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Procedure : 2007/2019B(BUD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0394/2007

Texts tabled :

A6-0394/2007

Debates :

PV 23/10/2007 - 13
CRE 23/10/2007 - 13

Votes :

PV 25/10/2007 - 7.3
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2007)0474

Texts adopted
WORD 88k
Thursday, 25 October 2007 - Strasbourg Final edition
Draft general budget for 2008 (Sections I, II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX)
P6_TA(2007)0474A6-0394/2007

European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2007 on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008, Section I - European Parliament, Section II - Council, Section IV - Court of Justice, Section V - Court of Auditors, Section VI - European Economic and Social Committe, Section VII - Committee of the Regions, Section VIII - European Ombudsman, Section IX - European Data Protection Supervisor (C6-0288/2007 – 2007/2019B(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 the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure(4) , and in particular point 26 thereof,

–   having regard to its resolution of 29 March 2007 on the guidelines for the 2008 budget procedure - Sections II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX and on the European Parliament's preliminary draft estimates (Section I) for the 2008 budget procedure(5) ,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2007 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2008(6) ,

–   having regard to the preliminary draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008, which the Commission presented on 2 May 2007 (SEC(2007)0500),

–   having regard to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008, which the Council established on 13 July 2007 (C6-0288/2007),

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Petitions (A6-0394/2007),

A.   whereas 2008 is the second year of the new financial framework (2007-2013), for which the ceiling of heading 5 (Administrative expenditure) has been set at EUR 7 457 million at current prices,

B.   whereas the Preliminary Draft Budget (PDB) of all the institutions left a margin of EUR 121 285 164 below the ceiling of heading 5 of the financial framework for the financial year 2008,

C.   whereas after Council's decision the draft budget (DB) has a margin of EUR 266 755 254 below the ceiling of heading 5 for 2008,

General framework

1.  Recognises that the institutions, after the Council's first reading, have made the effort to reduce some of their usual expenditures in order to balance their absolute needs; considers that this exercise has contributed to setting-up a budget for the EU tax-payer as requested in the guidelines resolution; encourages warmly the institutions to pursue in this direction in order to strengthen citizens" confidence in the European institutions and in Europe;

2.  Notes that most of the increase beyond the inflation rate is due to buildings" expenditure; expresses its concern for the coming years regarding the weight of buildings related expenditure if not closely managed by the institutions; invites the institutions to keep the Budgetary Authority regularly informed of the evolution of their different projects with a medium term perspective and to control accordingly their expansion; requests that, in view of the entry into force in 2009 of the Members' Statute, an updated property investment plan for the coming 3 years including refurbishing costs should be submitted to the Budgetary Authority not later than 31 March 2008;

3.  Has therefore decided to limit the budget increase of 2008 to 6,92%; decides to leave a margin under the ceiling of heading 5; recommends restoring EUR 8 180 945 out of the EUR 22 127 359 reduction made by Council on the budget of the other institutions (excluding the Commission), that is restoring 37% following the examination of the specific requests and needs of each institution; considers that this approach responds to the institutions' needs for efficiency and safeguards the sustainability of their budgets;

4.  Invites, in the context of a general concern vis-à-vis the environment, all institutions, including the Commission, to exploit the various possibilities, together with the host Member States, for achieving a more efficient public transport plan, including in-house mobility information points, intranet information on timetables in order to encourage the staff of the European institutions to use public transport or bicycles under safe conditions;

5.  Acknowledges the efforts made by Parliament in the past 2 years to implement a redeployment exercise; regrets that many other institutions are not implementing an effective redeployment policy; expects these institutions to make redeployment an integral part of their budgetary exercise in the coming years;

6.  Notes that in 2006 Parliament had requested from the other institutions more precise information on the performance and costs of their core tasks in order to justify in a more transparent manner the effectiveness or otherwise of additional funds; notes that very few institutions are providing this informative activity-related reporting; requests all the institutions in question to provide this information by the first week of September of each year;

