Procedure : 2018/2180(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0136/2019

Texts tabled :

A8-0136/2019

Debates :

PV 26/03/2019 - 12
CRE 26/03/2019 - 12

Votes :

PV 26/03/2019 - 13.43

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2019)0284

REPORT     
PDF 185kWORD 61k
1.3.2019
PE 626.812v02-00 A8-0136/2019

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) for the financial year 2017

(2018/2180(DEC))

Committee on Budgetary Control

Rapporteur: Petri Sarvamaa

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 European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2017

(2018/2180(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2017,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2017, together with the Agency’s reply(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 2017, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 12 February 2019 on discharge to be given to the Agency in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2017 (05825/2019 – C8‑0070/2019),

–  having regard to Article 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(3), and in particular Article 208 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012(4), and in particular Article 70 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 of 15 February 2007 establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights(5), and in particular Article 21 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(6), and in particular Article 108 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 and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0136/2019),

1.  Grants the Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency’s budget for the financial year 2017;

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 Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 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 European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2017

(2018/2180(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2017,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2017, together with the Agency’s reply(7),

–  having regard to the statement of assurance(8) 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 2017, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 12 February 2019 on discharge to be given to the Agency in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2017 (05825/2019 – C8‑0070/2019),

–  having regard to Article 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(9), and in particular Article 208 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012(10), and in particular Article 70 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 of 15 February 2007 establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights(11), and in particular Article 21 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(12), and in particular Article 108 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 and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0136/2019),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2017;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 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 of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2017

(2018/2180(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2017,

–  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 opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0136/2019),

A.  whereas, according to its statement of revenue and expenditure(13), the final budget of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (‘the Agency’) for the financial year 2017 was EUR 22 852 250, representing an increase of 5,78 % compared with 2016; whereas the Agency’s budget derives almost exclusively from the Union budget;

B.  whereas the Court of Auditors (‘the Court’), in its report on the annual accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2017 (“the Court's report”), has stated that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the Agency’s annual accounts are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular;

Budget and financial management

1.  Notes with appreciation that budget monitoring efforts during the financial year 2017 resulted in a budget implementation rate of 100 %, the same rate as in 2016; notes with concern that the payment appropriations execution rate was low at 72,11 %, representing a slight decrease of 1,1 % compared with the previous year;

Cancellation of carry-overs

2.  Notes that the cancellations of carry-overs from 2016 to 2017 amounted to EUR 117 566, representing 2,05 % of the total amount carried over, representing a decrease of 1,22 % in comparison to 2016;

Performance

3.  Notes with satisfaction that the Agency uses 31 key performance indicators (KPIs) as part of its Performance Measurement Framework to assess the results and impact of its activities, and five additional KPIs to enhance its budget management;

4.  Welcomes the Agency’s cooperation with other agencies, notably the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training and the European Asylum Support Office, in order to achieve common policy objectives;

5.  Encourages the Agency to intensify its co-operation with international organisations, such as the Council of Europe and the United Nations, in order to find and use synergies, whenever possible;

6.  Notes that the Agency’s second external evaluation took place in 2017; notes with satisfaction that the results are positive overall; notes the recommendations put forward to the Commission by the Agency’s Management Board;

7.  Notes that the Commission requested the Agency for the first time to evaluate the fundamental rights impact of a Union law instrument; acknowledges furthermore that the Agency developed a training module for national authorities in order to promote compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;

8.  Highlights the value of the Agency’s studies and opinions for the development of Union legislation; stresses that the Agency should be able to offer opinions on legislative proposals on its own initiative and that its remit should extend to all areas of rights protected under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, including issues of judicial and police cooperation in criminal matters; regrets that the Agency's current mandate limits its possibilities to undertake actions and studies in certain thematic areas; recommends the inclusion of those thematic areas in the new multiannual financial framework;

9.  Welcomes the fact that the Agency continued its research on the situation of minorities in the Union in the context of the Second European Union minorities and discrimination survey; in this regard, especially welcomes the publication of the latest thematic report on the discrimination faced by people of African descent in the Union; welcomes, furthermore, the publication of the study on the transition from education to employment of young Roma;

10.  Welcomes the Agency’s continuous work on doing research on the situation of Roma in the Union, thereby contributing to monitoring the efficiency and shortcomings of the inclusion strategies and related policies of the Union and its Member States; especially welcomes the research-based policy recommendations of the Agency concerning the successful fight against anti-Gypsyism and the fight for the social inclusion of Roma;

11.  Welcomes the commitment of the Agency on children’s rights, which has been continued with the studies carried out on the minimum age requirements for participation in criminal and civil proceedings across the Union, on the age assessment and fingerprinting of children in asylum proceedings and on child poverty in the Union.

