Procedure : 2008/2026B(BUD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0397/2008

Texts tabled :

A6-0397/2008

Debates :

PV 22/10/2008 - 11
CRE 22/10/2008 - 11

Votes :

PV 23/10/2008 - 6.3
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0516

REPORT     
PDF 203kDOC 145k
14 October 2008
PE 412.238v03-00 A6-0397/2008(Par1)

on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2009

(C6-0310/2008 – 2008/2026B(BUD))

Section I                       –  European Parliament

Section II                      –  Council

Section IV                     –  Court of Justice

Section V                      –  Court of Auditors

Section VI                     –  European Economic and Social Committee

Section VII                   –  Committee of the Regions

Section VIII                  –  European Ombudsman

Section IX                     –  European Data Protection Supervisor

Part 1: Motion for a resolution

Committee on Budgets

Rapporteur: Janusz Lewandowski

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 OPINION of the Committee on International Trade
 OPINION of the Committee on Legal Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Petitions
 PROCEDURE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2009, Section I – European Parliament, Section II – Council, Section IV – Court of Justice, Section V – Court of Auditors, Section VI – European Economic and Social Committee, Section VII – Committee of the Regions, Section VIII – European Ombudsman, Section IX – European Data Protection Supervisor (C6-0310/2008 – 2008/2026B(BUD))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Article 272 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2000/597/EC, Euratom of 29 September 2000 on the system of the European Communities' own resources(1),

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(2),

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 10 April 2008 on the guidelines for the 2009 budget procedure – other sections(4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2008 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2009(5),

–   having regard to the preliminary draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2009, which the Commission presented on 16 May 2008 (COM(2008)0300),

–   having regard to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2009, which the Council established on 17 July 2008 (C6-0310/2008),

–   having regard to Rule 69 of and Annex IV to its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A6-0397/2008),

A. whereas the Preliminary Draft Budget (PDB) of all the institutions left a margin of EUR 121 744 018 below the ceiling of the financial framework for the financial year 2008,

B.  whereas after the Council's decision of 17 July 2008, the draft budget (DB) has a margin of EUR 224 133 714 below this ceiling,

C. whereas a pilot process was agreed in which enhanced cooperation between the Bureau and the Committee on Budgets, and early mutual cooperation on all items with significant budgetary implications, would be applied throughout the 2009 procedure,

D. whereas the prerogatives of the plenary in adopting the budget are fully maintained in accordance with the Treaty provisions and the Rules of Procedure,

E.  whereas a pre-conciliation meeting between delegations of the Bureau and the Committee on Budgets took place on 16 April in advance of the Bureau's adoption of the Preliminary Draft Estimates,

F.  whereas a conciliation meeting between these delegations took place on 30 September, prior to the votes in the Committee on Budgets and in the plenary,

General Framework

1.  Considers that the EU institutions, following its request that they present fully cost-based budget drafts corresponding to real needs, have cooperated in a constructive way so as now to arrive at final proposals that take into account the expectations of citizens and the need for financial rigour;

2.  Stresses that it has asked for statements from all institutions on how any expenditure related specifically to the potential entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community(6) could be identified; is satisfied, following their answers, that no such expenditure has been included in the final proposal;

3.  Welcomes the Council's approach of using a more targeted method for establishing the Draft Budget as opposed to the across-the-board percentage changes previously used;

4.  Stresses that, overall, there is still room for improvement and more effective use of budget resources in a number of areas and considers that these include increased inter-institutional cooperation, better use of performance targets, forecasting tools and benchmarking against best practice, further use of staff mobility and redeployment in order to keep increases in check and also demonstration of a solid grip on all expenses related to travel, allowances, translation, and especially building costs;

5.  Stresses once again the importance of continuous parliamentary monitoring of the implementation of budgetary decisions, which is the base for the establishment of the annual budget; is convinced that direct parliamentary control cannot but contribute to improving the quality of spending, to a more direct control of sound financial management and eventually to a re-focusing of financial support to political priorities; believes that this objective can be reached only with the full involvement of the two budgetary committees and specialised committees;

6.  Has decided to leave a margin below the ceiling of EUR______, thus limiting the overall increase to X % ; emphasises that this includes restoring a part of the reductions made by Council to the budget of the other institutions (excluding the Commission), but only in those cases where the specific needs of each one has been justified;

