on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2010, 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
on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2010, 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 (C7-0128/2009 – 2009/2002B(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 March 2009 on the guidelines for the 2010 budget procedure – Sections I, II and IV to IX(4),
– having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2009 on the estimates of revenue and expenditure of Parliament for the financial year 2010(5),
– having regard to its internal agreement, dating from 1988, to limit its budgetary appropriations to a maximum of 20 % of the total of heading 5, not including expenditure of an exceptional nature;
– having regard to the preliminary draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2010, which the Commission presented on 29 April 2009 (COM(2009)0300),
– having regard to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2010, which the Council established on 13 July 2009 (C7-0128/2009),
– having regard to Rule 75 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,
– having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Petitions (A7-0037/2009),
A. whereas the Preliminary draft budget (PDB) of all the institutions left a margin of EUR 236 597 323 below the ceiling of the financial framework for the financial year 2010,
B. whereas after the Council's decision of 13 July 2008, the draft budget (DB) has a margin of EUR 276 153 415 below this ceiling,
C. whereas the pilot process agreed for the 2009 procedure, 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, has been maintained also for the 2010 procedure,
D. whereas a conciliation meeting between the Bureau and the Committee on Budgets took place on 15 September 2009, prior to the votes in the Committee on Budgets and in the plenary,
1. Recalls that the EU institutions must establish their budgets in the context of the economic and financial situation facing Europe and that it is imperative that these reflect the efforts to achieve political objectives with as effective a use of resources as possible;
2. Reiterates its conviction that budget requests must be fully cost-based and only reflect real needs to achieve the tasks entrusted to each institution, while making every effort to identify savings, including through better organisation of work, redeployment of existing resources toward priorities and less bureaucracy, in order to make the best possible use of scarce financial resources;
3. Welcomes the constructive and cooperative approach taken by all institutions in their dealings with the budgetary authority and is satisfied that their answers to questions raised have been prompt and accurate;
4. Stresses that 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 is not included in the proposals; recalls that, in the event of this treaty entering into force, existing budgetary instruments, such as an amending letter or amending budget, may have to be used if necessary; is nevertheless of the opinion that, in such a case and to the fullest possible extent, reorganisation of existing resources must be fully examined before any call for additional resources is made; as a matter of prudence for the future, reiterates the need to maintain a sustainable budget andfor a healthy financial margin in this heading;
5. Recalls that there is still room for improvement and more effective use of budget resources in a number of areas and would like to highlight, again, the area of inter-institutional cooperation; agrees with the Court of Auditors that increased cooperation in the field of language services could provide some margin for savings; has therefore made this a priority for 2010 and calls on the institutions to further improve these aspects, including a re-negotiation of the current arrangements in place for the sharing of internal translation resources;
6. To this end, decides to introduce a cross-cutting reserve of 5% for external translation services and stresses that this amendment is targeted towards all institutions with their own translation departments; the improvements requested include the re-negotiation of the current arrangements in place for the sharing of internal translation resources in view of realising efficiency gains and savings in the area of translation, also in line with the special report of the Court of Auditors in this field; takes note of the fact that this reserve can thus be released when a concrete proposal for a system of internal translation resource sharing has been presented by the institutions and considered by the budgetary authority;
7. Stresses its wish that the possibility of 'tele-working' for translators should be re-examined by the institutions; notes that this could lead to annual savings, notably if office space can be freed up and used for other purposes; notes that the Court of Auditors uses this system (albeit in limited numbers) and that it is working well;
8. Has decided to leave a margin below the ceiling of heading 5 'Administrative expenditure', of EUR XX, thus limiting the overall increase to x, y %; emphasises that this includes restoring a part of the reductions made by Council to the budget of the institutions in those cases where the specific requests of each institution have been justified;
9. Believes that the EU budget system must develop in a way that rewards resourcefulness and innovative solutions; highlights, in this regard, and as an incentive, that efficiency gains and savings that are the result of such measures on the part of the institutions could be used for other priorities they might have; stresses, however, that unused funds that result simply from slow implementation or unexpected events should as a general rule be returned to the taxpayer;
Section 1 - European Parliament
10. Welcomes the good spirit and constructive nature of the conciliation meeting of 15 September 2009 between its Bureau and Committee on Budgets; believes that this should further reinforce the establishment of the Parliament's budget under conditions of mutual cooperation and trust, as well as stringent application of sound budgetary principles and transparency; stresses that the prerogatives of each body should be fully maintained;
11. Recalls that agreement was reached on the following issues, which were part of this conciliation meeting:
