Procedure : 2013/2249(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0210/2014

Texts tabled :

A7-0210/2014

Debates :

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

Votes :

PV 03/04/2014 - 7.56

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2014)0332

REPORT     
PDF 180kWORD 84k
20 March 2014
PE 521.706v02-00 A7-0210/2014

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012

(C7-0337/2013 – 2013/2249(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 Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012

(C7-0337/2013 – 2013/2249(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the Clean Sky 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 the 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 71/2008 of 20 December 2007 setting up the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking(4), and in particular Article 11(4) thereof,

–   having regard to the Financial Rules of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking adopted by Decision of its Governing Board on 7 November 2008,

–   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(5),

–   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(6), 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 (A7-0210/2014),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the Clean Sky 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 Clean Sky 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 Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012

(C7-0337/2013 – 2013/2249(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012, together with the Joint Undertaking's replies(7),

–   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(8), 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(9), and in particular Article 208 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 71/2008 of 20 December 2007 setting up the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking(10), and in particular Article 11(4) thereof,

–   having regard to the Financial Rules of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking adopted by Decision of its Governing Board on 7 November 2008,

–   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(11),

–   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(12), 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 (A7-0210/2014),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the Clean Sky 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 the Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012

(C7-0337/2013 – 2013/2249(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2012, together with the Joint Undertaking's replies(13),

–   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(14), 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(15), and in particular Article 208 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 71/2008 of 20 December 2007 setting up the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking(16), and in particular Article 11(4) thereof,

–   having regard to the Financial Rules of the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking adopted by Decision of its Governing Board on 7 November 2008,

–   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(17),

–   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(18), 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 (A7-0210/2014),

A. whereas the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking ("the Joint Undertaking") was set up in 2007 for a period of 10 years to accelerate the development, validation and demonstration of clean air transport technologies in the Union for earliest possible deployment,

B.  whereas the Joint Undertaking started to work autonomously in 2009,

C. whereas the founding members of the Joint Undertaking are the European Union, represented by the Commission, and industrial partners as the leaders of the ‘Integrated Technology Demonstrators’ (ITDs) together with the associate members of the ITDs,

D. whereas the maximum contribution for the period of 10 years from the Union to the Joint Undertaking is EUR 800 000 000 to be paid from the budget of the Seventh Research Framework Programme,

Budgetary and Financial Management

1.  Notes that the Court of Auditors stated that the 2012 annual accounts of the Joint Undertaking fairly present, 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 that the Joint Undertaking's annual accounts received a clean opinion from the Court of Auditors on the legality and the regularity of the transactions underlying those accounts after having received qualified opinion in 2011, calls on the Joint Undertaking to continue its efforts to ensure sound financial management;

3.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking's final amended budget for the financial year 2012 included commitment appropriations of EUR 205,4 million and payment appropriations of EUR 167,9 million;

4.  Observes from the Joint Undertaking's final annual accounts that while the utilisation rate for commitment appropriations was 84 % overall, the rate for payment appropriations was 75 %; notes, moreover, that within this, the operational implementation rate was 97 % for commitment appropriations and 84 % for payment appropriations; remains concerned, despite improvements over 2011, that these rates reflect the significant delays in the implementation of the activities as compared with the initial plan; requests that the Joint Undertaking continue to improve its workflows and processes to shorten the period between the publication of calls for proposals and the signing of grant agreements;

5.  Is concerned with the recurring low implementation of the budget of the Joint Undertaking and regrets the EUR 25,7 million cash balance at the end of the year, representing 15 % of the available payment appropriations; notes that this is at odds with the budgetary principle of equilibrium; reminds the Joint Undertaking of the need to implement concrete measures to attain budget equilibrium;

Internal control systems

6.  Welcomes the conclusion of the Court of Auditors that during 2012, the Joint Undertaking further improved its management, administrative, financial and accounting procedures; takes note that while there were some limitations as regards the completeness of the operational information managed, it implemented the “GMT tool”, a specific application for managing financial information relating to the implementation of grant agreements with its members;

7.  Expresses concern that while the audit certificates accompanying the cost claims of two beneficiaries were found to include reservations about the contracts of the staff employed on the project and in one of them, the audit certificate also included reservations on the indirect cost rates applied, the Joint Undertaking released the payments; notes that the Joint Undertaking did follow-up these cases and no ineligible costs were finally paid; calls, therefore, on the Joint Undertaking to take into due account the exceptions included in the audit certificates before validating and paying the underlying cost claims;

8.  Notes, despite positive conclusions in general, that the following weaknesses, which are specific to some extent, were noted in respect of the ex ante control of cost claims submitted by Clean Sky partners:

–   the checklists used for the ex ante control on cost claims were not always complete,

–   the verifying officers did not prepare technical acceptance reports on the partners’ activities,

–   in one case, the tasks of financial verification and authorisation were performed by the head of administration, which is contrary to the provisions of the financial procedures manual and the principle of segregation of duties,

–   the Joint Undertaking’s partners are generally late in submitting cost claims and at the time of the audit, at least 70 out of 292 cost claims had not been submitted to the Joint Undertaking on time, with 15 cases exceeding one year of delay;

9.  Acknowledges that in 2012, the Commission’s Internal Audit Service audited the annual planning process for the management of grants; welcomes the audit conclusion that the existing internal control system gave reasonable assurance as to the achievement of the business objectives set for this process, but notes that the auditor made two very important recommendations concerning delays in the implementation of the programme and the system for evaluating the utilisation of resources; calls on the Joint Undertaking to inform the discharge authority about the level of implementation of the programme and about the results achieved;

10. Notes with satisfaction that the Court of Auditors deems that significant progress has been made as regards the IT aspects of the Joint Undertaking’s Business Continuity Plan and Disaster Recovery Plan; stresses, however, that the formalisation of these policies and procedures has not yet been completed and asks the Joint Undertaking to remedy the situation without delay;

11. 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 interest

12.  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 boardsand CVs available on its website;

13. 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;

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 also 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 Union general budget for the financial year 2012, while approximately EUR 618 million came from the general budget (cash contribution from the European 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:

20

2

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. 10.

(2)

     OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(3)

     OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(4)

     OJ L 30, 4.2.2008, p. 1.

(5)

     OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(6)

     OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(7)

     OJ C 369,17.12.2013, p. 10.

(8)

     OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(9)

     OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(10)

   OJ L 30, 4.2.2008, p. 1.

(11)

   OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(12)

   OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(13)

   OJ C 369,17.12.2013, p. 10.

(14)

   OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(15)

   OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(16)

   OJ L 30, 4.2.2008, p. 1.

(17)

   OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(18)

   OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

Last updated: 21 March 2014Legal notice