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Procédure : 2017/2177(DEC)
Cycle de vie en séance
Cycle relatif au document : A8-0299/2018

Textes déposés :

A8-0299/2018

Débats :

PV 23/10/2018 - 20
CRE 23/10/2018 - 20

Votes :

PV 24/10/2018 - 11.7
CRE 24/10/2018 - 11.7
Explications de votes

Textes adoptés :

P8_TA(2018)0406

Débats
Mardi 23 octobre 2018 - Strasbourg Edition révisée

20. Décharge 2016: Bureau européen d'appui en matière d'asile (EASO) (débat)
Vidéo des interventions
PV
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  El presidente. – El punto siguiente en el orden del día es el debate sobre el segundo informe de Bart Staes, en nombre de la Comisión de Control Presupuestario, sobre la aprobación de la gestión en la ejecución del presupuesto de la Oficina Europea de Apoyo al Asilo para el ejercicio 2016 (COM(2017)0365 - C8-0288/2017 - 2017/2177(DEC)) (A8-0299/2018).

 
  
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  Bart Staes, Rapporteur. – Dank u, Voorzitter. Collega's, commissaris, we hebben in april de kwijting voor EASO uitgesteld, en ik denk dat we daar goed aan deden. We hadden daar ook voldoende redenen voor. Er waren opmerkingen vanuit de Rekenkamer, er was een begin van een OLAF-onderzoek, er was klokkenluidersinformatie, en de toenmalige uitvoerend directeur van EASO minimaliseerde alle zaken. De houding van het Europees Parlement was verstandig, want de weigering tot kwijting leidde tot actie. Gedurende die hele tijd stond ik in nauw contact met de verantwoordelijken van DG Home en ik had ook een aantal gesprekken met commissaris Avramopoulos.

Ik durf hier eerlijk getuigen dat DG Home de zaak in handen nam. Er werd druk gezet op de toenmalige uitvoerend directeur: die nam in juni ontslag. De Commissie besliste tot een snelle aanstelling van een nieuwe directeur, een nieuwe uitvoerend directeur ad interim, Jamil Addou. Ik heb mijnheer Addou ontmoet begin juli. We hebben hem gehoord in een gesloten zitting in de Commissie begrotingscontrole en ik was onder de indruk van zijn snel en daadkrachtig optreden. Het is duidelijk dat de nieuwe leiding binnen EASO lessen heeft getrokken uit het verleden. Het is duidelijk dat DG Home de zaak nu op de voet volgt. Er worden lessen getrokken uit de fouten van het verleden. Het is duidelijk dat er binnen EASO te veel macht was in de handen van één persoon. Er waren onvoldoende checks-and-balances. De Commissie handelt nu preventief, want ze vaardigt in de bestaande beheerraad bij iedere vergadering een directeur-generaal of een adjunct-directeur-generaal van DG Home af om erop toe te zien dat preventief de zaken juist beslist worden. Er is een betere aansturing en op 17 september keurde de beheerraad een actieplan goed van 16 bladzijden. Er zijn nu logische beslissingsmechanismen, voorspelbare beslissingsmechanismen en voorspelbare beslissingslijnen. Dat is een positief politiek signaal, en het is net daarom dat ik voorstel kwijting te verlenen aan de nieuwe uitvoerend directeur ad interim.

Ik moet toegeven: de eindresultaten van het OLAF-verslag zijn nog niet beschikbaar. Daarom dring ik er ook bij OLAF op aan de werkzaamheden intensief voort te zetten en snel met conclusies en aanbevelingen te komen, zodat alle ongeregeldheden op tafel liggen, dat er aanbevelingen zijn, dat er conclusies zijn, dat ook dát kan worden opgeruimd.

Ik wil hier vanavond een oproep doen aan alle collega's, zowel ter linker- als ter rechterzijde. Laten we in dit dossier geen partijpolitieke spelletjes spelen. Laten we niet discussiëren in het luchtledige. EASO is een belangrijk agentschap. EASO moet kunnen werken. EASO wordt straks omgevormd tot een nog krachtiger agentschap, met meer middelen, met meer personeel. Laat EASO werken met het huidige personeel dat nu vertrouwen heeft in de nieuwe uitvoerend directeur ad interim. Laten we erkennen dat het vertrouwen hersteld is. Laten we dat honoreren door kwijting te verlenen aan de nieuwe leiding. Aan de heer Sarvamaa wil ik zeggen dat het inderdaad niet zo is dat alles nu peis en vree is en dat alle ongeregeldheden opgelost zijn, maar het politiek signaal is dat de Commissie, dat DG Home, dat de nieuwe directeur het heft in handen hebben genomen. Laten we dat honoreren. Laten we ervoor zorgen dat EASO inderdaad verder kan op de nieuwe weg die het is ingeslagen.

