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<Date>{02/03/2020}2.3.2020</Date>
<NoDocSe>A9-0038/2020</NoDocSe>
PDF 189kWORD 77k

<TitreType>REPORT</TitreType>

<Titre>on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2018, Section II – European Council and Council</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2057(DEC))</DocRef>


<Commission>{CONT}Committee on Budgetary Control</Commission>

Rapporteur: <Depute>Tomáš Zdechovský</Depute> 

1. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION
 2. MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

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 2018, Section II – European Council and Council

(2019/2057(DEC))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2018[1],

 having regard to the consolidated annual accounts of the European Union for the financial year 2018 (COM(2019)0316 – C9‑0052/2019)[2],

 having regard to the Council’s annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2018,

 having regard to the Court of Auditors’ annual report on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2018, 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 2018, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

 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[5], and in particular Articles 55, 99, 164, 165 and 166 thereof,

 having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012[6], and in particular Articles 59, 118, 260, 261 and 262 thereof,

 having regard to Rule 100 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0038/2020),

1. Postpones its decision on granting 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 2018;

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 2018, Section II – European Council and Council

(2019/2057(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 2018, Section II – European Council and Council,

 having regard to the Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in case 1069/2019/MIG on sponsorship of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union,

 having regard to the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in strategic inquiry OI/2/2017/TE on the transparency of the Council legislative process,

 having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2019 on the European Ombudsman’s strategic inquiry OI/2/2017 on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council of the EU[7],

 having regard to Rule 100 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0038/2020),

A. whereas in the context of the discharge procedure, the discharge authority wishes to stress the particular importance of further strengthening the democratic legitimacy of the Union institutions by improving transparency and accountability, and implementing the concept of performance-based budgeting and good governance of human resources;

1. Notes with satisfaction that in its annual report of 2018, the Court of Auditors (the ‘Court’) identified no significant weaknesses with respect to the audited topics related to human resources and procurement for the European Council and the Council;

2. Notes the conclusion of the Court that the payments as a whole for the year ended 31 December 2018 for the administrative expenditure of the Council were free from material error and that the examined supervisory and control systems were effective;

3. Regrets, as a general observation, that chapter 10 ‘Administration’ of the Court’s 2018 Annual Report has a rather limited scope and conclusions, notwithstanding the fact that the Multiannual Financial Framework Heading 5 ‘Administration’ is considered low risk;

4. Notes that the Court selected a sample of 45 transactions from the Multiannual Financial Framework Heading 5 ‘Administration’ for all Union institutions and bodies; notes that the sample was designed to be representative of the range of spending under Heading 5, which represents 6,3 % of the Union budget; notes that the Court’s work indicates administrative expenditure as low risk; considers, however, that the amount of transactions selected in relation to the “other institutions” is not sufficient and asks the Court to increase the number of transactions to be examined by at least 10 %;

5. Regrets that the request to separate the budget of the European Council and the Council into one budget for each institution, made by Parliament in previous discharge resolutions, has not been considered; calls on the Council to separate the budget in that way for reasons of transparency and to improve accountability and expenditure efficiency for both institutions;

6. Notes that in 2018 the Council had an overall budget of EUR 572 854 377 (compared to EUR 561 576 000 in 2017) with a global implementation rate of 91,9 % (compared to 93,8 % in 2017); notes a budget increase of EUR 11,3 million, equivalent to 2,0 % compared to an increase of 3 % in 2017 and 0,6 % in 2016;

7. Welcomes the overall prudent and sound financial management of the Council; recognises the evolution of the budget of the Council from a budget of EUR 634 million in 2010 to a budget of EUR 573 million in 2018, a decrease of 9,63 %;

8. Notes that appropriations carried over from 2018 to 2019 amounted to a total of EUR 56 599 584, equivalent to 10,7 % (compared to EUR 60 576 175 or 11,5 % in 2017), coming mainly from categories such as computer systems (EUR 18,3 million), buildings (EUR 16,0 million) and interpretation (EUR 11,9 million); notes the cancelled appropriations in 2018 of EUR 46 348 862 (compared to EUR 35 025 789 in 2017); reminds the Council that carry-overs are exceptions to the principle of annuality and should reflect actual needs and, thus, calls on the Council to strengthen its efforts to avoid budget over-estimates;

