REPORT on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2010

4.4.2012 - (C7‑0300/2011 – 2011/2241(DEC))

Committee on Budgetary Control
Rapporteur: Monica Luisa Macovei

Procedure : 2011/2241(DEC)
Document stages in plenary

1. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines for the financial year 2010

(C7‑0300/2011 – 2011/2241(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines for the financial year 2010,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking for the financial year ended 31 December 2010, together with the replies of the Joint Undertaking[1],

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 21 February 2012 (06086/2012 - C7-0050/2012),

–   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 Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2008 of 20 December 2007 setting up the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines[3], and in particular Article 11(4) 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[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 (A7-0108/2012),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines discharge in respect of the implementation of the Joint Undertaking's budget for the financial year 2010;

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 Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines, 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 Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines for the financial year 2010

(C7‑0300/2011 – 2011/2241(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines for the financial year 2010,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking for the financial year ended 31 December 2010, together with the replies of the Joint Undertaking[5],

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 21 February 2012 (06086/2012 - C7-0050/2012),

–   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[6], and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2008 of 20 December 2007 setting up the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines[7], and in particular Article 11(4) 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[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 (A7-0108/2012),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines for the financial year 2010;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines, 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 Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines for the financial year 2010

(C7‑0300/2011 – 2011/2241(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines for the financial year 2010,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the annual accounts of the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking for the financial year ended 31 December 2010, together with the replies of the Joint Undertaking[9],

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 21 February 2012 (06086/2012 - C7-0050/2012),

–   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[10], and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2008 of 20 December 2007 setting up the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines[11], and in particular Article 11(4) thereof,

–   having regard to the Financial Rules of the Joint Undertaking for the implementation of the Joint Technology Initiative on Innovative Medicines adopted by Decision of its Governing Board on 2 February 2009,

–   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[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 (A7-0108/2012),

A.     whereas the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking ("the Joint Undertaking") was set up in December 2007 for a period of 10 years to significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the drug development process with the long-term aim that the pharmaceutical sector produces more effective and safer innovative medicines,

B.     whereas the Joint Undertaking started to work autonomously on 16 November 2009,

C.     whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts of the Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2010 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

D.     whereas the maximum contribution for the period of 10 years from the Union to the Joint Undertaking is EUR 1 000 000 000 to be paid from the budget of the Seventh Research Framework Programme,

E.     whereas the budget of the Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2010 amounted to EUR 107 150 584,

Budget and Financial Management

1.      Notes with concern that the budget of the Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2010 and the implementation plan were adopted by the Governing Board only on 16 March 2010 and therefore, for almost the entire first quarter of the year, the Joint Undertaking was obliged to use provisional twelfths budget rule to make payments;

2.      Is concerned that the members of the Joint Undertaking could not establish and agree in due time the scientific priorities to be included in the annual implementation plan which delayed the launch of the 2010 annual call for proposals until 22 October 2010;

3.      Notes that the 2010 final budget of the Joint Undertaking included commitment appropriations of EUR 107 150 584 and payment appropriations of EUR 29 009 840; notes that the utilisation rates for available commitment and payment appropriations were as low as 6 % and 35 %, respectively;

4.      Is concerned about the low implementation rate of the budget and, moreover, about the underlying activities of the Joint Undertaking; underlines that the cash balance at year-end stood at EUR 70 731 612,03 representing 65 % of the available payment appropriations in 2010;

5.      Notes that the Joint Undertaking argued that the low utilisation rates for commitment and payment appropriations and the high level of the cash balance were due to:

- the delays in the definition of the Joint Undertaking's scientific priorities and call topics, which led to delays in the publication of calls for proposals and in the related evaluation and selection process;

- the pre-financing payments to successful Call 3 collaborative projects which were made in 2011 instead of 2010 as originally budgeted because of delays within the selected consortia which affected the signature of grant agreements;

calls, nevertheless, on the Joint Undertaking and its members to take appropriate actions to ensure a timely definition of the scientific priorities and call topics and to enable the budget to be balanced in future financial years;

Evaluation of contributions in kind

6.      Recalls that the Joint Undertaking was set up in December 2007 and started to work autonomously in November 2009; expresses its grave concern that the methodology for evaluating contributions in-kind to be defined in the Joint Undertaking’s internal rules and procedures in compliance with its financial rules has not yet been approved by the Governing Board and therefore the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) members of the Joint Undertaking were unable to report on the costs incurred during the first reporting period as established in the grant agreements;

7.      Notes from the Joint Undertaking's reply that there are ongoing consultations on the methodology to be used for the evaluation of in-kind contributions by member companies of EFPIA in the Joint Undertaking's projects and that individual reports on the in-kind contributions will be submitted following the approval by the Governing Board of the revised model grant agreement; urges the Joint Undertaking and its Governing Board to update the discharge authority about this matter;

Procurement Procedures

8.      Establishes from its Annual Activity Report (AAR) that the Joint Undertaking has adopted in 2010 the “IMI Guidelines for low-value procurement procedures” which aim to facilitate its compliance with the General Guide for Public Procurement of the European Commission and reflects the Public Procurement threshold levels set in its Financial Rules for Procurement Procedures;

