies for the financial year 2015: performance, financial management and control

(2016/2206(DEC))

Rapporteur: Petr Ježek

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs calls on the Committee on Budgetary Control, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the Courts of Auditor’s conclusions that the final annual accounts of all agencies in the area of justice and home affairs (JHA Agencies) present fairly, in all material respects, their financial position on 31 December 2015 and that their transactions are legal and regular;

2.  Welcomes the solid output and flexibility of all agencies in the area of freedom, security and justice; welcomes their flexibility to adapt to evolving political priorities and to respond to unforeseen events; regrets, however, the lack of effective indicators reflecting the impact of their work on internal security, migration, border management and of fundamental rights development; welcomes the efforts made by several agencies to improve their budgetary management by optimizing the use of their budgets and by implementing a better budgetary planning process;

3.  In several agencies the members of the Management Board and the Executives published "declaration of absence of conflict of interest" instead of "declaration of interest"; underlines that it is not for the Management Board or for the Executives to declare themselves out of the conflict of interest; stresses that this constitutes in itself a conflict of interest; calls for an independent verification of the "declarations of interest"; reiterates that transparency is key to mitigating the risks of conflicts of interest; deplores the fact that not all agencies have established clear rules regarding the protection of whistle-blowers and "revolving doors" and urges them to put in place such rules as a matter of urgency;

4.  Regrets, however, that some agencies do not mind the principle of annuity as one of the three basic accounting principles; calls on the agencies to improve the budget planning against activities and reduce the carry overs;

5.  Deplores that the Court of Auditors failed to present since 2012 a special report on the conflict of interest in all agencies, in particular in those related to industries; urges the Court of Auditors to undertake the effective verifications of this matter and to produce such special reports on conflict of interests until the end of June 2017;

6.  Welcomes the commitment of all JHA Agencies to further fine-tune budgetary procedures but stresses, however, that their priority should be to improve operational efficiency on the ground and to address the rather structural issues identified by the Court of Auditors and the Internal Audit Service (IAS);

7.  Acknowledges the high number of agencies which have been set up in the area of freedom, security and justice but reiterates the importance of the missions which they carry out and their direct impact on citizens' lives; stresses that all agencies have been set up in response to a specific needs; is convinced that all the agencies in this policy area fulfil a distinct and necessary role providing European added value;

8.  Requests that all JHA Agencies identify financial, resource or other bottlenecks hindering their operational performance and to call for adjustments in a timely manner.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

9.2.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

39

2

4

Members present for the final vote

Heinz K. Becker, Michał Boni, Caterina Chinnici, Agustín Díaz de Mera García Consuegra, Tanja Fajon, Kinga Gál, Ana Gomes, Nathalie Griesbeck, Sylvie Guillaume, Jussi Halla-aho, Monika Hohlmeier, Eva Joly, Dietmar Köster, Barbara Kudrycka, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Marju Lauristin, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Monica Macovei, Roberta Metsola, Péter Niedermüller, Soraya Post, Judith Sargentini, Birgit Sippel, Branislav Škripek, Csaba Sógor, Sergei Stanishev, Helga Stevens, Traian Ungureanu, Bodil Valero, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Udo Voigt, Josef Weidenholzer, Kristina Winberg, Tomáš Zdechovský

Substitutes present for the final vote

Petr Ježek, Jeroen Lenaers, Nadine Morano, Morten Helveg Petersen, Emil Radev, Barbara Spinelli, Anders Primdahl Vistisen, Axel Voss

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

Lara Comi, Josu Juaristi Abaunz, Georg Mayer

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

22.3.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

2

2

Members present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Dennis de Jong, Martina Dlabajová, Luke Ming Flanagan, Ingeborg Gräßle, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Jean-François Jalkh, Bogusław Liberadzki, Monica Macovei, Notis Marias, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Petri Sarvamaa, Claudia Schmidt, Bart Staes, Hannu Takkula, Derek Vaughan, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes present for the final vote

Richard Ashworth, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Benedek Jávor, Karin Kadenbach, Patricija Šulin

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

Jens Geier, Piernicola Pedicini

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

20

+

ALDE

ECR

GUE/NGL

PPE

S&D

VERTS/ALE

Martina Dlabajová, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Hannu Takkula

Monica Macovei

Luke Ming Flanagan, Dennis de Jong

Ingeborg Gräßle, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Petri Sarvamaa, Claudia Schmidt, Joachim Zeller, Patricija Šulin

Inés Ayala Sender, Jens Geier, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Karin Kadenbach, Bogusław Liberadzki, Derek Vaughan

Benedek Jávor, Bart Staes

2

-

ECR

ENF

Notis Marias

Jean-François Jalkh

2

0

ECR

EFDD

Richard Ashworth

Piernicola Pedicini

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

(1)

OJ C 449, 1.12.2016.

(2)

OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(3)

OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(4)

European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), European Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA), European Asylum Support Office (EASO), European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), European Police College (CEPOL), European Police Office (Europol), European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), The European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust)

(5)

European Banking Authority (EBA), European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)

(6)

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=COM:2015:179:FIN&from=EN

(7)

Interinstitutional agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management (OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1).

(8)

http://ec.europa.eu/smart-regulation/roadmaps/docs/2016_empl_020_evaluation_agencies_en.pdf

(9)

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=COM:2015:179:FIN&from=EN

(10)

http://ec.europa.eu/smart-regulation/roadmaps/docs/2016_empl_020_evaluation_agencies_en.pdf

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