 
  
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  Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, I am glad that we have to discuss this important issue tonight, and my thanks to our rapporteur, Bart Staes. I am counting on an open and frank discussion because we share the same concerns and goals in dealing with this issue and making sure it will not be repeated.

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has a key role at the core of our migration policy. It has been supporting and continues to support Member State asylum systems in processing an increasing number of asylum applications and providing assistance to asylum seekers and refugees.

 

The EASO ensures an important part of the workload on the ground: it currently deploys more than 274 people directly to support the Greek and Italian asylum services. To ensure the convergence of the national asylum systems, EASO has developed standards for reception conditions, to be applied across Europe. All Member States can benefit from its expertise, for instance from its reports on the situation in countries of origin, in the assessment of asylum applications.

The Commission made a proposal, in 2016, to transform the EASO into a fully-fledged European Asylum Agency. To ensure that the EASO will be able to continue effectively facing the increasing migratory challenges and building on the agreement reached between the co-legislators last September, we have proposed that it be further strengthened to make sure it can provide Member States with all the technical support they may need.

Both proposals reinforce the governance of the agency. The importance of the work of this agency is one of the reasons why the Commission takes the matter of its governance, and the past issues, very seriously. We want to make sure that measures are implemented immediately to improve the agency’s management and prevent something like this from happening again.

We want to leave this story behind and concentrate on reinforcing the agency and ensuring the efficiency of its work. That is why, when the first alleged irregularities were reported to the Commission, a number of mitigating and precautionary measures were immediately taken to improve oversight of the agency, including through reinforced and rigorous monitoring and control of the former Executive Director.

Several of these measures were initiated by the Commission itself, with support from the Chair of the Board. The rapporteur, Mr Staes, has rightly highlighted some points. But it should also be clear to everyone that the EASO is a decentralised and independent agency of the Union. It is governed by a Management Board composed of Member States’ representatives. The Commission has only two members sitting on that board. The agency’s Executive Director is appointed by the Management Board and is accountable for his actions to the Management Board, as well as to the European Parliament and the Council when his actions relate to the use of EU funds. It is therefore primarily the responsibility of the agency to remedy any shortcomings identified.

As I said, the Commission is closely and continuously following the situation in the EASO and it supports the ongoing efforts to improve the agency’s governance and functioning. We are paying special attention to procedures in the areas of recruitment, procurement, budget and audits, and to the internal governance framework.

To this end, the Commission is closely following the implementation of the interim Executive Director’s detailed Governance Action Plan that enumerates 53 detailed corrective measures to restore trust, reinforce the internal governance framework and rebuild the internal capacity of the agency.

I would like to express my thanks to Parliament for welcoming the actions implemented so far, in its second report on the 2016 EASO discharge, which we are discussing tonight. In addition, let me stress that the Commission takes equally seriously the 2017 Annual Report of the European Court of Auditors, as well as the recommendations of the Commission’s Internal Audit Service and any upcoming report from OLAF.

We are monitoring the implementation by the EASO of these recommendations, and we will continue to do so. The Commission is counting, first and foremost, on the EASO management to take all the necessary measures to ensure the proper functioning of the agency, and it stands ready to provide its support and expertise.

 
  
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  Petri Sarvamaa, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, I have to say that, having dealt with the agency’s discharge for several years now, this one is a really tricky one and I’ll tell you why. Usually, I don’t want to mix different discharge years with each other – we should be dealing only with the discharge year that we are dealing with – but, in this case, we have a situation which is a little complicated.

I respect the rapporteur’s creativity to get us all off this unpleasant hook, but I have to say, quite honestly – and noting also what Commissioner Avramopoulos said – that the Commission had rather limited ways and chances of really knowing what was going on, but that means that Parliament’s role in this one is exceptionally important and that is why we should not make a compromise. Most of the problems and irregular activities were related to the actions of the previous management and now some people are mixing up whether we are discharging the person or the institution, but even looking at it both ways, it is the same outcome.

We should not discharge an agency for actions that were taken in 2016 when, as a matter of fact, the European Court of Auditors is telling us that the situation got even worse after that in 2017. So how are we going to deal with the 2017 discharge if we give them discharge now? This is why I honestly think that, in this case, it is a little different. We should look at 2016 and 2017. Also we don’t have the report from OLAF yet so we are blindfoldedly giving discharge if we give one tomorrow. That’s why I am asking all of you to reconsider this once more.

