REPORT 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

19.3.2007 - (2007/2013(BUD))

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
Committee on Budgets
Rapporteur: Ville Itälä

Procedure : 2007/2013(BUD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


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


The European Parliament,

–     having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 272 thereof,

–     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 fifth report by the Secretaries-General of the Institutions on trends in heading 5 of the financial perspective of May 2006,

–     having regard to the annual report of the Court of Auditors for the 2005 financial year on the implementation of the budget, together with the institutions' replies[4],

–     having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A6-0069/2007),

A.   whereas the 2007 budget for heading 5 was set at EUR 7 115 000 000, with the European Parliament's budget amounting to EUR 1 397 460 174, representing 19,65% of heading 5,

B     whereas the 2008 budget marks the first year in which no major challenge such as enlargement or the introduction of new languages nor any other event with major administrative effect is foreseen,

C.   whereas the institutions have to consolidate the last two enlargements,

D.   whereas at this stage of the annual procedure, the European Parliament is awaiting the other institutions' estimates and its own Bureau's proposals for the 2008 Budget,

General Framework

1.    Notes that the ceiling of heading 5 in 2008 is EUR 7 457 000 000 which represents an increase of 4,8% compared to 2007;

2.    Notes that, mainly as a result of enlargement, the budget of the institutions has increased by nearly 18% in the last four years; considers that for the year 2008 all of them have reached a fully functional stage and have been provided with the means to ensure their administrative functions; calls on the institutions to adopt a prudent budgetary approach when setting up their 2008 Estimates;

3.    Considers that the European Parliament is accountable to citizens and that efficient use of taxpayers' money can contribute to boosting their confidence in EU institutions; is of the opinion that the institutions' 2008 budget should in principle remain close to the level of the previous year's budget since no major events (enlargements or new languages) justifying an increase are foreseen; considers that any new initiative should be financed, in the first instance, within the ceiling of the current budget, unless there are specific grounds to the contrary;

4.    Acknowledges that interinstitutional cooperation can be beneficial in terms of economies of scale and in terms of efficiency but can also undermine an institution’s independence or identity; considers that the correct balance should be sought among all the institutions for the above elements; asks the Secretaries-General to report on their mutual collaboration; expects to receive, by 1 July 2007, information on the quality, efficiency and financial aspects, as well as the possible advantages and disadvantages of the interinstitutional cooperation among the institutions, including the quality and the efficiency of the services provided by the offices and bodies set up within the framework of the cooperation;

5.    Recalls that a number of regular reports have been requested in its resolutions during the previous years concerning the progress of recruitment of staff from EU-10 and EU-2 and the status of recruited staff; therefore calls on the institutions to continue this screening exercise as foreseen in the joint declaration on recruitment in relation with the 2004 and 2007 enlargements adopted with its resolution of 14 December 2006 on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2007 providing information on a global level as well as on each institution[5];

European Parliament

Political priorities

Provide efficient services to Members to enable better law-making

6.    Considers that, as a co-legislator, optimal working conditions should be provided to its Members in order to facilitate the accomplishment of their role and enhance the quality of EU legislation; is of the opinion that the assistance to Members can be improved by providing the adequate specialised or technical information within short time frames; insists that MEPs should be better informed and aware of all the resources and materials available to them on the basis of the work undertaken by different services within Parliament (studies, technical and background documents);

7.    Wishes to ensure that the best possible linguistic services are provided to all Members, including the new ones, above all at official meetings of Parliament bodies; is willing to consider reasonable proposals for a more personal level of service to Members, under transparent and clearly defined conditions, within their tasks, and will examine the cost-efficiency of such proposals;

8.    Wishes to explore the possibility of having meetings rooms available to all Members for talks with experts in relatively small groups (8-20 people) especially in view of the new D4-D5 buildings; considers that, in order to take account of the unpredictable needs arising from Parliament's work, it ought to be possible to reserve such rooms at sufficiently short notice and with a minimum of bureaucracy; expects a report by 1 July 2007 on any such existing facilities and the possibilities for developing them further;

9.    Notes that achieving the best assistance to Members for the performance of their duties requires further development of the working and administrative structures and the strengthening of existing services; requests that the administration examine possibilities for the extension of the facilities provided to Members by the Library by its providing research support and an extensive single document and information repository of all existing texts and expertise (Knowledge Management System); expects relevant proposals with cost estimations, which also include the possibility of publishing the answers to such queries on the EPs' Intranet, to be presented by 1 July 2007;

10.  Deplores the geographical dispersion of its administration among the three places of work and the additional costs that this implies in terms of running costs and in particular when travelling from one place to another; considers that the administration should provide Members with all kinds of facilities which offer new technologies in order to limit the negative impact of the European Parliament’s geographical layout such as the synchronisation of computers with mobile phones or the use of video conference rooms;