Section I - European Parliament
General comments

7.  Recalls that 2008 is the last full year of this legislature and the last year before the entrance into force of the new Members" Statute; considers that this should be taken into account in view of the forthcoming financing requirements;

8.  Welcomes the fact that the Bureau has, for the first time, made new requests in its amending letter which are below the self-imposed ceiling of 20% of heading 5 (ie. at 19,87%) but include an increase of the estimates by EUR 45,6 million; takes note of the fact that the Bureau intends to launch a number of new projects which are not directly linked to Parliament's core activities; considers that in view of the lack of flexibility which exists in the administrative budget, the development of new projects should be undertaken in a prudent way taking into account the limited availability of financial resources and the perspectives from 2009 onwards; encourages the administration and the Bureau to reflect on the real needs and on the institution in administrative and political terms and to seek means to reduce the current costs of the tasks undertaken; reiterates that the above does not constitute any limitation on Parliament's right to make full use of the 20% ceiling in 2008 and subsequent years, should it be deemed necessary and justifiable to do so;

9.  Suggests that a broad discussion on the history of Europe and its interpretation take place at expert level before creating the House of European History;

10.  Welcomes the new redeployment plan proposed by the Secretary General which concerns 58 posts; considers that it constitutes a step in the right direction in fulfilling the new needs and at the same time in keeping the establishment plan stable in the future; encourages the Secretary-General to pursue this action and to proceed to further analysis in order to better rationalise the tasks and at the same time keep the costs of externalisation under control;

11.  Decides, in line with its abovementioned resolution of 7 June 2007 on Parliament's estimates for 2008, to reduce a number of budget lines, especially those that proved to be inflated in 2006; notes that chapters 10 and 12 and title 4 are not affected by these reductions;

12.  Acknowledges that new proposals have been presented at a late stage and have impeded plenary's decision to remain at a level of increase equalling the inflation rate except when new initiatives were duly substantiated; has decided to set the final level of the Parliament's budget at EUR 1 452 517 167 corresponding to a 3,9% increase over the 2007 budget and 19,48% of heading 5;

13.  Notes that at times, and for a variety of reasons, the Institutions were constrained to purchase or rent property at a price which prima facie seemed to be higher than the market price; wishes to investigate further in an interinstitutional context how of improving conditions concerning public procurement for the purchase or rental of buildings, as well as works on buildings, by the European institutions, notably with the aim to reduce the purchase and rental price of property as well as reducing refurbishment costs, and of securing the necessary flexibility to avoid cartel or monopolistic situations;

14.  Confirms its commitment to better law making as a priority for Parliament's core activities and supports the decisions undertaken in this direction; encourages the Secretary General to continue his efforts in order to strengthen Parliament's expertise in better law making;

Enhancing Members" assistance

15.  Considers that preserving the linguistic diversity of Members of the European Parliament is one of the most important challenges for the administration; welcomes, in that context, the pilot project scheduled to be launched in 2008 to respond to Members" recurrent demands for linguistic assistance both at an individual level and during non-official meetings linked to the legislative work;

16.  Decides therefore to limit the global allocation for the pilot project to EUR 4 million and, at the same time, to place EUR 2 million in the reserve in order to induce the administration to give priority to more efficient linguistic support for Members during official meetings; this reserve of EUR 2 million does not affect the pilot project;

17.  Reiterates that the most efficient use should be made of the interpretation service and the expenses related to meetings; considers that equipping all meeting rooms with the electronic voting system constitutes a way to improve the use the interpretation facilities;

18.  Calls on the Bureau to consult the political groups on the fitting out and the re-organisation of meeting rooms WIC 100 and WIC 200 in Strasbourg before it takes any further decision on these matters;

