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Document selected : A8-0069/2014

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PE 541.347v03-00 A8-0069/2014

on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 3/2014 of the European Union for the financial year 2014, Section III – Commission

(16740/2014 – C8‑0289/2014 – 2014/2036(BUD))

Committee on Budgets

Rapporteur: Gérard Deprez

 OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development


on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 3/2014 of the European Union for the financial year 2014, Section III – Commission

(16740/2014 – C8‑0289/2014 – 2014/2036(BUD))

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–       having regard to Article 106a of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,

–       having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(1), and in particular Article 41 thereof,

–       having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2014, as definitively adopted on 20 November 2013(2),

–       having regard to the joint statement on payment appropriations by the Parliament, the Council and the Commission (joint statement of 12 November 2013), as agreed in the joint conclusions of 12 November 2013(3), as well as the European Parliament and Commission statement on payment appropriations, as agreed in the same joint conclusions,

–       having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(4) (¢MFF Regulation¢),

–       having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(5) (¢IIA¢),

–       having regard to Council Decision 2007/436/EC, Euratom of 7 June 2007 on the system of the European Communities' own resources(6),

–       having regard to Draft amending budget No 3/2014, which the Commission adopted on 28 May 2014 (COM(2014)0329),

–        having regard to the Commission proposal to mobilise the Contingency Margin in 2014, adopted on 28 May 2014 (COM(2014)0328),

–       having regard to the joint conclusions approved by the Parliament and the Council on 8 December 2014,

–       having regard to the position on Draft amending budget (¢DAB¢) No 3/2014, which the Council adopted on 12 December 2014 and forwarded to Parliament on the same day (16740/2014 – C8-0289/2014),

–       having regard to Rules 88 and 91 of its Rules of Procedure,

–       having regard to the letter of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,

–       having regard to the letter of the Committee on Development,

–       having regard to the letter of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

–       having regard to the letter of the Committee on Culture and Education,

–       having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinion of the Committee on Regional Development (A8-0069/2014),

A.     whereas Draft amending budget (DAB) No 3/2014 to the 2014 general budget as originally presented by the Commission proposed to increase both the forecast of revenue stemming from fines and penalties, and other revenue by EUR 1 568 million and the payments appropriations by EUR 4 738 million across headings 1a, 1b, 2, and 4 of the multi-annual financial framework (MFF), with the aim of meeting payment needs until the end of the year by covering obligations stemming from past and current commitments;

B.     whereas the implementation of the 2014-2020 MFF started with a huge backlog in payments, with unpaid bills amounting to some EUR 23,4 billion at the end of 2013 for Cohesion policy only, and a level of outstanding commitments (RAL) reaching 221,7 billion at the end of 2013, i.e. EUR 41 billion above what was originally foreseen when the MFF 2007-2013 was agreed;

C.     whereas out of the total of DAB No 3/2014, only EUR 99 million is meant to cover 2014-2020 programmes under the cohesion policy, the rest relating to the closure of the 2007-2013 programmes (EUR 3,296 billion) and payment needs stemming from other headings (EUR 1,34 billion);

D.     whereas the Parliament, the Council and the Commission committed themselves through the joint statement of 12 November 2013 to ensure that the Union has the financial means available to cover its legal obligations in 2014 by safeguarding an orderly progression of payments and by having recourse to the various flexibility mechanisms included in the MFF Regulation, including Article 13 (the contingency margin);

E.     whereas some delegations in the Council expressed reservations as to the use of the contingency margin in DAB No 3/2014, which is considered by the Parliament to be an unsubstantiated concern and in contradiction with the spirit of the MFF Regulation and the IIA;

1.      Takes note of DAB No 3/2014 as proposed by the Commission;

2.      Endorses the joint conclusions agreed by Parliament and Council on 8 December 2014 with the view to provide for reinforcements in payments, in the 2014 budget, on a number of budget lines up to a level of EUR 4 246 million, of which EUR 3 168 million will be mobilised through the Contingency Margin for 2014;

3.      Welcomes in particular the increases in the payment appropriation for Heading 1a and Heading 4, which have been largely preserved in the final compromise depicted in the Joint conclusions of 8 December 2014;