11.  Observes that despite the substantial budget allocated to information technology, some problems remain such as the slowing down of the network in Strasbourg or the time needed to implement any new IT projects; invites therefore the Secretary-General to include, in the preliminary draft report on estimates, a specific section, under Annex IV, dedicated to IT projects launched in the past five years with indications regarding the provisional costs, the starting and provisional delivery dates, the delivery dates and the final costs;

12.  Calls on the Secretary-General to make proposals concerning the structure and capacity of the committee secretariats, in order to improve the follow-up to legislation and to the budget procedure; asks for relevant proposals by the administration to be presented by 1 July 2007;

Enhance the effectiveness of the communication tools of Parliament and its political groups

13.  Is of the opinion that the European Parliament’s communication is made up of a mosaic of different channels, which are complementary and share a common goal, that is to inform effectively the EU citizen on its activities and contribution to European construction;

14.  Considers that the European Parliament’s communication is two-fold, being composed of, firstly, the institutional communication made by the administration involving ‘factual’ information and, secondly, more politically oriented information reflecting the different views, positions and activities of the political groups and Members;

15.  Considers that improvements in communication and information policy can be achieved in a more coherent way within a global concept of communication for EU citizens where the added value of each tool is identified as expressed in paragraph 21 of its Resolution of 26 October 2006 on the draft general budget for 2007 (Other sections)[6];

16.  Wishes to improve the tools used to raise European citizens' awareness of the role of the European Parliament in the legislative and decision-making process, of its activities in the field of European policy as well as the activities of the Members and political groups of the European Parliament, and to address the shortcomings related to the image of the European Union, especially in view of the 2009 elections; considers that the existing channels of communication do not respond adequately to this need;

17.  Believes, in particular, that greater involvement of the local and regional media would be highly profitable for the European project; invites therefore the administration to provide an action plan for communication oriented to the local and regional media and to explore new tools, in particular in order to prepare the next European elections, which will allow Members to communicate to local media; recalls that a special budget was allocated for a public awareness campaign in the year preceding the previous European electoral year;

18.  Points out that both the existing tools of communication and those under development have to be shaped in the most efficient way to improve public awareness of our institution among EU citizens; believes that both the administration and the political groups should be involved in the shaping and assessment of these tools;

19.  Calls for an inventory, by 1 July 2007, of the actions on communication set up by external offices and in partnership with the Commission in the Houses of Europe and an assessment of their effectiveness and impact;

20.  Recalls that a new policy on the visitors' groups of Members was launched in July 2006 which represents an improvement compared to the former situation; is of the opinion that further improvements are possible, in particular in terms of flexibility, and that after the new Visitors' Centre is completed the minimum obligatory number of visitors and the reimbursement can be reconsidered, taking into account visitors’ particularities in order to cover the real cost; therefore expects to receive by 1 July 2007 a new proposal which will take Members' concerns into account and be implemented as soon as possible;

21.  Acknowledges the progress being registered on the visitors' programme in recent years; underlines however that further improvement could be made in areas where visitors are exposed to the real life of Parliament and expects answers to precise questions relating to the possibility of visits to the Plenary Chamber and the availability of more meeting rooms[7];asks for relevant proposals by the administration to be presented by 1 July 2007;

Improve the budget allocation

22.  Recalls that budgeting for the last two years has been done on the basis of justified needs for the efficient functioning of the institution; underlines that the European Parliament budget should be set at the level which allows the most effective work to be provided by the institution within a rational level of financial resources; considers that the budgetary level for 2008 including increases relating to adjustment on current prices should aim at remaining at the budgetary level of 2007 and should not in any event be more than 20% of heading 5 which should constitute the upper limit of the budget; invites therefore the Bureau to consider the European Parliament’s accountability to EU citizens when deciding on the level of Parliament's estimates;

23.  Notes that 2008 will be the last full year before the election of the Members of the European Parliament and the implementation of the Members' Statute in 2009; considers that the necessary measures to accommodate the latest enlargement have been taken; apart from the fine-tuning of the budgetary needs for accommodating the new Member States, no major developments with financial consequences are expected;

24.  Takes notes that one of Bureau's priorities is to make Parliament a more visible actor in external policy; points out that the European Parliament has set up a number of delegations and Assemblies with national parliaments from third countries which are not clearly identified in the European Parliament’s budget; invites therefore the administration to present a report by 1 July 2007 on the existing entities and the ones under development in this area of expenditure including a financial assessment of the needs for the forthcoming years;