Section 1 - European Parliament

7.  Stresses that its political priorities as set out in its budgetary Guidelines and Estimates resolutions of 10 April 2008 and 20 May 2008 have guided the 2009 proposals in a spirit of budgetary rigour while safeguarding the political priorities set out; considers that the outcome is fully in line with these objectives and, notably, also corresponds to the specific requirements related to 2009 as an election year for the Parliament and the challenges related to the new Statute for Members and to the change of term;

8.  Warmly welcomes the improved cooperation between the Bureau and the Committee on Budgets which has provided a solid foundation for the preparatory work leading up to the first reading of the budget, as well as during the guidelines and estimates stages; underlines the willingness of both parties to further continue and make a success of the pilot process in order to resolve differences at an early stage while, at the same time, maintaining the prerogatives of each body;

9.  Considers, nevertheless, that some practical difficulties will have to be ironed out in order to facilitate and further improve cooperation, notably clear improvements on necessary information and reports being made available within appropriate time-limits before the first reading;

10. Acknowledges that significant developments, with a clear budgetary impact, have occurred since its adoption of the Estimates and that, in consequence, certain adjustments are now called for; stresses particularly, in this regard, budgetary changes brought about by the suspension of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, by the preparations for the implementation of the new Statute for Assistants, by updated forecasts for the Members' Statute and, also, by the rise in energy prices;

11. Stresses that significant developments aimed at assisting Members in the exercise of their mandate, particularly their legislative duties, have been achieved; points to the positive evaluation and establishment of the new Library Briefing Service, which will enhance Members' parliamentary activities; stresses the importance of Members being able to receive timely, objective and factual information on subjects relevant to their parliamentary activities; asks the administration to further improve the presentation of the answers to Members' enquiries, publish all requests, and not only the briefings, on the library's web site and enlarge the linguistic coverage of the information provided; wishes to be informed by way of a first evaluation at the beginning of 2010;

12. Stresses that the overall level of its budget amounts to 19,67 % of the authorised expenditure under heading 5 (administrative appropriations) of the multi-annual financial framework, i.e. it has been maintained below the self-imposed limit of 20%; welcomes the fact that this implies a further saving of EUR 0,9 million compared to its position in May 2008; points out that this is related to a combination of factors as mentioned above;

13. Takes note of the conciliation meeting between the Bureau and the Committee on Budgets on 30 September 2008, in which the major budgetary differences were negotiated and, in the main, resolved; notes, however, a few outstanding issues where no agreement could be reached which were left to the responsibility of the Parliament;

14. Underlines the positive results and the constructive nature of this meeting; can, based on its previous resolutions and further analysis of the Estimates and Amending Letter, largely endorse the modifications to the Establishment Plan proposed by the Bureau; is not in a position, however, to fully approve all proposals;

15. Recognises that significant efforts to redeploy resources have been and will be made in order to limit staff increases and related costs;

- stresses that the overall effectiveness of the use of human resources in terms of the fulfilment of specific tasks should also be analysed and that the Bureau and the Administration will need to keep a consistent focus on this issue for future years in order to optimally balance the distribution of human resources between core legislative activities, direct services to Members and administrative support functions, as well as making the underlying assumptions and priorities better understood; ;

- as a first and significant step, welcomes the analytical and detailed establishment plan presented, albeit with delay and after the deadline for tabling budgetary amendments for the first reading; wishes to be kept continually informed about this issue in the future;

- is satisfied that the current proposals will contribute positively to enhancing Parliament's law-making capacities, including with regard to the issue of comitology, as also presented in a recent report, for follow-up, to its Committee on Budgets;

16. Approves the changes to the Establishment Plan of the secretariat as contained in the tabled budgetary amendments, totalling _XX posts and __ upgradings; maintains in reserve the appropriations related to a limited number of posts pending further analysis and clarification regarding the use, needs and optimal distribution of resources, as outlined above, by the end of June 2009 at the latest;

17. While being fully committed to a speedy launch of the Visitor's Centre, stresses that, following the Conciliation, some further work is still needed to arrive at a satisfactory and cost-effective solution; notes that the two delegations could not reach full agreement on this point and, in consequence, decides to partially approve the requests at this stage, while being fully prepared to revisit this issue as soon as possible and after the necessary information has been provided;

