Procedure : 2009/2128(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0085/2010

Texts tabled :

A7-0085/2010

Debates :

PV 21/04/2010 - 3
CRE 21/04/2010 - 3

Votes :

PV 05/05/2010 - 13.28
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2010)0118

REPORT     
PDF 177kWORD 105k
26.3.2010
PE 430.453v02-00 A7-0085/2010

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) for the financial year 2008

(C7‑0199/2009 – 2009/2128(DEC))

Committee on Budgetary Control

Rapporteur: Véronique Mathieu

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 Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) for the financial year 2008

(C7‑0199/2009 – 2009/2128(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7‑0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and 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 Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union(3), and in particular Article 30 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 Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0085/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

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 Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, 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 Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) for the financial year 2008

(C7‑0199/2009 – 2009/2128(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7‑0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and 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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union(7), and in particular Article 30 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 Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0085/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, 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 Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union for the financial year 2008

(C7‑0199/2009 – 2009/2128(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7‑0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and 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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union(11), and in particular Article 30 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 Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0085/2010),

A. whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurance that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.  whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Executive Director of the European Agency' for the Management of Operational Coordination at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union discharge for implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and, in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision, inter alia:

- regretted that the Court of Auditors, in its 2007 annual report, had found several weaknesses which it had already highlighted in its 2006 annual report, in particular a high level of carry-overs and cancellations (nearly 70% of the appropriations available in 2007 not having been spent);

- noted that the Agency's 2007 budget (EUR 42 100 000) had more than doubled compared with the 2006 budget (EUR 19 200 000);

- called on the Agency to improve its financial management, especially as regards the increase in its budget for the financial years 2007 and 2008,

C. whereas 2008 was the third full year in which the Agency had been in operation,

1.  Is pleased to note that the Court of Auditors has been able to obtain reasonable assurances that the annual accounts of the Agency for the financial year ended 31 December 2008 are, in all material respects, reliable, and that the underlying transactions, taken as a whole, are legal and regular;

2.  Notes that the Agency's budget has increased substantially in the last three years; notes that, for the financial year 2008, the budget increased by EUR 29 000 000, or nearly 69%, over the previous financial year, and that in 2007 (EUR 42 100 000) it had already more than doubled compared with 2006 (EUR 19 200 000);

Recurring problems since the financial year 2006

3.  Is concerned that the Court of Auditors has found several weaknesses which it already highlighted in its 2006 and 2007 annual reports; regrets in particular:

- a high level of carry-overs and cancellations (with 49%, nearly 69% and 55% of the appropriations available in 2008, 2007 and 2006 respectively not spent),

- the fact that legal commitments were entered into before the corresponding budgetary commitments,

- the fact that, according to the Court of Auditors, recruitment procedures depart from the rules, in particular as regards the transparency and non-discriminatory nature of the procedures in question;

4.  Notes that EUR 30 300 000 in appropriations for the year had to be carried over and that EUR 13 000 000 in appropriations available had to be cancelled; points out also that, of the EUR 26 800 000 in appropriations carried forward for operational expenditure (title III), EUR 850 000 related to elapsed operations and should have been decommitted; notes in this respect the reply by the Agency, however, stating that it has made corrections to the final annual financial statements and that it will also take additional measures to step up controls on commitments;

5.  Points out, however, that a high level of carry-overs and cancellations is indicative of the inability of the Agency to manage so large an increase in its budget; wonders, despite the substantial progress made by the Agency as regards the use of appropriations in 2009, whether it would not be more responsible for the budgetary authorities, in future, to take greater care to decide on increases in the Agency's budget in the light of the time needed to carry out the new activities; calls on the Agency therefore to provide it with fuller details on the feasibility of future commitments;

6.  Considers that the Agency should also introduce:

- an effective system for scheduling and monitoring the contractual deadlines laid down,

- a risk assessment process for its activities so that, subsequently, they can be closely monitored,

- a system of differentiated appropriations in future budgets for making grants so that, in subsequent financial years, cancellations are avoided;

7.  Is concerned at the Court of Auditors' criticism of the Agency for having paid out more than EUR 17 000 000 on the basis of unilateral grant decisions signed only by the Agency, whereas the rules in force make no provision for this type of instrument; voices its concern, in addition, at the Court of Auditors' view that those decisions were frequently signed by the Agency after the activities had commenced or had even been completed; notes the Agency's reply, however, giving an assurance that new framework agreements have now been signed with all border authorities which are going to be participating in Agency-coordinated joint operations;

8.  Is concerned at the Court of Auditors' renewed finding that legal commitments were entered into before the corresponding budgetary commitments; notes, furthermore, that 49 ex-post commitments (totalling more than EUR 1 000 000) had been registered in the register of exceptions by the end of the year; points out also that, despite the Agency's assurance that, by May 2009, there had already been a 50% reduction in the number of exceptions over the same period in the previous year, the large number of exceptions is indicative of a recurring problem in the Agency's commitment system; calls on the Agency therefore to make a more effective commitment to solving this problem completely;

9.  Congratulates the Agency on having introduced a treasury policy;

10. Notes that the Agency reported EUR 474 116,65 in income from interest in 2008; concludes from the financial statements and from the level of the interest payments that the Agency has a permanently high level of cash holdings; notes that on 31 December 2008 the Agency's cash holdings amounted to EUR 28 604 623,67; asks the Commission to examine what scope there is for helping to ensure that the cash holdings are managed entirely on a needs-orientated basis, in accordance with Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, and what changes of approach are necessary in order to keep the Agency's cash holdings permanently as low as possible;

11. Calls on the Agency to exercise it functions to the full and to continue improving its financial management, especially as regards the increase in its 2009 and 2010 budgets;

