Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 5 May 2010 - Brussels
Administrative cooperation and combating fraud in the field of value added tax (recast) *
 Common system of value added tax as regards the rules on invoicing *
 Immunity of Miroslav Ransdorf
 2008 discharge: Court of Justice
 2008 discharge: Court of Auditors
 2008 discharge: European Ombudsman
 2008 discharge: European Data Protection Supervisor
 2008 discharge: Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union
 2008 discharge: European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
 2008 discharge: Community Fisheries Control Agency
 2008 discharge: European Agency for Reconstruction
 2008 discharge: European Aviation Safety Agency
 2008 discharge: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
 2008 discharge: European Chemicals Agency
 2008 discharge: European Environment Agency
 2008 discharge: European Food Safety Authority
 2008 discharge: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
 2008 discharge: European Medicines Agency
 2008 discharge: European Maritime Safety Agency
 2008 discharge: European Network Information Security Agency
 2008 discharge: European Railway Agency
 2008 discharge: European Training Foundation
 2008 discharge: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
 2008 discharge: Euratom Supply Agency
 2008 discharge: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
 2008 discharge: Eurojust
 2008 discharge: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
 2008 discharge: FRONTEX
 2008 discharge: European GNSS Supervisory Authority
 2008 discharge: European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy
 2008 discharge: SESAR joint undertaking (SJU)
 Transportable pressure equipment ***I
 Aviation security charges ***I
 Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (recast) ***I
 General provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund as regards simplification of certain requirements and as regards certain provisions relating to financial management ***I
 Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures
 Power of legislative delegation
 Strategic goals and recommendations for the EU's maritime transport policy until 2018
 Europeana - the next steps
 Evaluation and assessment of the Animal Welfare Action Plan 2006-2010
 EU agriculture and climate change
 Agriculture in areas with natural handicaps: a special health check
 A new Digital Agenda for Europe: 2015.eu
 2008 discharge: Commission
 2008 discharge: Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth European Development Funds (EDF)
 2008 discharge: European Parliament
 2008 discharge: European Economic and Social Committee
 2008 discharge: Committee of the Regions
 2008 discharge: performance, financial management and control of agencies
 2008 discharge: European Police College
 The EU strategy for the relations with Latin America
 EU - Canada summit
 SWIFT
 Passenger Name Record (PNR)
 Ban on use of cyanide mining technologies
 Fight against breast cancer in the European Union

Administrative cooperation and combating fraud in the field of value added tax (recast) *
PDF 386kWORD 122k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 May 2010 on the proposal for a Council regulation on administrative cooperation and combating fraud in the field of value added tax (recast) (COM(2009)0427 – C7-0165/2009 – 2009/0118(CNS))
P7_TA(2010)0091A7-0061/2010

(Special legislative procedure – consultation – recast)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2009)0427),

–   having regard to Article 93 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C7-0165/2009),

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures’ (COM(2009)0665),

–   having regard to Article 113 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 28 November 2001 on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal acts(1),

–   having regard to the letter of 12 November 2009 from the Committee on Legal Affairs to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs in accordance with Rule 87(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to Rules 87 and 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A7-0061/2010),

A.   whereas, according to the Consultative Working Party of the legal services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the proposal in question does not include any substantive amendments other than those identified as such in the proposal and whereas, as regards the codification of the unchanged provisions of the earlier acts together with those amendments, the proposal contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts, without any change in their substance,

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as adapted to the recommendations of the Consultative Working Party of the legal services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission (and incorporating the technical amendments approved by the Committee on Legal Affairs) and as amended below;

2.  Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, pursuant to Article 293(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

3.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

4.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to amend the Commission proposal substantially;

5.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, to the Commission and to the national parliaments.