-Reserves (priority projects, building reserve, contingency reserve)
-Restructuring of DG INLO and security service
-Staff needs for 2010
-House of European History
-Political parties and foundations
12. Considers that the flow of information and timing of exchanges between its Bureau and the Committee on Budgets are crucial to ensure success and further improvements in their cooperation;
13. Stresses the need for the Parliament, as is the case for all institutions, to provide as complete a preliminary budget proposal as possible in the spring and early summer; emphasises that the use of an amending letter in the autumn should truly be limited to unforeseen events and technical updates; recognises that election years constitute a specific situation in which a greater degree of flexibility must be catered for in these procedures so as to safeguard the prerogatives of a newly formed parliament;
14. Points out that the overall level of its budget amounts to 19, XX % 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%; reiterates, however, that XX % does not include any possible adaptations that might become necessary should the Treaty of Lisbon enter into force, particularly in the legislative area, and maintains its position that a considerable margin is essential; acknowledges that, due to the current limited margin, further savings and redeployment will be required to enable additional requirements to be fulfilled;
15. Considers that a distinction between the Parliament's fixed and variable costs would facilitate decisions on the overall level of its budget and the appropriate follow-up for maintaining a sustainable budget; in this respect, has decided to place in reserve a part of three specific budget lines while requesting a report which identifies the expenses under titles 2 and 3 according to the different types of costs and whether they are of a fixed or variable nature; considers that this distinction, the long-term strategies on buildings, communication and information policies as well as a cost-benefit analysis of the various activities of Parliament will enable the construction of a zero-based budget in the coming years; considers that this will allow the Parliament's budget to reflect only real needs and will increase its transparency, budget accuracy and efficiency;
16. Points out that 2010 is the first year of full application of the new Statute for Members and that this is having a significant impact on its budget, which has had to take over these costs; notes that the additional amounts included compared to 2009 (a year of partial application) can be estimated at some EUR 40 million and, compared to previous years, at some EUR 113 million;
17. Considers that these figures, however, should be differentiated into what are effectively unavoidable consequences of a legal and budgetary nature and those for which the actual implementation of the system can make a difference; from a budgetary point of view, therefore calls for a report on the application of the system for travel reimbursements, the costs of which are rising, although the European public had expected them to go down; asks that this report should be presented before 30 June 2010;
18. Welcomes the agreement reached at the end of 2008 on the new statute for Members' parliamentary assistants and has included the budgetary provisions for the first full year of application in 2010; decides, nevertheless, to introduce a reserve of 20% on the salary line for Parliament's staff while requesting a significant reduction in bureaucracy and improvement of the implementation of the assistant's statute;
19. In connection with the overall level of the budget and the elements outlined above, also points out that the conciliation led to agreement on reducing the proposed reserves to a level of EUR 5 million for new political initiatives, maintaining a general contingency reserve of EUR 10 million and also agreement on a building reserve of EUR 15 million;
20. Welcomes the agreement concerning staff resources for the 2010 budget and appreciates the information provided by the administration concerning posts deemed necessary and the restructuring measures proposed in parallel;
21. Decides to authorise the appropriations for 54 new posts on the Parliament's 2010 Establishment Plan as follows:- Permanent posts : 8 AD9, 17 AD5 and 28 AST1,
- Temporary posts : 2 AD10, 1 AD9 and 1 AD5,
- Deletion of 3 temporary AST 1 posts approved on the 2009 establishment Plan;
also decides to approve the appropriations for the following upgradings: 5 AD5 to 5 AD7 in relation to recruitment of interpreters, 30 AD7 to 30 AD9 in relation to internal competitions, and 30 AST3 to 30 AST5, also in relation to internal competitions; also decides to approve the appropriations for conversion of 5 AST6 posts into 2 AD11 and 3 AD12 posts in relation to cross-over competitions;
22. This notwithstanding, insists that further efforts at redeployment of already existing resources and posts should be an integral part of its budget process; believes, in this regard, that it is right to adapt its organisation of work and structure of services to the political priorities in order to maximise the results and, from a budgetary point of view, reduce the cost impact; in this respect, recalls its request from last year that it is crucial 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;
23. Notes in particular the conciliation agreement to strengthen its department for buildings and buildings policy in order to ensure proper maintenance and security, improving its planning and control and, reasonably, leading, together with a coherent and responsible property policy, to savings in the longer term; therefore agrees to provide 49 new posts over three years to this end; also notes the agreement to finance 5 posts requested for a reorganisation of the security service;
24. Also welcomes the conciliation agreement to carry out an organisational audit for DG INLO and the Security Service in order to asses whether resources are being used in the best way;
Legislative work and multilingualism
25. Recalls that multilingualism has been a crucial feature of the 2010 budget both from the point of view of safeguarding, and indeed strengthening, the right of all Members to enjoy equal treatment as far as language services are concerned, and also from the point of view of striving to keep costs down through improved inter-institutional cooperation between all institutions; welcomes the targeted additional funding for this area in the budget proposal and approves it;
