Procedure : 2016/2155(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0151/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0151/2017

Debates :

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

Votes :

PV 27/04/2017 - 5.18
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0149

REPORT     
PDF 369kWORD 64k
3.4.2017
PE 593.841v02-00 A8-0151/2017

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2015, Section V – Court of Auditors

(2016/2155(DEC))

Committee on Budgetary Control

Rapporteur: Benedek Jávor

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 2015, Section V – Court of Auditors

(2016/2155(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2015(1),

–  having regard to the consolidated annual accounts of the European Union for the financial year 2015 (COM(2016)0475 – C8‑0273/2016)(2),

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ annual report on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2015, 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 2015, 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 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(5), and in particular Articles 55, 99, 164, 165 and 166 thereof,

–  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 (A8-0151/2017),

1.  Grants the Secretary-General of the Court of Auditors discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Court of Auditors for the financial year 2015;

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 Court of Auditors, the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, 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 2015, Section V – Court of Auditors

(2016/2155(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 2015, Section V – Court of Auditors,

–  having regard to the Special Report No 15/2012 of the European Court of Auditors: “Management of conflict of interest in selected EU Agencies”,

–  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 (A8-0151/2017),

A.  whereas in the context of the discharge procedure, the discharge authority stresses the particular importance of further strengthening the democratic legitimacy of the Union institutions by improving transparency and accountability, implementing the concept of performance-based budgeting (PBB) and good governance of human resources,

1.  Appreciates the cooperation between the Court of Auditors (the “Court”) and Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control and welcomes regular feedback based on Parliament’s demands; welcomes the recent practice that allows Parliament to present its suggestions to the Court for its annual work programme; calls for an even more structured annual debate between the Court’s president and Parliament’s Conference of Committee Chairs;

2.  Notes that the Court’s annual accounts are audited by an independent external auditor in order to apply the same principles of transparency and accountability that the auditor applies to its auditees; takes note of the auditor’s opinion that the Court’s financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial position of the Court;

3.  Notes that in 2015, the Court’s final appropriations amounted to a total of EUR 132 906 000 (compared to EUR 133 498 000 in 2014) and that the overall rate of implementation for the budget was 98,68 %; emphasises that the implementation rate was less than in 2014 (98,8 %);

4.  Stresses that the Court’s budget is purely administrative, with a large amount being used for expenditure concerning persons working within the institution; stresses, however, that introducing PBB should not apply only to the institution’s budget as a whole but should also include the setting of specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based (SMART) targets to individual departments, units and staffs’ annual plans; in this respect welcomes the Court’s implementation of the PBB principle in its daily operations;

5.  Reminds the Court that, according to the Common Approach (paragraph 54), the audit of the decentralised agencies remains “under the full responsibility of the Court, which manages all administrative and procurement procedures required” ; encourages the Court to put forward proposals to resolve the audit of the agencies issue within the context of the ongoing revision of the Financial Regulation, and the subsequent revision of the Framework Financial Regulation; considers that this matter should be clarified so as to reduce any excessive administrative burden on the decentralised agencies, without impairing the necessity and effectiveness of the Court’s work;

6.  Notes that the Court’s reform was implemented in 2015 and was considered to be a success by the Court; looks forward to receiving a mid-term assessment of the Court’s 2013 to 2017 strategy, including an analysis of the achievements of the main objectives of the reform;

7.  Welcomes the Union’s added value approach of the Court in its reports; calls for further work with the other institutions of the Union to develop the performance indicators and priorities for a good financial governance;

8.  Notes that the revision of Article 163 of the Financial Regulation provides that “special reports are drawn up and adopted within [...] 13 months”; observes that this time frame was not complied with in 2015; urges the Court to comply with that time-limit without compromising the quality of the reports; in that regard, encourages the Court to improve the recommendations in its special reports to be even more targeted;

9.  Takes the view that the special reports of the Court should be given more prominence by the recipient institutions and should include annual, dedicated reports; emphasises that the effectiveness of separate special reports could be enlarged if they were grouped together in time in relation to specific policy areas, thus making it possible for Parliament to devote ad hoc reports to those special reports of the Court outside the discharge cycle;

10.  Deplores that the Court has failed, to date, to present a special report on conflicts of interests in all agencies, in particular in those related to industries, despite the reiterated requests made by Parliament in its discharge reports since 2012; urges the Court to produce and publish a first special report on conflicts of interests by the end of June 2017 and annually thereafter; considers the production of annual reports on conflicts of interests by the Court to be vital for the integrity of the Union institutions, given the outmost importance of the relationship between the European agencies in the industry field, the industries and the lobbying companies;

11.  Observes that the Court complies with the inter-institutional agreement to reduce staff by 5 % over a period of five years; asks to be informed, by June 2017, about how that reduction matches the new recruitments made by the Court in 2015 and of the percentage of the 2015 new recruitments;

12.  Regrets that within the members of the Court there was a gender imbalance of five women compared to 23 men in 2015 and that the number of the underrepresented gender went down to three in 2016; regrets, furthermore, that the Court has an ongoing gender imbalance in senior and middle management posts (30,4 % / 69,6 %); calls on the Court to promote gender balance, in particular in management posts; calls, furthermore, on the Court to report back to the discharge authority on the measures taken and on the results achieved in that regard, without undermining its mission;

