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Procedure : 2016/2159(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0140/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0140/2017

Debates :

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

Votes :

PV 27/04/2017 - 5.23

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0154

Texts adopted
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Thursday, 27 April 2017 - Brussels Final edition
Discharge 2015: EU general budget - European Data Protection Supervisor
P8_TA(2017)0154A8-0140/2017
Decision
 Resolution

1. European Parliament decision of 27 April 2017 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2015, Section IX – European Data Protection Supervisor (2016/2159(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 – C8‑0277/2016)(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 and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0140/2017),

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

(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.


2. European Parliament resolution of 27 April 2017 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 IX – European Data Protection Supervisor (2016/2159(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 IX – European Data Protection Supervisor,

–  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 (A8-0140/2017),

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 and good governance of human resources;

1.  Welcomes the conclusion of the Court of Auditors (the “Court”), according to which the payments as a whole for the year ended on 31 December 2015 for administrative and other expenditure of the European Data Protection Supervisor (the “Supervisor”) were free from material error and that the examined supervisory and control systems for administrative and other expenditure were effective;

2.  Notes that, in its annual report for 2015, the Court identified no serious weaknesses with regard to the audited topics (five recruitment procedures, five procurement procedures and a single financial transaction) relating to the Supervisor’s human resources and procurement activities; stresses that this is the fourth consecutive year in which no serious weaknesses were identified by the Court;

3.  Notes that in 2015, the Supervisor had a total allocated budget of EUR 8 760 417 (compared to EUR 8 012 953 in 2014) and that the implementation rate was 96 % (compared to 92 % in 2014); welcomes the improved result;

4.  Notes that the Supervisor's budget is mostly administrative, with a large amount being used for expenditure relating to persons working within the institution and the remaining amount relating to buildings, furniture, equipment and miscellaneous running costs; stresses, however, that introducing performance-based budgeting should not apply only to the Supervisor’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 the annual plans of members of staff; in this respect, calls on the Supervisor to introduce the performance-based budgeting principle more widely in its daily operations;

5.  Notes with concern that three internal control system indicators are qualified as needing substantial additional effort, in particular the “objectives and performance indicators” that are recommended to develop SMART objectives and relevant, accepted, credible, easy and robust indicators; welcomes the commitment of the Supervisor to implement all the recommendations regarding those indicators;

6.  Notes that while the Supervisor has only one senior management post, its middle management posts present a gender imbalance of 40 %/60 %; calls on the Supervisor to pursue its efforts to ensure that its recruitment and promotions policy is as gender balanced as possible;

7.  Notes with great satisfaction that each of the Supervisor’s members of staff was absent from work on average for only 6,6 days due to sick leave;

8.  Emphasises that the Supervisor has organised different after-work events; calls on the Supervisor to check for ways in which to reward the individual members of staff who contribute most to its well-being activities, continue with such activities, and try to include as many members of staff as possible; calls on the Supervisor to share its experience in this field with the Union institutions and other Union bodies;

9.  Notes with satisfaction that the Supervisor has designated two anti-harassment counsellors who can provide confidential assistance and who belong to the network of the Commission; notes that there were no reported cases of harassment;

10.  Notes that the Supervisor adopted a code of conduct for its supervisors on 16 December 2015; stresses, however, that the code is more of a policy statement and provides no rules against conflicts of interests; regrets that the CVs and declarations of interests of the Supervisor’s members and staff are not available for public consultation; calls on the Supervisor to draft and submit to the discharge authority a track record of cases of conflicts of interests identified;

11.  Welcomes the Supervisor’s practice of regularly informing staff about management meetings and their outcome;

12.  Notes with satisfaction that any attendance by the Supervisor at professional meetings with organisations or self-employed individuals outside the Union institutions (including lobbyists) are published at least on its website; notes that, similarly, all conferences in which the Supervisor participates are published on its website, together with any formal speaking notes; reiterates its call on the Supervisor to provide detailed information on missions undertaken by its members and staff in its annual activity report since the information provided was not sufficiently detailed in terms of transparency and cost-effectiveness guarantees;