9. Notes again the low implementation rate for delegation travel expenses with a commitment of EUR 11,1 million compared to a final budget, including internal reallocations, of EUR 22,3 million; notes that, since Member States had to reimburse unused amounts from previous years, the Council committed only EUR 11,1 million for subsequent payments; calls on the Council to inform Parliament on the achievements reached related to a policy negotiated with the Member States to overcome this long-standing issue;

10. Acknowledges that the number of posts in the establishment plan for 2018 was fixed at 3 031 posts (compared to 3 027 posts in 2017); notes that 137 people were recruited (74 permanent officials and 63 temporary agents) in 2018 and that during 2018 184 people (154 permanent officials and 30 temporary agents) left, resulting in a net decrease of 47 occupied posts, which was the main cause for an underspending of EUR 18,8 million for the budget item ‘establishment plan’;

11. Recognises the increased workload expressed in a total number of 7 733 meetings in 2018 compared to 6 338 in 2010; notes another quantitative indicator of activities such as the number of legal acts published in the Official Journal, with 1 210 legal acts published in 2018 compared to 825 in 2010;

12. Welcomes the Council’s efforts in the implementation of the ‘Action Plan for a more dynamic, flexible and collaborative General Secretariat of the Council (GSC)’; notes the steps to further improve the Council’s financial management and performance by measures such as the establishment of an advisory management board, the adoption of guidelines for ‘Common Project & Task Force Management Framework’, the creation of a ‘Reorganisation’ task force and the review of internal rules following the publication of the new Financial Regulation;

13. Notes the Council’s building situation resulting in intensive negotiations in 2018 with the Belgian authorities which did not proceed with the sale of the four adjacent plots of land despite the agreement on the final price of the Europa building project; notes that both parties came to an agreement on an alternative solution resulting in the non-spending of the initial price for the plots of EUR 4 672 944;

14. Expresses its concerns about the alarming information reported by the media regarding the construction of the new Europa building; calls on the Council to thoroughly research the main contractor and the whole chain of subcontractors (up to 12 according to the media), as well as the working conditions of the workers employed, and to provide Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control with all its findings;

15. Notes that the revised internal control framework took effect on 1 Nov 2018 and was set up with five components, namely control environment, risk assessment, control activities, information and communication, and monitoring activities and another 17 principles and 33 characteristics to provide reasonable assurance of the achievements of the objectives set;

16. Welcomes the fact that in 2018, 92 % of the internal audit recommendations issued during the years 2015 - 2017 were implemented or in the process of being implemented; notes that the internal audit annual work programme of 2018 is based on an updated risk assessment, considering the review of risk registers, and was effectively implemented; notes the areas in which audits were carried out in 2018, such as technical management, IT public procurement, legal service and communication strategy;

17. Notes that related to the proposal for a new interinstitutional agreement on a mandatory transparency register, accessible in a machine-readable format, for interest representatives covering Parliament, the Council and the Commission, two negotiating rounds took place in 2018 under the Bulgarian Presidency and one in 2019 under the Romanian Presidency; recalls the decision of 18 June 2019 of the European Ombudsman (the ‘Ombudsman’) that the General Secretariat of the Council should keep a full record of any meetings held between interest representatives and the President of the European Council and that this should be made public; regrets the fact that the Council has still not joined the transparency register despite all of those negotiations and calls on the Council to follow up the negotiations to reach a successful outcome which will finally include the Council in the registry; calls on the Council to demonstrate a real commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability by adopting concrete measures and by building on the example set by the Finnish Presidency; calls on all Presidency trios to lead by example by refusing meetings with unregistered lobbyists;

18. Notes the Ombudsman’s recommendation that the President and Cabinet of the European Council publish a full list of any lobby meetings held; is disappointed by the fact that the new President of the European Council has yet to implement that recommendation; notes that while it appears that the President of the European Council does not meet with many lobbyists, the principle of lobby transparency is nonetheless important; urges the President of the European Council to ensure that he and his Cabinet refuse all meetings with unregistered lobbyists and proactively publish a comprehensive list of lobby meetings held; calls on the Secretariat of the Council to ensure that the ethics rules governing the President of the European Council are brought into line with those of the President of the Commission so that ‘revolving door’ rules apply for three years and formal approval is required for any new roles with a link to the activities of the Union;

19. Welcomes the setting up of a digital services department as part of a reorganisation of the General Secretariat of the Council on 1 July 2018; notes that the information and management programme is set to streamline and digitalise key business processes by delivering a fully integrated system of applications and services, which will be accessible to users through a collaborative and secure digital working place for staff, presidencies and delegates;