26. Believes that assuming Parliament's increased legislative responsibilities is an ongoing process and requires full assistance to Members to fulfil their legislative work; welcomes, in this context, the decision of the Bureau of 6 May 2009 aimed at enhancing direct assistance to Members during their legislative work, in particular during the initial drafting stage; considers that attention must now also be turned to the later stages of the legislative procedures and deems it essential that Members have access to correct texts in all official languages, in accordance with the principles of multilingualism and in accordance with the aims of the Union's Better Law-making policy, in order to enhance transparency and the democratic legitimacy of Parliament's positions in legislative procedures;27.Recalls that Parliament regularly votes on agreed legislative acts in the form of early political compromises, whereas the Council adopts such acts only after they have been finalised; considers it essential that Parliament should examine and vote on final, correct texts in all languages; requests that steps be taken at internal and inter-institutional level to ensure that Parliament is on an equal footing with Council in this respect;
28. Welcomes the agreement at the conciliation to introduce a cross-cutting reserve of 5% on specific budget lines for all institutions with their own translation services as already described above;
29. Is willing to reconsider the system and accessibility of translations of plenary speeches, the so-called verbatim reports, and how this could be improved through the use of modern technology while, at the same time, constituting a major saving in the budget; considers that this could involve a demand-based translation system, which could also speed up the availability of requested texts considerably;
30. Recalls its previous request that the Bureau present a coherent and responsible long-term strategy in the area of property and buildings, which also takes into account the particular problem of increasing maintenance costs, renovation needs and security costs and ensures the sustainability of Parliament's budget, and expects it to be presented by the end of 2009; notes the reply received following last year's budget resolution but does not consider this sufficient; also stresses that account must be taken of possible future reimbursements from the Belgian authorities in line with the agreement concerning the Parliament's existing premises in Brussels;
31. Reiterates the importance it attaches to security issues, closely linked to its building policy, and considers that an effective and balanced approach is necessary in this area; underlines in particular the specific character of a parliament and the need for openness and accessibility alongside security; at the same time, expresses concern regarding the ever-rising costs in this area and considers that a differentiated approach is necessary depending on the specific situation of each workplace;
32. Notes that the reason why the Bureau is contemplating acquiring a new building close to its current facilities in Brussels, while reckoning that it no longer needs another one of its buildings for parliamentary work, remains to be clearly explained;
Communication and information policy
33. Welcomes the agreement on financing of European political parties and foundations, which should contribute to strengthen communication with, and participation of, citizens in EU political life; calls for further discussion on long-term budget priciples in this field;
34. Welcomes the final decision by the Bureau on the management model for the new Visitor's Centre and decides to provide the requested 13 posts in order to ensure, finally, as prompt an opening as possible and, in any case, no later than the first part of 2010;
35. Decides to place in a reserve a part of the appropriations on two budget lines linked to the Parliament's communication policy until the provision of a cost benefit analysis presenting a comparison of the target that had been set and the outcome obtained concerning the participation to the European elections in each Member State;
36. Takes note of the agreement reached between its Bureau and Committee on Budgets concerning the House of European History; decides to make available the requested EUR 1,5 million, to be budgeted under a suitable budget line already existing in the 2009 budget, in order to ensure that the architects' competition can go ahead and concept proposals can be received on time next year; reiterates its opinion that information concerning the overall cost of the project is necessary; welcomes the agreement to aim for additional funding from outside sources and to explore possible cooperation on the project;
37. Stresses the importance it attaches to an effective organisation of the many information sources and services available to Members and staff within the Parliament; in this respect, recalls the newly adopted ICT strategy, under its IT General Directorate, and the decision to create a Directorate for Library and Document Management under its Presidency services; further underlines the need to develop an overall "Knowledge Management System" to facilitate the dissemination of all information at both political and administrative level; asks its Bureau to pay particular attention to the cooperation between the various services in order to ensure that the overall policy is coherent and cost-effective and, finally, welcomes the agreement at the conciliation that a presentation covering such aspects will be provided for a meeting of its Committee on Budgets;
38. Also believes that the inclusion of services managing documents in the new directorate referred to above should improve access to information and contribute to a better understanding of parliamentary activities; insists that this should facilitate the work of Members and also improve transparency vis-à-vis citizens; decides to approve the budgetary elements as contained in the preliminary budget; at the same time, wishes to be updated on its organisation, cost and staffing forecasts and products and services, including the measures to improve accessibility of documents;