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 a (new)
(3a)  The European Parliament, in its resolution of 2 September 2008 on a coordinated strategy to improve the fight against fiscal fraud1, reiterated that the existing system for managing VAT needs a radical overhaul, and urged the Commission, therefore, to submit proposals for harmonising the registration and de-registration procedures for taxable persons and for allowing Member States automatic access to non-sensitive data on their taxpayers which is held by another Member State.
___________
1 OJ C 295 E, 4.12.2009, p. 13.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 b (new)
(3b)  In obtaining such automatic access to non-sensitive data, an appropriate level of protection, a limited storage period of the data exchanged and due accountability of the data keeper institution or body, in order to prevent mismanagement or leakage of data, should be ensured.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5 a (new)
(5a)  The European Parliament, in its resolution of 4 December 2008 on the European Court of Auditors‘ Special Report No 8/2007 concerning administrative cooperation in the field of value added tax1, expressed its conviction that the introduction of Eurofisc can provide added value only if Member State participation is compulsory, in order to avoid the problems encountered by the European Carrousel Network (Eurocanet), and only if the Commission fully participates in its activities and plays a coordinating role.
__________
1 OJ C 21 E, 28.1.2010, p. 3.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5 b (new)
(5b)  The European Parliament, in its resolution of 4 December 2008, also called for the introduction of Eurofisc and recalled the paramount necessity for sharing existing national best practices in the fight against cross-border VAT fraud with a view to introducing both appropriate incentives for due diligence by Member States in relation to VAT, and rewards for honest taxpayers.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 14
(14)  In view of the repetitive nature of certain requests and the linguistic diversity within the Community, it is important to spread the use of standard forms in the exchange of information so that information requests can be processed more quickly.
(14)  In view of the repetitive nature of certain requests and the linguistic diversity within the Community, it is important to spread and promote the use of standard forms in the exchange of information so that information requests can be processed more quickly.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 20
(20)  The conditions for the exchange of, and automated access of Member States to electronically stored data in each Member State should be clearly defined.
(20)  The conditions for the exchange of, and automated access of Member States to electronically stored data in each Member State and the means of storage of such data should be clearly defined.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 29
(29)  Recent practical experience of the application of Regulation (EC) No 1798/2003 in the fight against carrousel fraud has shown that in some cases it is essential to establish a much faster mechanism for the exchange of information, covering much more, and more targeted, information in order to combat fraud effectively. This mechanism should be included within the framework of the Regulation while keeping sufficient flexibility to adapt to new types of fraud. Eurocanet (European Carrousel Network), established on the initiative of Belgium and supported by the Commission, is an example of this kind of cooperation.
(29)  Recent practical experience of the application of Regulation (EC) No 1798/2003 in the fight against carrousel fraud has shown that in some cases it is essential to establish a much faster mechanism for the exchange of information, covering much more, and more targeted, information in order to combat fraud effectively. Such a mechanism should be included within the framework of the Regulation while keeping sufficient flexibility to adapt to new types of fraud. With a view to ensuring the proper functioning of such a mechanism, a Union approach should be adopted. Eurocanet, established on the initiative of Belgium and supported by the Commission, is an example of this kind of cooperation.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 35
(35)  For the purposes of this Regulation, it is appropriate to consider limitations of certain rights and obligations laid down by Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data in order to safeguard the interests referred to in Article 13(1)(e) of that Directive. Such limitations are necessary and proportionate in view of the potential loss of revenue for Member States and the crucial importance of this information to effectively combating fraud.
(35)  For the purposes of this Regulation, it is appropriate to consider limitations of certain rights and obligations laid down by Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data in order to safeguard the interests referred to in Article 13(1)(e) of that Directive, as well as those laid down by Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data2.
___________
1 OJ L 8, 12.1.2001, p. 1.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 36 a (new)
(36a)  The European Data Protection Supervisor has been consulted,
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 a (new)
Article 1a
Within the framework of application of this Regulation, the Member States and the Commission shall ensure respect for the rights and obligations laid down in Directive 95/46/EC and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001.
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Article 15
The competent authorities of the Member States shall spontaneously forward to the competent authorities of the other Member States any information referred to in Article 1 of which they are aware and which may be useful to the competent authorities of the other Member States.