20. Notes the intense media coverage and the particularly high level of media interest in the negotiations relating to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union; welcomes the continuous development of the Council’s website and the intense work to increase its audience on all channels (increases of 9 % on visits to the website, 13 % of fans on Facebook, 26 % of followers on Twitter and 92 % of followers on Instagram); notes the high amount of background briefings and press conferences; notes the newsroom platform which allows the press and media to view, download and embed the Council’s video and photo output in high-resolution quality; encourages further the use of non-proprietary social-network platforms, having special regards to users’ data protection;

21. Reiterates its support for the recommendations of the Ombudsman on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council[8]; asks the Council to strengthen its efforts to make the legislative process more traceable and reader friendly, to centre transparency around milestones in the legislative process and to normalise the identification and publication in due time of Member State input in a machine-readable format (e.g. statements and proposals for amendments) into legislative debates either at Council meetings, preparatory discussions in the Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives or in any of its preparatory bodies; calls, however, on the Council to step up its transparency efforts by, inter alia, publishing Council legislative documents, having formal minute-taking of Council preparatory bodies to record Member State positions and publishing those minutes, and making available more trilogue documents in line with the Ombudsman’s recommendations; acknowledges the Council’s efforts to improve transparency with ongoing changes to its website and the activities of its internal transparency team; calls on the Council to introduce further measures in order to achieve a successful transparency policy allowing the public to follow the Union legislative process with greater ease;

22. Recalls the conclusions of the Ombudsman’s Special Report in strategic inquiry OI/2/2017/TE on the transparency of the Council legislative process, in February 2018, which found that ‘the Council’s current practices constitute maladministration’; recalls the joint non-paper by Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Sweden and the Netherlands from October 2019 on increasing the transparency and accountability of the Union, which specifically asks the Council to ‘increase openness in trilogue negotiations by systematic publication of legislative milestone documents’; asks the Council to seriously considers those recommendations in the interest of transparency and report to Parliament;

23. Expresses its deep concerns about the information reported by European media regarding the corporate sponsorship of Member States hosting the Union Presidency and echoes the concerns expressed by Union citizens and Members on the matter; acknowledges that the Member States are expected to finance their own Presidencies and regrets that resorting to corporate sponsorship to cover some of their expenses in that regard has become common practice in recent years; is highly concerned by the possible reputational damage and the risk of loss of trust that this practice might cause the Union, its institutions and especially the Council in the eyes of Union citizens; fully supports the Ombudsman’s assessment and recommendation[9] for the Council to issue guidance to Member States on the issue; moreover, strongly recommends the Council to envisage the budgetisation of Presidencies; requests the Council to forward this concern to the Member States, in particular to the current Presidency trio;

24. Asks for the code of conduct for the President of the European Council to be brought in line with those of the Commission and Parliament in order to insure formal approval for activities related to Union legislation for three years after having left the Council;

25. Is deeply concerned by the current practice of sponsorships of Council presidencies by private companies; recalls the Ombudsman’s recommendation of 6 January 2020 that guidance be issued on the sponsorship of Council Presidencies so as to mitigate the reputational risks to the Union; notes that the Council argues that the issue of sponsorship is the sole responsibility of the government of the Member State holding the Presidency; is of the same opinion as the Ombudsman that the public does not distinguish between the Council Presidency and the Member State holding Presidency; asks the Council to take those recommendations into serious consideration and report back to Parliament;

26. Is deeply concerned by the conflict of interests allegations against a number of Member State representatives involved in the high-level policy and budget decision-making process; asks the Council to ensure that Member State representatives who are subject to benefit directly from Union subsidies through the businesses they own do not participate in the related policy or budgetary discussions and votes; further asks the Council to join Parliament in its call on the Commission to propose new audit procedures to speed up the investigation of urgent and grave cases of conflict of interests and ensure that Parliament be properly informed of the audit conclusions;

27. Regrets that the Council once again failed to provide answers to the written questions sent by Parliament and that the Secretary-General of the Council did not attend the hearing organised on 12 November 2019 in the context of the annual discharge which shows a continued and complete lack of cooperation on the Council’s side; stresses that the expenditure of the Council must be scrutinised in the same way as that of other institutions and points out that the fundamental elements of such scrutiny have been laid down in its discharge resolutions of the past years; points out that Parliament is the only institution directly elected by Union citizens and that its role in the discharge procedure is directly connected with citizens’ right to be informed on how public money is spent;

