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Procedure : 2016/2019(BUD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0131/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0131/2016

Debates :

PV 13/04/2016 - 23
CRE 13/04/2016 - 23

Votes :

PV 14/04/2016 - 7.8
CRE 14/04/2016 - 7.8

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0132

Texts adopted
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Thursday, 14 April 2016 - Strasbourg Final edition
Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2017
P8_TA(2016)0132A8-0131/2016

European Parliament resolution of 14 April 2016 on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2017 (2016/2019(BUD))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 314 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(1) , and in particular Article 36 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2) ,

–  having regard to the 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(3) ,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1023/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 amending the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Union(4) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 October 2015 on the Council position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2016(5) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2015 on the joint text on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2016 approved by the Conciliation Committee under the budgetary procedure(6) ,

–  having regard to the Secretary-General's report to the Bureau on drawing up Parliament's preliminary draft estimates for the financial year 2017,

–  having regard to the preliminary draft estimates drawn up by the Bureau on 11 April 2016 pursuant to Rules 25(7) and 96(1) of Parliament's Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the draft estimates drawn up by the Committee on Budgets pursuant to Rule 96(2) of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to Rules 96 and 97 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0131/2016),

A.  whereas this procedure is the second full budgetary procedure conducted in the new legislature and the fourth year of the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework;

B.  whereas the 2017 budget, as proposed in the Secretary General's report, would be marked by a continuation and intensification of the institution's policy of carrying out the efficiency gains in all areas where these are possible without compromising the quality of the work environment of the Members and staff;

C.  whereas four priority objectives have been proposed by the Secretary-General for the 2017 budget, namely: security and cyber-security, phasing out of the derogation for the Irish language, ongoing measures to empower Members in their mandate and making Parliament attractive to the public and visitors;

D.  whereas, in the current political and security context arising from the terrorist attacks in Europe, the 2017 budgetary procedure should result in the increase of Parliament's security and cyber-security;

E.  whereas a budget of EUR 1 910 073 000 has been proposed by the Secretary-General for Parliament's preliminary draft estimates for 2017, representing an overall increase of 3,9 % on the 2016 budget, from which 1,7 % is considered to be ordinary expenditure, and would constitute 19,26 % of heading V of the 2014-2020 MFF;

F.  whereas between 2017 and 2022 the derogation for the non-translation of all official documents into Irish will be gradually phased out, entailing the translation of all official documents also into Irish and an additional extraordinary expenditure of EUR 3,7 million is proposed to comply with this new linguistic requirement, corresponding to 0,2 % of the overall increase;

G.  whereas additional extraordinary investments of EUR 47,6 million are required to reinforce security and cybersecurity, corresponding to 2,6 % of the overall increase;

H.  whereas, the inflation rates have constantly decreased since 2011; whereas the real inflation rate in the Parliament`s working places in 2015 and in 2016 was lower than the actual rate of increase of its budget;

I.  whereas almost 60 % of the budget is index bound expenditure which relates, for the major part, to remunerations for Members and staff, adjusted according to the Staff Regulations, and contractual obligations, corresponding to sector specific indexation that is usually higher that standard inflation rate;

J.  whereas the Parliament stressed in its resolution of 29 April 2015 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2016(7) that the 2016 budget should be set on a realistic basis and should be in line with the principles of budgetary discipline and sound financial management;

K.  whereas the credibility of Parliament as one arm of the budgetary authority depends to a large extent on its ability to bring its own spending under control;

L.  whereas the Bureau adopted on 26 October 2015 a new set of rules for the management of the parliamentary assistance allowances, reinforcing the requirements for the reimbursement of local assistant contracts, namely by earmarking at least 25 % of the parliamentary assistance allowance to cover expenditure on accredited assistants;

General framework

1.  Stresses that the share of Parliament’s budget in 2017 should be maintained under 20 % of heading V; notes that the level of preliminary draft estimates for 2017, as set out in the position of the Bureau of 9 March 2016, corresponded to 19,26 %, which is lower than that achieved in 2016 (19,39 %) and the second lowest part of heading V in the past eight years; further reduces its share of heading V to 19,17 % for 2017;

2.  Considers, however, that, taking into account the economic slowdown experienced by Member States, the forecast level of inflation for 2017 should not be considered as the main benchmark for the increases in ordinary expenditure;

3.  Confirms that extraordinary expenditure representing a 0,2 % increase compared to the 2016 budget for the phasing out of the temporary derogation measures for the use of the Irish language that were established by Council Regulation (EC) No 920/2005 of 13 June 2005(8) has been requested;