39. Takes note of the opinions submitted by the Committees on XXXX and of the similar positions expressed; considers that, in the main, the concerns raised have been taken on board as far as possible through the budgetary amendments and the vote;
Section IV - Court of Justice
40. Considers that the Court's increasing workload in terms of consultations and the new urgency procedures has warranted a reasonable increase in its operating budget and establishment plan in the past two years, including a very considerable reinforcement of staff for 2009; therefore considers it natural that no additional posts are being asked for 2010; is not convinced that the Council's cuts on foreseen remunerations and abatement rates are correct given the actual rate of recruitment and staffing level;
41. Therefore decides to re-reinstate the PDB on a number of lines given the arguments put forward and after considering the opinions of its committees;
42. Notes that the effect of the Court's new buildings is on-going and that this has a problematic impact on the overall growth of its budget; from this perspective, and considering these sunk costs, can accept the overall growth of 4,5 % as put forward, noting that the development of the Court's normal operating budget is situated at a considerably lower rate of about +2, 5%.
Section V - Court of Auditors
43. Following the 20 auditor posts granted for 2009, agrees to the creation of a further 12 auditor posts as a result of increasing demands, particularly from the budget discharge authority; stresses that staffing levels and work requests must be considered within the wider context of the budget and the European economy; considers therefore that the 32 new auditor posts granted over two years will place the Court in a comfortable position for some years to come and, otherwise, demands that the Court must prioritise the requests in order of urgency and relative importance;
44. Notes the planned progression of the costs for the K3 building extension and reiterates that, compared to a lease-purchase option, the decision to finance this directly from the budget will keep this project at the lowest level possible for the tax-payer; takes account of the fact that the decision to frontload an amount of EUR 55 million to 2009 has led to a significant decrease for this line for 2010;
45. Following a comment from the external audit carried out in respect of the Court itself, considers that all spending for this project must be carried out under the appropriations granted on the dedicated building line and, for the sake of transparency, must not be budgeted under other headings/lines;
46. Decides to increase a limited number of expenditure items relating to the Court's dissemination of reports to the public, publications in the Official Journal, and missions, in order to allow for a thematic expert to accompany the auditor, when needed, in order to enhance the insight and quality of findings;
Section VI - European Economic and Social Committee
47. Decides to take a compromise position between the Committee's original requests and the Council's draft budget; to this end, decides to approve the creation of 6 additional posts (4 AD5, 1 AST 3 and 1 AST1) and to adjust the general abatement rate for salaries and allowances to 5%;
48. Asks the Committee to present a first summary report of the functioning of the improved planning system for meeting and travel costs, as introduced in the previous budget;
49. In view of future budgets, also requests a succinct explanation on how the travel reimbursements and allowances are calculated and which, if any, options the members and staff have in this regard;
Section VII - Committee of the Regions
50. Does not agree with the Council's abolition of all ten additional posts requested for the Committee and decides to reinstate four of them as priority posts linked to its political work and, particularly, the regional assembly; recalls, however, that increases to the Committee's staffing were approved already for 2009 and therefore cannot approve more than that, given the general economic situation;
51. Decides to introduce a general abatement rate of 5 % after hearing the Committee's arguments as regards recruitment levels and vacancy rates; notes that this should ensure that the Committee has sufficient funds to meet its obligations while still representing a small saving on the PDB;
52. Takes a compromise position between the Committee's requests and the Council's reductions on various operational lines, including resources for IT development, child-care facilities for staff and information and communication measures;
Section VIII - European Ombudsman
53. Partially reinstates the PDB after noting the reductions by Council and hearing the arguments of the Ombudsman; insists that limited savings, in the main, on the PDB can nevertheless be maintained;
54. Also takes a compromise position between the Ombudsman and the Council as concerns needed appropriations for salaries and allowances;
55. Agrees with the Ombudsman that a reflection on the extent to which expenditure related to the election of this Office is useful and, in fact, considers that the current system of splitting such costs over different years and different budget posts is not transparent;
56. Is surprised that this body has had virtually no budget at all for training measures and can therefore agree to a certain increase in this area;
Section IX - European Data Protection Supervisor
57. Acknowledges that the Supervisor is increasingly being called on to give opinions on legislation (with an impact on data protection issues); has discussed this matter in some depth and has taken note of the statement that these consultations are obligatory on the part of the Supervisor; therefore decides to make some adjustments to the draft budget suggested by the Council;
58. Approves the creation of two additional posts (1 AD5 and 1 AST2) which represents a middle position between the original requests and the Council's position; does so in the light of the fact that, at the same time, an increase is granted also for the financing of national experts;
59. Also agrees to some reinforcements over the Council's proposal on a limited number of other budget headings after hearing the Supervisor's arguments;
60. 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.
