Budgetary control MEPs recommended on Wednesday afternoon to refuse to grant the Council discharge for its spending in 2010, following the Council's complete lack of cooperation with the committee. It also voted by a narrow majority to recommend rejecting the accounts of the European Environment Agency.

When they withheld approval of the Council's 2010 accounts in May, MEPs demanded answers to a list of questions about the management of its budget. These questions concerned, among other things, the financing of the Residence Palace building project, the costs related to setting up the post of foreign policy high representative and the budgetary consequences of transferring Council staff to the European External Action Service.


Unlike other EU institutions, the Council repeatedly refuses to cooperate with the budgetary control committee. Since it received no answers, either orally or in writing, the committee decided, unanimously, to recommend that the full Parliament refuse to grant discharge to the Council. 


If the committee's decision is confirmed by the full House, this will be the second consecutive year that MEPs refuse to clear the Council's accounts. Parliament is holding a workshop on Thursday, 27 September, with invited legal experts, to further investigate the legal situation regarding the Council discharge.


Agencies


Parliament had previously criticised the Environment Agency, based in Copenhagen, for its director's close connections with an environmental NGO. A narrow majority of the committee was still not satisfied with the answers given by the agency and the committee therefore voted (by 16 votes to 12, with one abstention) to recommend that the full House refuse to grant discharge.


The committee also voted, by large majorities, to approve the accounts of the European Medicines Agency and the European Food Safety Agency in the light of additional information addressing the concerns voiced earlier this year.


In the chair Iliana IVANOVA (EPP, BU)