19.  Recalls that the purpose of the code of conduct on multilingualism is to provide the best quality service to Members within the ceiling of the current appropriations; urges the administration to enforce more actively the code of conduct on multilingualism in order to prevent any shortcomings, irresponsible use or misuse of the linguistic services; regrets, however, the lack of flexibility when translating major documents in a particularly difficult period; calls on the administration to make every effort, in order to guarantee a high quality translation service which is in line with Parliament's specific requirements in terms of quality, deadlines and confidentiality, to provide the appropriate means and ensure an adequate organisation of the translation service so as to prevent any shortcomings and the consequent increase of costs, in particular when deadlines for decisions are fixed by the Treaty;

20.  Recognises the need for and usefulness of developing within the current Library of Parliament an analytical service for individual Members providing analytical papers linked to their parliamentary activity;

21.  Takes note of the proposal to create a new article 323 for the "relations with Parliaments of third countries and support for parliamentary democracy " with an amount of EUR 360 000 to differentiate, by geographical area, the Parliament's activities; expresses its concern regarding the number of delegations and assemblies in the Parliament's budget in particular due to the fact that their financial impact is not clearly identified in the budget as it includes not only the appropriation under the existing items but also the related costs for interpretation and technical and logistical support; asks the administration to make a proposal to improve the transparency of this type of activity;

22.  Considers that the Presidencies of the Parliament and the Council should take into account EU citizens' opinion as regards the geographical dispersion of the Parliament amongst the three places of work and the related costs and environmental consequences;

23.  As regards parliamentary assistance, calls on the administration to strengthen the internal control system in order to ensure that recruitment of Members' assistants is clear and transparent, guaranteeing that tax and social regulations (salary and social security rights, etc.) are respected;

24.  Calls on the Commission to present a new proposal for an assistants' statute that guarantees the necessary freedom of choice and flexibility for Members in terms of duration of contracts and salaries on the one hand and uniformity and security in terms of the tax regime, social security provisions and medical insurance for assistants on the other hand;

European Political Foundations

25.  Has decided at this stage of the budgetary procedure, pending the adoption of the legal basis for the financing of the European Political Foundations, to create a new heading (403, "Contributions to European political foundations ") with an EUR 5 million allocation in the reserve and a token entry ("p.m.");

European Parliament Apprenticeship Programme

26.  Welcomes the work of the Secretariat aimed at evaluating the introduction of an EP Apprenticeship Programme and calls on the Bureau to proceed with the necessary preparatory work with the available five posts; calls on the administration to include in its procurement procedures as one award criterion the employment of apprentices in tendering companies;

For an Environmentally friendly Parliament

27.  Regrets that, more than five years after the start of the EMAS process in the budget procedure, EMAS registration is still pending and the impact on the environment as well as the savings and the investments in relation to its implementation are still not known; invites the administration to provide the above information as previously requested in paragraph 37 of its abovementioned resolution of 29 March 2007 and paragraph 31 of its abovementioned resolution of 7 June 2007 and present it to its relevant committees and other bodies; moreover requests the administration to report on the reduction of energy consumption that should have resulted from the decrease in air-conditioning during the summer period, and to present an action plan for reducing and off-setting CO2 emissions caused by the Parliament's activities, especially as regards travel and buildings, and for reducing the use of water, paper and other resources; in this connection calls on the administration to present an expert report on the possible employment of photovoltaic or solar panels for energy generation on the roofs and the walls of Parliament's buildings;

28.  Asks the administration to renew its car fleet by purchasing or renting vehicles which pollute less than the current ones, such as hybrid cars, on the basis of presentation of a relevant action plan which includes the financial impact of such a decision;

29.  Asks the administration to reduce the number of staff missions and to encourage the staff, while travelling between the three places of work, to use the most environmentally friendly means;

Information policy

30.  Reiterates its willingness to have a strong information policy involving the political groups and close to the European citizens; considers that this can be achieved through the strengthening of the local and regional media, the quick opening of the Visitors' Centre in Brussels and the increased flexibility of the use of the visitors' groups; regarding the latter, recalls that reimbursement based on real costs, within a ceiling to be defined, will ensure the complete transparency of the programme; invites, to that end, the Quaestors to re-examine the current rules;