The competent authorities of the Member States shall spontaneously forward to the competent authorities of the other Member States any information referred to in Article 1 of which they are aware and which is necessary in order to assess VAT accurately, ensure the proper application of VAT legislation, in particular as regards intra-Union transactions, and fight VAT-related fraud.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Article 18 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 1 a (new)
The persons referred to in point (b) shall be invited to give their opinion on the quality of the information held.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Article 18 – paragraph 3
3.  The list and details of the data referred to in paragraph 1(b), (c) and (d) and paragraph 2 of this Article shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 60(2).
4.  Without imposing a disproportionate administrative burden on the requested authority, the list and details of the data referred to in paragraph 1(b), (c), (d) and (e) and paragraph 2 of this Article shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 60(2).
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Article 22 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
Every Member State shall grant the competent authorities of any other Member State automated access to the information contained in the databases referred to in Article 18. In the case of the information referred to in Article 18(1)(a), at least the following details shall be accessible:
With the aim of ensuring that there is no breach of the VAT legislation and where it is deemed necessary in order to monitor intra-Union purchases of goods or provisions of services which are subject to taxation in the Member State concerned, every Member State shall grant the competent authorities of any other Member State automated access to the information contained in the databases referred to in Article 18. In the case of the information referred to in Article 18(1)(a), at least the following details shall be accessible:
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Article 22 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.  Where the information referred to in Article 18(1)(a) includes personal data, automatic access thereto shall be limited to the categories of data mentioned in this Article.
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Article 34 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
1.  A common structure for combating VAT evasion and avoidance shall be established under this Regulation. It shall perform the following tasks:
1.  A Union-level structure for combating VAT evasion and avoidance shall be established under this Regulation. It shall perform the following tasks:
Amendment 19
Proposal for a regulation
Article 34 – paragraph 2
2.  The competent authorities of the Member States shall determine the fields of investigation to be covered by the structure referred to in paragraph 1.
2.  The Union-level structure referred to in paragraph 1 shall be made up of officials appointed by the competent authorities of the Member States.
Amendment 20
Proposal for a regulation
Article 34 – paragraph 3
3.  For each field of investigation the competent authorities of the Member States shall designate one or more Member States within the structure to supervise and guide performance of the tasks referred to in paragraph 1.
3.  The Union-level structure referred to in paragraph 1 shall determine the fields of investigation in which it will carry out its tasks.
Amendment 21
Proposal for a regulation
Article 34 – paragraph 3 a (new)
3a.  In order to investigate VAT fraud with more efficiency in the Union, an incentive mechanism shall be designed for the recovery of cross-border tax claims by distributing a fair proportion of the collected unpaid VAT between the Member State recovering the tax claims and the requesting Member State.
Amendment 22
Proposal for a regulation
Article 35
The structure established under Article 34 shall be made up of competent officials designated by the competent authorities of the Member States. It shall be provided with technical, administrative and operational support by the Commission.
The Commission shall coordinate, guide and supervise the performance of the tasks referred to in Article 34(1), and shall provide technical, administrative and operational support to the competent authorities of the Member States.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a regulation
Article 39
The structure established under Article 34 shall submit an annual account of its activities to the Committee referred to in Article 60.
The structure established under Article 34 shall submit an annual account of its activities to the Member States, the European Parliament and the Committee referred to in Article 60.
Amendment 24
Proposal for a regulation
Article 51 – paragraph 1
1.  The Member States and the Commission shall examine and evaluate how the arrangements for administrative cooperation provided for in this Regulation are working. In particular, the Member States shall conduct audits of the operation of those arrangements. The Commission shall pool the Member States‘ experience with the aim of improving the operation of those arrangements.
1.  The Member States, the European Parliament and the Commission shall examine and evaluate how the arrangements for administrative cooperation provided for in this Regulation are working. In particular, the Member States shall conduct audits of the operation of those arrangements. The Commission shall pool the Member States‘ experience with the aim of improving the operation of those arrangements and shall regularly report to the Member States and the European Parliament on the results.
Amendment 25
Proposal for a regulation
Article 51 – paragraph 2
2.  The Member States shall communicate to the Commission any available information relevant to their application of this Regulation.