18. Recognises the needs of political groups in terms of staff resources in order to face increasing challenges and, in consequence, agrees to provide a further 53 posts; considers that a reflection on how group staffing requests and the related appropriations could be better integrated into the budgetary procedure at an earlier stage would be most welcome in order to make possible a more timely assessment of the essential requirements;

19. Points out that it has decided to boost information activities carried out in the Member States as part of its strategy and action plan for the 2009 European elections; also welcomes the idea of greater involvement of young people in the campaign process, with the aim of informing EU citizens about the role of the European Parliament;

20. Stresses that the budgetary provisions have now been put in place in order to facilitate the introduction of a new "Regime" for Members' parliamentary assistants and warmly welcomes the work currently being done in order to reach a final agreement on this issue before the end of the year;

21. Welcomes the proposal for a Knowledge Management System to improve the dissemination of information and to manage the various information sources at administrative and political level; asks the administration to present the results of the first phase of the two-step approach by the end of March 2009;

22. Given the very substantial amounts involved, considers that the budgetary authority needs to consider the financial constraints and rising costs of purchasing, maintaining and refurbishing buildings in the coming year, especially taking into consideration the fact that the Members' Statute will come into force in 2009; asks the Bureau to submit a strategic plan by September 2009, before the 1st reading of the budget; in this light, cannot agree to an increased building reserve and decides to keep it at EUR 20 million; 

23. Recalls that a clearer medium to long-term vision for buildings, including planning measures, would likely be beneficial for controlling costs; calls on its Bureau to continue efforts in this regard; asks to receive a final report on the financial, administrative and legal implications related to the issue of asbestos and, as well, to the ceiling repair works necessary in Strasbourg;

24. Awaits the results of the study on the carbon footprint of the European Parliament, which should also include the question of CO2 off-setting schemes, as requested by Parliament; has decided to adapt the nomenclature of the lines affected by such an eventual future off-setting scheme; reiterates, however, that efforts need to be stepped up to reduce travel where possible;

25. Expresses its wish that a mobility management centre, detailing public transport connections from and to the Parliament, be made available in all of Parliament's premises, as well as via the intranet, as from the start of the new mandate of Parliament, encouraging use of public transport as an alternative to car use;

26. Takes note of the opinions submitted by the Committees on International Trade, Legal Affairs and Petitions and acknowledges the high level of agreement; stresses that, in the main, the concerns raised have been taken on board through the budgetary amendments and the vote;

Section IV - Court of Justice

27. Recognises the importance of the new urgency procedure to be implemented by the Court, in which national courts are entitled to a reply within a much shorter deadline than was previously the case; therefore approves the draft budget as concerns the 39 new posts in question;

28. Notes that the high rate of increase in the budget is primarily due to the construction project for the Court's new building, which was previously agreed and which will continue to have a high financial impact for years to come; calls on the Court to present an updated report on the works as a whole and its cost implications until 2013;

29. Considers that the development of the Court's normal operating budget, currently at a rate of about +2,5%, is far more encouraging and that, overall, the Court has made clear efforts to limit its expenditure growth for the 2009 exercise;

30. Decides to fix the general abatement rate at 3,5%, a level close to that which the Court itself is suggesting, and restores the corresponding appropriations; notes that this should ensure the Court's full operability while still representing a saving on the original proposals;

Section V - Court of Auditors

31. Welcomes the proposed reinforcement of the Court's audit capacity and decides to provide the 20 associated posts in agreement with both the Court and the Council;

32. Considers that the financing of the Court's building extension must be kept at the lowest cost possible for the taxpayer; therefore re-confirms its decision to pay for this directly through the budget, in four years, rather than masking the significantly higher costs that would result from a 25-year lease-purchase arrangement; decides, in consequence, to frontload the maximum amount possible to the 2009 budget and, to this end, has approved an amount of EUR 55 million for this purpose;

33. Decides to boost a limited number of expenditure items relating to the Court's dissemination of reports to the public, a performance audit of the Court itself, better reporting, childcare facilities for staff and also to provide two further posts in the establishment plan in addition to the auditors mentioned above;

Section VI - European Economic and Social Committee

34. Has taken account of the Committee's concerns as regards appropriations available for staff and, considering the arguments advanced, agrees to adjust the general abatement rate to a level of 4,5%;