13.  Emphasises that geographical balance, namely the relationship between staff nationality and the size of Member States, must remain an important element of resources management, particularly with respect to the Member States that have acceded the Union in 2004 or thereafter; welcomes the fact that the Court has reached an overall balanced composition of officials from the Member States which joined the Union before 2004 and from the Member States which joined it in 2004 or thereafter; points out, nevertheless, that the Member States which joined the Union in 2004 or thereafter remain underrepresented at the higher level of administration and in managerial posts, for which progress is still needed;

14.  Is concerned about the high number of days of sick leave among the staff; calls on the Court to target its well-being activities to ensure the well-being of its staff, in order to better perform its core mission;

15.  Notes the method used by the Court to calculate staff sick leave; is of the opinion that that method is not appropriate to effectively calculate absences for sickness; calls on the Court to apply a calculation system based on working days of absence per individual employee, as practiced by other institutions;

16.  Notes that the Court organised five away days, mainly in preparation of the reform of the Court, with a low proportion of staff members participating (only 107); calls on the Court to target its well-being activities better in order to include proactive and positive human resources’ development, with the participation of as many staff members as possible;

17.  Notes the Court’s reinforced ethical framework to prevent conflicts of interest, as well as misconduct by staff and members; calls on the Court to report to Parliament on the revision of its internal anti-harassment rules;

18.  Urges the Court to enact the submission of declarations of interests, instead of declarations of the absence of conflicts of interests, as self-evaluation of conflicts of interests is a conflict of interests in itself; considers that the evaluation of a situation of conflicts of interests must be done by a third independent party; asks the Court to report by June 2017 on the changes introduced and to indicate who is checking the situations of conflicts of interests; reiterates that integrity and transparency are key elements to the public trust; calls on the Court to establish clear rules regarding "revolving doors" and to put in place measures and dissuasive sanctions, such as the reduction of pensions or the prohibition to work at least three years in similar bodies, to prevent "revolving doors";

19.  Reminds the Court that the Union’s decentralised agencies must adopt codes of good administrative behaviour and be encouraged to use the transparency register as a reference instrument for their interaction with the relevant representatives;

20.  Calls on the Court to be party to the inter-institutional agreement on a mandatory transparency register;

21.  Welcomes the creation of a transparency portal on the Court’s website as well as the fact that the Court has already in place rules on whistleblowing; recommends that the Court disseminate those rules among its staff so that all employees are aware of them; asks the Court to provide, by June 2017, details on whistleblower cases in 2015, if any, and on how they were handled and resolved;

22.  Note that in 2015 the Court owned three buildings, K1, K2 and K3; asks the Court to include the planning for the upgrade works of those buildings in its annual activity report and to ensure the implementation of the highest possible standards of energy efficiency during the upgrades;

23.  Notes the summary of the Court’s building policy included in its annual activity report and calls for more detailed information on this matter to be provided in the future;

24.  Notes the increased volume of translation work in 2015, which was almost 3 % more than in 2014; notes that under the Court’s reform, the structure of the translation directorate was optimised; calls on the Court to clarify how that directorate improved its work;

25.  Notes the negotiations between the Court and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to consider the possibility of an administrative arrangement; calls on the Court to report on the progress in negotiations on that matter;

26.  Reiterates its calls on the Court to include in its annual activity reports, in compliance with the existing rules on confidentiality and data protection, the results and consequences of closed OLAF cases, where the Court or any member of its staff were the subject of the investigation;

27.  Notes the internal auditor service recommendation to consider a more rational use of the Court’s official vehicles; invites the Court to address this matter in cooperation with the Court of Justice of the European Union and to inform Parliament of the actions taken to rationalise the management of the fleet;

28.  Welcomes the Court’s efforts and the achievements in lowering its environment footprint; notes that the Court launched the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) project in 2013, which aims to obtain the EMAS certification by the end of 2016; welcomes the fact that, on 13 November 2015, the Court adopted an environmental policy formalising its participation in a high-quality environmental management initiative; expresses concern for the delay of the EMAS certification;

29.  Stresses the importance of widening cooperation with European universities for the creation of specialised courses on European auditing; calls on the Court to keep Parliament informed of the developments and of the results of that future enlarged cooperation;

30.  Calls on the Court to envisage the possibility of making recommendations on better communication about the budget of the Union, its functions and its mission, and on how better explain it to European citizens.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

22.3.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

3

0

Members present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Dennis de Jong, Tamás Deutsch, Martina Dlabajová, Luke Ming Flanagan, Ingeborg Gräßle, Jean-François Jalkh, Bogusław Liberadzki, Notis Marias, Georgi Pirinski, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Petri Sarvamaa, Claudia Schmidt, Bart Staes, Hannu Takkula, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes present for the final vote

Richard Ashworth, Benedek Jávor, Karin Kadenbach, Markus Pieper, Patricija Šulin

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

Raymond Finch, Jens Geier, Arne Lietz, Piernicola Pedicini

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

22

+

ALDE

Martina Dlabajová, Hannu Takkula

ECR

Richard Ashworth

EFDD

Piernicola Pedicini

GUE/NGL

Luke Ming Flanagan, Dennis de Jong

PPE

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

S&D

Inés Ayala Sender, Jens Geier, Karin Kadenbach, Bogusław Liberadzki, Arne Lietz, Georgi Pirinski,

Verts/ALE

Benedek Jávor, Bart Staes

3

-

ECR

Notis Marias

EFDD

Raymond Finch

ENF

Jean-François Jalkh

0

0

 

 

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

(1)

OJ L 69, 13.3.2015.

(2)

OJ C 380, 14.10.2016,, p. 1.  

(3)

OJ C 375, 13.10.2016, p. 1.

(4)

OJ C 380, 14.10.2016, p. 147.

(5)

OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

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