2.  The Member States shall communicate to the European Parliament and the Commission any available information relevant to their application of this Regulation.
Amendment 26
Proposal for a regulation
Article 51 – paragraph 9
9.  The Commission may provide expert opinions, technical or logistical assistance, information campaigns or any other operational support for the Member States with a view to attaining the objectives of this Regulation.
9.  The Commission shall provide expert opinions, technical or logistical assistance, information campaigns or any other operational support for the Member States with a view to attaining the objectives of this Regulation.
Amendment 27
Proposal for a regulation
Article 52 – paragraph 2
2.  Provided the third country concerned has given an undertaking to provide the assistance required to gather evidence of the irregular nature of transactions which appear to contravene VAT legislation, information obtained under this Regulation may be communicated to that third country, with the consent of the competent authorities which supplied the information, in accordance with their domestic provisions applying to the communication of personal data to third countries.
2.  Provided the third country concerned has given an undertaking to provide the assistance required to gather evidence of the irregular nature of transactions which appear to contravene VAT legislation, information obtained under this Regulation may be communicated to that third country, with the consent of the competent authorities which supplied the information, in accordance with their domestic provisions applying to the communication of personal data to third countries and subject to Directive 95/46/EC and its implementing provisions and subject to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and its implementing rules.
Amendment 28
Proposal for a regulation
Article 57 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 1
1.  Information communicated or collected  in any form pursuant to this Regulation, including any information to which an official has had access in the circumstances set out in Chapters VII, VIII and X, and in the cases referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article, shall be covered by the obligation of official secrecy and enjoy the protection extended to similar information under both the national law of the Member State which received it and the corresponding provisions applicable to Community authorities. They shall be used only in the circumstances provided for in this Regulation.
1.  Information communicated or collected  in any form pursuant to this Regulation, including any information to which an official has had access in the circumstances set out in Chapters VII, VIII and X, and in the cases referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article, shall be covered by the obligation of official secrecy and enjoy the protection extended to similar information under both the national law of the Member State which received it and the corresponding provisions applicable to Community authorities. Such information is also protected under Directive 95/46/EC and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001. It shall be used only in the circumstances provided for in this Regulation.
Amendment 29
Proposal for a regulation
Article 57 – paragraph 5
5.  All storage or exchange of information referred to in this Regulation is subject to the provisions implementing Directive 95/46/EC. However, Member States shall, for the purpose of the correct application of this Regulation, restrict the scope of the obligations and rights provided for in Article 10, Article 11(1), Articles 12 and 21 of Directive 95/46/EC to the extent required in order to safeguard the interests referred to in Article 13(e) of that Directive.
5.  All storage or exchange of information referred to in this Regulation is subject to Directive 95/46/EC and its implementing provisions and subject to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and its implementing rules. However, Member States may, for the purpose of the correct application of this Regulation, adopt legislative measures restricting the scope of the obligations and rights provided for in Article 10, Article 11(1), Articles 12 and 21 of Directive 95/46/EC to the extent required in order to safeguard the interests referred to in Article 13(e) of that Directive.
Amendment 30
Proposal for a regulation
Article 57 – paragraph 5 a (new)
5a.  The Member States and the Commission shall ensure respect for the obligations relating to transparency and information with regard to the interested parties in cases involving retrieval of the personal data referred to in Directive 95/46/EC and Regulation (EC) No 45/2001.
Amendment 31
Proposal for a regulation
Article 59 – paragraph 1 – point c a (new)
(ca) ensure the highest standard of quality of the data exchanged, with the highest degree of transparency, where appropriate.
Amendment 32
Proposal for a regulation
Article 59 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.  Member States shall inform the Commission annually any cases in which other Member States have refused to provide the requesting Member State with information or have prevented the requesting Member State from carrying out an administrative inquiry where a request was introduced in due form. Those requested Member States shall inform the Commission of the grounds on which they refused to give the information or facilitate the inquiry. The Commission shall examine the information provided and shall make appropriate recommendations. Those recommendations shall be forwarded to the European Parliament and the Council.
Amendment 33
Proposal for a regulation
Article 60 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.  Where the measures adopted under the procedure referred to in paragraph 2 refer to or imply the processing of personal data, the European Data Protection Supervisor shall be consulted.

