MEPs approved the European Commission's 2010 budget spending on 10 May, under the EU's annual budget discharge procedure. They also endorsed the financial management of almost all the other institutions and agencies and the European Development Fund. It was the Parliament's responsability to determine whether the EU spent European taxpayers' money wisely in 2010 in accordance with the rules that govern the implementation of the EU budget.
About the discharge procedure
By granting a discharge to a particular institution or agency, the Parliament declares that the institution or agency in question did indeed spend the European money in line with EU rules and thus "closes" the budget. The Parliament can either refuse or postpone the discharge, if spending was not in line with the rules. MEPs, acting on a recommendation of the Council, base their decision on a review of the annual accounts and the Court of Auditors' annual report. They may also recommend that the Commission takes action on certain matters. The Commission lays out its response in a follow-up report and action plan, which it sends to the Parliament and Council.
About the 2010 budget
The Parliament's budgetary control committee granted on 26 March discharge to the Commission and the Parliament. Discharge for the Commission is the most important one, because about 80% of EU spending falls within its responsibility together with member states. However, the committee postponed the discharge for a number of other EU bodies. This includes the EU Medicines Agency because of concerns about procurement and the impartiality of employees; the Environment Agency due to the recruitment of a director that worked for an environment NGO; the Food Safety Authority over excessive costs and conflicts of interest; and finally the Council of Ministers
Although MEPs approved the lion's share of the EU's 2010 budget on 10 May, they postponed the discharges for the Council and the Agencies for Food Safety, Medicines and the Environment.