Staff policy

12.  Notes that, on 31 December 2017, the establishment plan was 97,22 % executed, with 70 temporary agents appointed out of 72 temporary agents authorised under the Union budget (compared with 74 authorised posts in 2016); notes that, in addition, 30 contract agents and 8 seconded national experts worked for the Agency in 2017;

13.  Notes that the Agency has adopted a policy on protecting the dignity of the person and preventing harassment; acknowledges that it offers confidential counselling as well as training sessions; notes that two allegations of inappropriate behaviour were investigated in 2017 and closed in 2018;

Procurement

14.  Regrets that this led to additional administrative overhead for the Agency and although it affected the timing of its operations it did not cause any delay to the implementation period of projects; notes that measures have been taken by the Agency to mitigate risks of unsuccessful tender procedures in the future; notes the request for additional funding of the Agency but points out that budgetary constraints should not lead to unsuccessful public procurement procedures; asks therefore the Agency to conduct appropriate market research before launching call for tenders for studies and to continue to improve the efficiency of its public procurement procedures;

15.  Notes that, according to the Court’s report, by the end of 2017, the Agency had not yet introduced all of the tools launched by the Commission aimed to introduce a single solution for the electronic exchange and storage of information with third parties participating in public procurement procedures (e-procurement); notes that, according to the Agency, it already has some of the tools in place and that it is in the process of introducing the remaining tools by the beginning of 2019; calls on the Agency to report to the discharge authority on the implementation of all the necessary tools;

Prevention and management of conflicts of interests and transparency

16.  Acknowledges the Agency’s existing measures and ongoing efforts to secure transparency, prevention and management of conflicts of interest, and whistleblower protection; notes that, according to the Agency, it assessed and mitigated a number of potential and perceived conflicts of interest in 2017, with none resulting in actual conflicts;

17.  Notes that, according to the Court’s report, there is a need to strengthen the accounting officer’s independence by making him directly responsible to the Agency’s Director and Management Board; welcomes the fact that such reorganisation is expected to be implemented by the end of 2018; calls on the Agency to report to the discharge authority on the implementation of the reorganisation;

18.  Notes that, during recent years, two legal proceedings were brought against the Agency concerning allegations of irregular recruitment decisions; notes that the General Court of the European Union dismissed both cases and ordered the applicants to pay the costs; notes the allegations in the press of potential conflict of interest relating to the use of the consulting services of a former stand-by temporary judge of the Civil Service Tribunal; calls on the Agency to report to the discharge authority on measures taken to mitigate any risks of potential conflict of interest;

Internal controls

19.  Notes that in 2017 the Commission’s Internal Audit Service carried out an audit on governance and ethics in the Agency, and that an external evaluation of the Agency’s performance in the 2013-2017 period was carried out on behalf of the Commission; acknowledges that the Agency prepared action plans to address any areas for improvement;

20.  Welcomes the closure of the 2016 recommendation of the Court regarding the improvement of the Formal (sub-) delegations process for authorising officers;

Other comments

21.  Notes the Agency’s efforts to ensure a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly working place; points out, however, that the Agency does not have additional specific measures in place to reduce or offset CO2 emissions;

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22.  Refers, for other observations of a cross-cutting nature accompanying its decision on discharge, to its resolution of …2019(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

17.1.2019

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 Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2017

(2018/2180(DEC))

Rapporteur for opinion: Romeo Franz

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 Court of Auditors' conclusions that the annual accounts of the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) (“the Agency”) present fairly its financial position on 31 December 2017 and that its transactions are legal and regular; welcomes the solid output of the Agency; further welcomes its pro-active approach towards the European Parliament;

2.  Welcomes the decision of the Agency to strengthen the independence of its Accounting Officer by changing its reporting lines as of the end of 2018 to the Director of the Agency for administrative matters and to the Management Board for functional aspects;

3.  Welcomes the closure of the 2016 recommendation of the Court of Auditors regarding the improvement of the Formal (sub-) delegations process for authorising officers;

4.  Welcomes the commitment of the Agency to address the recommendations identified by the Commission’s Internal Audit Service in its 2017 audit report on “Governance and ethics in the Agency”; notes as well the willingness of the Agency to address the recommendations identified as part of the external evaluation of “FRA performance in the period 2013-2017” that was also conducted in 2017 on behalf of the Commission;

5.  Acknowledges the complex nature of the studies undertaken by the Agency, covering the law and practice of 28 Member States and observes that in this context, at least three open calls for tenders for procuring studies were unsuccessful because offers received exceeded the defined maximum contract value (due to unrealistic market estimations); regrets that this led to additional administrative overhead for the Agency and although it affected the timing of its operations it did not cause any delay to the implementation period of projects; notes that measures have been taken by the Agency to mitigate risks of unsuccessful tender procedures in the future; notes the request for additional funding of the Agency but points out that budgetary constraints should not lead to unsuccessful public procurement procedures; asks therefore the Agency to conduct appropriate market research before launching call for tenders for studies and to continue to improve the efficiency of its public procurement procedures;

6.  Highlights the value of the Agency’s studies and opinions for the development of Union legislation; stresses that the Agency should be able to offer opinions on legislative proposals on its own initiative and that its remit should extend to all areas of rights protected under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, including issues of judicial and police cooperation in criminal matters; regrets that the Agency's current mandate limits its possibilities to undertake actions and studies in certain thematic areas; recommends the inclusion of those thematic areas in the new multiannual financial framework;