9.      Notes, in addition, that during 2010, the Joint Undertaking had two high-value Procurement Procedures, for the IT infrastructure and ex-post audits respectively , which led to framework contracts being published in the Official Journal; underlines that these procedures were launched jointly with other Joint Undertakings; finds the Joint Undertakings' initiative to issue joint procurement procedures interesting; believes that it would enable the Joint Undertakings to realise economies of scale and to save taxpayers' money; encourages the Joint Undertakings, therefore, to resort as often as possible to joint procurement procedures;

10.    Acknowledges that the Joint Undertaking launched low value procurement procedures for the development of its website, for the organisation of communication events held during the year, and for the purchase of office furniture in the new premises;

11.    Notes that as part of its legal obligations, the Joint Undertaking made available on its website a list of awarded contracts; notices that the list presents the contracts awarded from the creation of the Joint Undertaking until 31 October 2010; urges the Joint Undertaking to regularly update its list of contracts awarded;

Call for Proposals and Projects Negotiations

12.    Recalls that the Joint Undertaking issued a third call for proposals which was launched on 22 October 2010;

13.    Acknowledges that in 2010 the Joint Undertaking finalised the negotiation process for the second call for proposals and started to receive and pay cost claims from the beneficiaries participating in the projects funded under the first call for proposals, managed by the Commission, and launched on April 2008;

14.    Notes from the Joint Undertaking's AAR that, in the framework of the second call for proposals, independent experts participated in the evaluation panels except for final assessment and without voting rights and that in addition the Executive Office of the Joint Undertaking invited independent observers to the two-stage evaluation process; calls on the Joint Undertaking to inform the discharge authority about the verification mechanisms that it implements to ensure the full independence of experts and observers and therefore to mitigate the risks of conflict of interests during the evaluation of tenders;

15.    Takes note from the AAR that the independent observers are responsible for issuing a report for each stage of the evaluation process; notes also that an action plan based on the Independent Observers' Report of the Evaluation of Stage Two was published in September 2010 and that the Executive Office of the Joint Undertaking is implementing these actions for the third call for proposals; asks the Joint Undertaking to inform the discharge authority of the level of implementation of each of the measures included in the action plan;

16.    Acknowledges from the Joint Undertaking that several implementing measures have been put in place in its operational processes to prevent conflicts of interest; notes in particular that any individual involved in the activities of the Joint Undertaking has to comply with well-established and enforced prescriptive rules; calls on the Joint Undertaking to develop an Action Plan with concrete measures and deadlines to prevent conflicts of interest and strengthen transparency and to provide it to the discharge authority;

Internal control systems

17.    Urges the Joint Undertaking to complete its internal controls and financial information systems; calls on the Joint Undertaking in particular, to establish and document important elements of its internal control system like the accounting procedures and controls relating to the closure of accounts and the recognition and measurement of the operational expenditure;

18.    Calls, in addition, on the Joint Undertaking and in particular its Accounting Officer to formalise and validate the underlying business processes in due time as required by the financial rules; notes the Joint Undertaking's response that validation of the underlying business processes supporting the accounting system was concluded in June 2011; calls on the Joint Undertaking to explain this delay to the discharge authority;

19.    Notes the Court of Auditors' finding that the Joint Undertaking has an adequate level of IT governance and practice for its size and mission; stresses, however, that the formalisation of policies and procedures in strategic IT planning and monitoring cycle, IT Risk management and Business Continuity Plan and Disaster Recovery Plan is lagging behind; urges the Joint Undertaking to develop an Action Plan with concrete measures and deadlines to speed up the formalisation of policies and procedures in the aforementioned areas and to report the progress achieved to the discharge authority;

20.    Points out that the ex-post audit strategy of the Joint Undertaking was adopted by a Governing Board decision on 14 December 2010; urges the Joint Undertaking to implement the strategy without delay by carrying out on-the-spot checks and financial audits among the participants of the Research Activities funded by the Joint Undertaking and to submit to the discharge authority an annual report drawn up by its Executive Director with the conclusions of such audits, the recommendations made and the financial corrections imposed;

Internal Audit

21.    Takes note that the Joint Undertaking’s Financial Rules have not yet been amended to include the provision referring to the powers of the Commission’s internal auditor regarding the general budget as a whole;

22.    Notes, however, that the Commission and the Joint Undertaking have taken action to ensure that the respective operational roles of the Commission’s Internal Audit Service (IAS) and the Joint Undertaking’s internal auditing function are clearly defined;

23.    Notes comments from the Joint Undertaking that the need to further clarify the role of the IAS in the Joint Undertaking's Financial Rules will be assessed after the finalisation of the on-going revision of the Framework Financial Regulation;

24.    Ascertains from the Joint Undertaking's 2010 AAR that it established its own Internal Audit Capability (IAC) in November 2010;