4.  Notes the request for a 2,6 % increase for security and cybersecurity, which would more than double the resources allocated in 2016; urges the Secretary-General to provide the Committee on Budgets detailed information in a transparent manner on current and upcoming security and cybersecurity measures and the breakdown of their costs;

5.  Approves the envelope of extraordinary expenditure for security investments in 2017 following the analysis presented in February 2016 to the Bureau and supplemented by the screening made following the events of 22 March 2016 (EUR 47,6 million) and the envelope of extraordinary expenditure linked to the phasing out of the temporary derogation for the use of the Irish language (EUR 3,7 million);

6.  Limits the increase of its ordinary expenditure for 2017, without the two extraordinary envelopes, to 1,4 % compared to the ordinary expenditure of the 2016 budget and 0,6% compared to the 2016 budget;

7.  Sets the overall level of its estimates for 2017 to EUR 1 900 873 000, corresponding to a total increase of 3,4 % compared to the 2016 budget;

8.  Underlines that Parliament should be provided with the sufficient resources required to comply with its core function as a legislative body and budgetary authority; stresses that, in the current economic context, those resources should be managed with rigour, pragmatism and efficiency; points out that while ensuring a proper level of financing for the Parliament is appropriate for the exercise of European democracy, efforts to look for savings and to strive for further enhancing the efficiency of the use of public money should be strongly encouraged;

9.  Emphasises that the largest part of Parliament's budget and its annual indexation is fixed by statutory or contractual obligations, which cannot be influenced by Parliament in the budgetary procedure;

Transparency, accessibility and readability

10.  Calls on the Secretary-General to make a proposal for presenting the budget to the general public in appropriate detail and in an intelligible and user-friendly manner on the website of the Parliament in order to enable all citizens to develop a better understanding of Parliament's activities, priorities and corresponding spending patterns; considers that a first step could consist of making the information graphics currently available in the intranet appear on the website of the Parliament;

11.  Considers that, as for the budgetary process, any relevant information should be presented to Members of the Bureau and the Committee on Budgets at every stage of the procedure in a timely and intelligible manner and with the necessary level of detail and breakdowns in order to enable the Bureau, the Committee on Budgets and the political groups to conduct proper deliberations and base decisions on a comprehensive picture of the state and needs of Parliament's budget;

12.  Underlines the need for precision and transparency in the evolution of the budget from one year to the other; considers that while certain extraordinary expenditure such as security is justifiable for the 2017 budget, the growing use of extraordinary expenditure annually is problematic in terms of budgetary scrutiny and stability; asks for a more precise definition of extraordinary expenditure; believes that, for the sake of accountability and comparability of data in the general budget, an assessment should be conducted about whether the extraordinary expenditure should be included in the basis for the calculation of the percentage difference between budgets year on year;

13.  Reiterates its call for medium and long term budgetary planning, including a clear distinction between investments and operational expenditure relating to the functioning of Parliament as well as its statutory obligations (including on rents and acquisitions), in line with its resolution of 29 April 2015 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2016(9) , calls accordingly for a change to the presentation that makes a clear distinction between investment expenditure and operating expenditure;

14.  Commends the Bureau and DG ITEC on the new layout of Members' personal pages on the official website of the Parliament providing more transparency on the composition and the status of their working team (creation of a new "assistant" tab with sub headings : assistants, accredited assistants, accredited assistants (grouping), local assistants, services providers, paying agents, trainees); asks the Secretary-General to ensure the necessary controls for the implementation of the new set of rules for the parliamentary assistance allowances adopted by the Bureau on 26 October 2015;

15.  Calls for a budget to be drawn up, at least once every five years, on the basis of the real needs of individual items and not on the basis of a system of coefficients;

Security and cybersecurity

16.  Calls for medium and long term budgetary planning, including clear information with regard to expenditure relating to security and cybersecurity; moreover, in light of recent events, invites the Bureau to update the Global Security Concept and communicate it, as fast as possible and at the latest by June 2016;

17.  Considers that any measure in this field should be based on a clear evaluation of Parliament's needs and proportionality with the incurred risks; requests the Secretary-General and the Bureau to present on time before the Parliament's reading on the 2017 budget to the Committee on Budgets a Global Security Concept including a global evaluation on risks perceived and security measures envisaged as well as alternative options, accompanied by detailed evaluation of their budgetary impact on 2017 budget and the following budgets, with a clear distinction between investments and recurrent expenditure and to outline the measures envisaged to reinforce Parliament's security inside and outside of its premises, as well as the impact of such measures on the 2017 budget; calls for information on the financial consequences of the interinstitutional administrative cooperation arrangements in the field of security;

