Procedure : 2013/2212(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0235/2014

Texts tabled :

A7-0235/2014

Debates :

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

Votes :

PV 03/04/2014 - 7.34

Texts adopted :


REPORT     
PDF 182kWORD 88k
21 March 2014
PE 521.655v02-00 A7-0235/2014

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012

(C7-0290/2013 – 2013/2212(DEC))

Committee on Budgetary Control

Rapporteur: Petri Sarvamaa

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 European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012

(C7-0290/2013 – 2013/2212(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 18 February 2014 (05849/2014 - C7-0054/2014),

–   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 Regulation (EC) No 401/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the European Environment Agency and the European Environment Information and Observation Network(4), and in particular Article 13 thereof,

–   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 and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0235/2014),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency'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 European Environment Agency, 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 European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012

(C7-0290/2013 – 2013/2212(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012, together with the Agency's replies(7),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 18 February 2014 (05849/2014 - C7-0054/2014),

–   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(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 Regulation (EC) No 401/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the European Environment Agency and the European Environment Information and Observation Network(10), and in particular Article 13 thereof,

–   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 and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0235/2014),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, 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 European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012

(C7-0290/2013 – 2013/2212(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012, together with the Agency's replies(13),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 18 February 2014 (05849/2014 - C7-0054/2014),

–   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 Regulation (EC) No 401/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the European Environment Agency and the European Environment Information and Observation Network(16), and in particular Article 13 thereof,

–   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 and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0235/2014),

A.  whereas according to its financial statements, the final budget of the European Environment Agency (“the Agency”) for the financial year 2012 was EUR 41 700 000, representing an increase of 1,25 % compared to 2011,

B.   whereas according to its financial statements, the contribution of the Union to the Agency's budget for 2012 amounted to EUR 35 363 354,85, representing a decrease of 0,23 % compared to 2011,

C.  whereas the Court of Auditors has stated that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the Agency’s annual accounts for the financial year 2012 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

1.   Welcomes the fact that the Agency has completed all actions deriving from previous comments made by the Court of Auditors;

Budget and financial management

2.   Notes that budget monitoring efforts during the financial year 2012 resulted in a budget implementation rate of 99,19 % and that the payment appropriations execution rate was 89,41 %;

3.   Stresses that the Union's contribution to the Agency's budget for 2012 represents 0,026 % of the overall Union budget;

4.   Regrets that for the year 2012, the mission expenses of the Executive Director of the Agency were remarkably higher than those of the executive directors of other agencies; calls on the Agency to provide further explanation for this situation to the discharge authority in the framework of the 2012 discharge follow-up;

Commitments and carryovers

5.   Acknowledges that the Court of Auditors' annual audit has found no notable issues as regards the level of carry-overs in 2012; commends the Agency for adhering to the principle of annuality and for timely execution of its budget;

Transfers

6.   Notes with satisfaction that according to the annual activity report as well as the Court of Auditors' audit findings, the level and nature of transfers in 2012 have remained within the limits of the financial rules; commends the Agency for its good budgetary planning;

Procurement and recruitment procedures

7.   Notes that for the year 2012, neither sampled transactions nor other audit findings have led to any comments on the Agency's procurement procedures in the Court of Auditors' annual audit report;

8.   Notes that the Court of Auditors made no comments in its annual audit report for 2012 as regards the Agency's recruitment procedures;

9.   Takes note that 131 posts out of 136 had been filled and that 86 contract agents and seconded national experts were employed by the Agency by the end of 2012; welcomes the Agency's improved occupation rate compared to 2011;

Prevention and management of conflicts of interests and transparency

10.  Acknowledges that the Agency will carry out an assessment to identify its degree of exposure with a view to strengthening or supplementing its policy on the management and prevention of conflicts of interests and with a view to assessing its implementation, monitoring and reporting during the first quarter of 2014 on the basis of the Commission's Guidelines on the Prevention and Management of Conflicts of Interests in EU Decentralised Agencies; calls on the Agency to inform the discharge authority of the assessment results once available;

11.  Observes that the CVs and declarations of interests of the members of the Management Board, the members of the Scientific Committee, the Executive Director and senior management are not publicly available; calls on the Agency to remedy the situation as a matter of urgency;

12.  Notes that the Agency has revised its policy for dealing with potential conflicts of interest; notes that respective details are part of the obligations of the Agency's officials and other servants under the Staff Regulations and Conditions for Employment, information clearly presented on the Agency's website; notes, furthermore, that besides the signature of a declaration of commitment at the start of the term as scientific committee member, it is also necessary to sign an annual declaration on conflicts of interest;

Internal controls

13. Notes with concern that in 2012, the Agency awarded grants under three major grant programmes to consortia consisting of environmental institutions and bodies in Europe, UN organisations and national environment organisations; observes that total grant expenditure in 2012 amounted to EUR 11 900 000, representing 27 % of the total operating expenditure; notes that while the Agency’s ex ante verifications before reimbursement of costs claimed by beneficiaries consist of a desk analysis of cost claims, it does not usually obtain any document from beneficiaries to substantiate the eligibility and accuracy of the staff costs claimed, which represent the main part of costs;