25.    Acknowledges from the Joint Undertaking's reply to the Court of Auditors that the roles of the Joint Undertaking's internal audit function and the IAS were clarified and formalised through the approval, in March 2011, of the IAS and IAC Audit Charters; also takes note that a coordinated strategic audit plan for the period 2012-2014 is also being prepared to ensure that the impact of planned audits is optimised and any duplication of audit work between the IAS and IAC is minimised; calls therefore on the Joint Undertaking to inform the discharge authority about the state of preparation and implementation of the strategic audit plan for the period 2012-2014;

Performance

26.    Notes that the Commission commissioned an interim review pursuant to Article 11(2) of the Joint Undertaking's Founding Regulation (EC) No 73/2008 and that the review focused on the quality, efficiency and contribution of the Joint Undertaking towards the achievement of set objectives;

27.    Acknowledges that the interim evaluation identified certain weaknesses:

- internal governance structures are not yet working optimally;

- proactive communication activities have been lacking;

- the advisory potential of several stakeholders is not fully exploited;

- the lack of identified and used key performance indicators by the Joint Undertaking risks making the output of the whole initiative diffuse;

notes that the interim evaluation was concluded in December 2010 and that it formulated seven recommendations; duly takes note that the Joint Undertaking has committed to address and follow-up on the conclusions of the interim evaluation;

28.    Requires the Joint Undertaking, therefore, to communicate to the discharge authority the measures adopted, with their implementation timeframe, to address the recommendations of the interim review and to provide regular updates on the progress achieved;

Lack of host State agreement

29.    Reiterates that the Joint Undertaking should rapidly conclude a host agreement with Belgium concerning office accommodation, privileges and immunities and other support to be provided by Belgium to it as provided by its Founding Regulation (EC) No 73/2008.

°

° °

Horizontal observations on the Joint Undertakings

30.    Underlines that seven Joint Undertakings have so far been established by the European Commission under Article 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; notes that six Joint Undertakings (IMI, ARTEMIS, ENIAC, CLEAN SKY, FCH and ITER-F4E) are in the research area under the Commission’s DGs RTD and INFSO and one is charged with developing the new air traffic management system (SESAR) in the transport domain whose activities are supervised by DG MOVE;

31.    Notes that the total indicative resources deemed necessary for the Joint Undertakings for their period of existence amounts to EUR 21 793 000 000;

32.    Notes that the total Union contribution deemed necessary for the Joint Undertakings for their period of existence amounts to EUR 11 489 000 000;

33.    Notes that, for the financial year 2010, the overall Union contribution to the budget of the Joint Undertakings amounted to EUR 505 000 000;

34.    Calls on the Commission to provide the discharge authority annually with consolidated information on the total annual funding per Joint Undertaking made from the general budget of the Union in order to ensure transparency and clarity on the use of the Union's funds and restore trust among the European taxpayers;

35.    Welcomes the initiative of ARTEMIS to include information in its AAR on the monitoring and review of its ongoing projects; believes this is a practice that should be followed by the other Joint Undertakings;

36.    Recalls that Joint Undertakings are public-private partnerships and that as a consequence public and private interests are intertwined; is of the opinion that under the circumstances the likelihood of conflicts of interest should not be dismissed but addressed properly; calls therefore on the Joint Undertakings to inform the discharge authority on the verification mechanisms which exist in their respective structures to enable a proper management and prevention of conflicts of interest;

37.    Notes, with the notable exception of the Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy, that Joint Undertakings are relatively small structures and geographically-concentrated; believes therefore that they should pool their resources where possible;

38.    Calls on the Court of Auditors to provide the discharge authority with a follow-up on the comments it has made for each of the Joint Undertakings in their respective report on the annual accounts for the financial year 2011;

39.    Invites the Court of Auditors to provide, within a reasonable deadline, a special report to Parliament, on the added value of the establishment of the Joint Undertakings for the efficient execution of Union research, technological development and demonstration programmes; further notes that the same report should include an assessment of the effectiveness of the Joint Undertakings’ establishment.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

27.3.2012

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

0

1

Members present for the final vote

Jean-Pierre Audy, Ryszard Czarnecki, Tamás Deutsch, Martin Ehrenhauser, Jens Geier, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Ingeborg Gräßle, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Iliana Ivanova, Monica Luisa Macovei, Jan Mulder, Eva Ortiz Vilella, Aldo Patriciello, Crescenzio Rivellini, Petri Sarvamaa, Theodoros Skylakakis, Bart Staes, Georgios Stavrakakis, Søren Bo Søndergaard, Michael Theurer

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Amelia Andersdotter, Philip Bradbourn, Zuzana Brzobohatá, Edit Herczog, Derek Vaughan

  • [1]  OJ C 368, 16.12.2011, p. 17.
  • [2]  OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
  • [3]  OJ L 30, 4.2.2008, p. 38.
  • [4]  OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
  • [5]  OJ C 368, 16.12.2011, p. 17.
  • [6]  OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
  • [7]  OJ L 30, 4.2.2008, p. 38.
  • [8]  OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
  • [9]  OJ C 368, 16.12.2011, p. 17.
  • [10]  OJL 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
  • [11]  OJ L 30, 4.2.2008, p. 38.
  • [12]  OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.