18.  Asks the Secretary-General to assess whether there is a need to review existing insurance contracts (for Members and staff) in the light of terrorist threats and make, if appropriate, proposals to address possible shortcomings;

19.  Considers that the security system outside Parliament's premises should continue to be guaranteed by the Belgian authorities;

Empowering Members mandate

20.  Takes notes of the ongoing measures to empower Members in their mandate;

21.  Welcomes the extension of the Members' Digital Portal (e-Portal), however, invites the Secretary-General to improve upon this in the light of the 'paperless initiative', the current system of sending paper copy payment slips to the Members, with the aim of eventually abolishing it by the end of year 2017; considers that the e-Portal should provide this feature to all Members electronically by default, which would result in considerable savings in both time and economic terms;

22.  Welcomes the increasing quality of advice and research provided to Members and committees; recalls that a mid-term evaluation of the efficacy of the cooperation between the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) and the policy departments was foreseen when the EPRS was created in 2013; requests therefore the Secretary-General to proceed to undertake such an evaluation and present the results to the Committee on Budgets by the end of 2016; considers that this evaluation should contain proposals as to how to ensure that the support provided by EPRS is best articulated with developments in the respective thematic committees while meeting the needs of individual Members, and does not overlap with activities of policy departments nor encourage competition between services;

23.  Is of the opinion that the need of Members in their constituencies should be evaluated, also taking into account differences between constituencies, in order to better empower the Members in their constituency work; believes that mobile workspaces for Members and support in constituencies should be based on real needs and use assessment, and should not generate any significant or recurring additional costs to the Parliament; insists that no hardware should be provided as the GEA provides sufficient resources for the purchase of state-of-the-art devices; questions the need for developing a private mobile work space for Members as this does not seem to correspond to the way Members and their offices organise themselves;

24.  Agrees that IT tools are an important instrument for Members to deliver on their function; reiterates, however, the necessity to allow the installation of free-source software which would allow considerable cost savings in/from communication fees, and would improve the work-flow of Members' offices, while taking cybersecurity into account and ensuring data protection;

25.  Requests that the possibility of signing internal documents digitally should be made commonplace, across all instances, such as signing forms, written declarations etc., while ensuring reliability and security; asks to assess the possibility to introduce a TAN verification system on the MEP's mobile; believes, moreover, that the use of fax machines should be discouraged and gradually phased out on the decision of the individual MEP;

26.  Welcomes the new reform on additional written questions adopted on 3 September 2015 by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs on a request of the Committee on Budgets upon the adoption of Parliament's budget for the year 2016; asks the Secretary-General to set up the necessary controls for the implementation of the new interpretation; invites the Conference of Presidents to carry out an assessment of this new regime of written questions in respect of additional questions to analyse the savings generated and to inform the Committee on Budgets of the results of this assessment by August 2016, before the Parliament's reading of the budget in autumn 2016;

27.  Considers it appropriate to maintain the appropriations for the envelope of the expenditure regarding parliamentary assistance for 2017 at same level as for 2016 subject to legally binding indexation applicable under the Staff Regulations;

28.  Believes that the current depiction of Members' parliamentary activities on Parliament's website is not accurate and does not reflect the real activities and involvement of Members; suggests that the current use of ranking websites is scrapped while improving the information regarding the activities of individual Members on the official Parliament website; calls for an evaluation of the presentation of explanations of vote and one-minute speeches, in particular, including the option for them to be shown separately from plenary speeches, and for an assessment of the added value of explanations of vote and possible alternatives; expects the relevant Bureau working group dealing with this issue to present its agenda and findings to the Committee on Budgets as soon as it is available;

Members' expenses

29.  Reiterates its call on the Bureau to define more precise rules regarding the accountability of the expenditure authorised under the general expenditure allowance, which could include cost effective measures such as Members publishing their spending records, as already done by a growing number of Members, and could be accompanied by a simplified system for repaying unused funds; reiterates that such measures should not require additional staff for Parliament's administration;

Building policy

30.  Recalls that the mid-term building strategy, which was adopted by the Bureau in 2010, is currently under revision; regrets that the Bureau has not concluded yet its deliberations on Parliament's mid-term strategy for buildings; invites the Secretary-General to present to the Committee on Budgets the new mid-term strategy on buildings as soon as possible and at the latest by August 2016, before the Parliament's reading of the budget in autumn 2016;