(1) OJ C 77, 28.3.2002, p. 1.


Common system of value added tax as regards the rules on invoicing *
PDF 242kWORD 97k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 May 2010 on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax as regards the rules on invoicing (COM(2009)0021 – C6-0078/2009 – 2009/0009(CNS))
P7_TA(2010)0092A7-0065/2010

(Special legislative procedure – consultation)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2009)0021),

–   having regard to Article 93 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6-0078/2009),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures’ (COM(2009)0665),

–   having regard to Article 113 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU,

–   having regard to Rule 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0065/2010),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, pursuant to Article 293(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

3.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

4.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to amend the Commission proposal substantially;

5.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, to the Commission and to the national parliaments.

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Recital 4
(4)  To help small and medium sized enterprises that encounter difficulties to pay the VAT to the competent authority before they have received payment from their customers, Member States should have the option of allowing VAT to be accounted using a cash accounting scheme which allows the supplier to pay VAT to the competent authority when he receives payment for a supply and which establishes his right of deduction when he pays for the supply. This should allow Member States to introduce an optional cash accounting scheme that does not have a negative effect on cash flow relating to their VAT receipts.
(4)  To help small and medium sized enterprises that encounter difficulties to pay the VAT to the competent authority before they have received payment from their customers, Member States should allow VAT to be accounted using a cash accounting scheme which allows the supplier to pay VAT to the competent authority when he receives payment for a supply and which establishes his right of deduction when he pays for the supply. This should allow Member States to introduce an optional cash accounting scheme that does not have a negative effect on cash flow relating to their VAT receipts.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 7 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 91 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 a (new)
(7a)  In Article 91(2), the following subparagraph is inserted after the first subparagraph:
'By way of derogation from the first subparagraph, Member States shall accept the exchange rate published by the European Central Bank on the day on which the tax becomes chargeable, or, if no exchange rate is published on that day, that published on the day before the tax becomes chargeable. Where neither currency is the euro, the exchange rate shall be calculated on the basis of the exchange rate between those currencies and the euro.‘
Amendment 3
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 8
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 167a – paragraph 2 – introductory part
2.  Member States may provide within an optional scheme that taxable persons must, when the following conditions are met, postpone the right of deduction until the VAT has been paid to the supplier:
2.  Member States shall provide within an optional scheme that taxable persons must, when the following conditions are met, postpone the right of deduction until the VAT has been paid to the supplier:
Amendment 4
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 9 – subpoint c
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 178 – point f
(c)  Point (f) is replaced by the following:
deleted
‘(f) when required to pay VAT as a customer where Articles 194 to 197 or Article 199 apply, he must hold an invoice drawn up in accordance with Sections 3 to 6 of Chapter 3 of Title XI and he must comply with the formalities as laid down by each Member State.’
Amendment 5
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 14
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 219a
1.  The issue of an invoice shall be subject to the rules applying in the Member State which issued the taxable person concerned with the VAT identification number under which he made the supply.
1.  The issue of an invoice shall be subject to the rules applying in the Member State where the VAT is payable.
If no such number exists, the rules shall be those applying in the Member State in which the supplier has established his business or has a fixed establishment from which the supply is made or, in the absence of such a place of business or fixed establishment, in which he has his permanent address or usually resides or is otherwise required to be identified for VAT purposes.
Where the VAT is not payable in the Union, the rules shall be those applying in the Member State in which the supplier has established his business or has a fixed establishment from which the supply is made or, in the absence of such a place of business or fixed establishment, in which he has his permanent address or usually resides.
Where the supplier issuing an invoice for a taxable supply of goods or services is not established in the Member State where the VAT is payable and the person liable for payment of the VAT is the recipient of the goods or services, the issue of invoice shall be subject to the rules applying in the Member State where the provider of goods or services is established or has a fixed establishment from which the supply is made.
Where the supplier does not have an establishment in the Union, the issue of invoices shall not be subject to the provisions of this Directive.
2.  Where a customer receiving a supply of goods or services is established in a Member State other than the Member State from which the supply was made and the customer is liable for the payment of VAT, the issue of invoice shall be subject to the rules applying in the Member State which issued the VAT identification number under which the customer received the supply.
2.  Where the recipient of the goods or services issues an invoice (self-invoicing) and is liable for the payment of VAT, the issue of invoice shall be subject to the rules applying in the Member State where the VAT is payable.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 16
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 220a – paragraph 1 – point a
(a) where the taxable amount of the supply of goods or services is less than EUR 200;
(a) where the taxable amount of the supply of goods or services is less than EUR 300;
Amendment 7
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 17
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 221
Member States may impose on taxable persons an obligation to issue a simplified invoice in respect of supplies of goods or services other than those referred to in Article 220 where the place of supply of those goods or services is within their territory.
1.  Member States may impose on taxable persons an obligation to issue an invoice on the basis of Article 226 or 226b in respect of supplies of goods or services other than those referred to in Article 220 where the place of supply of those goods or services is within their territory.