14. Regrets that existing controls provide only limited assurances to the Agency’s management as to the eligibility and accuracy of the costs claimed by beneficiaries; believes that a random verification of supporting documents for staff expenses and a higher coverage of beneficiaries by means of on-the-spot verifications could considerably increase assurances; calls on the Agency to take steps to that effect and to report to the discharge authority on its progress;

Performance

15.  Requests that the Agency communicate the results and impact its work has on European citizens in an accessible way, mainly through its website;

o

o         o

16. Refers, in respect of the other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of … 2014(19) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

27.1.2014

OPINION of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

for the Committee on Budgetary Control

on the discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012

(C7-0290/2013 - 2013/2212(DEC))

Rapporteur: Jutta Haug

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Budgetary Control, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Notes that in 2012 an amount of EUR 41.695.704 was available to the European Environment Agency of which EUR 36.309.240 have been made available through the General EU budget; likes to stress that this amount represents 0.026% of the overall EU budget; takes note that 131 posts out of 136 had been filled by the end of 2012 and that 86 contract agents and seconded national experts were employed by the Authority; welcomes the improved occupation rate compared to 2011;

2.   Welcomes that the Court of Auditors announces the transactions underlying the annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2012 as legal and regular in all material respects;

3.   Recognises the comment on internal controls made by the Court of Auditors; is at the same time aware of the Agency's reply; has carefully taken note that the Agency has drawn up an action plan to ensure reasonable assurance on cost statements; welcomes further the decision to increase the number of on-the-spot verifications to ensure the best management as to eligibility and accuracy of costs;

4.   Welcomes that the Agency has completed all actions deriving from previous comments made by the Court;

5. Advises to explore if the discharge decision should be based upon OECD guidelines to ensure high quality internationally recognised accounting, audit and financial disclosure standards; invites the European institutions to incorporate and commit to introducing OECD guidelines within a common framework for all European institutions and bodies if the assessment recommends so;

6.   Is pleased that the Agency has revised its policy for dealing with potential conflict of interest; has noted that respective details are part of the obligations of the Agency's officials and other servants under the staff regulation and conditions for employment, an information transparently presented on the Agency's webpage; has also noted that besides the signature of a declaration of commitment at the start of the term as scientific committee member, it is also necessary to sign an annual declaration on conflicts of interest;

7.   Recommends on the facts available that discharge can be granted to the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency in respect of the implementation of the Agency’s budget for the financial year 2012.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

22.1.2014

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

53

8

0

Members present for the final vote

Elena Oana Antonescu, Sophie Auconie, Pilar Ayuso, Paolo Bartolozzi, Sandrine Bélier, Lajos Bokros, Franco Bonanini, Biljana Borzan, Milan Cabrnoch, Martin Callanan, Yves Cochet, Spyros Danellis, Anne Delvaux, Bas Eickhout, Edite Estrela, Jill Evans, Elisabetta Gardini, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Matthias Groote, Françoise Grossetête, Satu Hassi, Jolanta Emilia Hibner, Karin Kadenbach, Martin Kastler, Christa Klaß, Claus Larsen-Jensen, Jo Leinen, Peter Liese, Kartika Tamara Liotard, Zofija Mazej Kukovič, Linda McAvan, Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė, Miroslav Ouzký, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Gilles Pargneaux, Antonyia Parvanova, Andrés Perelló Rodríguez, Pavel Poc, Anna Rosbach, Oreste Rossi, Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, Kārlis Šadurskis, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Carl Schlyter, Horst Schnellhardt, Richard Seeber, Salvatore Tatarella, Thomas Ulmer, Glenis Willmott, Sabine Wils, Marina Yannakoudakis

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Gaston Franco, Jutta Haug, Filip Kaczmarek, Marusya Lyubcheva, Miroslav Mikolášik, Vittorio Prodi, Giancarlo Scottà, Alda Sousa, Vladimir Urutchev, Andrea Zanoni

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

17.3.2014

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

16

0

1

Members present for the final vote

Marta Andreasen, Jean-Pierre Audy, Zuzana Brzobohatá, Martin Ehrenhauser, Jens Geier, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Ingeborg Gräßle, Rina Ronja Kari, Monica Luisa Macovei, Jan Mulder, Eva Ortiz Vilella, Paul Rübig, Petri Sarvamaa, Bart Staes, Georgios Stavrakakis, Derek Vaughan

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Amelia Andersdotter, Markus Pieper

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

Thomas Ulmer

(1)

     OJ C 365, 13.12.2013, p. 106.

(2)

     OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(3)

     OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(4)

   OJ L 126, 21.5.2009, p. 13.

(5)

     OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(6)

     OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(7)

     OJ C 365, 13.12.2013, p. 106.

(8)

     OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(9)

     OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(10)

   OJ L 126, 21.5.2009, p. 13.

(11)

   OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(12)

   OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(13)

   OJ C 365, 13.12.2013, p. 106.

(14)

   OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(15)

  OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(16)

  OJ L 126, 21.5.2009, p. 13.

(17)

   OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(18)

   OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(19)

   Texts adopted, P7_TA-PROV(2014).

Last updated: 24 March 2014Legal notice