35. Decides to create, in addition to the two new AD5 posts included in the Draft Budget, another two AST posts which had been rejected by the Council;

36. Decides to place a portion of appropriations for travel and meeting expenses into reserve pending the provision by the Committee of a clear plan on how it intends to keep these costs in check;

Section VII - Committee of the Regions

37. Takes note of the fact that the Committee will need to recruit additional 'enlargement-related' staff and agrees to the new posts in the Council's draft budget;

38. In addition to this, can accept, after hearing the Committee, a limited number of three further posts in order to boost its operational capacity in specific departments;

39. Decides to introduce a general abatement rate of 4,5% after hearing the Committee's arguments; notes that this is very close to the Committee's own requests while still representing a saving;

Section VIII - European Ombudsman

40. Agrees to the Council's draft budget on creating three new AD posts in order to strengthen the Ombudsman in dealing with an increasing number of admissible complaints; in addition to this, after hearing the Ombudsman, can also agree to three temporary AST posts;

Section IX - European Data Protection Supervisor

41. Approves this section of the draft budget;

o

o   o

42. Instructs its President to forward this resolution, together with the amendments to Sections I, II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX of the draft general budget, to the Council and the Commission, and also to the other institutions and bodies concerned.

(1)

OJ L 253, 7.10.2000, p. 42.

(2)

OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(3)

OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.

(4)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0115.

(5)

Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0208.

(6)

OJ C 306, 17.12.2007, p. 1.


OPINION of the Committee on International Trade (10.9.2008)

for the Committee on Budgets

on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2009

(C6-0310/2008 – 2008/2026B(BUD))

Section I - European Parliament

Rapporteur: Helmuth Markov

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on International Trade calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

-    having regard to its resolutions of 24 April 2008 entitled "Towards a reform of the World Trade Organization"(1), of 4 April 2006 entitled "The assessment of the Doha Round following the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong"(2), of 12 May 2005 entitled "The assessment of the Doha Round following the WTO General Council Decision of 1 August 2004"(3), of 9 March 2005 entitled "The guidelines for Sections II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII(A) and VIII(B) and on the European Parliament's preliminary draft estimates (Section I) for the 2006 budgetary procedure"(4), of 22 April 2004 entitled "The estimates of revenue and expenditure of Parliament for the financial year 2005"(5) and of 26 February 2004 entitled "2005 budget procedure: guidelines for sections II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII(A) and VIII(B) and preliminary draft estimates (Section I) for the 2005 budgetary procedure "(6),

1.   Recalls that parliamentarians, as elected representatives of the citizens, have an important role to play in trade negotiations and, in particular, in World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations;

2.   Stresses that, since 2002, Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a Geneva-based international organisation, have been jointly organising and co-financing the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, a permanent mechanism of parliamentary oversight of the WTO, whose activities could be stepped up;

3.   Notes that the principal objective of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO is to enhance the external transparency of the WTO and to make it accountable to legislators as elected representatives of the people; further notes that it is a forum in which members of parliaments from all over the world exchange opinions, information and experience on international trade issues and provide a parliamentary dimension to the WTO by: i) overseeing WTO activities and promoting their effectiveness and fairness, ii) promoting the transparency of WTO procedures and improving dialogue between governments, parliaments and civil society, and iii) building capacity in parliaments in matters of international trade and exerting influence on the direction of discussions within the WTO;

4.   Reiterates its declared aim to accompany WTO negotiations with a parliamentary process; stresses, therefore, that there will be a continual future need to finance this crucial activity; notes, in this regard, that in 2009 there will be at least an Annual Session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, either in parallel with the WTO Ministerial Conference - if it is organised - or otherwise in Brussels or Geneva and that there will be two sessions of its Steering Committee in Geneva;

5.   Is determined, as co-organiser of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, to ensure that sufficient appropriations are available to provide for the adequate participation, with the necessary infrastructure, of its delegations in all meetings and cover the defrayal of travel and subsistence expenses of six representatives of the ACP countries;

6.   Points out that, should a WTO Ministerial Conference be organised in 2009, Parliament would guarantee the reinforcement of budget line 3 0 4 4 in order to cover the costs connected with the organisation, in parallel, of a session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE(