2.  Member States may release taxable persons from the obligation laid down in Article 220 or 220a to issue an invoice in respect of supplies of goods or services which they have made in their territory and which are exempt, with or without deductibility of the VAT paid at the preceding stage, pursuant to Articles 110 and 111, Article 125(1), Article 127, Article 128(1), Articles 132, 135, 136, 375, 376 and 377, Article 378(2), Article 379(2) and Articles 380 to 390.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 17
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 222
An invoice must be issued no later than on the 15th day of the month following that in which the chargeable event occurs.
An invoice must be issued no later than on the 15th day of the second month following that in which the chargeable event occurs.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 19 – subpoint a
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 226 – point 4
(4) the customer's VAT identification number as referred to in Article 214;
(4) the customer's VAT identification number as referred to in Article 214 under which the customer received a supply of goods or services in respect of which the customer is liable for payment of VAT, or received a supply of goods as referred to in Article 138;
Amendment 10
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 20
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 226b
Only the following details are required on simplified invoices issued pursuant to Articles 220a and 221:
1.  Only the following details are required on simplified invoices issued pursuant to Articles 220a and 221:
(a) the date of issue;
(a) the date of issue;
(b) identification of the taxable person making the supply;
(b) identification of the taxable person making the supply, indicating that person's VAT identification number;
(c) identification of the type of goods or services supplied and their value;
(c) identification of the type of goods or services supplied and their value;
(d) the VAT amount payable or to be credited, or the information needed to calculate it.
(d) the VAT rate and the VAT amount payable or to be credited, or the information needed to calculate it;
(da) where the invoice issued is a document or a message that amends an initial invoice as referred to in Article 219, the specific and unambiguous reference to that initial invoice.
2.  Member States may require that simplified invoices issued in accordance with Articles 220a and 221 include the following additional information with regard to specific transactions or categories of taxable persons:
(a) identification of the taxable person making the supply, indicating that person's name and address;
(b) the sequential number, based on one or more series, which only identifies the invoice;
(c) identification of the customer, indicating that customer's VAT identification number and name and address;
(d) where there is a VAT exemption, or where the customer is liable for payment of VAT, the details which are required under Articles 226 and 226a.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 22
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 230
The amounts which appear on the invoice may be expressed in any currency, provided that the amount of VAT payable or to be credited is expressed in the national currency of the Member State in which the supply of goods or services takes place, using the exchange rate published by the European Central Bank for the day on which the tax becomes chargeable, or, if there is no publication on that day, the previous day of publication.
The amounts which appear on the invoice may be expressed in any currency, provided that the amount of VAT payable or to be credited is expressed in the national currency of the Member State in which the supply of goods or services takes place, using one of the exchange rates referred to in Article 91.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 25
Directive 2006/112/EC
Articles 233, 234, 235 and 237
(25)  Articles 233, 234, 235 and 237 are deleted.
(25)  Articles 233, 234 and 235 are deleted.
Amendment 13
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 25 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 237
(25a)  Article 237 is replaced by the following:
'Article 237
Each Member State shall submit to the Commission, by 31 December 2013, an evaluation report on the implementation of electronic invoicing. Those reports shall outline, in particular, any technical difficulties or shortcomings that taxable persons and tax administration have encountered, including an assessment of the impact of any fraudulent activities related to electronic invoicing as a result of the removal of the requirement to include EDI or the electronic signature in electronic invoices. By 1 July 2014, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council together with appropriate proposals, on the basis of the Member States‘ evaluation reports.’
Amendment 14
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 29
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 244 –paragraph 3
The storage of an invoice shall be subject to the rules applying in the Member State in which the taxable person has established his business or has a fixed establishment from or for which the supply is made or, in the absence of such a place of business or fixed establishment, in which he has his permanent address or usually resides or is otherwise required to be identified for VAT purposes.
An invoice may be stored in the same form in which it was received, whether paper or electronic. Alternatively, an invoice in paper form may be converted into electronic form. In other respects, the storage of an invoice shall be subject to the rules applying in the Member State in which the taxable person has established his business or has a fixed establishment from or for which the supply is made or, in the absence of such a place of business or fixed establishment, in which he has his permanent address or usually resides or is otherwise required to be identified for VAT purposes.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 32
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 247
The taxable person shall ensure the storage of invoices for a period of six years.
The taxable person shall ensure the storage of invoices for a period of five years. This Article is without prejudice to national provisions in areas other than VAT, laying down different mandatory storage periods for supporting documents including invoices.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 34
Directive 2006/112/EC
Article 248a
(34)  In Section 3 of Chapter 4 of Title XI, the following Article 248a is inserted:
deleted
'Article 248a
For control purposes, the Member States in which the tax is due may require particular invoices to be translated into their official languages.‘
Amendment 17
Proposal for a directive – amending act
Article 1 – point 36 a (new)
Directive 2006/112/EC
Title XIV – Chapter 4a (new)
(36a)  The following chapter is inserted after Article 401:
'Chapter 4a
E-administration
Article 401a
In order actively to develop effective and reliable e-administration in the field of VAT, the Commission shall evaluate existing e-administration measures and tools in the Member States and shall foster the exchange of best practices among Member States in that domain. In addition, the Commission shall use the Community programme to improve the operation of taxation systems in the internal market (Fiscalis 2013), established by Decision No 1482/2007/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council1together with other existing Union funding such as the Structural Funds to provide technical assistance to Member States most in need of upgrading their e-administration through access to and use of major trans-Union information technology systems.
1 OJ L 330, 15.12.2007, p. 1.