13.  Calls on the Supervisor to join the Internstitutional Agreement on a Mandatory Transparency Register, when it is set up;

14.  Notes the creation of a small task-force in July 2015 to assess the legal, operational and budgetary means for the creation of the European Data Protection Board which will take over the Article 29 Working Party; welcomes the utilisation rate achieved in 2015 for the appropriations entered in the relevant titles; calls on the Supervisor to include the findings of the task force in its annual activity report;

15.  Welcomes, in particular, the advisory role played by the Supervisor during the development of legislation in the data protection package (the General Data Protection Regulation(1) and the Data Protection Directive(2)), the Europol reform(3) and the Passenger Name Record Directive,(4) the EU-US Privacy Shield(5) as well as its opinion on the First reform package on the Common European Asylum System (the Eurodac, EASO and Dublin regulations)(6) as well as its involvement in the setting-up of the European Data Protection Board;

16.  Welcomes the cooperation of the Supervisor with the Union institutions and other Union bodies, mainly in administrative, procurement, financial, accounting and budgetary matters; asks the Supervisor to include detailed information on all service-level agreements and the results obtained from this cooperation in its annual activity report;

17.  Welcomes the strategy developed by the Supervisor for 2015 to 2019 and the associated key performance indicators used to monitor and adjust, if needed, the use of its resources; acknowledges that the key performance indicators selected show that the implementation of this strategy is largely on track; calls on the Supervisor to continue to provide the scoreboard in its annual activity report and to clarify the distinction between external and internal indicators;

18.  Welcomes the clarification for the absence of a building policy of the Supervisor, as its services are hosted by Parliament in one of its buildings, and asks to be informed of any development or change with regard to the current situation;

19.  Welcomes the provision of exhaustive information on all the human resources at the Supervisor’s disposal, broken down according to grade, sex and nationality and requests that that information be automatically included in its annual activity report;

20.  Notes the Supervisor’s plan to comply with the interinstitutional agreement(7) to reduce staff by 5 % over a period of five years; is well aware of the future challenge of preparing the Union institutions and bodies for the application of the General Data Protection Regulation, which is to apply from 25 May 2018; suggests that the Supervisor inform Parliament about any alternative savings achieved to compensate the possible delay in the reduction of staff;

21.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to exempt agencies in the justice and home affairs area, as well as the Supervisor, from the general 5 % staffing cut, since in the current political climate these bodies are being requested to take on ever-increasing workloads;

22.  Notes the reference, in the introduction to the Supervisor’s 2015 annual activity report, to specific sections on procurement and missions’ management; calls for its next annual activity report to include an overview of the same data for the last three or four years;

23.  Notes that the Supervisor applied the recommendation formulated in Parliament’s 2014 discharge report and published a list of awarded contracts; recommends that the Supervisor publish the Court’s report together with its annual activity report, for the sake of transparency and public confidence;

24.  Urges the Supervisor to adhere to the rules covered by Article 16 of the Staff Regulations and to lay down clear binding rules regarding “revolving doors”, in accordance with the guidelines published by the Commission;

25.  Welcomes the publication, on 16 June 2016, of the Supervisor’s decision on internal rules concerning whistleblowing;

26.  Calls on the Supervisor to improve its communications policy in relation with Union citizens;

27.  Encourages the increasing contribution of the Supervisor to solutions driving innovation and enhancing privacy and data protection, in particular by increasing transparency, user control and accountability in big data processing; notes the delivery of several opinions calling for action maximising benefits of new technologies without compromising fundamental rights.

(1) Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1).
(2) Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 89).
(3) Regulation (EU) 2016/794 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and replacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA (OJ L 135, 24.5.2016, p. 53). See OJ C 38, 8.2.2014, p. 3.
(4) Directive (EU) 2016/681 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 132). See OJ C 392, 25.11.2015, p. 11.
(5) See OJ C 257, 15.7.2016, p. 8.
(6) See OJ C 9, 12.1.2017, p. 3.
(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).

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