4.      Welcomes the increase in payment appropriations for Heading 1b which is the main area affected by the shortage of payments in the Union budget in general; considers nevertheless that this is the bare minimum to cover the actual needs until the end of 2014 and will not be sufficient to solve the recurrent snowball effect of unpaid bills that has been expanding since the 2010 budget; recalls, in particular, that the bulk of invoices under heading 1b are traditionally submitted by Member States towards the end of each financial year in order to prevent possible de-commitments due to the application of N+2 and N+3 rules;

5.      Supports the proposal for the mobilisation of the Contingency margin and underlines its interpretation of Article 3(2) of the MFF Regulation that payments related to special instruments must be counted over and above the ceilings; believes that any other interpretation undermines the basis for the political agreement on the 2014-2020 MFF, namely the understanding that specific and maximum flexibility should be implemented to allow the Union to fulfil its obligations;

6.      Recalls that the adoption of DAB No 3/2104, DAB No 4/2014, DAB No 6/2014 and DAB No 8/2014 will reduce the share of the GNI contribution from Member States to the Union budget by a total of EUR 8 688 million and will therefore fully compensate the additional payment needs requested in DAB No 3/2014 as agreed in the Joint conclusions of 8 December 2014;

7.      Approves the Council position on Draft amending budget No 3/2014;

8.      Instructs its President to declare that Amending budget No 2/2014 has been definitively adopted and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

9.      Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.


OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1


OJ L 51, 20.2.2014, p. 1.


Texts adopted of 20 November 2013, P7_TA(2013)0472.


OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.


OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.


OJ L 163, 23.6.2007, p. 17.

OPINION of the Committee on Regional Development (24.9.2014)

for the Committee on Budgets

on Draft amending budget No 3/2014: Revenue from fines and interest payments - revenue from reimbursements and repayments to FEMIP (Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership) - Redeployment of appropriations to the European Fisheries Fund - Increase in payment appropriations for commitments corresponding to previous annual budgets - Unforeseen actions in accordance with Article13 of the MFF Regulation - Staff of the European Commission, the Offices, the Committee of the Regions and the European Data Protection Supervisor


Rapporteur: Jan Marian Olbrycht


The Committee on Regional Development calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Considers the payments backlog in heading 1b, which has been consistently increasing in the past years, to be unacceptable having reached the amount of EUR 23,4 billion at the end of 2013; reminds that it exceeded significantly the Commission's forecasts for the same period and is expected to be even higher at the end of this year;

2.  Supports the Commission's proposal on the DAB 3/2014, which requests a reinforcement in payments and proposes using all instruments available in order to meet the payments shortages across all headings; welcomes in particular the allocation of over 70% of the requested amount to heading 1b which is the main area affected by the shortage of payments in the EU budget in general;

3.  Considers imperative that DAB 3/2014 is adopted unconditionally and as quickly as possible without modifications, as its adoption has also a significant impact on the Budget 2015;

4.  Is of the opinion that the proposed DAB 3/2014 contributes only to a small extent to the reduction of the payment backlog in EU budget and stresses that it does not solve the problem which is of a structural and political nature; calls on the Commission to come up with a long term solution in this respect and encourages the Commission and the Council to apply all the flexibility instruments within the MFF to further reduce the problem in the meantime;

5.  Calls on the Commission to make a full and timely appraisal of the payments situation under heading 1b, and to report back to the Parliament regularly on the expected evolution of payments under this heading, regarding in particular the effective application by the Commission of the 60-day payment deadline on payments requests received.


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

José Blanco López, Franc Bogovič, Victor Boştinaru, Mercedes Bresso, Andrea Cozzolino, Rosa D’Amato, Tamás Deutsch, Bill Etheridge, Raffaele Fitto, Michela Giuffrida, Anna Hedh, Krzysztof Hetman, Ivan Jakovčić, Constanze Krehl, Andrew Lewer, Louis-Joseph Manscour, Martina Michels, Iskra Mihaylova, Younous Omarjee, Stanislav Polčák, Julia Reid, Liliana Rodrigues, Monika Smolková, Maria Spyraki, Olaf Stuger, Ángela Vallina, Monika Vana, Matthijs van Miltenburg, Derek Vaughan, Kerstin Westphal, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes present for the final vote

Salvatore Cicu, Andor Deli, James Nicholson, Jan Marian Olbrycht, Davor Škrlec, Iuliu Winkler, Milan Zver


Mr Jean Arthuis


Committee on Budgets

Subject:  Draft Amending Budget 3

Dear colleague,

First of all, congratulations on your appointment as chair of the BUDG committee, I am very much looking forward to our cooperation. I am writing to you with regard to the recently proposed third draft amending budget for 2014 in order to express my support for the proposals made by the Commission, in particular with regard to the additional payments credits for the IcSP and the ENI, and suggest one adaption of the figures.