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:
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; 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 2010 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 2010, 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
Result of final vote
Members present for the final vote
Daniel Caspary, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Peter Šťastný, Iuliu Winkler, Pablo Zalba Bidegain, Kader Arif, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Emilio Menéndez del Valle, Gianluca Susta, Marielle De Sarnez, Metin Kazak, Niccolò Rinaldi, Yannick Jadot, Caroline Lucas, Robert Sturdy, Joe Higgins, Helmut Scholz, George Becali
The Committee on Petitions has taken note of the European Ombudsman's estimates of his budgetary requirements for the financial year 2010, which he submitted to the budgetary authority in accordance with Article 31 of the Financial Regulation(1).
The European Ombudsman's core tasks are:
- to remedy and prevent maladministration by the European Community institutions and bodies by handling complaints and making inquiries, either based on complaints or on his own initiative;
- to communicate effectively with European citizens, to inform them about their rights under EU law and to promote effective remedies for the protection of these rights.
In the execution of these tasks the Ombudsman is assisted by a secretariat which, besides dealing with complaints and enquiries, also performs horizontal administrative and management tasks to ensure the general management of the institution. Such tasks include budgetary, financial and staff management, correspondence with citizens, IT-management, liaising with other institutions, etc.
During 2008 the Ombudsman received 3 406 new complaints (3 214 in 2007) of which 802 (25%) were within his mandate. Of these, 281 were inadmissible and 228 were admissible but contained no grounds for opening an inquiry. In 293 cases (9.1%) an inquiry was opened. The Ombudsman also opened 3 own-initiative inquiries and issued 1 Special Report.
In 70% of all cases examined in 2008 advice was given or the case was transferred to a member of the Network of Ombudsmen, SOLVIT or other complaint handling bodies in the Member States. The Ombudsman referred 191 cases to the Committee on Petitions.
In 2008 the Ombudsman closed 355 inquiries (350 in 2007), which makes 2008 the best ever year in the history of the Ombudsman as regards closed inquiries. The year 2008 was also the best year ever in relation to the number of draft recommendations and friendly solutions proposed and accepted. Also the speed of handling inquiries improved. Currently 52% of all inquiries are closed within 1 year and 68% within 1.5 years.
Main features of the 2010 budget
The European Ombudsman's budgetary estimates for 2010 show a total of EUR 9,543,000 which is an increase of 7.14% (+ EUR 636,120) compared to the 2009 budget. This amount includes the impact of inflation and increased cost of living anticipated by the European Commission.
An amount of EUR 296,000 already partially included in the 2009 budget has been foreseen for the possible consequences of the elections for a new Ombudsman. These appropriations may be needed to face the financial consequences in case the current Ombudsman should depart and a new Ombudsman should be elected.
The Ombudsman's establishment plan contains 63 posts (34 AD and 29 AST). The budgetary Chapter for officials and temporary staff shows an increase of 9.56% (+ EUR 545,120). This increase will be used to finance the full year impact of the 6 new posts granted in 2009, the costs of annual adjustments and the promotions and upgradings (3 AST and 2 AD) requested for 2010. The Ombudsman does not request any new posts for 2010.