31.  Calls on the Bureau to decide on a programme for the forthcoming election campaign that takes into account the need for close contact between Members and EU citizens; reiterates in this respect the role of the Information Offices as well as the local and regional media, as regards increasing EU citizens' awareness of Parliament's activities; asks the administration to strengthen actions in favour of local and regional media in the external offices, including the involvement of Members; looks forward in this connection to receiving their annual work programme for 2008 by December 2007 in order to release the reserve in January;

32.  Calls on the Bureau to use the appropriations earmarked for information to provide diverse information which, inter alia, caters for the public information needs of parliamentary minorities;

33.  Regrets the lack of information being submitted to the Budgetary Authority on the progress registered to date on the WebTV prototype, especially since information policy, including WebTV, is considered a priority for 2008; decides to keep EUR 9 million in the reserve for information and communication until the prototype is presented for approval to the Budgetary Authority;

34.  Awaits the WebTV prototype; recalls that the condition already agreed in the previous budgetary procedure and its resolution of 26 October 2006 on the 2007 Budget (Sections I, II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII(A) and VIII(B))(7) for the financing of this project is the approval of the prototype;

Security

35.  Shares, with the administration, the concern that security is a major issue; notes, however, that the administration is not able to indicate the exact number of persons that are in the Parliament's buildings as some of them do not use their badges to open the gate; consequently invites the administration to make sure that staff respect the rules and invites the Quaestors to reconsider the use of electronic badges by Members, which will enable the implementation of different new facilities, such as electronic signatures;

36.  Highlights the fact that the security around Parliament's premises in Brussels is not well assured after normal working hours for its Members and staff; invites the administration to press the Belgian authorities to improve the situation;

Establishment plan

37.  Supports the setting-up of two new Directorates General for Interpretation and Technological Innovation Support; considers this will improve the service provided for Members and the different units of the administration;

38.  Considers that the proposal on staff, presented by the Secretary General, including the creation of new posts, posts to be redeployed and a number of conversions and transformations, reflects the concern of the Parliament to limit the increase of its establishment plan strictly to new projects or specific competences; notes that the number of posts redeployed attain the annual target of 1% fixed in the estimates resolution; asks to be regularly informed on the implementation of the redeployment policy plan; furthermore, acknowledges that the proposal presented has a marginal financial impact on the 2008 budget;

39.  Has therefore decided to approve the modifications of the establishment plan measures proposed by the Secretary General as a package as follows:

   release from the reserve for the creation of 16 new posts requested in the estimates and their corresponding appropriations; this concerns nine AD5 and seven AST3 posts including one temporary post for the sixth Quaestor,
   make the necessary appropriations available for the creation of five AD5 posts for the analytical service within the Library and two AD16 posts for the creation of the new Directorates General,
   the conversion of 35 AST posts (10 AST1, 10 AST2, 5 AST3, 5 AST4 and 5 AST5) into AD5 posts which were placed in reserve,
   one ad personam promotion (AD14 into AD15),
   the conversions of 25 AST6 into AD5 and 1 AST1 into AD5,
   the regrading measures of 23 permanent posts (2 AD12 into AD15, 11 AD12 into AD7, 4 AST11 into AST3, 3 AST11 into AST1 and 3 AST6 into AST1);

40.  Has decided to release from the reserve the 448 upgradings for Parliament's secretariat requested by the administration in the context of Article 6 of the Staff Regulations for permanent and temporary staff and their corresponding appropriations; regarding permanent staff, this concerns 2 AD13 to AD14, 45 AD12 to AD13, 25 AD11 to AD12; 10 AD7 to AD8, 3 AD6 to AD7, 165 AD5 to AD6, 50 AST7 to AST8, 65 AST4 to AST5, 65 AST1 to AST2 and, regarding temporary staff, 1 AD12 to AD13, 2 AD10 to AD11, 1 AST2 to AST3, 2 AST1 to AST2, 12 AST1 to AST3;