7.  Welcomes the fact that the Agency continued its research on the situation of minorities in the Union in the context of the Second European Union minorities and discrimination survey; in this regard, especially welcomes the publication of the latest thematic report on the discrimination faced by people of African descent in the Union; welcomes, furthermore, the publication of the study on the transition from education to employment of young Roma;

8.  Welcomes the Agency’s continuous work on doing research on the situation of Roma in the Union, thereby contributing to monitoring the efficiency and shortcomings of the inclusion strategies and related policies of the Union and its Member States; especially welcomes the research-based policy recommendations of the Agency concerning the successful fight against anti-Gypsyism and the fight for the social inclusion of Roma;

9.  Calls for a specific budget item allocated to activities supporting visibility of and general awareness about the Agency; calls on the Agency to be more proactive in this regard by publishing information about its annual activities;

10.  Welcomes the commitment of the Agency on children’s rights, which has been continued with the studies carried out on the minimum age requirements for participation in criminal and civil proceedings across the Union, on the age assessment and fingerprinting of children in asylum proceedings and on child poverty in the Union.

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

10.1.2019

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

42

3

1

Members present for the final vote

Asim Ademov, Martina Anderson, Heinz K. Becker, Monika Beňová, Michał Boni, Caterina Chinnici, Rachida Dati, Frank Engel, Laura Ferrara, Romeo Franz, Ana Gomes, Nathalie Griesbeck, Sylvie Guillaume, Monika Hohlmeier, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Monica Macovei, Roberta Metsola, Claude Moraes, Ivari Padar, Judith Sargentini, Birgit Sippel, Csaba Sógor, Helga Stevens, Traian Ungureanu, Bodil Valero, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Udo Voigt, Josef Weidenholzer, Cecilia Wikström, Kristina Winberg, Tomáš Zdechovský, Auke Zijlstra

Substitutes present for the final vote

Dennis de Jong, Anna Hedh, Lívia Járóka, Marek Jurek, Jean Lambert, Jeroen Lenaers, Andrejs Mamikins, Angelika Mlinar, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Christine Revault d’Allonnes Bonnefoy

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

Norbert Erdős, Fernando Ruas, Adam Szejnfeld

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

42

+

ALDE

Nathalie Griesbeck, Sophia in 't Veld, Angelika Mlinar, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Cecilia Wikström

ECR

Marek Jurek, Monica Macovei, Helga Stevens

GUE/NGL

Martina Anderson, Dennis de Jong, Marie-Christine Vergiat

PPE

Asim Ademov, Heinz K. Becker, Michał Boni, Rachida Dati, Frank Engel, Norbert Erdős, Monika Hohlmeier, Lívia Járóka, Jeroen Lenaers, Roberta Metsola, Fernando Ruas, Csaba Sógor, Adam Szejnfeld, Traian Ungureanu, Tomáš Zdechovský

S&D

Monika Beňová, Caterina Chinnici, Ana Gomes, Sylvie Guillaume, Anna Hedh, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Andrejs Mamikins, Claude Moraes, Ivari Padar, Christine Revault d'Allonnes Bonnefoy, Birgit Sippel, Josef Weidenholzer

VERTS/ALE

Romeo Franz, Jean Lambert, Judith Sargentini, Bodil Valero

3

-

ECR

Kristina Winberg

ENF

Auke Zijlstra

NI

Udo Voigt

1

0

EFDD

Laura Ferrara

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

20.2.2019

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

18

1

1

Members present for the final vote

Nedzhmi Ali, Inés Ayala Sender, Zigmantas Balčytis, Dennis de Jong, Tamás Deutsch, Martina Dlabajová, Ingeborg Gräßle, Jean-François Jalkh, Wolf Klinz, Monica Macovei, Georgi Pirinski, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Petri Sarvamaa, Claudia Schmidt, Bart Staes, Marco Valli, Derek Vaughan, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes present for the final vote

Karin Kadenbach

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

Petra Kammerevert

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

18

+

ALDE

Nedzhmi Ali, Martina Dlabajová, Wolf Klinz

ECR

Monica Macovei

GUE/NGL

Dennis de Jong

PPE

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

S&D

Inés Ayala Sender, Zigmantas Balčytis, Karin Kadenbach, Petra Kammerevert, Georgi Pirinski, Derek Vaughan

VERTS/ALE

Bart Staes

1

-

ENF

Jean-François Jalkh

1

0

EFDD

Marco Valli

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

(1)

OJ C 434, 30.11.2018, p. 169

(2)

OJ C 434, 30.11.2018, p. 169

(3)

OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(4)

OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.

(5)

OJ L 53, 22.2.2007, p. 1.

(6)

OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(7)

OJ C 434, 30.11.2018, p. 169

(8)

OJ C 434, 30.11.2018, p. 169

(9)

OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(10)

OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.

(11)

OJ L 53, 22.2.2007, p. 1.

(12)

OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(13)

OJ C 116/04, 28.03.2018, p.17

(14)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0000.

Last updated: 12 March 2019Legal notice