31.  Calls on the Bureau to present a long term strategy for Parliament buildings; reiterates that long-term investments, such as Parliament's building projects, need to be handled prudently and transparently; insists on strict cost management, project planning and supervision; reiterates its call for a transparent decision-making process in the field of buildings policy, based on early information, having due regard to Article 203 of the Financial Regulation; believes that a report on the reasons for the delay and the higher costs of the House of European History should feed into the long term building strategy;

32.  Calls for the position with regard to Parliament's buildings stock to be faithfully reflected in the budget; calls accordingly for the cost of the KAD building to be clearly set out in Parliament's definitive budget, and for property-related investment to be incorporated into the budget, in future, so as to obviate the need for mopping-up transfers;

33.  Is of the opinion that, in the current economic context, no further Parliamentarium projects should be launched without prior consultation with and approval of the Committee on budgets;

34.  Proposes therefore to introduce, as of 2018, a specific line for investments in building constructions which would use as a basis for funding in 2018 the funds which are proposed in 2017 for extraordinary expenditure;

35.  Considering the extraordinary circumstances in 2017 which require high investment in the security infrastructure, proposes to use any funds not used by the end of 2017 to pay for the construction expenses for the KAD building in order to avoid a maximum of interest rate payments to banks for loans which have to be contracted in order to finance the construction;

36.  Calls for more information on the status quo of the project to renovate the PHS building; requests that the a study on the renovation is launched and examined by the Bureau; expects the Bureau to take into consideration the need for healthy and safe working conditions when setting up the renovation timeframe; asks that the Bureau informs the Committee on Budgets on all steps as soon as available; invites, in this context, the Bureau to lay the groundwork for transforming the PHS building into an exemplary state-of-the-art building in terms of energy efficiency and to promptly proceed with the modernization of the building;

37.  Invites the Vice Presidents responsible to present to the Committee on Budgets a progress report on the KAD building;

38.  Considers that the structural and organisational reforms aimed at achieving greater efficiency, environmental sustainability, and effectiveness should continue through the thorough examination of possible synergies and savings; recalls the substantial savings that could be made by having only one place of work instead of three (Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg); underlines that this process should be lead without endangering Parliament's legislative excellence, its budgetary powers and powers of scrutiny, or the quality of working conditions for Members, assistants, and staff;

Staff-related issues

39.  Welcomes the proposal to reduce its establishment plan in 2017 by 60 posts in line with the agreement reached with the Council on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2016, approved by the Conciliation Committee under the budgetary procedure on 14 November 2015;

40.  Recalls that the total level of staff in political groups shall be exempted from the 5 % staff reduction target in line with the decisions taken in respect of the financial years 2014, 2015 and 2016;

41.  Supports the additional posts required for Irish language translation and interpretation; exempts these additional posts from the reduction target of 5 % in line with the recommendation of the Commission; asks the Secretary-General to consult Irish Members with a view to a possible rationalisation of the use of the Irish language without compromising the guaranteed rights of Members;

42.  Backs the introduction of international sign language interpretation for all plenary debates so that they at least are genuinely accessible to all European citizens;

43.  Welcomes the progress that has been made regarding translation and interpretation efficiencies; acknowledges the quality and added value of services provided by the interpreters; calls for an early, sustainable agreement between the Secretary-General and the representatives of interpreters combining high quality working conditions and efficient management in order to avoid situations of imbalances in terms of working hours and overall insecurity among interpreters, taking into account social rights; asks the Secretary-General to make further rationalisation proposals such as increased translation and interpretation on demand, particularly concerning the activities of the Intergroups of the European Parliament; considers that the linguistic profiling system in place since October 2014 for committee-stage amendments is an example of efficiencies that can be made and that can be further developed; takes the view that interpretation and translation are core components of a European democracy that is open to all, and accordingly calls for no reform to be allowed that detracts from maximum accessibility to Parliament's activities and documents on as inclusive a basis as possible;

44.  Calls on the Bureau to evaluate and, where necessary, to revise rules governing the statute of trainees, including introducing minimum remuneration and harmonising catering-related price offers for all trainees both in the Parliament's administration and in the Members' offices in order to ensure equal treatment and to protect social rights of trainees;

45.  Calls on the Bureau to revise the rules governing the reimbursement of the missions' expenses related to travels between the Parliament's working places and incurred by accredited parliamentary assistants in order to align them with the rules applicable to the rest of the staff;