25.  Regrets the limited flow of information on issues that are of joint competence with other decision-making bodies of the European Parliament and especially as regards decisions that have a financial impact on the European Parliament's budget; considers that mutual efforts should be deployed to enhance the exchange of information at an early stage of decision making;

26.  Notes that the ex ante budget estimations for the overall cost of the development of projects are not always reliable, regrets this approach and considers that in cases of deviation from the initial cost foreseen, they should be substantiated and the projects should be re-submitted to the competent bodies for re-evaluation and approval;

27.  Notes that several budget lines are regularly under-financed or, on the contrary, over-financed; recalls that transfer requests throughout the implementation year should be limited to extraordinary cases and only to issues that could not have been foreseen; calls on the administration to estimate the necessary appropriations for each budget line more accurately and to forecast them on a more realistic level;

Other issues


28.  Recognises the savings achieved due to the advance payments made over the last ten years on buildings; underlines that the European Parliament is now the owner of most of its buildings in the three places of work and will start to focus its investment on external offices; intends to re-examine the principle of co-sharing the external offices with the Commission on the basis of the report requested for March 2007 in paragraph 47 of its aforementioned resolution of 26 October 2006 on the draft general budget for 2007 (Other sections); calls, to that end, for the establishment of a common report, from the Commission and the European Parliament, on the modalities of co-sharing offices in terms of staff, logistics, running costs and the different time schedules of co-financing the purchase of joint offices; notes that this has been made possible, until now, due to the availability of appropriations in Parliament's budget;

29.  Encourages the effort made by the administration to improve the security system in the Houses of Europe; urges the administration and the Commission to undertake, jointly and proportionally, the cost thereof;


30.  Is of the opinion that, after the recent increase of the establishment plan (21% over a period of four years) linked mainly to the two enlargements and to the increase in the number of official languages, the institution should have the human resources necessary for its functioning and should take the time to integrate them efficiently; will therefore consider any request for new posts after the administration has presented a report with its short and medium term strategy regarding redeployment possibilities which includes training and development programmes related to redeployment; will examine the demands on the basis of this detailed information;

31.  Encourages reconsidering the employment strategy for interpretation services, which currently favours temporary over permanent employment, in order to maintain a proper balance between quality and cost, thereby ensuring value for money;

32.  Considers that the redeployment policy started in 2006 should be pursued in order to consolidate the last two enlargements and to reinforce the efficiency of the administration while respecting political priorities; invites its Secretary-General to present in detail its strategy for 2008 in the estimates;

33.  Is particularly attentive to the costs related to geographical dispersion and will examine the possibilities to rationalise them better; will, in particular, focus on the number of missions undertaken by staff within the three places of work; points out that the cost of these missions amounted to EUR 12 799 988 in 2005 and 71 369 days, excluding mission costs related to the staff of the political groups; considers that efforts could be made in this area to increase efficiency; invites the Secretary-General to present a report, by 1 July 2007, on staff missions per Directorate-General in the three places of work and the respective cost;

34.  Expresses its concern about the uncertainties relating to the European School system; recalls that staff are entitled to benefit from a well-functioning and attractive schooling system and therefore undertakes to ensure that such a system is maintained;

35.  Notes plenary's decision to fully support the adoption of a real and meaningful statute for Members´ assistants; calls on the Working Party on Members' Assistants to continue its work and propose solutions to the problems that assistants encounter with regard to e.g. social security and tax provisions as a result of the specificity of the job of assistant; these proposals should be an improvement compared to existing arrangements for some nationalities;


36.  Acknowledges the financial impact of the necessity to have the best security conditions possible for Members and staff in the three places of work; encourages the administration to implement the new badge system as quickly as possible which would ease the Members' day-to-day work, in particular the use of electronic signatures, by giving them a more secure environment; underlines that data protection provisions need to be respected at all times;

37.  Considers that EU institutions should serve as an example in implementing environmentally friendly policies and improved energy efficiency; reminds that the European Parliament has committed in applying the EMAS regulation and of the request (report on 2006 other institutions budget) to the Bureau to study ways to reduce the rise in energy costs, including the option of reducing air-conditioning in the summer time; calls for more efficient use of paper and reduced distribution of printed material, making printed versions of many Parliament's official documents available on an opt-in basis; expects to receive from the administration, by 1 July 2007, a report on the actions already foreseen and proposals in the indicated areas accompanied by the needs in terms of staff and financial cost estimations;

Other institutions

38.  Invites the institutions to present a budget which reflects their real needs; considers that after two major enlargements and the introduction of 12 languages, 2008 should be a year of mobilisation of the means available (human, technological and logistical) in the most efficient way; recalls that transfer requests and adaptation of the establishment plan in the course of the financial year do not constitute the proper way of managing the budget and should be exceptional; expects the institutions to pay attention to these elements when presenting their estimates;