Human resources

12. Notes with concern that the Court of Auditors has again found that recruitment procedures depart from the rules and that their transparency and non-discrimination of applicants are not ensured;

Performance

13. Notes that, in June 2009, the Management Board of the Agency adopted a multiannual plan for the period 2010-2013 despite the lack of provision for this in its basic regulation; stresses the importance of that multiannual plan in enabling the Agency to plan its activities and risk-assess them more effectively; nonetheless calls on the Agency to establish a link promptly between its work programme and its financial forecasts;

14. Encourages the Director to present data on the impact of operations to the Management Board;

15. Calls on the Agency to set out, in its table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors' next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year so as to enable the discharge authority to assess more effectively its performance from one year to the next;

16. Notes that in the coming years the discharge for the implementation of the budget for the Agency should be further based on the Agency's performance throughout the year;

Transparency

17. Notes that the Agency does not publish information about its governing boards on its website; therefore recommends, as a means of increasing transparency, that a list of board members be placed on the Agency's website, with full contact details for all board members;

Cooperation with the Member States

18. Notes that utilisation and implementation of the budget partly depend on Member State involvement; encourages the Agency, accordingly, to step up its dialogue with the Member States in order to expand their involvement;

19. Calls on the Agency to improve its financial management with regard to reimbursement of costs contracted by Member States by identifying the roots of the problem, together with the Member States, so as to implement, with them, the appropriate solutions;

Internal audit

20. Acknowledges that, of the 23 recommendations issued after the initial audit carried out in 2007 by the Internal Audit Service (IAS), four have been adequately and effectively implemented, 15 are in progress and four have not yet been started; underlines that the recommendations, which are considered to be “very important”, relate to completing job descriptions and the setting of objectives for staff members, strengthening security, improving mail registration, strengthening the grant management process and ensuring compliance with the Financial Regulation;

21. Congratulates the Agency on having recruited, at the end of 2008, an Internal Control Coordinator/Quality Manager; underlines that this new post will help the Agency to ensure a more structured, disciplined and coherent approach towards the implementation of the IAS’ recommendations;

oo   o

22. Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of xx April 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

13.1.2010

OPINION of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

for the Committee on Budgetary Control

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) for the financial year 2008

(C7-0199/2009 - 2009/2128(DEC))

Rapporteur: Juan Fernando López Aguilar

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs calls on the Committee on Budgetary Control, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Is pleased to note that the Court of Auditors has been able to obtain reasonable assurances that the annual accounts of Frontex for the financial year ended 31 December 2008 are, in all material respects, reliable, and that the underlying transactions, taken as a whole, are legal and regular;

2.   However, draws the attention to the fact that in 2008 Frontex's budget increased by EUR 29 000 000 (approx. 69%) in comparison with 2007, and that an equivalent amount of appropriations (EUR 30 300 000) had to be carried forward, and that EUR 13 000 000 of appropriations had to be cancelled, leading the Court to conclude that the Agency did not have the capacity to cope with such a significant increase in its budget;

3.   Also draws attention to the Court's comments (already made in its previous reports) concerning the problems in the Agency's commitment system and recruitment procedures; takes note of Frontex's replies in this respect;

4.   Takes notes of the Court's comments as regards the fact that Frontex's annual work programme did not correspond to its budget and that budget modifications were made without a revision of the work programme even when the impact was significant; is aware of the Agency's comments in this respect;

5.   Calls on Frontex to exercise it functions to the full and to continue improving its financial management, especially as regards the increase in its 2009 and 2010 budgets;

6.   Notes that in the coming years the discharge for the implementation of the budget for the Agency should be further based on the Agency's performance throughout the year.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

11.1.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

36

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Sonia Alfano, Roberta Angelilli, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Emine Bozkurt, Simon Busuttil, Carlos Coelho, Rosario Crocetta, Tanja Fajon, Hélène Flautre, Kinga Göncz, Sylvie Guillaume, Ágnes Hankiss, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Salvatore Iacolino, Timothy Kirkhope, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Monica Luisa Macovei, Claude Moraes, Carmen Romero López, Birgit Sippel, Csaba Sógor, Renate Sommer, Rui Tavares, Wim van de Camp, Renate Weber

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Alexander Alvaro, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Ioan Enciu, Nadja Hirsch, Monika Hohlmeier, Stanimir Ilchev, Iliana Malinova Iotova, Petru Constantin Luhan, Mariya Nedelcheva, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Cecilia Wikström

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

23.3.2010

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

2

1

Members present for the final vote

Jean-Pierre Audy, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Ryszard Czarnecki, Luigi de Magistris, Tamás Deutsch, Martin Ehrenhauser, Jens Geier, Ingeborg Gräßle, Martin Häusling, Ville Itälä, Iliana Ivanova, Bogusław Liberadzki, Monica Luisa Macovei, Christel Schaldemose, Theodoros Skylakakis, Bart Staes, Georgios Stavrakakis, Søren Bo Søndergaard

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Thijs Berman, Zuzana Brzobohatá, Esther de Lange, Christofer Fjellner, Ivailo Kalfin, Véronique Mathieu, Olle Schmidt, Derek Vaughan

(1)

OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 38.

(2)

OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(3)

OJ L 349, 25.11.2004, p. 1.

(4)

OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(5)

OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 38

(6)

OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(7)

OJ L 349, 25.11.2004, p. 1.

(8)

OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(9)

OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 38.

(10)

OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.

(11)

OJ L 349, 25.11.2004, p. 1.

(12)

OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(13)

OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 126.

(14)

Texts adopted, P7_TA-PROV(2010)...

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