Date adopted

0.0.0000

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

26

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Carlos Carnero González, Daniel Caspary, Françoise Castex, Christofer Fjellner, Béla Glattfelder, Ignasi Guardans Cambó, Jacky Hénin, Alain Lipietz, Erika Mann, Helmuth Markov, David Martin, Vural Öger, Georgios Papastamkos, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Peter Šťastný, Robert Sturdy, Gianluca Susta, Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna, Corien Wortmann-Kool

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Jean-Pierre Audy, Albert Deß, Elisa Ferreira, Vasco Graça Moura, Eugenijus Maldeikis, Rovana Plumb, Salvador Domingo Sanz Palacio, Zbigniew Zaleski

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

(1)

P6_TA(2008)0180.

(2)

OJ C 293 E, 2.12.2006, p. 155.

(3)

OJ C 92 E, 20.4.2006, p. 397.

(4)

OJ C 320 E, 15.12.2005, p. 156.

(5)

OJ C 104 E, 30.4.2004, p. 1014.

(6)

OJ C 98 E, 23.4.2004, p. 171.


OPINION of the Committee on Legal Affairs (10.9.2008)

for the Committee on Budgets

on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2009

(C6-0310/2008 - 2008/2026B(BUD))

Other Sections

Rapporteur: Monica Frassoni

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Legal Affairs calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

A. whereas, as regards the Court of Justice, the high rate of implementation of the budget appropriations in Chapter 12 “Officials and Temporary Staff” of the 2007 budget (97,7%) demonstrates the success of the Court's sustained effort to fill the posts allocated to it,

B.  whereas the execution rate for the Court's appropriations for external services in the linguistic field is expected to approach 100% in 2008, and whereas the less favourable phased recruitment of twenty permanent lawyer-linguist posts, granted by the Council for 2009 and necessary in the context of the new urgent preliminary rulings procedure, will necessitate greater recourse to freelance translators,

C. whereas, on the one hand, adequate appropriations must be provided for for the operation and maintenance of the existing IT equipment and applications of the Court of Justice and, on the other hand, significant savings can be envisaged in relation to the credits requested for funding strategic developments within the Court,

1.  Considers that the standard abatement needs to be reinstated at 3% for the Court of Justice in order to meet the needs relating to the Court's establishment plan for 2009;

2.  Considers that the amount of EUR 486 700 under item 1406 needs to be reintroduced in the budget for the Court of Justice in order to avoid any bottleneck in the translation service that could directly affect the productivity of the Court;

3.   Notes that, as regards the Court of Justice, there is no room for manoeuvre for further budgetary cuts in the Parties’ Internet Portal project, and suggests the reinstatement of EUR 274 400 under item 2102 which is required for the minimum investment programme concerning the urgent preliminary rulings procedure, the management of human resources and the security of applications;

4.   Requests the Court to report on the measures it has taken in recent years and on possible further proposals to "green" the institution, such as measures to reduce the use of energy, water and paper, the production of waste, and mobility plans, etc.;

5.   Considers that additional resources need to be granted to the European Parliament for all comitology procedures, especially with regard to the new regulatory procedure with scrutiny and in preparation for the new legal framework, in order to ensure that the exchange of views and positions between the three institutions functions satisfactorily;

6.   Welcomes the report of 8 September 2008 by Parliament's administration concerning its human resources and funds deployed in the framework of better regulation, according to which 8 AD "comitology" posts have been granted for the various committees; notes that there are no specific figures as regards the number of people dedicated to the monitoring of the application of Community law in the different parliamentary committees; requests the Committee on Budgets to provide appropriate follow-up to that report when considering the requests for human resources and expertise budgets for the 2009 budget, including the need to monitor the application of Community law.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

9.9.2008

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

24

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Marek Aleksander Czarnecki, Bert Doorn, Monica Frassoni, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Othmar Karas, Piia-Noora Kauppi, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, Katalin Lévai, Antonio Masip Hidalgo, Hans-Peter Mayer, Manuel Medina Ortega, Hartmut Nassauer, Aloyzas Sakalas, Francesco Enrico Speroni, Daniel Strož, Rainer Wieland, Jaroslav Zvěřina, Tadeusz Zwiefka

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Ieke van den Burg, Vicente Miguel Garcés Ramón, Jean-Paul Gauzès, Georgios Papastamkos, Gabriele Stauner, Jacques Toubon

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Renate Weber


OPINION of the Committee on Petitions (2.7.2008)

for the Committee on Budgets

on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2009

(C6-0310/2008 - 2008/2026B(BUD))

Section VIII - European Ombudsman

Rapporteur: Mairead McGuinness

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The Committee on Petitions has taken note of the European Ombudsman's estimates of his budgetary requirements for the financial year 2009, which he submitted to the President of the European Parliament by letter of 8 April 2008, in accordance with Article 31 of the Financial Regulation.

