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Procédure : 2012/0364(COD)
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Cycle relatif au document : A7-0315/2013

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PV 12/03/2014 - 16
CRE 12/03/2014 - 16

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PV 13/03/2014 - 14.9
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Compte rendu in extenso des débats
Mercredi 12 mars 2014 - Strasbourg Edition révisée

16. Programme de l’Union visant à soutenir des activités spécifiques dans le domaine de l’information financière et du contrôle des comptes pour la période 2014-2020 (débat)
Vidéo des interventions

  President. - The next item is the report by Theodor Dumitru Stolojan, on behalf of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing a Union programme to support specific activities in the field of financial reporting and auditing for the period of 2014-2020 (COM(2012)0782 – C7-0417/2012 – 2012/0364(COD)) (A7-0315/2013).


  Theodor Dumitru Stolojan, rapporteur. - Mr President, the International Financial Reporting Standards and the International Standards on Auditing are the bedrock for the comparability and transparency of company accounts throughout the Union. This is about the quality of financial information in the decision-making process. Public money – EUR[nbsp ]43 million – will be used to co-finance three non-profit organisations which deliver public goods: the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, which, through the International Accounting Standards Board, develops international financial reporting standards; the Public Interest Oversight Board, which oversees international audit, ethics and education standards for the accounting professions; and the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG), the technical adviser of the European Commission, which assesses whether or not an IFRS standard complies with EU company law as part of the endorsement process in the European Union.

During our work on this report, important questions have arisen: the question of the prudence principle versus the neutral one included in the conceptual framework, and the principle that accounts should give the true and fair value; the question of independence of the standard issuers and the governors of these organisations; the need for convergence and the differences between the IFRS standard and the US Accounting Standards; and the effectiveness, proactivity and governance of EFRAG. Answering these questions is not an easy task. We found ourselves in an academic debate, a professional debate and a political debate.

During the negotiations, we finalised a good compromise on this report together with the Council and Commission. We have clear commitments regarding annual assessments of the work done by these three organisations; the Commission's report by 31[nbsp ]March this year on EFRAG’s implementation of the Maystadt recommendation; the Commission report by 31[nbsp ]December[nbsp ]2014 on eight years of experience of IAS regulation implementation; and, where appropriate, proposals for IAS regulation changes. This report will also refer to governance arrangements for the IFRS Foundation and the ICB. The IFRS Foundation and the ICB will take measures for interest disclosure in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

As rapporteur for this dossier, it is my duty to thank the shadows for their contribution and support: Säid El Khadraoui, Wolf Klinz, Sven Giegold, Syed Kamall and our assistants. I also thank Commissioner Barnier for his understanding of our concerns and for the right decision which he took.


  Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the Commission. - Mr President, I welcome the debate on the proposed regulation on the financing of three organisations, namely the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group and the Public Interest Oversight Board. Let me first thank, from the bottom of my heart, the rapporteur and the shadow rapporteurs and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs for their hard work and participation in discussions on the financing proposal.

The proposed beneficiary organisations play a key role in the elaboration of international accounting and auditing standards. High-quality international financial reporting and audit rules are essential for the sake of transparency, comparability, the smooth functioning of the global capital markets and an integrated market for financial services in the EU. It is therefore of paramount importance to ensure that the EU’s interests are properly taken into account in the process.

To achieve this objective it is necessary that the EU participates in the financing of those organisations. It is beyond doubt that, without an adequate financial contribution, our ability to influence the strategic activities of these organisations would be very limited. At the same time, our financial contribution must not come without any conditions. We need to ensure that the beneficiary organisations act in the public interest in the most appropriate manner. This is the main idea behind the commitments undertaken by the Commission in the framework of the proposed financing regulation.

These commitments include, first of all, the implementation of governance reforms in EFRAG following recommendations provided last year by Mr[nbsp ]Maystadt, who acted as a special adviser to Commissioner Barnier. In order to ensure proper and timely implementation of those reforms, Commissioner Barnier asked Mr[nbsp ]Maystadt to continue his mission and to duly supervise the process in line with the trilogue agreement. Parliament will receive a report on the implementation of EFRAG reforms by the end of March.

It is expected that substantial progress in introducing the reforms will have been achieved by that date. The Commission will, of course, keep Parliament informed on the further advancement of EFRAG reforms.

Secondly, the commitments made by the Commission also relate to the IASB and more generally to the current evaluation of the IAS Regulation concerning the application of the IFRS in Europe. The Commission will carry out evaluation scrupulously and with due impartiality. In this respect I would like to note that a study contract which raised certain doubts over the independence of selected contractors has been terminated. This decision does not detract from our determination to carry out the evaluation.

Finally, during the December trilogues, Commissioner Barnier clarified that this evaluation will also cover the questions linked to the governance of the IASB, taking into account in particular the role of the Monitoring Board. I would like to confirm that this commitment will be fully complied with. Furthermore, I would like to draw your attention to the recent decision by the Monitoring Board to deal with the long-term investment topic following an initiative by the Commission. This is a very positive development that we should build on.

I am very grateful to the rapporteur, Mr Stolojan, who has successfully led the negotiations, to the shadow rapporteurs and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, chaired by Ms Bowles, for their political will and commitment, which has resulted in a well-balanced compromise text for the regulation.

Parliamentʼs agreement on the financing proposal is of great importance for the European Union. It is also necessary to be able to exert influence on the activities of the beneficiary organisations for the benefit of EU businesses. They need a high-quality, stable accounting framework to support their recovery and contribute to growth.


  Димитър Стоянов, докладчик по становището на комисията по правни въпроси. - Г-н Председател, този доклад е толкова технически, колкото и прозаичен. Благодаря на г-н Столожан, който успя да хвърли максимална светлина върху тази сигурно за гражданите доста сложна тематика.

Нещата са пределно ясни. Имаме нужда от независими органи, които да изготвят международните отчетни стандарти, европейските стандарти за счетоводство и за одит. Средствата, необходими за тази цел, са, може да се каже, нищожни, така че не виждаме никакъв проблем с този доклад. Призовавам колегите да го подкрепят.

Колкото до ролята на правната комисия, ние направихме предложения, които са свързани с по-голямата прозрачност, с която се отчитат предоставените средства и с възможността да се оказва влияние върху управлението на компаниите бенефициери, които ще получат средствата. И също така по-голяма възможност на Парламента да оказва контрол върху делегираните актове.


  Saïd El Khadraoui, namens de S&D-Fractie. – Voorzitter, collega's, mevrouw de commissaris, ik zou om te beginnen de rapporteur, collega Stolojan, willen bedanken voor zijn aanpak en goede samenwerking. Hij heeft het niet gemakkelijk gehad, want wat eerst een eenvoudig dossier leek, bleek al snel een kluwen met de nodige hindernissen.

Het financieringsprogramma beoogt de financiering door de Europese belastingbetaler van bepaalde organisaties die de standaarden vastleggen voor financiële rapportering en auditing. Een uiterst belangrijke opdracht omdat het bepaalt wat wel of niet moet worden geboekt en hoe dat moet gebeuren. En het moet natuurlijk de bedoeling zijn dat de regels de gezondheidstoestand van bedrijven en banken op een zo transparant mogelijke manier in kaart brengen. Daar moeten overheden een actieve superviserende rol in spelen, met het algemeen belang voor ogen.

We weten dat de drie organisaties niet altijd goed of transparant bestuurd werden, worden, dat private spelers een grote invloed kunnen hebben, dat er risico's zijn op belangenconflicten, dat Europese boekhoudprincipes niet altijd werden overgenomen ondanks onze uitdrukkelijke financiële steun.

Het akkoord met de Raad neemt in grote mate de aanbevelingen van de heer Maystadt over – wat een goede zaak is –, maar, en dat weet u ook, er doken de laatste weken nog bijkomende problemen op die de aandacht van de Commissie en van dit Parlement vragen.

Ten eerste – u hebt er al naar gewezen mevrouw de commissaris – er was die toewijzing van het contract voor de voorbereiding van de herziening van IFRS aan Mazars, een auditkantoor, een partner ceo van EFRAG, één van de organisaties die steun geniet binnen dit programma. Dat is ondertussen stopgezet en de analyse zelf zal nu door de Commissie gebeuren. Vraag is of dat dat niet eerder beslist kon worden. Maar goed, dit terzijde.

Ten tweede, nu blijkt ook dat IFRS formeel gezien nog altijd gevestigd is in Delaware, genoegzaam bekend als een belastingparadijs in de Verenigde Staten. Voor mijn fractie is dit een principieel probleem, een groot probleem. Ik zou de Commissie willen vragen dit uiterlijk tegen volgend jaar op te lossen. U weet dat wij jaarlijks de begrotingen moeten goedkeuren. Dit moet toch echt zodanig aangepakt worden, dat wij het groene licht kunnen geven voor de financiering in de toekomst.


  Wolf Klinz, im Namen der ALDE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, liebe Kollegen! Jahresabschlüsse und deren Prüfberichte sind so etwas wie die Visitenkarte eines Unternehmens. Sie erlauben eine kritische Beurteilung der tatsächlich erbrachten Wirtschaftsleistung, sie erlauben Vergleiche und sind die Grundvoraussetzung für effiziente Finanzdienstleistungsmärkte. Sie haben aber auch eine politische Dimension, wie die Finanzkrise gezeigt hat. Sie hat deutlich gemacht, welch negative Auswirkungen Intransparenz haben kann.

Wir haben als Europäer ein Interesse daran, dass die IFRS tatsächlich globale Standards werden. Wir haben als erste Region diese Standards eingeführt und hoffen, dass sich schlussendlich selbst die USA daran beteiligen. Um aber sicherzustellen, dass wir transparente Informationen haben, müssen zwei von den drei Gruppen, die mit der Entwicklung und Anwendung dieser Standards betraut sind, Veränderungen vornehmen. Das hat der Bericht von Philippe Maystadt deutlich gemacht. Er hat die kritischen Fragen gestellt und er hat konkrete Vorschläge entwickelt, was zu ändern ist.

EFRAG, die erste dieser drei Gruppen, die seit 2001 sehr viele positive Impulse geliefert hat, ist nicht immer transparent. Und sie ist auch nicht immer frei von Interessenkonflikten gewesen und hat sich nicht immer als unabhängig dargestellt. Das müssen wir ändern. Und solange das nicht der Fall ist, werden wir uns das Recht nehmen, die Mittel nicht freizugeben. Die zweite Gruppe, die noch Änderungsbedarf hat, ist der International Accounting Standards Board in London, der grundsätzlich ja mit der Entwicklung der IFRS betraut ist. Hier müssen wir feststellen, dass er das Prinzip, das Herr Kollege Stolojan schon angeführt hat, nämlich das der Vorsicht, der prudence, und das der wahren und angemessenen Beurteilung, also fair and true, nicht genügend berücksichtigt. Wir hoffen, dass sich das in Zukunft ändert und die europäischen Interessen besser berücksichtigt werden.

Das ist besonders wichtig, wenn es um Verluste geht. Wenn ein Unternehmen in die Verlustzone gerät, dann müssen wir genau hinschauen, dann muss das rechtzeitig kommuniziert werden. Und wenn das passiert, dann sind die Rechnungslegungsstandards so etwas wie ein Frühwarnsystem. Wenn wir das schon früher gehabt hätten, wäre die Krise zwar nicht vermieden worden, aber vielleicht doch gemildert worden.


  Syed Kamall, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, two years ago a group of British investors contacted me to express their concerns about international accounting standards and the standard-setting procedure. They felt that accounting standards had moved away from the concept of ‘true and fair’. They were concerned about the reluctance of standard-setters to address concerns over the loss of prudence. As elected representatives we have a duty to ask questions where appropriate and to investigate whether faulty accounting standards played a role in the financial crisis. As we sought answers, it became clear that there were valid concerns about the governance of these bodies.

Is it right for the EU to outsource standard-setting to what is in effect a private-sector body, funded by taxpayer’s money? As a result of pressure from MEPs across the political spectrum – many of whom are in this House tonight – we saw the Maystadt report leading to reform of the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG). Now we need a similar review of the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), to decide whether these bodies are best suited to ensuring that accounting standards are fit for purpose and determining whether they are showing value for money.


Catch-the-eye procedure


  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D). - Domnule președinte, subliniez că, pentru funcționarea eficace a piețelor de capital și pentru realizarea pieței integrate a serviciilor financiare în Uniune, este nevoie de un cadru de raportare financiară comun, care să funcționeze în mod corespunzător. Organismele care activează în domeniul contabilității și al auditului îndeplinesc în Uniune roluri importante și decisive pentru funcționarea pieței interne și, evident, depind în mare măsură de finanțare.

Prezentul regulament ar trebui să prevadă posibilitatea de cofinanțare a activităților anumitor organisme, care urmăresc obiective care fac parte din politica Uniunii în domeniul elaborării și aprobării standardelor sau al supravegherii proceselor de stabilire a standardelor referitoare la raportarea financiară și audit și care susțin această politică.

Subliniez importanța angajării de experți de vârf, precum și utilizarea eficientă a resurselor financiare, inclusiv pentru pregătirea experților în vederea îndeplinirii obiectivelor de politică ale Uniunii în materie de raportare financiară și audit.

Închei, domnule președinte, spunând că, poate, din păcate, actuala criză se datorează și faptului că aceste standarde ar putea fi mai riguroase.


(End of catch-the-eye procedure)


  Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the Commission. - Mr President, I would like to thank the House for its involvement and participation in this debate and the comments made on the proposal.

Just to conclude, I would like to stress that in this field we all pursue the same objective of having high-quality accounting standards for businesses. And I count on your understanding of the importance of the financing decision for us to achieve our strategic objectives in this field.

There seem to be historical reasons for the foundation’s location in the US, in particular the fact that this was primarily an organisation mostly funded by US donors. Things have changed. The centre of gravity of the IFRS has moved to the EU, so we need to review whether this structure remains appropriate. The Commission, as a member of the IFRS Monitoring Board, will quickly ask for clarification and will ask the IFRS to address this issue as part of its next governance review.

Regarding true and fair procedure, the IFRS Foundation is looking at this issue as part of the review of their conceptual framework. The Commission and the IFRS Monitoring Board are both looking at those issues.

Finally, I would like to reassure you that the commitment made by the Commission as regards implementing the reform of EFRAG and the evaluation of the IAS Regulation will be fully respected.


  Theodor Dumitru Stolojan, Raportor. - Domnule președinte, Parlamentul European va rămâne foarte atent la evoluțiile din domeniul standardelor de contabilitate și de audit. Avem convingerea că standardele de calitate în acest domeniu ne vor ajuta și îi vor ajuta în special pe actorii din piețele financiare să prevină excesele. Sunt sigur că cele două rapoarte pe care le așteptăm la sfârșitul lunii martie în acest an și la sfârșitul lunii decembrie ne vor da din nou prilejul să asistăm la dezbateri extrem de specializate și complicate, dar am convingerea, și în acest caz că, împreună cu Consiliul, împreună cu Comisia Europeană, vom reuși să atingem obiectivele pe care ni le-am propus.


  President. - The debate is closed.

The vote will take place on Thursday, 13 March 2014.

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