In April, the Commission proposed to transfer funds within Heading 4 but neglected to include a reinforcement of payments for the IcSP in their proposal. This is now done through Draft Amending Budget 3 with a reinforcement of 51 million EUR. However, 15 million EUR of these 51 million EUR would immediately be consumed by repaying a temporary transfer from the CFSP budget (this money has been used for election observation in Ukraine because of a lack of proper IcSP payment credits) which would leave only 36 million EUR of new resources. That is unfortunately not sufficient to cover necessary expenditure under the IcSP for this year. We would therefore propose a 70 million EUR reinforcement of the IcSP. I would urge you to ensure that these funds are provided without undue delay as the situation at the moment is very critical indeed for an instrument that is vital for the pursuit of the EU's foreign policy, especially urgent crisis response measures for Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

In this context, I would also like to express my support for the use of the contingency margin to fund the upfront expenses required to provide adequate budgetary support to Ukraine under the ENI. I do sincerely hope that the BUDG committee will do its utmost to ensure that adequate funding is provided to our partner at this critical moment. The situation in Ukraine most certainly qualifies as an unforeseen circumstance not budgeted for under the MFF.

Kind regards,

Elmar Brok


Mr Jean Arthuis

Chair of the Committee on Budgets

European Parliament

ASP 9G205


Subject: The payments crisis for humanitarian aid operations

Dear Mr Arthuis,

As you are certainly already well aware, the Council's lack of readiness to approve the Draft Amending Budget (DAB) 3 to the 2014 EU budget is making it ever more difficult for the Commission's humanitarian aid office ECHO to avoid disruption, down-scaling and cancellation of aid activities. I am writing to you to signal my Committee's grave concern, which I believe should be shared by everybody, over this situation.

The consequences of disruptions in humanitarian aid delivery are of course incomparable to those of disruptions in other EU activities: humanitarian aid is often literally a matter of life or death. Humanitarian aid budget decisions should therefore not be delayed but given special treatment when required.

The continued absence of a Council response to the DAB 3 proposal presented by the Commission in May suggests that, once more, crucial humanitarian aid funds are effectively being held hostage to agreement on the entire EU budget for the next year. This is neither a responsible way of dealing with humanitarian aid, nor a sound way of managing scarce resources. It significantly increases ECHO's administrative workload and forces it to use some € 600 000 on charges for late payments this year, as it does not have money to pay bills on time.

With the crises in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and elsewhere, global humanitarian needs have now reached an unprecedented level. In this situation, and with the current developments in Ukraine, it could hardly be more obvious that ECHO must be given the payments credits it needs to follow through on its commitments.

For the sake of the children, women and men dependent on EU humanitarian relief and of ECHO's and its implementing partners' ability to focus squarely on the delivery of this relief, Parliament must insist on a rapid solution to ECHO's aggravating payments crisis. I appreciate the difficulties, but would like to encourage your

Committee and Parliament's representatives in budget negotiations with the Council to do your utmost to achieve a solution, including by applying adequate moral pressure.

Let me also use this opportunity to underline the importance of fixing the humanitarian aid and Emergency Aid Reserve (EAR) appropriations in the 2015 EU budget at reasonable and realistic levels. It is of course necessary to clear the current backlog in payments and make sure the same problem does not re-occur in the future. My Committee has adopted amendments restoring the Draft Budget amounts on the humanitarian aid lines and increasing the payments appropriations in the EAR substantially. I very much hope that your Committee will be ready to approve these amendments.

The DEVE Committee thanks you for your efforts and stands ready to provide support if and when this could be helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Linda McAvan


Mr Jean Arthuis


Committee on Budgets

ASP 09G205

Dear Chair,

I am writing to you concerning the Amending Budget No 3/2014 which has been on the agenda of the Budgets Committee of 3 September 2014 (Rapporteur: Mr Gérard Deprez).

More in particular, I would like to draw your attention to Budget article 34 02 01 where the European Commission proposes an increase (with EUR 6 million) of the payment appropriations for the LIFE-programme.

