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Procedure : 2006/2022(BUD)
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Document selected : A6-0188/2006

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PV 31/05/2006 - 19
CRE 31/05/2006 - 19

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PV 01/06/2006 - 7.14
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Thursday, 1 June 2006 - Brussels
Parliament's estimates for 2007

European Parliament resolution on the estimates of revenue and expenditure of the European Parliament for the financial year 2007 (2006/2022(BUD))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Article 272(2) of the EC Treaty,

–   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(1),

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2006 on the guidelines for Sections II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII (A) and VIII (B) and on the European Parliament's preliminary draft estimates (Section I) for the 2007 budgetary procedure(3),

–   having regard to the Secretary-General's report to the Bureau on the preliminary draft estimates of Parliament for the financial year 2007,

–   having regard to the preliminary draft estimates drawn up by the Bureau on 22 March 2006 pursuant to Rules 22(6) and 73 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to Rule 73 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A6-0188/2006),

A.  Whereas 2007 is the first year of the new financial framework (2007-2013),

B.  Whereas Parliament's Bureau has proposed that 2007 should be a year of spending consolidation with no major new projects,

C.  Whereas the enlargement of the Union remains a key political priority; whereas information policy, assistance to Members and the policy to purchase buildings permanently occupied at the three working places will constitute the other priorities of the 2007 Budget,

D.  Whereas an in-depth stocktaking exercise is to be submitted by 1 September 2006,

E.  Whereas the 2007 estimates are based on the following key parameters: 41 working weeks, including four constituency weeks, 12 ordinary part-sessions and six additional part-sessions, 785 Members of the European Parliament, a 2,1% salary adjustment, a 7% standard abatement for the non-enlargement posts and a 10% standard abatement for the enlargement posts,

F.  Whereas uncertainty exists on some of the parameters used in the preliminary draft estimates such as the possible purchase of some of Parliament's premises in Strasbourg and the possible use of Irish as the twenty-first working language;

G.  Whereas a number of issues with budgetary implications are at the moment pending before the Bureau, and whereas these implications can only be considered at the first reading of the 2007 Draft Budget,

H.  Whereas multilingualism and the geographical dispersion of Parliament's activities account for about 48% of the expenditure in the preliminary draft estimates, which corresponds to an amount of EUR 673 000 000,

Contextual framework of the 2007 budget

1.  Notes that the 2007 Draft Estimates are proposed at EUR 1 377 700 000; this amount has been set on the basis of the 2006 financial budget increased by 4,2%; the latter amount is composed of 2% historical growth rate and 2,2% representing an adjustment to current prices; recommends that the final level of the budget be decided at first reading and that it should reflect justified budgetary needs of the Institution;

2.  Underlines that the budget should reflect actual budgetary needs and be in line with the principle of budgetary rigour and responsible use of citizens' money; the Institution should adopt a more operational approach to the Budget; stresses the need to carry out a cost-benefit analysis for the Institution to assess the implications of retaining the self-imposed ceiling of Heading 5; has decided that in the event that the ceiling of 20% is retained, the 20% should constitute the upper limit of the Budget; reserves therefore, its position on the 20% limit until the first reading;

3.  Urges the Secretary-General that, while respecting the principle of annuality of the budget, as a measure of sound financial management, more consideration should be given to medium-term developments reflecting real operational multi-annual budgetary requirements;

4.  Notes that the preliminary draft estimates include EUR 48 000 000 for enlargement-related expenditure, EUR 50 000 000 for the purchase of the WIC and SDM buildings in Strasbourg, EUR 25 000 000 as a reserve for information and communication policy, EUR 7 500 000 for the acquisition of expertise, and EUR 8 974 459 as a contingency reserve; underlines that an analysis of the draft estimates shows that the main cost centres remain unchanged from previous years and relate in particular to expenditure on staff, property, information, Members and enlargement;

5.  Requests that the following principles of sound financial management be taken into account in the stocktaking exercise:

   a) identification of activities that have little added value,
   b) an increase in efficiency by rationalising working methods,
   c) an increased use of activity based budgeting,
   d) minimisation of costs in areas experiencing unnecessary expenditure as a result of having three different working places,
   e) re-deployment of staff,
   f) impact of the mobility policy on the effectiveness of committees and delegations, and
   g) efficient use of all resources, especially human resources;

6.  Reiterates that appropriations should relate to specific activities thus avoiding the cancellation of appropriations at the end of the year; stresses that sufficient funding should be allocated in areas where political decisions necessitate greater financial commitment, as in the case of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, in order to avoid amending budgets and transfers as much as possible;

Consolidation process

7.  Notes that further efforts should be made to complete the 2004 enlargement and achieve a smooth enlargement process; asks the Secretary-General to resolve any outstanding issues pertaining to enlargement to the EU-10, especially those related to delays in the recruitment process;

8.  Has decided to enter a total allocation of EUR 48 000 000 against the relevant budget items for enlargement-related expenditure, broken down as follows:

   (1) EUR 14 800 000 for the 226 permanents posts and 22 temporary posts for political groups;
   (2) EUR 20 500 000 for Bulgarian and Romanian Members;
   (3) EUR 4 700 000 for freelance interpreters and translators;
   (4) EUR 2 200 000 for furniture and IT equipment;
   (5) EUR 1 000 000 for Members' transport and bank charges;
   (6) EUR 800 000 for the Library, the external offices and audiovisual facilities;
   (7) EUR 4 000 000 for political groups and European parties;

9.  Points out that the amount of EUR 48 000 000 represents approximately a 50% increase over the 2006 budget to be allocated to the enlargement process of Bulgaria and Romania assuming that the date of accession would be 1 January 2007; considers furthermore that, in the event of a postponement of the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the financial impact of such postponement should be reflected in Parliament's budget and consequently the relevant amount of EUR 24 000 000 would be deducted from the final provision; asks the Secretary-General to deal with the budgetary consequences of the decision on the accession of Romania and Bulgaria in his Letter of Amendment to be presented to the Bureau at the beginning of September 2006;

Employment and the establishment plan
Parliament Secretariat

10.  Reaffirms that - with the exception of enlargement-related posts and a limited number of specialised posts - no further creation of new posts shall take place in 2007;

11.  Notes that the new "Streamline" software for staff management in DG Personnel, which should become operational soon, should result in a tangible decrease of staff, who should then be redeployed;

12.  Acknowledges the efforts made by the Secretary-General to create a leaner organisational structure and to effectively streamline the staff complement, ensuring in the process that human resources costs correspond to the real operational needs and financial situation of the Institution;

13.  Stresses that consolidation of Parliament's establishment plan, together with an effective redeployment exercise, are essential prior to the submission of any request for an increase in the staff complement;

14.  Points out that over the last few years there has been a significant increase in the level of employment covering both enlargement and non-enlargement posts; maintains its opinion that the present staff complement is sufficient to cater for all the Institution's requirements; welcomes the position taken by the Secretary-General that replacement of retired personnel would not be an automatic process and that the policy of redeployment will be implemented to fill posts that become vacant as a result of retirement;

15.  Expresses its concern at the small number of redeployments foreseen for 2007; urges the Secretary-General to carry out a more thorough screening exercise covering all sectors of activity during the stocktaking exercise with a view to effectively ensuring the redeployment of staff in lieu of resorting to the employment of contractual agents; requests the Secretary-General to present by 1 September 2006 a report on the use of redeployment during the last three years as well as for the 2007 estimates;

16.  Affirms that the request for 74 new posts (1 AD 15, 30 AD, 43 AST) is not in line with a policy of spending consolidation, and puts the appropriations for these posts in the reserve; is willing to consider the requests again on the basis of more precise information at the first reading of the 2007 Draft Budget;

17.  Takes note of the proposals concerning a number of upgradings of permanent(4) and temporary(5) posts as mentioned in Annex I (rev) of the report of the Bureau; is willing to approve the appropriations for these upgradings provided that a more detailed justification is given before the first reading;

18.  Notes that the new training policy has been put in place; requests that this new training programme incorporate training for MEPs' assistants; decides to adapt accordingly the current remarks of Item 1612 ("Further training"); asks the Secretary-General to develop in cooperation with the European Administrative School specific training courses to foster job mobility and redeployment of staff, including an in-depth induction programme for staff taking up new positions in committee or delegation secretariats to ensure that prior to taking responsibility for reports or missions they are fully operational and up to speed;

19.  Calls on the Secretary-General to ensure that Parliament's principles on equal opportunities are adhered to and endorses any efforts made by the Secretary-General in favour of persons with disabilities, especially the development of a series of positive action measures to recruit and integrate persons with a disability;

20.  Has decided, pending the submission of more information explaining the increase of Article 300 ("Staff mission expenses"), to place an amount of EUR 1 132 065 entered against Article 300 in Chapter 100 ("Provisional appropriations");

Political groups

21.  Notes the request from political groups to create one additional LSA post for each of them; is willing to approve the appropriations for these LSA posts provided that a more detailed justification is giving before the first reading;

22.  Points out that the number of upgradings being proposed by political groups is higher than in the past; is willing to approve the appropriations for these upgradings provided that a more detailed justification is given before the first reading;

Assistance and facilities for Members

23.  Acknowledges that the "Raising the Game" exercise has made available to Members a number of services that are relevant and appropriate; expects, however, that such services will be consolidated and improved so as to provide Members and their assistants with practical and efficient tools to carry out their responsibilities effectively; invites the Secretary-General to evaluate the situation in the stocktaking exercise taking into account the results of the quality survey that will be carried out within the next few months;

24.  Takes the view that committee secretariats could make better use of in-house specialised staff, especially when major parliamentary reports have to be prepared; is of the opinion that this support would facilitate the rapporteur's work, achieve a better utilisation of Parliament's resources and enhance the know-how of the Institution, thus ensuring that one of the primary objectives of the "Raising the Game" exercise is fulfilled;

25.  Emphasises the need for Members to have at their disposal the necessary expertise to fulfil their responsibilities in legislative decision-making;

26.  Notes the significant increase in Article 320 ("Acquisition of expertise") from EUR 5 644 200 to EUR 7 500 000; is of the opinion that this service does not deliver the expected results, as the studies often become available too late; instructs the Secretary-General to present an evaluation of the use made of the studies produced in the policy units since 1 January 2004; puts an amount of EUR 2 000 000 in the reserve until the results of this evaluation become available;

27.  Stresses the vital need to provide all Members with a substantial basis of information, prepared with scientific rigour, on all topics and issues with which they are confronted in the performance of their duties, particularly the representation of Parliament's interests towards the other EU Institutions; recalls further in this regard the need for such information to be provided by a research service in good time; emphasises that this service should provide such information in a concise but comprehensive form, so that Members are able to take clear positions within the framework of complex issues; points out in this regard that such information is urgently required in areas such as security and defence, where Parliament has very little expertise available;

28.  Regrets that a significant number of Members are not aware of all the various services provided by Parliament's Administration; invites the Secretary-General to take steps immediately to rectify this through user-friendly information tools;

29.  Encourages the Secretary-General to take note of various points raised by Members in respect of basic daily services relating to telephones, computers, the Legal Service, car services, the travel agency, catering and others and to ensure that a general improvement in these services is achieved;

30.  Is concerned about the increasing cost of the car service, especially in view of the simultaneous reimbursement of taxi services to Members; therefore is not willing to approve the increase of EUR 215 900;

31.  Takes note that by end of 2006 the most modern equipment will be installed in Parliament's Library, and expects the Library to be fully operational by 2007;

32.  Supports the adoption of a Statute for Members' assistants; urges the Council to take a decision on the Commission proposal "EC Staff Regulations: EP Members' assistant statute" (COM(1998)0312) as soon as possible, so that Parliament can make the necessary provisions for it to come into force at the latest in 2009;

Information policy

33.  Reaffirms its position that the European Parliament must have a strong and effective information strategy that breaks down barriers between Parliament and its electorate;

34.  Notes that EUR 20 000 000 were put in reserve to be used in 2006 for the start-up of three major information projects, namely Parliament's Web TV, the Visitors' centre and Audiovisual facilities; considers that more information is required on the actual amount that has been used so far and on the planned expenditure for the remainder of 2006 for these projects; expects, furthermore, that before the first reading of the 2007 Draft Budget all the necessary reports, including that on information concerning organisation, cost structure and political oversight of the WebTV pilot project, will be available; requires furthermore additional information on these projects, including the information listed in the Secretary-General's report to the Bureau; confirms that the appropriations amounting to EUR 25 000 000 remain in Chapter 104 ("Reserve for information and communication policy"); regretting that information is provided so late, is willing to consider this expenditure again on the basis of the requested additional information at the first reading of the 2007 Draft Budget;

35.  Takes note of the establishment plan of the European Parliament's information offices in all European capitals; considers that performance of these offices should be evaluated as regards the delivery of the highest quality information to citizens and real value for money;

36.  Underlines that the Visitors' programme, for which an amount of EUR 21 318 000 is being allocated, is extremely important in terms of the relationship between Members and citizens from their constituencies;

37.  Stresses its disappointment at the unnecessary and unjustifiable delays in the overall improvement in the Visitors' programme (Item 3244 "Organisation and reception of groups of visitors, Euroscola programme and invitations to opinion multipliers from third countries"); expects that immediate action will be taken to resolve all pending issues, especially those that are causing the underspending of EUR 5 000 000 on this item in the 2006 budget; therefore calls on the Bureau to adopt the Quaestors" proposal for the revision of the rules on visitors' groups in order to align their financing to the real cost and increase the number of visitors; requests the Bureau to ensure that the necessary appropriations are also entered for the 2007 estimates at the first reading;

38.  Welcomes the more user-friendly look of Parliament's website; considers, however, that access to and navigation within the website can be improved, in particular for the non-expert public; requests that the activities of the parliamentary committees and delegations be made more easily accessible; calls for an evaluation report on the functioning and the acceptance of the new web-page to be presented by 1 September 2006;


39.  Underlines that the policy of purchasing immovable property, and the practice of accelerated payments for these buildings, have served the Institution well;

40.  Notes that a number of essential issues relating to the purchase of the WIC and SDM buildings in Strasbourg have not as yet been adequately clarified or justified; expects that, should negotiations be resumed, the final package agreed upon should give value for money to the Institution; decides, pending the outcome of these negotiations, not to enter EUR 50 000 000 under Item 2003, and to transfer this amount to a building reserve to be created under Title 10 (Chapter 10 5 -"Provisional appropriation for buildings"); decides, consequently, to delete Item 2009 ("Provisional appropriation to cover the institution's property investments"); the funds put in reserve will be released once a set of conditions to be formulated has been satisfied; requests that the criteria for the release of the reserve be agreed with the relevant committee; expects that by 1 September 2006 the Bureau will come back with concrete proposals on this matter;

41.  Invites the Secretary-General to carry on discussions with the Commission to revise the financial agreements regarding the "Europe Houses" with view to establishing more efficient and equitable financial arrangements;

42.  Regrets that appropriations have not yet been allocated to the line newly created in the 2006 budget for Information Offices (Article 325); expects this to be addressed by the Administration by the first reading of the 2007 Draft Budget; calls on the Administration to apply transparent procedures when purchasing buildings;

IT and telecommunication tools

43.  Notes a total allocation of EUR 79 800 000 to be entered for information technology service related expenditure, broken down as follows:

   - EUR 49 800 000 to maintain and operate existing IT and communication systems within Parliament;
   - EUR 22 400 000 to upgrade infrastructure and develop new IT systems;
   - EUR 7 600 000 for telecommunications;

44.  Supports the increase in the use of video conferencing and agrees to enter an allocation of EUR 1 300 000 for this service for 2007; invites the Secretary-General to submit information on the added value of the expenditure envisaged to install video conferencing facilities in the 31 Information Offices of Parliament, together with information regarding the expected main users and the benefits to be gained through the use of this service;

45.  Notes the existence of two computer centres (Brussels and Luxembourg); underlines that these centres should not only be complementary, but must also be organised in such a way that in case of emergencies the centres are sufficiently equipped to guarantee the functioning of the main software programmes in use at Parliament;

Security and Surveillance of Buildings

46.  Notes that for Item 2026 ("Security and surveillance of buildings") an amount of EUR 35 321 916 is budgeted, representing an increase of 9,9% over the amount foreseen in the 2006 Budget which is mostly due to an increase in the number of buildings; considers that the location of the European Parliament in Brussels is in many regards advantageous for this city; requests consequently the Secretary-General to take steps to ensure that the Belgian State and the municipal authorities of the Brussels area play a more prominent role in ensuring the security of the Members, staff and other persons working in the Parliament and in the surveillance of Parliament's area;


47.  Considers that multilingualism is a sine qua non condition for the Institution and its Members; recognises, however, the high cost involved in maintaining such a vast translation and interpretation service; recognises the difficulty of controlling the expenditure involved; urges the Secretary-General to ensure that the Code of Multilingualism is observed by all stakeholders, especially in the planning of meeting slots; urges the Conference of Presidents to take into account the budgetary implications before deciding on the annual work programme of Parliament's committees and delegations;

48.  Invites the Bureau to take a prudent approach when deciding the introduction of extra working languages other than official languages, especially when it implies an additional cost for Parliament;

49.  Notes the marked increase in the appropriation entered against Item 1402 ("Conference interpreters"), as well as the increase in the appropriation entered against Article 142 ("Outside services"); acknowledges that part of the increase is due to the employment of freelance interpreters, the logistical problem of having all meetings spread over a relatively short period of 3 days per week and the allocation of EUR 4 700 000 for freelance interpreters and translators due to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania; considers however that this does not fully explain the increase and calls on the Secretary-General to submit a more detailed explanation for this expenditure; has decided, pending submission of more detailed information explaining the substantial increase in the appropriations for Item 1402 ("Conference interpreters"), to place an amount of EUR 2 000 000 in Chapter 100 ("Provisional appropriations");

Other issues

50.  Stresses the need to improve the quality, availability and efficiency of the services provided by external suppliers; calls for a review of the terms and conditions of the on-going contracts, and for any necessary changes to be highlighted in the stocktaking exercise foreseen for 1 September 2006;

51.  Requests the Secretary-General to present an updated evaluation report on the functioning of the restaurants and canteens in Parliament's three working places;

52.  Calls on the Secretary-General to implement strictly, for health and environmental reasons, the Bureau decision on smoking in Parliament's premises;

53.  Takes the view that, as part of its consistent policy of promoting health through sport, there should be an improvement, in terms of quality and quantity, in what is offered by Parliament's sports centre, which has not evolved since it was designed at the start of the 1990s, though the number of its potential users has doubled since then;

o   o

54.  Agrees at this stage to a total amount of EUR 1 377 700 000 for Parliament's 2007 estimates; reserves, however, its final position until Parliament's first reading of the 2007 Draft Budget in the autumn;

55.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Kingdom of Belgium.

(1) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 172, 18.6.1999, p. 1. Agreement as last amended by Decision 2005/708/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 269, 14.10.2005, p. 24).
(3) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2006)0090.
(4) 2 AST 2 to AST 3, 168 AST 3 to AST 4, 15 AST 4 to AST 5, 205 AST 5 to AST 6, 225 AST 6 to AST 7, 30 AST 7 to AST 8, 25 AST 8 to AST 9, 10 AST 10 to AST 11, 57 AD 5 to AD 6, 19 AD 7 to AD 8, 25 AD 12 to AD 13, 2 AD 13 to AD 14.
(5) 1 AD 10 to AD 11, 1 AD 8 to AD 9, 2 AST 7 to AST 8, 1 AST 5 to AST 6, 1 AD 8 to AD 10, 1 AD 6 to AD 10.

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