Immunity of Miroslav Ransdorf
PDF 105kWORD 31k
European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the request for waiver of the immunity of Miloslav Ransdorf (2009/2208(IMM))
P7_TA(2010)0093A7-0107/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Miloslav Ransdorf, forwarded by the competent authority of the Czech Republic on 16 September 2009, and announced in plenary sitting on 23 November 2009,

–   having heard Miloslav Ransdorf in accordance with Rule 7(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to Article 9 of the Protocol of 8 April 1965 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Communities, and Article 6(2) of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage,

–   having regard to the judgments of 12 May 1964 and 10 July 1986(1) of the Court of Justice of the European Communities,

–   having regard to Rules 6(2) and 7 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0107/2010),

A.   whereas Miroslav Ransdorf is a Member of the European Parliament,

B.   whereas, according to Article 9 of the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Communities of 8 April 1965, during the sessions of the European Parliament its Members enjoy in the territory of their own State the immunities accorded to members of their parliament; whereas immunity cannot be claimed when a Member is caught in the act of committing an offence; and whereas this does not prevent the European Parliament from exercising its right to waive the immunity of one of its Members,

C.   whereas, according to Article 27(4) of the Czech Constitution, no Member of Parliament or Senator may be criminally prosecuted without the consent of the chamber of which he or she is member and, if the respective chamber denies its consent, criminal prosecution shall be excluded forever,

1.  Decides to waive the immunity of Miloslav Ransdorf;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision, and the report of its committee responsible, immediately to the appropriate authorities of the Czech Republic.

(1) Case 101/63 Wagner v Fohrmann and Krier [1964] ECR 195 and Case 149/85 Wybot v Faure and others [1986] ECR 2391.


