Procedure : 2013/2252(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0202/2014

Texts tabled :

A7-0202/2014

Debates :

PV 02/04/2014 - 24
CRE 02/04/2014 - 24

Votes :

PV 03/04/2014 - 7.58

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2014)0334

REPORT     
PDF 179kWORD 81k
20 March 2014
PE 521.708v02-00 A7-0202/2014

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012

(C7-0340/2013 – 2013/2252(DEC))

Committee on Budgetary Control

Rapporteur: Paul Rübig

1. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

1. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012

(C7-0340/2013 – 2013/2252(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012, together with the Joint Undertaking's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 18 February 2014 (05851/2014 – C7-0053/2014),

   having regard to Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   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(3), and in particular Article 208 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 521/2008 of 30 May 2008 setting up the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Fuel Cells and Hydrogen(4), and in particular Article 11(4) thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EU) No 1183/2011 of 14 November 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 521/2008 setting up the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking(5),

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(6),

–   having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1271/2013 of 30 September 2013 on the framework financial regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 208 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(7), and in particular Article 108 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0202/2014),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking discharge in respect of the implementation of the Joint Undertaking's budget for the financial year 2012;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

2. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

on the closure of the accounts of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012

(C7-0340/2013 – 2013/2252(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012, together with the Joint Undertaking's replies(8),

–   having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 18 February 2014 (05851/2014 – C7-0053/2014),

–   having regard to Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(9), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 208 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 521/2008 of 30 May 2008 setting up the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Fuel Cells and Hydrogen(11), and in particular Article 11(4) thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EU) No 1183/2011 of 14 November 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 521/2008 setting up the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking(12),

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(13),

–   having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1271/2013 of 30 September 2013 on the framework financial regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 208 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(14), and in particular Article 108 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0202/2014),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3. MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012

(C7-0340/2013 – 2013/2252(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012, together with the Joint Undertaking's replies(15),

–   having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 18 February 2014 (05851/2014 – C7-0053/2014),

–   having regard to Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(16), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   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(17), and in particular Article 208 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 521/2008 of 30 May 2008 setting up the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Fuel Cells and Hydrogen(18), and in particular Article 11(4) thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EU) No 1183/2011 of 14 November 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 521/2008 setting up the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking(19),

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(20),

–   having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1271/2013 of 30 September 2013 on the framework financial regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 208 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(21), and in particular Article 108 thereof,

–   having regard to its previous discharge decisions and resolutions,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0202/2014),

A. whereas the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking ("the Joint Undertaking") was set up in May 2008 as public-private partnership by Regulation (EC) No 521/2008 for a period until 31 December 2017 to focus on developing market applications and hence facilitating additional industrial efforts towards a rapid deployment of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies,

B.  whereas Regulation (EC) No 521/2008 was amended by Regulation (EU) No 1138/2011,

C. whereas the Members of the Joint Undertaking are the Union, represented by the Commission, the New Energy World Industry Grouping (NEW-IG) and the Research community (N.ERGHY),

D. whereas the maximum contribution for the entire period from the Union to the Joint Undertaking is EUR 470 000 000 to be paid from the budget of the Seventh Research Framework Programme, of which the proportion earmarked for running costs must not exceed EUR 20 000 000,

E.  whereas New-IG should contribute 50 % of the running costs and N.ERGHY should contribute one twelfth of the running costs and both should contribute to operational costs through in-kind contributions at least equal to the financial contribution of the Union,

Budget and financial management

1.  Notes that the Court of Auditors stated that the 2012 annual accounts of the Joint Undertaking present fairly, in all material respects, its financial position as of 31 December 2012 and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the year then ended, in accordance with the provisions of its Financial Rules;

2.  Welcomes the fact that the Joint Undertaking received a clean opinion from the Court of Auditors on the legality and the regularity of the transactions underlying those accounts after having received a qualified opinion in 2011 on these aspects; calls on the Joint Undertaking to continue its efforts to ensure sound financial management and continued respect for budgetary principles;

3.  Notes, furthermore, that the Joint Undertaking's final budget for the financial year 2012 included commitment appropriations of EUR 83,3 million and payment appropriations of EUR 56,9 million; notes, moreover, that the utilisation rates for commitment and payment appropriations were 99,4 % and 83,1 % respectively;

4.  Takes note that the provisional 2012 budget outturn account at year-end 2012 was EUR 8,2 million, with receipts of EUR 58,3 million, plus the 2011 budget surplus of EUR 7,5 million netted against payments of EUR 55,2 million and carryovers of EUR 2,4 million;

5.  Notes that the cumulative calls for proposals organised in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 resulted in grant agreements totalling EUR 295 million, and in 2012 a fifth call for proposals was launched for EUR 78 million;

6.  Points out that these amounts represent 67 % and 18 % respectively of the maximum Union contribution to the Joint Undertaking for research activities and that in January 2013, a sixth call was launched for the remaining amount (EUR 68,5 million); notes the progress in budget implementation;

Treasury management

7.  Points out that at the end of December 2012 ,cash and cash equivalents amounted to EUR 12,3 million; notes that this is at odds with the budgetary principle of equilibrium; reminds the Joint Undertaking of the need to implement concrete measures in order to attain budget equilibrium and urges the Joint Undertaking to implement, together with the Commission, all the necessary measures to minimise the cash balances held on account to the levels that are required within the limits provided in the financing agreements with the Commission;