Future cooperation between Council and Parliament

28. Notes that Parliament's role in respect of the budget discharge is laid down in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in the Financial Regulation and in Parliament’s Rules of Procedure;

29. Notes that according to Article 319 TFEU Parliament, acting on a recommendation of the Council, grants discharge to the Commission for the implementation of the general budget of the Union; notes that the Council’s role is fully acknowledged as an institution giving recommendations in the discharge procedure;

30. 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 in respect of each heading of the budget separately in order to maintain transparency and ensure democratic accountability towards Union taxpayers;

31. Is of the opinion that the different roles of the respective institutions in the discharge procedure should be distinguished and hence an equivalent and reciprocal role of the two institutions in the annual discharge procedure should be excluded;

32. Recalls the fact that, according to Article 316 and 335 TFEU, the institutions enjoy administrative autonomy and that their expenditure is set out in separate parts of the budget; notes that, according to Article 59 of the Financial Regulation, the institutions are individually responsible for the implementation of their budgets; underlines the importance of the institutions acting responsibly and professionally in the implementation of their budgets;

33. Notes that over the course of almost twenty years Parliament has developed the practice of granting discharge to all Union institutions and bodies; recalls that Parliament grants discharge to Union institutions and bodies after considering the documents provided and the replies they give to written questionnaires and after hearing their Secretaries General; notes that all Union institutions and bodies accept to participate in Parliament’s discharge procedure, with the only exception being the Council; regrets that the Council refused to answer the questions submitted by Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control on 12 November 2019;

34. Welcomes the fact that the Council has showed its openness to reaching an agreement with Parliament on how to cooperate in the discharge process.

 

35. Regrets the lack of cooperation from the Council in the discharge procedure which has resulted in Parliament’s refusal to grant discharge to the Secretary-General of the Council since the financial year 2009;

36. Underlines the need for a Memorandum of Understanding between the Council and Parliament to find solutions to solve the longstanding differences in views between the Council and Parliament about the current practice of granting discharge;

 

37. Believes that answers to a number of recurring questions in the questionnaires sent to the different institutions, bodies and agencies, such as those on gender balance and geographical balance, conflict of interests, lobbying and protection of whistleblowers, could possibly be included in the evaluation report on the Union’s finances, drawn up in accordance with Article 318 TFEU, insofar as those issues have a link with the implementation of the budget; recalls the fact that the report referred to in Article 318 TFEU is explicitly mentioned in Article 319(1) TFEU as one of the documents to be examined in the context of the discharge procedure;

38. Recalls the fact that each institution and body is required under the Financial Regulation to take appropriate measures to act on the observations accompanying Parliament’s discharge decision and to report on the measures taken in light of those observations; points out that a refusal by an institution to comply with this requirement, after being called upon to act, might give rise to an action for failure to act under Article 265 TFEU;

39. Welcomes the statements by Vice-President-designate Věra Jourová and Commissioner-designate Johannes Hahn, in their hearings before Parliament, that they are willing to engage in this matter so as to help achieve more transparency on the implementation of the Council’s budget; points to the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the right of taxpayers and public opinion to be kept informed of the use of public revenue;

40. Considers that the commitments of the Commissioners-designate constitute a positive change in attitude compared to the stance taken by the Commission hitherto, as expressed in its letter of 23 January 2014, in which it stated that the Commission should not be expected to oversee the implementation of the budgets of the other institutions;

 

41. Asks the Council to fulfil its particular role and to give discharge recommendations with respect to the other Union institutions.

 

 

 


 

 

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS (5.12.2019)

<CommissionInt>for the Committee on Budgetary Control</CommissionInt>


<Titre>on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2018, Section II – European Council and Council</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2057(DEC))</DocRef>

Rapporteur for opinion: <Depute>Pascal Durand</Depute>

 

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Constitutional Affairs calls on the Committee on Budgetary Control, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

A. whereas, under the terms of Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the European Parliament, has the sole responsibility to grant discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union and whereas the Council’s budget is a section of the Union budget;

B. whereas, under the terms of Article 319 TFEU, the Parliament shall give a discharge to the Commission;

C. whereas the procedure of giving discharge separately to the individual Union institutions and bodies is a long-standing practice accepted by all the other institutions except the Council, and whereas this procedure has been developed to guarantee transparency and democratic accountability towards Union citizens and to pursue the necessary fight against fraud;