41.  Has likewise decided to confirm the 74 upgradings requested by the political groups: 1 AD12 to AD13, 6 AD11 to AD12, 4 AD10 to AD11, 2 AD9 to AD10, 4 AD8 to AD9, 3 AD7 to AD8, 7 AD6 to AD7, 8 AD5 to AD6, 3 AST10 to AST11, 9 AST8 to AST9, 9 AST7 to AST8, 3 AST6 to AST7, 2 AST5 to AST6, 2 AST4 to AST5, 1 AST3 to AST4, 2 AST2 to AST3, 8 AST1 to AST2;

42.  Points out that exercising democratic scrutiny over the Commission is a core task of Parliament and requests the Bureau and the administration to allocate the necessary comitology posts for this task, taking into account the new responsibilities of Parliament in the field of foreign affairs and development policy programmes; moreover, emphasises the importance of strengthening Parliament's administrative capacities with regard to its new powers of democratic scrutiny over the external assistance instruments; therefore asks the Secretary General to redeploy two AD posts, one to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and one to the Committee on Development, in the course of 2008, as soon as a vacancy occurs in any of the departments which have been identified as 'negative priorities';

43.  Welcomes the initiative taken by the Bureau to establish guidelines for recruitment which take into account persons with disabilities including stagiaires and interim and/or temporary contract staff as stated in the Code of Good practice for Employment of People with Disabilities; welcomes also the initiative taken by the administration regarding the training programme in favour of disabled persons; is of the opinion that, in order to ease their insertion in Parliament's administration, the administration should consider appointing a "coordinator for disabled persons";

44.  Has decided to enter 2 posts for the Library in reserve, in order to motivate the administration to create a comprehensible, in-house Knowledge Management System;

Miscellaneous

45.  Takes note of the proposal made by the Bureau to allocate an amount of EUR 100 000 to the Sakharov Foundation as a subsidy towards human rights activities; will verify whether the award of a grant to the Sakharov Foundation in Moscow, following the decision taken by the Bureau on 10 October 2007 to agree in principle to the draft convention, is in compliance with the provisions of the Financial Regulation, in particular the possibility for Parliament to award grants to cover information activities (Article 108(4) of the Financial Regulation);

Section IV - Court of Justice

46.  Highlights the fact that the increase of the budget is mainly due to the handover of the New Palais; considers that its financial impact is particularly substantial in the 2008 budget and should remain exceptional; stresses that according to the Financial Multiannual Framework the margin under heading 5 in 2009 will be limited; consequently invites the Court of Justice to proceed to a detailed and scrutinised exercise in order to limit its growth in 2009;

47.  Agrees with the Court of Justice to reduce its contribution to the lease-purchase for the New Palais by EUR 4 million, thanks to the frontloading of this amount from the 2007 budget;

48.  Has decided in agreement with the Court of Justice to restore the standard abatement to a level of 3,7%; has therefore restored the corresponding appropriations;

49.  Has decided on the following establishment plan measures:

   the creation of nine temporary AD10 posts to reinforce the Cabinets of the Advocates General and of the President of the Civil Service Tribunal,
   the creation of one AD5 for the recruitment of a lawyer to cope with the increasing "data protection" requirements and one AST3 for the implementation of the interinstitutional SAP software project;

50.  Has increased the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 3 102 000 which represents a 8,03% increase over the 2007 budget;

Section V - Court of Auditors

51.  Has decided in agreement with the Court of Auditors to restore the standard abatement to a level of 4,82%; has therefore restored the corresponding appropriations;

52.  Has decided on the following establishment plan measures:

   the creation of 2 AST1 for the human resources division following the decision to reinforce it in two years' time,
   the creation of one AD5 for the implementation of the new SAP software project and one AD5 for the plan on documenting and simplifying measures,
   to downgrade one temporary AD12T post to AD11T in order to limit the financial impact of the establishment plan measures,
   to transform one temporary AD12T post to AD14T and three permanent AST3 posts to AD5 in the IT division;