Mandate

Article 195 of the Treaty establishing the European Community states that the Ombudsman shall "... help to uncover maladministration in the activities of the Community institutions and bodies [...] and make recommendations with a view to putting an end to it".

In addition to this main duty the Ombudsman has identified another important area of activity, which is to raise the European citizens' awareness of their rights deriving from Union law and thus enhance relations between citizens and Europe and its institutions.

Other tasks concern administrative, management and financial operations in order to support the key activities of the Ombudsman's secretariat. These so-called horizontal activities account for 24% of the Ombudsman's overall budget expenditure.

Workload

In 2007 the Ombudsman received fewer new complaints than in 2006 (some 600 less). However, the number of admissible complaints, and consequently the number of inquiries opened, increased.

The Ombudsman considers this evolution to be the result of initiatives he launched with a view to better explaining to European citizens his mandate and its limits. He has invested considerable time, effort and resources in an information campaign to explain what the Ombudsman can and cannot do and providing information about other means of redress at European, national or regional level.

During the year 308 new inquiries were opened on the basis of complaints (267 in 2006) and 6 own initiative inquiries were launched. Overall in 2007 the Ombudsman dealt with 641 inquiries, of which 332 were carried over from 2006. A record number of 350 inquiries were closed, which made 2007 the best year with respect to the number of inquiries closed.

Main features of the 2009 budget

The Ombudsman's estimates for 2009 show a total of EUR 9 012 000. This is an increase of 5.95% (+ EUR 506 230) compared with the 2008 budget. It encompasses both the impact of inflation and the increased cost of living as estimated by the Commission.

An amount of EUR 225 000 (nearly half the budget increase) was put on the 2009 budget in order to take into account the possible consequences of having to hold elections for a new Ombudsman. The relevant appropriations could be needed for the financial consequences of the possible departure of the current Ombudsman and the arrival of a newly elected Ombudsman.

Organisation of the Ombudsman's secretariat

In 2007 the Legal Department (LD) of the secretariat was reorganised in order to set up a new management structure with one Head of Department and four Heads of Legal Teams, each managing a team of legal officers. The Sectors of the Administrative and Finance Department (AFD) were also reorganised. In 2008 the Departments will become Directorates and the Legal Teams and Sectors will become Units, where each unit will have a Head of Unit.

The impact of this operation on the 2009 budget is limited but would require upgrading two posts: (1) the Head of Legal Department (Director) should be upgraded from AD 14 to AD 15 and (2) the post of the Secretary-General should be upgraded from AD 15 to AD 16 in order to cover the range of grades corresponding to Director-General.

Financing for 6 new posts and several upgrades is requested, which results in an increase of around EUR 300 000 of Chapter 12 (Officials and temporary staff).

New posts requested are:

-    2 Legal Officers (AD 5) and 1 secretary (AST 1) for the Legal Department;

-    1 Administrator (AD 5) for the Administration Sector;

-    1 Office Assistant (AST 1) for the Finance Sector;

-    1 Assistant (AST 1) for the Secretary-General.

In addition to the two upgrades mentioned above 5 existing posts (3 AST and 2 AD) should be upgraded in accordance with the Staff Regulations.

Savings and redeployment

The Ombudsman systematically submits each budget line to scrutiny in order to generate savings where possible and middle management are requested to identify at an early stage priorities for the financial year(s) ahead. The result of this approach is that operational expenditure decreases with 3.6% (- EUR 75 230) compared with last year.

This decrease corresponds to a re-allocation of appropriations within Titles II and III of EUR 210 000. Redeployment amounts to 10.5% of the operational budget for 2009 and 15 budget lines (out of 22) show a decrease in real terms. 15% of the total increase of the budget (EUR 506 230) is financed by internal redeployment of resources.