D. whereas, under the terms of Article 319(2) TFEU, the Commission must submit to the European Parliament, at the latter’s request, any necessary information concerning the execution of expenditure and the operation of financial control systems;

E. whereas, under the terms of Rule 100 of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament “other discharge procedures”, the provisions governing the procedure for granting discharge to the Commission in accordance with Article 319 TFEU, in respect of the implementation of the budget, shall also apply to the procedure for granting discharge to the President of the European Parliament, to the persons responsible for the implementation of the budget of the Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Court of Auditors, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Development Fund and to the bodies responsible for the budgetary management of legally independent entities which carry out Union tasks;

F. whereas all institutions are bound to cooperate to ensure the smooth functioning of the discharge procedure in full respect of the relevant provisions in the TFEU and in the relevant secondary law; whereas the lack of cooperation from the Council in the discharge procedure has resulted in Parliament’s refusal to grant discharge to the Secretary-General of the Council since 2009; whereas the sustained lack of cooperation from the Council makes it impossible for Parliament to take an informed decision on granting a discharge, which, as a result, has a lasting negative effect on citizens’ perception of the credibility of the EU institutions and of transparency in the use of EU funds; whereas this lack of cooperation also has an adverse impact on the functioning of the institutions and discredits the procedure for political scrutiny of budget management as laid down in the Treaties;

G. whereas, taking into account the reports of the European Court of Auditors, the discharge procedure is used to examine the accounts of the institution in question, in order to verify implementation is lawful and regular and respects the principles of sound financial management;

1. Underlines the role of Parliament within the discharge procedure, as governed by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Financial Regulation, and, fully acknowledging the Council’s role as an institution giving recommendations in the discharge procedure, stresses that a distinction must be maintained in respect of the different roles played by Parliament and the Council in order to comply with the institutional framework laid down in the Treaties and in the Financial Regulation;

2. Recalls that Parliament grants discharge to each of the institutions, bodies and agencies individually, after considering the documents provided, the replies given to Parliament’s questions and after hearing the secretaries-general of the other institutions; considers that, in the context of the discharge granted by Parliament to the Commission as provided for in the Treaties, the democratic legitimacy, transparency and accountability of the Union’s other institutions, bodies and agencies are in this way also further strengthened;

3. Believes that answers to a number of recurring questions in the questionnaires to the different institutions, bodies and agencies, such as those on gender- and geographical balance, conflict of interests, lobbying and whistleblowers' protection, could possibly be included in the evaluation report on the Union's finances, drawn up in accordance with Article 318 TFEU, insofar as these issues have a link with the implementation of the budget; recalls that the report referred to in Article 318 TFEU is explicitly mentioned in Article 319(1) TFEU as one of the documents to be examined in the context of the discharge procedure;

4. Recalls that each institution and body is required under the Financial Regulation to take appropriate measures to act on the observations accompanying the European Parliament’s discharge decision and to report on the measures taken in light of those observations; points out that a refusal by an institution to comply with this requirement, after being called upon to act, might give rise to an action for failure to act under Article 265 TFEU;

5. Notes the persisting problems highlighted by the European Parliament with regard to the discharge procedure, due to the lack of cooperation from the Council, which led Parliament to refuse to grant discharge to the Secretary-General of the Council in relation to the financial years 2009 to 2017; reiterates that the Council must take part fully, and in good faith, in the annual discharge procedure, just as the other institutions do, in order to be transparent and fully accountable to Union citizens for the funds entrusted to it as a Union institution; underlines the urgent need for a memorandum of understanding between the European Parliament and the Councilon the provision of the information necessary for Parliament to take an informed decision on discharge, which duly respects the respective roles of the institutions in the discharge procedure; welcomes the progress that has been achieved so far in the negotiations between the Parliament and the Council on the “Non Paper” on the cooperation between the European Parliament and the Council during the annual discharge procedure and calls on both institutions to intensify their efforts in order to achieve an agreement without undue delay; considers that, if those negotiations with the Council do not succeed, the negotiations should be extended to the Commission, so as to ensure that Parliament is provided with the necessary information on how the Council is implementing its budget, either directly or via the Commission;

6. Welcomes the statements by Vice-President-designate Věra Jourová and Commissioner-designate Johannes Hahn, in their hearings before the Parliament, that they are willing to engage in this matter so as to help achieve more transparency on the implementation of Council’s budget; points to the Court of Justice’s case-law on the right of taxpayers and public opinion to be kept informed of the use of public revenues;