 
  
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  Claude Moraes, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, my thanks to the Commissioner, and Mr Sarvamaa knows very well that I respect very much his position in the Committee on Budgetary Control and his work on these matters. For the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) however, you will not be surprised to hear that we very much agree with Mr Staes and I thank him for his report, because this was a very difficult situation.

Can I just say for the Commissioner, for the Commission and for Members like Mr Staes, that it is when we have difficulties with such sensitive and important agencies that we see Parliament acting at its best, when we have such tough situations. For the LIBE Committee, we have just had a very experienced delegation, very experienced, and an experienced rapporteur, Mr Niedermüller, coming back. These are people who are highly independently minded, who have investigated thoroughly for our Committee and taken their responsibilities seriously.

They believe the improvements Mr Staes has mentioned have indeed been made – sorry, Mr President, I am just over-running slightly, if you’ll allow me – they believe these improvements have been made as the Commissioner has underlined how important EASO is at this very sensitive moment relating not just to its activities – Italy and Greece – but to other files and other important developments.

So I return to what Mr Staes has said. He is satisfied that the key improvements have been made. Mr Sarvamaa is right, there were improvements that needed to be made. For the LIBE Committee, we have spent some considerable time on this, and indeed with the new Executive Director, and for this reason, we believe that discharge should be made. This is our recommendation. I thank the Commission again and thank you to Mr Staes for an excellent report.

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς, εξ ονόματος της ομάδας ECR. – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, τα όσα συνέβησαν στην EASO τραυμάτισαν την αξιοπιστία αυτής της υπηρεσίας και δεν νομίζω ότι με την απομάκρυνση της προηγούμενης ηγεσίας, του προηγούμενου εκτελεστικού διευθυντή, ότι θεραπεύονται τα προβλήματα. Tα προβλήματα είναι βαθιά, γνωρίζετε πολύ καλά ότι η έρευνα της ΟLΑF συνεχίζεται και δεν γνωρίζουμε ακριβώς τι θα προκύψει, όπως επίσης και οι παρατηρήσεις του Ελεγκτικού Συνεδρίου για τη δραστηριότητα του 2017, που παρατηρεί επίσης ιδιαίτερα προβλήματα. Προβλήματα στη νομιμότητα, στην κανονικότητα των πράξεων πάνω στις οποίες βασίζονται οι λογαριασμοί και οι αναθέσεις κονδυλίων. Άρα λοιπόν για μας το πρόβλημα είναι σοβαρό. Δεν συμφωνούμε με τον εισηγητή. Ως ECR δεν πρόκειται να χορηγήσουμε απαλλαγή στην EASO. Θεωρούμε ότι πρέπει να παραμείνουν τα ερωτήματα και η έρευνα. Καταλαβαίνουμε ότι κάποιοι κάνουν την ανάγκη φιλοτιμία, όπως η πλευρά των Σοσιαλιστών, αλλά αυτό δεν σημαίνει ότι πρέπει να απαλλάξουμε την EAS. Και επί της ουσίας όμως, κύριε Αβραμόπουλε, γνωρίζετε ότι δεν έχει κάνει πολύ σοβαρή δουλειά και στην Ελλάδα. Έχουμε χιλιάδες αιτήσεις οι οποίες παραμένουν, αιτήσεις ασύλου. Θα έπρεπε να είχε βοηθήσει πιο αποφασιστικά η EASO στο θέμα αυτό, παρότι βεβαίως αναγνωρίζουμε την ευθύνη των ελληνικών αρχών στο ζήτημα αυτό.

Πρέπει, λοιπόν, εκεί να υπάρξει μια παρέμβαση σοβαρή στα ουσιαστικά θέματα. Δεν μπορεί να έχουμε χιλιάδες οι οποίοι αναμένουν να εκδικαστεί η αίτηση ασύλου. Έρχονται οι πάντες στην Ελλάδα, κάνουν μία αίτηση μέσα σε δέκα μέρες και περιμένουν τρία χρόνια για να κριθεί η αίτησή τους, που αν κριθεί, στο μεγάλο μέρος των αιτήσεων θα απορριφθούν και θα επαναπροωθηθούν. Να δούμε, λοιπόν, και το ουσιαστικό μέρος, κύριε Αβραμόπουλε, πέραν βέβαια της ουσίας ότι εμείς δεν χορηγούμε απαλλαγή στις λειτουργίες της EASO.