An important element of the estimates for 2010 is the substantial increase requested for training. The Ombudsman decided to implement a new training policy as statistics have shown that his staff on average receive considerably less training (1.8 days) than officials in the other institutions. Of the Ombudsman's staff some 70% work in Strasbourg, which means that they are in a less favourable position to benefit from training courses organised in Luxembourg or Brussels. This geographical aspect also has a significant impact in terms of mission expenses. The Ombudsman therefore requests an increase of EUR 28,000 of his budget for training.
Savings and redeployment
The Ombudsman systematically scrutinises all budget lines for opportunities to generate savings, so that the resources saved may be used to finance projects management have identified for the following year. The result of this exercise was that a total of 17 budget lines out of 22 show a decrease in real terms compared to the 2009 budget and that 43.7% of the increase of the budget for Titles I and II (Staff and Buildings respectively) is financed by internal redeployment of resources.
The Ombudsman's ongoing efforts to generate savings on translation and interpretation costs have resulted in a 2.2% decrease in the budget for 2009 compared to 2008 and a further decrease of 8.6% in the 2010 estimates compared to the 2009 budget.
Savings have been made also with regard to the Ombudsman's main publications, where the relevant budget line in the estimates shows a decrease (EUR 436,000 in 2009 and EUR 422,000 in 2010).
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 budgetary resources requested by the European Ombudsman will ensure that he is able to meet his obligations adequately and to carry out his tasks effectively;
2. Notes that the Ombudsman's budget shows an increase of 7.14% (+ EUR 636 120) compared to the 2009 budget;
3. Is pleased to note that during 2008 the Ombudsman was able to close 355 inquiries (350 in 2007 and 250 in 2006), making 2008 the best year ever with respect to the number of inquiries closed as well as the best year ever with regard to the number of draft recommendations and friendly solutions proposed and accepted;
4. Commends the Ombudsman for having been able to speed up the handling of inquiries, with 52% of inquiries now being closed within one year and 68% within 1.5 years;
5. Notes that the Ombudsman has not submitted a request for new posts for 2010; supports the Ombudsman's request for the upgrading of certain posts (3 AST and 2 AD) in order to allow a normal career path for officials of merit;
6. Supports the Ombudsman's request for a substantial increase of appropriations for training, which should enable him to implement a training policy that is keeping with that of the other institutions;
7. Notes with satisfaction that the Ombudsman is continuing his policy of savings and redeployment, which for the 2010 budget results in a redeployment of 8.1% of the operational budget and a total of 17 budget lines out of 22, showing a decrease in real terms as compared to the 2009 budget; notes that 43.7% of the total increase in the budget for Titles I and II is financed by internal redeployment of resources;
8. Is pleased that the Ombudsman has been able to generate further savings in translation and interpretation costs, resulting in a decrease in those costs of 8.6% compared to last year's budget;
9. Encourages the Ombudsman to continue his efforts to generate savings and redeploy resources inter alia by scheduling projects over the years and thus spreading the needs for appropriations and effecting redeployments between budget lines.
RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE
Result of final vote
Members present for the final vote
Margrete Auken,Simon Busuttil, Giles Chichester, Bairbre de Brún, Pascale Gruny, Roger Helmer, Peter Jahr, Lena Barbara Kolarska-Bobińska, Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Erminia Mazzoni, Willy Meyer, Mariya Nedelcheva, Chrysoula Paliadeli, Ernst Strasser, Csaba Sándor Tabajdi, Diana Wallis, Angelika Werthmann,
Substitute(s) present for the final vote
Sandrine Bélier,Kinga Göncz, Gerald Haefner,
Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote
Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities (OJ L 248 of 16.09.2002, p. 1).
RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE
Result of final vote
Members present for the final vote
Damien Abad, Francesca Balzani, Reimer Böge, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Andrea Cozzolino, Isabelle Durant, James Elles, Göran Färm, José Manuel Fernandes, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Jens Geier, Ingeborg Gräßle, Carl Haglund, Edit Herczog, Monika Hohlmeier, Sidonia Elżbieta Jędrzejewska, Anne E. Jensen, Ivaylo Kalfin, Sergej Kozlík, Alain Lamassoure, Vladimír Maňka, Barbara Matera, María Paloma Muñiz De Urquiza, Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris, László Surján, Helga Trüpel, Angelika Werthmann
Substitute(s) present for the final vote
Bastiaan Belder, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Frederic Daerden, Hynek Fajmon, Louis Grech, Giovanni La Via, Riikka Manner, Georgios Stavrakakis, Derek Vaughan
Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote