Procedure : 2015/2156(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0271/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0271/2016

Debates :

PV 26/10/2016 - 18

Votes :

PV 27/10/2016 - 8.1
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0418

SECOND REPORT     
PDF 349kWORD 55k
29.9.2016
PE 584.118v02-00 A8-0271/2016

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2014, Section II – European Council and Council

(2015/2156(DEC))

Committee on Budgetary Control

Rapporteur: Ryszard Czarnecki

1. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

1. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2014, Section II – European Council and Council

(2015/2156(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2014(1),

–  having regard to the consolidated annual accounts of the European Union for the financial year 2014 (COM(2015)0377 – C8‑0201/2015)(2),

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ annual report on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2014, together with the institutions’ replies(3),

–  having regard to the statement of assurance(4) as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors for the financial year 2014, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to its decision of 28 April 2016(5) postponing the discharge decision for the financial year 2014, and the accompanying resolution,

–  having regard to Article 314(10) and Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  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(6), and in particular Articles 55, 99, 164, 165 and 166 thereof,

–  having regard to Rule 94 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the second report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0271/2016),

1.  Refuses to grant the Secretary-General of the Council discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Council and of the Council for the financial year 2014;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this decision and the resolution forming an integral part of it to the European Council, 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. MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

with observations forming an integral part of the decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2014, Section II – European Council and Council

(2015/2156(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2014, Section II – European Council and Council,

–  having regard to Rule 94 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the second report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0271/2016),

A.  whereas all Union institutions ought to be transparent and fully accountable to the citizens of the Union for the funds entrusted to them as Union institutions;

B.  whereas the European Council and the Council, as Union institutions, should be democratically accountable towards the citizens of the Union as far as they are beneficiaries of the general budget of the European Union;

1.  Recalls the Parliament's role specified in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and in the Financial Regulation in respect of the budget discharge;

2.  Points out that under Article 335 TFEU, "[…] the Union shall be represented by each of the institutions, by virtue of their administrative autonomy, in matters relating to their respective operation" and that accordingly, taking into account Article 55 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (the Financial Regulation), the institutions are individually responsible for the implementation of their budgets;

3.  Notes the role of Parliament and of other institutions within the discharge procedure, as governed by the provisions of the Financial Regulation, in particular Articles 164 to 166 thereof;

4.  Notes that under Rule 94 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure, "the provisions governing the procedure for granting discharge to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the budget shall likewise apply to the procedure for granting discharge to [...] the persons responsible for the implementation of the budgets of other institutions and bodies of the European Union such as the Council (as regards its activity as executive) […]";

5.  Regrets that the Council continues to be silent in relation to the remarks made by Parliament in its discharge resolution of 28 April 2016(7) on the trend from previous years of increasing underspending and carryovers of commitments;

Pending issues

6.  Regrets that the European Council and the Council do not provide the Parliament their annual activity report; regards this as inadmissible and detrimental to the reputation of the EU institutions;

7.  Regrets that the budget of the European Council and the Council have not yet been separated, as recommended by Parliament in recent discharge resolutions;

8.  Notes the information on the building policy provided in the Council’s website; also notes that there is no information about the costs incurred in relation to those buildings; calls for detailed information to be given to Parliament in the next annual financial report;

9.  Reiterates its call for progress reports on building projects and a detailed breakdown of the costs incurred to date; calls for information on the costs related to the delayed completion of the Europa building;

10.  Reiterates its call on the Council to provide information on its process of administrative modernisation, in particular on the anticipated impact on the Council's budget;

11.  Calls on the Council to adopt a code of conduct as soon as possible in order to ensure the integrity of the institution; reiterates its call on the Council to implement whistleblowing rules without further delay;

12.  Calls on the Council to join the Union transparency register to ensure transparency and accountability of the institution;

13.  Reiterates its call on the Council to develop detailed anti-corruption guidelines and independent policies within its structures, as well as its call with regard to systematic increase of transparency of the legislative procedures and negotiations;

14.  Regrets the difficulties repeatedly encountered in the discharge procedures to date, which were due to a lack of cooperation from the Council; points out that Parliament refused to grant discharge to the Secretary-General of the Council in relation to the financial years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 for the reasons set out in its resolutions of 10 May 2011(8), 25 October 2011(9), 10 May 2012(10), 23 October 2012(11), 17 April 2013(12), 9 October 2013(13), 3 April 2014(14), 23 October 2014(15) and 27 October 2015(16) and postponed its decision on granting the Secretary-General of the Council discharge in relation to the financial year 2014 for the reasons set out in its resolution of 28 April 2016;

15.  Insists that an effective budgetary control exercise requires the cooperation of Parliament and the Council, as set out in its resolution of 28 April 2016; confirms that Parliament is unable to make an informed decision on granting discharge;

16.  Reminds the Council of the Commission's view, expressed in January 2014, that all institutions are fully part of the follow-up process to the observations made by Parliament in the discharge exercise and that all institutions should cooperate to ensure the smooth functioning of the discharge procedure;

17.  Notes that the Commission has stated that it will not oversee the implementation of the budget of the other institutions and that giving a response to questions addressed to another institution would infringe the autonomy of that institution to implement its own section of the budget;

18.  Regrets that the Council continues to fail to provide answers to Parliament's questions; recalls the conclusions of the Parliament workshop on Parliament's right to grant discharge to the Council held on 27 September 2012; recalls also the third subparagraph of Article 15(3) TFEU, which stipulates that each institution, body, office or agency is to ensure that its proceedings are transparent;

19.  Notes that only three out of twenty-seven questions submitted to the Council by the Members of the Committee on Budgetary Control in relation to the financial year 2014 received a clear reply in the documents provided by the Council within the discharge exercise;

20.  Insists that the expenditure of the Council must be scrutinised in the same way as that of other institutions and that the fundamental elements of such scrutiny have been laid down in its discharge resolutions of the past years;

21.  Emphasises Parliament's prerogative to grant discharge pursuant to Articles 316, 317 and 319 TFEU, in line with current interpretation and practice, namely to grant discharge of each heading of the budget individually in order to maintain transparency and democratic accountability towards Union taxpayers;

22.  Takes the view that Council's failure to submit the requested documents to Parliament above all undermines the right of citizens of the Union to information and transparency and is becoming a cause for concern, reflecting as it does a certain democratic deficit within the Union institutions;

23.  Takes the stance that this constitutes a serious failure to comply with the obligations laid down by the Treaties and believes that the relevant stakeholders need to take the necessary steps to address this issue without further delay; stresses that a revision of the Treaties and of the Financial Regulation is needed in order to clarify the objectives and processes of the discharge procedure, and to define sanctions for failing to comply with the rules as stated in the Treaties;

24.  Considers that the lack of cooperation of the European Council and the Council with the discharge authority is a negative sign to the citizens of the Union.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

26.9.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Ryszard Czarnecki, Dennis de Jong, Martina Dlabajová, Luke Ming Flanagan, Jens Geier, Ingeborg Gräßle, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Georgi Pirinski, Petri Sarvamaa, Claudia Schmidt, Bart Staes, Marco Valli, Derek Vaughan, Tomáš Zdechovský, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes present for the final vote

Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Andrey Novakov, Julia Pitera, Miroslav Poche, Richard Sulík

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

John Stuart Agnew, Edouard Ferrand

(1)

OJ L 51, 20.2.2014.

(2)

OJ C 377, 13.11.2015, p. 1.

(3)

OJ C 373, 5.11.2015, p. 1.

(4)

OJ C 377, 13.11.2015, p. 146.

(5)

OJ L 246, 14.9.2016, p. 20.

(6)

OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(7)

OJ L 246, 14.9.2016, p. 21.

(8)

  OJ L 250, 27.9.2011, p. 25.

(9)

  OJ L 313, 26.11.2011, p. 13.

(10)

  OJ L 286, 17.10.2012, p. 23.

(11)

  OJ L 350, 20.12.2012, p. 71.

(12)

  OJ L 308, 16.11.2013, p. 22.

(13)

  OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 97.

(14)

  OJ L 266, 5.9.2014, p. 26.

(15)

  OJ L 334, 21.11.2014, p. 95.

(16)

  OJ L 314, 1.12.2015, p. 49.

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