As you might be aware LIFE, which is the EU's key instrument for the implementation of its environmental and climate policy, is very much at the heart of the ENVI Committee's concerns and we consider its functioning as very important.

Although ENVI Committee decided not to draw up an opinion to the report by Mr Deprez on the amending Budget No 3/2014, ENVI coordinators asked me to write to you to insist that the proposed increase of EUR 6 million in payment appropriations for budget article 34 02 01 will be maintained.

The increase is in fact only due to an earlier than originally expected launch of the "Private Financing for Energy Efficiency scheme" for which work has advanced swiftly and certain payments will be required already in 2014.

It is the ENVI committee's hope that this request will be given due consideration within the BUDG Committee and that the amount which the Commission proposed will be left unchanged.

Yours sincerely,

Giovanni La Via

Copy: Mr. G. Deprez, rapporteur


Mr Jean Arthuis

Chair of the Committee on Budgets

Subject: CULT Committee’s position on Draft Amending Budget 3/2014

Dear Mr Arthuis,

As part of the procedure on Draft Amending Budget (DAB) 3/2014, the specialised committees have been asked to contribute to the report on DAB 3/2014. Given the constraints of its internal schedule and the deadlines stipulated, the CULT Committee will be unable to send you a formal opinion. I would therefore ask you to consider the following outline of our views of the DAB 3/2014.

In my capacity as Chair and rapporteur on Budget 2015, I have consulted the CULT committee on this letter, which reflects the views CULT has expressed consistently during the budgetary procedures for Budget 2014 and Budget 2015.

With regard to Erasmus+, insufficient payment levels have become a crucial structural problem over the last few years: since 2011, the payment levels in the annual budgets did not correspond to actual payment needs and necessitated amending budgets. Given the high visibility and popularity of the programme (and its predecessor, the Lifelong Learning programme), this risks great damage to its reputation. The lack of appropriate funds may eventually lead to problems with the implementation of the programme, given that the project cycles for individual mobility supported by the programme are short and the ratio between commitments and payments should at least amount to 85%.

Moreover, the frontloading of EUR 130 million of commitment appropriations into Erasmus+ and of EUR 200 million into Horizon 2020 (for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions and the European Research Council) in budget 2014 was intended to get those programmes off to a smooth start with sufficient appropriations and, in the case of Erasmus+, to contribute to the fight against youth unemployment. However, these additional commitments were not backed up by the corresponding payment appropriations in budget 2014.

Without the corresponding payment appropriations from the contingency margin proposed in DAB 3/2014 – EUR 117 million for Erasmus+ and EUR 90 million for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions –, the additional commitments cannot be implemented, sending the wrong political signal to Europe’s citizens.

The quick adoption of the DAB 3/2014 is therefore crucial to remedy the situation for 2014 and ensure a smooth implementation of the programme in 2014 by making up for a shortfall of payments of a total of EUR 202 million for Erasmus+ and EUR 90 million for the Marie- Skłodowska Curie actions. However, in the future the root cause of the problem –payment levels that are insufficient to meet the commitments – should be tackled in the regular annual budgetary procedure.

The CULT committee therefore favours a quick adoption of DAB 3/2014, with the level of payments as envisioned by the Commission.

We hope that the Committee on Budgets and its Rapporteur, Mr Gérard Deprez, will approve of these views and will be able to include them in its resolution on DAB 3/2014.

Yours sincerely,

Silvia Costa


Cc: Mr Gérard DEPREZ, rapporteur in BUDG on Amending Budget 3/2014


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Jean Arthuis, Richard Ashworth, Reimer Böge, Jean-Paul Denanot, Gérard Deprez, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Jens Geier, Iris Hoffmann, Monika Hohlmeier, Bernd Kölmel, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, Vladimír Maňka, Sophie Montel, Clare Moody, Siegfried Mureşan, Victor Negrescu, Jan Olbrycht, Younous Omarjee, Pina Picierno, Paul Rübig, Petri Sarvamaa, Patricija Šulin, Eleftherios Synadinos, Isabelle Thomas, Inese Vaidere, Marco Valli, Monika Vana, Daniele Viotti, Marco Zanni

Substitutes present for the final vote

Tamás Deutsch, Pablo Echenique, Ernest Maragall, Andrej Plenković, Sergei Stanishev, Nils Torvalds

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