In 2008 further action with regard to translation policy will be taken which is expected to have a positive effect on the budget for translations. The 2009 request for translation and interpretation represents a total of EUR 665 000 which is a decrease of 2.2% (- EUR 15 000) compared to last year.

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Petitions calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Considers that the total amount of budgetary resources requested by the Ombudsman will enable him to meet the obligations under his Statute, the implementing provisions and the co-operation agreements and will allow him to perform his duties effectively;

2.  Takes the view that the increase of 5,95% compared to the 2008 budget is appropriate taking into account the impact of inflation, the increased cost of living as estimated by the Commission, and the obligation in an election year to make provision for the financial consequences of the potential departure of the current Ombudsman and arrival of a newly-elected Ombudsman; observes that this provision represents nearly half of the total increase in the budget for 2009 and that the relevant appropriations will be cancelled if no new Ombudsman is elected and the incumbent is returned to office;

3.  Notes that in 2007 the number of complaints received by the Ombudsman decreased by some 600 complaints in comparison to 2006; is pleased, however, that the number of admissible complaints and inquiries opened over the same period has increased;

4.  Notes that the Ombudsman attributes this higher number of admissible complaints to the considerable time, effort and resources invested in an information campaign to explain to European Union citizens his mandate and its limits;

5.  Observes that despite this campaign, according to the Ombudsman's Annual Report 2007, of all the complaints examined in 2007 just over 26% were within the Ombudsman's mandate compared to 21,5% in 2006, 30,7% in 2005 and 25,2% in 2004;

6.  Endorses, in this context, the reorganisation of the Ombudsman's secretariat aimed at setting up a new and clear management structure to monitor and promote effective case management; supports the Ombudsman's request for 6 new posts and 7 upgrades;

7.  Commends the Ombudsman for successfully applying a policy of systematic scrutiny of budget lines and early prioritisation in order to generate savings and anticipate opportunities for redeployment of appropriations; notes with satisfaction that this approach has led to a decrease in operational expenditure of 3,6% and has contributed to the financing of 15% of the budget increase by means of internal redeployment of resources;

8.  Notes that the 2009 request for translation and interpretation appropriations has decreased by 2,2% compared to last year; encourages the Ombudsman to continue efforts to improve the quality and style of presentation of his decisions, with the added benefit of reducing the translation costs thereof.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

25.06.2008

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

14

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Robert Atkins, Margrete Auken, Inés Ayala Sender,Victor Boştinaru, Michael Cashman, Carlos José Iturgaiz Angulo,Marcin Libicki, Proinsias De Rossa, David Hammerstein, Marian Harkin, Manolis Mavrommatis, Mairead McGuinness, Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou,

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Margie Sudre,

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Georgios Toussas,


PROCEDURE

Title

Draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2009, Section I – European Parliament, Section II – Council, Section IV – Court of Justice, Section V – Court of Auditors, Section VI – European Economic and Social Committee, Section VII – Committee of the Regions, Section VIII – European Ombudsman, Section IX – European Data Protection Supervisor

References

C6-0310/2008 – 2008/2026 (BUD)

Committee responsible

  Date announced in plenary

BUDG23.9.2008

Referral for opinion – date announced in plenary

23.9.2008

Rapporteur(s)

  Date appointed

Janusz Lewandowski

24.1.2008

Previous rapporteur(s)

Ville Itälä

Date draft general budget established by the Council

17.7.2008

Date draft general budget forwarded by the Council

0.0.0000

Discussed in committee

13.10.2008

 

 

 

 

Date adopted

13.10.2008

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

28

 

 

Members present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Reimer Böge, Paulo Casaca, Brigitte Douay, Szabolcs Fazakas, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Louis Grech, Catherine Guy-Quint, Jutta Haug, Ville Itälä, Anne E. Jensen, Alain Lamassoure, Janusz Lewandowski, Eleonora Lo Curto, Nils Lundgren, Vladimír Maňka, Gérard Onesta, Margaritis Schinas, Esko Seppänen, Nina Škottová, László Surján, Helga Trüpel, Kyösti Virrankoski, Ralf Walter

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Michael Gahler, Esther De Lange, Rihards Pīks, Paul Rübig

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

Date tabled

14.10.2008

Comments (available in one language only)

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