7. Considers that the commitments of the Commissioners-designate constitute a positive change in attitude compared to the stance taken by the Commission hitherto, as expressed in its letter of 23 January 2014, in which it stated that the Commission should not be expected to oversee the implementation of the budgets of the other institutions;

8. Suggests that, if the negotiations on a memorandum of understanding are not resumed swiftly, Parliament insist on inserting a “rdv-clause”, in the context of the negotiations on the next MFF, in the proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management, by which the three institutions would commit themselves to jointly defining the practical arrangements for the sharing and provision of the necessary information to the European Parliament in the framework of the discharge procedure, as well as to starting negotiations to that effect without delay;

9. Takes the view that, while the current situation could be improved through better cooperation between Union institutions inside the Treaties framework, the possibility of a revision of the Treaties could ultimately be considered in order to render the discharge procedure more clear, in the sense that the Parliament is tasked with the explicit competence to grant discharge to all institutions and bodies individually; underlines that the impact of such changes on the inter-institutional balance as provided for in the Treaties should be thoroughly examined by Parliament’s competent committee.


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

4.12.2019

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

23

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Gabriele Bischoff, Damian Boeselager, Richard Corbett, Pascal Durand, Daniel Freund, Charles Goerens, Esteban González Pons, Maria Grapini, Laura Huhtasaari, Aileen McLeod, Giuliano Pisapia, Paulo Rangel, Antonio Maria Rinaldi, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Pedro Silva Pereira, Antonio Tajani, László Trócsányi, Guy Verhofstadt, Loránt Vincze, Rainer Wieland

Substitutes present for the final vote

Margrete Auken, Vladimír Bilčík, Gilles Boyer, Helmut Scholz

 

 

 


 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

23

+

GUE/NGL

Helmut Scholz

ID

Laura Huhtasaari, Antonio Maria Rinaldi

PPE

Vladimír Bilčík, Esteban González Pons, Paulo Rangel, Antonio Tajani, László Trócsányi, Loránt Vincze, Rainer Wieland

RENEW

Gilles Boyer, Pascal Durand, Charles Goerens, Guy Verhofstadt

S&D

Gabriele Bischoff, Richard Corbett, Maria Grapini, Giuliano Pisapia, Domènec Ruiz Devesa, Pedro Silva Pereira

VERTS/ALE

Damian Boeselager, Daniel Freund, Aileen McLeod

 

0

-

 

 

 

0

0

 

 

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 

 

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

19.2.2020

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

23

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Matteo Adinolfi, Olivier Chastel, Caterina Chinnici, Lefteris Christoforou, Luke Ming Flanagan, Isabel García Muñoz, Cristian Ghinea, Monika Hohlmeier, Jean-François Jalkh, Joachim Kuhs, Tsvetelina Penkova, Markus Pieper, Sabrina Pignedoli, Michèle Rivasi, Nico Semsrott, Angelika Winzig, Lara Wolters, Tomáš Zdechovský

Substitutes present for the final vote

Maria Grapini, David Lega, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Mikuláš Peksa, Ramona Strugariu

Substitutes under Rule 209(7) present for the final vote

József Szájer

 


 

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

23

+

GUE/NGL

Luke Ming Flanagan

ID

Matteo Adinolfi, Joachim Kuhs

NI

Sabrina Pignedoli

PPE

Lefteris Christoforou, Monika Hohlmeier, David Lega, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Markus Pieper, József Szájer, Angelika Winzig, Tomáš Zdechovský

RENEW

Olivier Chastel, Cristian Ghinea, Ramona Strugariu

S&D

Caterina Chinnici, Isabel García Muñoz, Maria Grapini, Tsvetelina Penkova, Lara Wolters

VERTS/ALE

Mikuláš Peksa, Michèle Rivasi, Nico Semsrott

 

1

-

ID

Jean-François Jalkh

 

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention

 

 

[1] OJ L 57, 28. 2.2018.

[2] OJ C 327, 30.9.2018, p. 1.

[3] OJ C 340, 8.10.2019, p. 1.

[4] OJ C 340, 8.10.2019, p. 9.

[5] OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

[6] OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.

[7]  Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0045.

[8]  European Parliament resolution of 17 January 2019 on the Ombudsman’s strategic inquiry OI/2/2017 on the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council of the EU (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0045).

[9]  Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in case 1069/2019/MIG on sponsorship of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

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