46.  Takes the view that a third procedure should be introduced so that a contract between a Member and an assistant can be terminated by mutual consent;

Chauffeur services/mobility

47.  Has reservations about the proposal to internalise the chauffeur service, replacing the external service provider with Parliament's contractual agents, which will correspond to approximately EUR 3,7 million of immediate additional expense; considers that a well organised external contract concluded pursuant to applicable public procurement rules, where the external service provider is clearly obliged to take responsibility for security and background checks as well as for decent working conditions and pay, should be considered as an alternative option; would consider the internalisation only if its costs do not exceed the costs related to the current system, and if it allows decent working conditions and pay for drivers, improved gender balance, and the use of greener cars; asks for detailed information to be provided to the Committee on Budgets before any decision is taken;

48.  Asks the Secretary-General to consult with the Belgian authorities with a view to ensuring easy access and overall best use of the new direct train connection between Brussels-Luxembourg train station and Zaventem airport, which could include the acceptance of Members' badges instead of the current laissez passer system;

49.  Believes that the car fleet should consist of more cost- and fuel-efficient and secure cars; stresses the fact that preference should be given to the use of minivans and buses, to and from the airport, at scheduled times; calls on the Secretary-General to submit a report on a complete shift to electric locomotion at the end of the decade;

50.  Asks the Secretary-General to hold discussions with Parliament's travel agency; encourages the travel agency to intensify comparison of prices; calls on the travel agency to actively seek less expensive tickets when booking and, in general, to offer more competitive prices for Members and all categories of staff while ensuring suitable conditions for ticket exchanges;

Communication

51.  Requests the results of the ex-post evaluation of the overall strategy and methodology of the 2014 information and communication campaign (evaluation report was expected by the 2nd semester 2015);

52.  reiterates its call on the Secretary-General to report to the Committee on Budgets on the evaluation of the 2014 parliamentary election campaign as well as the effectiveness of the Parliament's communication measures dedicated to the general public;

53.  Acknowledges the role of Parliament's information offices (EPIOs) in terms of raising awareness on the activities of the Parliament and the Union in general; believes that efficiency measures should be envisaged with regard to Parliament's information offices; considers that, EPIOs should, to the maximum extent possible, be housed in the same building as and share back office services with Commission representations; requests the evaluation of objectives, tasks and performances of the EPIOs, in light of which priorities should be defined;

54.  Requests an evaluation of the possibility of closer cooperation with ARTE in Strasbourg in order to establish a European media-hub for training purposes for young journalists;

55.  Calls on the Secretary-General to submit a report on the firms and organisations which have been given access to Parliament so that they can hold forums on their activities; calls on the Secretary-General to maintain a balance between the different sectors and different types of organisation given access to Parliament;

Other issues

56.  Urges the Secretary-General to present a detailed report on the implementation of the administrative parts of the cooperation agreements between the Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee and on this basis to devise possible arrangements for further administrative cooperation in areas such as logistics, infrastructure or security;

57.  Urges the Secretary-General to provide clarification on the current management of the Parliament's gym and on the current use of Parliament's staff in this context; requests, furthermore, clarification on the pending litigation and on the options that are on the table to ensure the efficient and cost-effective management of the gym in the future;

58.  Considers that further savings can be made on expenditure on furniture as it considers that an increase of EUR 3 589 832 for 2016 and a similar increase for 2017 vis à vis the EUR 2 415 168 in 2015, is far from reasonable;

59.  Welcomes the more limited and efficient use of trunks (cantines); encourages sharing of the trunks for travelling to Strasbourg;

60.  Ask the Secretary-General to fully implement the spirit and the letter of the Financial Regulation with regard to green and economically efficient public procurement by reinforcing Parliament's procurement strategy in this respect;

61.  Encourages the further pursual of the path of energy savings, in particular concerning lightning and heating systems of buildings, as the discussions on the 2016 budget have shown that there is space for improvement;

62.  Encourages a greater promotion of healthy and organic food; furthermore, calls therefore on the Bureau to evaluate the possibility of providing healthy food not only in terms of diversification of services but also, above all, in terms of providing fresh fruit and vegetables at more affordable prices;

o
o   o

63.  Adopts the estimates for the financial year 2017;

64.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution and the estimates to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 287, 29.10.2013, p. 15.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0376.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0407.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0172.
(8) OJ L 156, 18.6.2005, p. 3.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0172.

Last updated: 12 January 2018Legal notice