53.  Has restored the appropriation linked to fitting-out work required by the health and security law of the Luxembourg State and the renovation of the Court's meeting room; considers that these expenditures have an exceptional character and cannot be renewed in the 2009 budget;

54.  Has increased the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 3 261 204 which represents a 9,65 % increase over the 2007 budget;

European Economic and Social Committee and Committee of the Regions

55.  Regrets that at this stage of the budgetary procedure the two committees have not been able to present their new cooperation agreement; recalls the decision taken in its resolution of 14 December 2006 on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2007 as modified by the Council (all sections)(8) that this agreement was expected to be received by July 2007; has consequently decided to enter in Chapter 10 0 ("Provisional appropriation ") 10% of the 2007 budget of the Joint Service cost; is ready to release the appropriations from the reserve as soon as the new cooperation agreement is concluded;

56.  Reaffirms its will to preserve this cooperation agreement, which constitutes an example of good interinstitutional cooperation and increases the efficiency of both entities thanks to enhanced expertise in logistical and technical tasks and the possibility for the core business services to be relieved of day-to-day management tasks;

Section VI - European Economic and Social Committee

57.  Has decided in agreement with the European Economic and Social Committee to leave the standard abatement at a level of 4%;

58.  Agrees with the Council on the request for upgradings for career development following Article 6 of the Staff Regulations and Articles 6, 9 and 10 of Annex XIII thereto; recalls that Article 47(1) of the Financial Regulation offers a 10% flexibility of the establishment plan in case of unforeseen events and should not be used as a main tool to upgrade staff;

59.  Has decided on the creation of five new permanent posts (4 AD5 and 1 AST3);

60.  Has increased the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 546 178 which represents a 1,82 % increase over the 2007 budget;

Section VII - Committee of the Regions

61.  Has decided in agreement with the Committee of the Regions to restore the standard abatement to a level of 4%; has therefore restored the corresponding appropriations;

62.  Has decided on the following establishment plan measures:

   the confirmation of the 15 AD posts related to the enlargement to Bulgaria and Romania as agreed by the Council in its draft budget (1 AD9 and 14 AD5),
   the creation of 10 AST additional permanent posts related to the enlargement to Romania and Bulgaria (5 AST3 and 5 AST1); is ready to examine the possibility of creating seven further AST posts related to this enlargement in the future,
   the creation of a new Director's post through the upgrading of an available AD14 post to AD15 for the unit on Communication, Press and Protocol;

63.  Has increased the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 1 054 962 which represents a 6,12 % increase, including the costs related to enlargement, over the 2007 budget;

Section VIII - Ombudsman

64.  Has increased, following the priorities defined by the Ombudsman, the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 142 230 which represents a 4,36% increase over the 2007 budget;

Section IX - European Data Protection Supervisor

65.  Agrees with the Council not to apply a standard abatement;

66.  Has decided on the creation of the four posts requested funded for six months as follows:

   the confirmation of the three AD posts agreed by the Council in its draft budget (2 AD7 and 1 AD9),
   the creation of one additional post at AST3 level instead of AST9;

67.  Has increased the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 83 058 to maintain its level of development, which represents an increase of 7,10% over the 2007 budget;

o
o   o

68.  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, the Commission and the other institutions and bodies concerned.

(1) OJ L 253, 7.10.2000, p. 42.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1. Regulation as amended by Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1995/2006 (OJ L 390, 30.12.2006, p. 1).
(3) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p.1.
(4) OJ C 172, 18.6.1999, p. 1. Agreement as last amended by Decision 2005/708/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 269, 14.10.2005, p. 24).
(5) Texts adopted of that date, P6_TA(2007)0099.
(6) Texts adopted of that date, P6_TA(2007)0237.
(7) OJ C 313 E, 20.12.2006, p. 415.
(8) Texts adopted of that date, P6_TA(2006)0570.

Last updated: 15 August 2008Legal notice