Internal control systems

8.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking internal audit capability carried out an audit on ex ante controls for eligibility of declared costs and related payments and performed various consultancy services, including preparation and participation in the communication campaigns of the Joint Undertaking on financial control and audit matters;

9.  Welcomes the fact that during 2012, the Joint Undertaking finalised the Business Continuity Plan and the disaster recovery plan;

10. Regrets that the CVs of the members of the Management Board and the Executive Director are not publicly available; calls on the Joint Undertaking to remedy the situation as a matter of urgency; urges the Joint Undertaking to develop and adopt a comprehensive policy on the prevention and management of conflicts of interests;

11. Believes that a high level of transparency is a key element in order to mitigate the risks of conflicts of interests; calls, therefore, on the Joint Undertaking to make its policy and/or arrangements on the prevention and management of conflicts of interests and its implementing rules, as well as the list of the members of the management boards and CVs available on its website;

12. Invites the Court of Auditors to monitor the Joint Undertaking's policies as regards the management and prevention of conflicts of interests by drafting a Special Report on the matter by the next discharge procedure;

Other management matters

13. Supports the improvements proposed by the Court of Auditors in the monitoring and reporting system covering the protection, dissemination and transfer of research results;

European Research Joint Undertakings horizontal aspects

14. Takes note that the audit approach taken by the Court of Auditors comprises analytical audit procedures, the assessment of key controls of the supervisory and control systems and the testing of transactions at the level of the Joint Undertaking but not at the level of the members or final beneficiaries of the Joint Undertaking;

15. Notes that audit testing at the level of the members or final beneficiaries is carried out either by the Joint Undertaking or by external audit firms contracted and monitored by the Joint Undertaking;

16. Welcomes the Court of Auditors' Special Report 2/2013: 'Has the Commission ensured efficient implementation of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research?' where the Court examined whether the Commission has ensured efficient implementation of the Seventh framework programme for research and technological development (FP7);

17. Takes note that the audit also covered the setting-up of the Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs);

18. Agrees with the Court of Auditors’ conclusion that the JTIs have been set up to support long-term industrial investment, in particular research areas; notes, however, that it has taken on average two years to grant financial autonomy to a JTI, with the Commission usually remaining responsible for one third of the expected operational lifetime of the JTIs;

19. Notes, moreover, that according to the Court of Auditors, some JTIs have been particularly successful in getting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in their projects and nearly 21 % of funding provided by the JTIs has gone to SMEs;

20. Draws attention to the fact that the total indicative resources deemed necessary for the seven European Research Joint Undertakings that have so far been established by the Commission under Article 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union - with the notable exception of the Galileo Joint Undertaking - for their period of existence amounts to EUR 21 793 000 000;

21. Notes that the Joint Undertakings’ total 2012 forecasted budgeted income amounted to some EUR 2,5 billion or about 1,8 % of the 2012 Union general budget, while approximately EUR 618 million came from the general budget (cash contribution from the Commission) and approximately EUR 134 million came from the industrial partners and members of the Joint Undertakings;

22. Notes that the Joint Undertakings employ 409 permanent and temporary staff, or less than 1 % of total Union officials authorised under the Union general budget (staff establishment plan);

23. Recalls that the total Union contribution deemed necessary for the Joint Undertakings for their period of existence amounts to EUR 11 489 000 000;

24. Invites the Court of Auditors to comprehensively analyse the JTIs and the other joint undertakings in a separate report in light of the substantial amounts involved and the risks- notably reputational - presented; recalls that Parliament has previously requested that the Court of Auditors draw up a special report on the capacity of the joint undertakings, together with their private partners, to ensure added value and efficient execution of Union research, technological development and demonstration programmes; notes that the joint undertakings are deemed to ensure funding for long-term industrial investments and to foster private investments in research.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

18.3.2014

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

1

1

Members present for the final vote

Marta Andreasen, Jean-Pierre Audy, Inés Ayala Sender, Zuzana Brzobohatá, Tamás Deutsch, Martin Ehrenhauser, Jens Geier, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Ingeborg Gräßle, Rina Ronja Kari, Jan Mulder, Eva Ortiz Vilella, Crescenzio Rivellini, Paul Rübig, Bart Staes, Georgios Stavrakakis, Michael Theurer, Derek Vaughan

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Amelia Andersdotter, Esther de Lange, Vojtěch Mynář, Markus Pieper

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Fiona Hall, Annette Koewius

(1)

     OJ C 369,17.12.2013, p. 57

(2)

     OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(3)

     OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(4)

     OJ L 153, 12.6.2008, p. 1.

(5)

     OJ L 302, 19.11.2011, p. 3.

(6)

     OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(7)

     OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(8)

     OJ C 369,17.12.2013, p. 57

(9)

     OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(10)

   OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(11)

   OJ L 153, 12.6.2008, p. 1.

(12)

   OJ L 302, 19.11.2011, p. 3.

(13)

   OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(14)

   OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(15)

   OJ C 369,17.12.2013, p. 57

(16)

   OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(17)

   OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(18)

   OJ L 153, 12.6.2008, p. 1.

(19)

   OJ L 302, 19.11.2011, p. 3.

(20)

   OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(21)

   OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

Last updated: 20 March 2014Legal notice