39.  Encourages the institutions to reinforce their interinstitutional cooperation even in fields where at first glance they do not see any potential for rationalisation and for improving efficiency, given that the budget of the institutions will not grow in the future at the same rhythm as in the past;

40.  Notes that the institutions have substantially increased their building expenditure over the last years and will further increase it in the next four years; considers that it is time to suspend the further growth of their real estate; therefore invites the institutions to examine carefully all other possibilities before foreseeing any further extension of buildings; moreover calls on the institutions, in the context of the interinstitutional cooperation, to be ready to share the remaining amount available in their budgets at the end of the year, to absorb their building expenses as quickly as possible;

41.  Recalls that harmonisation in the presentation of the estimates of the institutions would make the different budgets easier to understand and increase transparency for EU citizens;

42.  Would appreciate if the estimates were to include a chapter where the institutions set out their particularities and the improvements made over the year; this would allow the budgetary authority to better evaluate and understand the specific needs of each institution;

43.  Asks the institutions to monitor the level of recruitment of staff related to the last two enlargements closely and to provide the budgetary authority with information at least twice a year;


44.  Takes note of the limited increase of the Council's budget in 2007; will be attentive to its future evolution and to the changes made in its nomenclature, in particular under Title 3; acknowledges the fact that the Council is providing relevant information on the topics of Parliament's interest;

Court of Justice

45.  Is of the opinion that, after the establishment of the Civil Service Tribunal and two major enlargements, the Court should rationalise its working methods and keep the level of its budget stable;

Court of Auditors

46.  Takes note of the development of appropriate training programmes for junior auditors and the modernisation of the informatics sector initiated last year and expects to have more information on the result achieved until now of these initiatives;

European Economic and Social Committee & Committee of the Regions

47.  Expects to receive a clear signal on the nature of the future collaboration between the two Committees from 2008 onwards, by the time of the presentation of the estimates; is of the opinion that it would not be sufficient reason to increase the overall level of their respective budgets;


48.  Has taken note of the efforts made by the Ombudsman to stabilise the growth of its budget and in particular of the establishment plan in 2007; expects this stability to be maintained in 2008;

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS)

49.  Notes that 2008 will be the fourth full year of activity for the EDPS which will soon reach cruising speed; encourages therefore the EDPS to submit a medium-term plan of activities which will include its needs and a deadline regarding the implementation of the new nomenclature as initiated by the other institutions since 2005;

50.  Consequently is of the opinion that 2008 will be the last year of important growth of the budget and in particular of the establishment plan; recalls that modification of the establishment plan, as well as any expenditure, needs to be justified;


0 0

51.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, the European Ombudsman and the European Data Protection Supervisor.

  • [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, 13.12.2006, p. 1).
  • [3]  OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
  • [4]  OJ C 263/3, 31.10.2006, p.1
  • [5]  P6_TA (2006)0570.
  • [6]  P6_TA (2006)0452, para. 21.
  • [7]  P6_TA (2006)0452, para 26.



Guidelines for the 2008 budget procedure, Section I – European Parliament, Section II – Council, Section IV – Court of Justice, Section V – Court of Auditors, Section VI – Economic and Social Committee, Section VII – Committee of the Regions, Section VIII – European Ombudsman, Section IX – European Data Protection Supervisor

Procedure number


Legal basis

Article 272 EC

Committee responsible


Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)





















Not delivering opinion(s)
Date of decision





















  Date appointed

Ville Itälä

Previous rapporteur

Louis Grech

Date of decision to draw up report


Discussed in committee






Date adopted


Result of final vote

for: 40



Members present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Reimer Böge, Joan Calabuig Rull, Valdis Dombrovskis, Brigitte Douay, Szabolcs Fazakas, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Neena Gill, Ingeborg Gräßle, Louis Grech, Catherine Guy-Quint, Jutta Haug, Ville Itälä, Anne E. Jensen, Wiesław Stefan Kuc, Zbigniew Krzysztof Kuźmiuk, Alain Lamassoure, Janusz Lewandowski, Vladimír Maňka, Mario Mauro, Jan Mulder, Gérard Onesta, Umberto Pirilli, Antonis Samaras, Anders Samuelsen, Esko Seppänen, Nina Škottová, László Surján, Helga Trüpel, Kyösti Virrankoski, Ralf Walter

Substitutes present for the final vote

Thijs Berman, Michael Gahler, Marusya Ivanova Lyubcheva, Mairead McGuinness, Emilio Menéndez del Valle, Rihards Pīks, Libor Rouček, Paul Rübig, José Albino Silva Peneda

Substitutes under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote


Date tabled – A6