(Ο ομιλητής δέχεται να απαντήσει σε ερώτηση με γαλάζια κάρτα (άρθρο 162 παράγραφος 8 του Κανονισμού))

 
  
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  Petri Sarvamaa (PPE), blue-card question. – Mr President, as we all know, a blue card is for a question, so therefore I will ask you a question. When the dust has settled, after tomorrow, I will ask you, and also the rest of the right side of the Chamber: how on earth can you mix the work that the Agency is doing and the role that the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG Home) and the Commission is playing with the irregularities of a couple of people back in 2016 and 2017? How can you mix those two things? How do you explain this to the citizens?

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς (ECR), απάντηση σε ερώτηση με γαλάζια κάρτα. – Κατ’ αρχάς, είναι βέβαιο ότι οι ατασθαλίες που έχουν γίνει έχουν σχέση και με τη λειτουργία της ίδιας της υπηρεσίας και φυσικά τον ρόλο τον οποίο έχει παίξει. Διότι, εάν ο εκτελεστικός διευθυντής και τα στελέχη του ασχολούνταν πραγματικά με το πώς πρέπει να λειτουργήσει η υπηρεσία και όχι να κάνουν πάρτι με τις δαπάνες, τότε προφανώς θα ήταν πολύ πιο επικεντρωμένοι στη δουλειά που έπρεπε να παρέχουν και στη βοήθεια που έπρεπε να παρέχουν στην Ελλάδα. Άρα, λοιπόν, υπάρχει άμεση σχέση της κακοδιοίκησης η οποία απεδείχθη και της απομάκρυνσης που ορθώς έγινε με την ανικανότητα λειτουργίας και βοήθειας από πλευράς EASO στις ελληνικές αρχές. Αυτό, λοιπόν, είναι πάρα πολύ σημαντικό. Το ότι επισήμανα επίσης ότι πρέπει να βελτιωθεί η λειτουργία στο μέλλον είναι μία επισήμανση πολιτική η οποία πρέπει να γίνει, μια και είναι εδώ ο κύριος Αβραμόπουλος που είναι ο αρμόδιος επίτροπος. Εμείς πάντως δεν πρόκειται να χορηγήσουμε την απαλλαγή και θεωρώ ότι και εσείς πρέπει να σκεφτείτε τη στάση σας αύριο ως ΕΛΚ.

 
  
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  Nedzhmi Ali, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) is supporting the Member States in preparing their policies in relation to the migration flows. EASO is delivering technical and operational support to those states whose asylum systems are subject to excessive refugee pressure by deploying expert teams. All of this necessitates the recovery of the full capacity of the EU agencies as soon as possible.

After Parliament’s decision to postpone the granting of discharge to EASO for the year 2016, a number of developments occurred, answering our recommendations. A remedial action plan was produced, proposing a set of measurable objectives and deliverable aims to reinforce the internal governance of the office, rebuild internal capacity and restore trust. In addition, the office took some practical measures to overcome the mistakes made in the field of procurement. The former executive director was released from his duties and an interim director was designated.

The situation in the year 2016 was exceptional. It was the peak year of the refugee crisis. Many procedures were carried out in extreme circumstances with understaffed teams and in a situation where systems and procedures were still in the process of being adapted to cope with the new and rapidly-evolving scenario. Bearing in mind the overall picture during the voting on 27 September, with a slim majority the Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) recommended granting discharge to EASO, carefully taking into account the ambitious remedial action plan of the office.

 
  
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  Jonathan Bullock, on behalf of the EFDD Group. – Mr President, we are debating whether to approve the accounts for the European Asylum Support Office, based in Malta, which provides assistance for the arrival and processing of migrants. The agency has a budget of around EUR 70 million. However, OLAF, the anti-fraud body, is currently investigating several former and current members occupying middle or senior management positions, reportedly over a culture of irresponsibility and bullying. Indeed, as mentioned earlier, the executive director, was released from the position and an interim appointed.

Irregular payments made by the Asylum Office for 2016 are estimated at over EUR 1.5 million. The Courts of Auditors in 2017 found there was inadequate or total lack of internal control and governance, and recently the Asylum Office put out a tender, worth EUR 1.5 million, for branded promotional items, merchandise garments and apparels. This tender included Christmas cards, virtual reality glasses, car chargers, inflatable flight pillows, leather goods, crystal glassware, gold/silver goods, ponchos, luggage, even executive gifts for VIPs. This is an absolute waste of taxpayers’ money, and the Asylum Office clearly has little internal control over its spending. Asylum policy should be decided by independent sovereign countries in compliance with the Geneva Convention, not dictated or operated by unaccountable EU institutions. I urge MEPs to reject discharge for the EU Asylum Support Office.

 
  
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  Inés Ayala Sender (S&D). –Señor presidente, gracias, señor Avramopoulos por la información, y quisiera dar las gracias también al señor Staes y reconocerle su buena voluntad a la hora de trabajar con la Agencia, al haber sido yo también ponente para las agencias y haber trabajado con algunas de ellas de manera intensa, puesto que a veces no merecían la aprobación de su gestión.

Nos encontramos en una situación actualmente compleja en relación con la EASO, porque hemos de admitir que se ha cambiado el director solamente el primero de junio y el plan tiene justo un mes.

La investigación, las investigaciones —porque no son solo una— de la OLAF están todavía bajo secreto; no hemos conseguido tener información, pero siguen y, sobre todo, en el informe sobre 2017 del Tribunal de Cuentas se nos dice que, después de 2016, también siguió habiendo problemas graves en la EASO.

Yo, como coordinadora del Grupo socialista, voy a plantear a mi Grupo una abstención porque no queremos votar en contra, puesto que vemos, con el señor Staes, que hay esfuerzos y reconocemos que la Comisión ha hecho esfuerzos para mejorar la situación de la EASO. Pero la percepción por la ciudadanía es que, en el ámbito del asilo, la Unión Europea no ha hecho todo lo necesario, y menos en esos años críticos de los que todavía quedan bastantes circunstancias muy, muy complicadas.

Por lo tanto, no queremos votar en contra, porque creemos que sí que ha habido avances y, sobre todo, interés; pero en cambio, creemos que, a día de hoy, en octubre de 2018, a un mes de la presentación del Plan de Acción, no podemos tampoco aprobar la gestión. Creo que la ciudadanía no lo entendería.

 
  
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  Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, I would first like to express my thanks for this debate. As I said at the beginning, it was very important to clarify where we stand. I know this is not easy. Our agents today are doing important work on the ground in order to support Member States and this work will continue because migration and security demand a coordinated European response.

I don’t need, in particular, to repeat that the EASO plays a key role, and I am sure you agree that we should not undermine the important work done by our agencies. I have already highlighted the measures taken by these decentralised agencies and I will not repeat them. I hope that the OLAF report will also be available very soon. This, as you will understand, will allow us to have clarity and take further measures if necessary.

While taking all measures that are needed, we must be able to leave this story behind, focus on the real work and look to the future. Our agencies in the whole area of home affairs were established in a completely different context. Together with you, our common goal is to ensure that the agencies can effectively play the role they should, in order to face the challenges of today and of the future. You almost reached an agreement with the Council on our proposal to transform the EASO from a support office into a fully-fledged agency. The limited amendments we proposed in September will ensure that the mandate of the agency responds to this need.

 
  
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  Bart Staes, Rapporteur. – Dank u Voorzitter, collega's. Dank vooreerst aan eenieder die mij lovende woorden heeft toegezwaaid. Dat doet altijd deugd na het werk dat je in een dossier steekt.

Ik kan alleen maar herhalen: ik beveel aan, collega's, om de kwijting te verlenen. Niet omdat ik niet erken dat er onregelmatigheden zijn gebeurd. Die zijn er gebeurd, die liggen voor ons. Zowel de Commissie, DG Home als de raad van beheer van EASO hebben dat erkend. Ze hebben maatregelen genomen, er is druk gezet op de vorige directeur en die is opgestapt. Er is heel snel een nieuwe directeur aangeduid die een hele goede indruk maakt, die een stevige indruk maakt, die actie onderneemt, die ervoor zorgt dat er goede beslissingslijnen zijn. De specialisten in dit Parlement, aangevoerd door de heer Moraes in de LIBE-commissie, zijn het gaan bekijken en zijn ook onder de indruk van de nieuwe wind die waait binnen EASO.

Als we kwijting verlenen, collega's, betekent dat niet dat we van de feiten wegkijken. Het betekent alleen dat we een politiek signaal geven. Dat we zeggen: kijk, er zijn belangrijke stappen gezet. Er is vooruitgang. De zaak is meer onder controle dan in april. Het is niet wegkijken van de feiten, want we hebben aan ons verslag een heel stevige resolutie toegevoegd met een hele reeks zaken waarvan we zeggen: dit en dat moet beter. En dat dossier geven we in handen van de heer Sarvamaa, die de volgende rapporteur is en die mede met de feiten die er ondertussen zullen gebeuren, zoals het OLAF-verslag dat zal bekend zijn, nieuwe maatregelen zal kunnen afdwingen van DG HOME, van de commissaris, van de beheerraad en van de nieuwe directeur ad interim. Ik hoop dat ik alsnog een meerderheid in dit Parlement vind om die kwijting te verlenen.

 
  
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  El presidente. – Se cierra el debate.

La votación tendrá lugar mañana.

 
Dernière mise à jour: 11 janvier 2019Avis juridique