2008 discharge: Court of Justice
PDF 214kWORD 44k
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section IV – Court of Justice (C7-0175/2009 – 2009/2071(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0094A7-0079/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(1),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (C7-0175/2009)(2),

–   having regard to the Court of Justice's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008,

–   having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2008, together with the institutions‘ replies(3),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(4),

–   having regard to Article 272(10) and Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 314(10) and Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(5), and in particular Articles 50, 86, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0079/2010),

1.  Grants the Court of Justice's Registrar discharge in respect of the implementation of its budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Court of Auditors, the European Ombudsman and the European Data Protection Supervisor, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

2.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section IV – Court of Justice (C7-0175/2009 – 2009/2071(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(6),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (C7-0175/2009)(7),

–   having regard to the Court of Justice's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008,

–   having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2008, together with the institutions‘ replies(8),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(9),

–   having regard to Article 272(10) and Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 314(10) and Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10) (Financial Regulation), and in particular Articles 50, 86, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0079/2010),

1.  Notes that in 2008 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) had commitment appropriations available amounting to a total of EUR 297 million (2007: EUR 275 million), with a utilisation rate of 98,20 %, higher than the average of the other institutions (95,67 %);

2.  Notes that the Court of Auditors indicated in its annual report that its audit of a contract the ECJ concluded for the provision of services (following a joint open tender procurement procedure with a Member State) showed weaknesses in the internal control system for performing this tendering procedure; notes that the Court of Auditors found that these led to an overly short deadline for tenderers to obtain the tender specifications (breach of Article 98 of the Financial Regulation), the announcement in the contract notice both of the obligation to submit tenders in one language only (breach of Article 125c of the Implementing Rules(11) (IR) of the Financial Regulation) and the holding of a closed meeting for the opening of tenders (breach of Article 118(3) IR);

3.  Notes the clarification offered by the ECJ, in particular, that the timetable, although tight, observed the time-limits formally prescribed by the Financial Regulation; notes that the short deadline was caused by the need to award the contract at a date enabling the successful tenderer to be operational when the new building complex was delivered, as well as the necessity to provide for a sufficient time to allow the tenderers to prepare their tender;

4.  Notes also the ECJ's clarification that the contract notice provided for tenders to be submitted in French only (the custom in practice in the Member State concerned) due to a lack of coordination, whereas the contract documents provided that tenders could be submitted in any of the official languages of the European Union, as well as the clarification that, if any tenderers had wished to attend the committee meeting for the opening of tenders, they would have been allowed to do so;

5.  Endorses the suggestion of the Court of Auditors that enhanced procurement procedures should be established by the ECJ in order to help authorising services organise tendering procedures and control adherence to regulatory obligations;

6.  Notes that apart from the comments on the abovementioned tender procurement procedure, the annual report of the Court of Auditors did not point out any other observations as regards the ECJ;

7.  Notes with satisfaction the effective operation of the recently established ECJ's Internal Audit Unit, and welcomes its recommendations on validation, authorisation and payment of expenditure, as well as the fact that the recommendations were put into operation, in particular, revision of the system of delegating and the terms of subdelegation, the self assessment of internal control systems, increased number of ex-post verifications and improvements in the documentation procedures; notes also the results of the audit on compliance with the legislative obligations in relation to reporting and disclosing budgetary and financial information, which led to measures improving the management and internal control of public contracts, as well as audits on procurement procedures for the library and on compensatory allowance;

8.  Welcomes the constant reduction in the duration of proceedings before the ECJ, in particular, a significant reduction in the duration of preliminary ruling procedures; considers that this reduction is not yet satisfactory; notes the decrease in the number of cases completed (333 judgements and 161 orders compared to 379 and 172 respectively in 2007), however, takes notice that the number of preliminary ruling cases was markedly higher; also notes that in 2008 the number of cases submitted (592) was the highest since 1979, which led to a minor increase in the number of cases pending at the end of 2008 (767 cases; 741 cases at the end of 2007);

9.  Welcomes the fact that the Court of First Instance in 2008 showed a 52 % increase in the number of cases decided, as well as a certain decrease in the duration of proceedings, which is not yet satisfactory; notes, however, that the number of new cases in 2008 was exceptionally high, (629 new cases compared to 522 in 2007), therefore the backlog of pending cases continued to increase also for the Court of First Instance (from 1154 in 2007 to 1178 in 2008);

10.  Notes that while the Civil Service Tribunal, which in 2008 saw its first partial triennial renewal, closed fewer cases than in 2007, nevertheless, the number of pending cases dropped slightly (from 235 in 2007 to 217 in 2008) due to a considerably lower number of new applications (111 compared to 157 in 2007);

11.  Welcomes the new integrated system for management and financial control (SAP), in operation since 1 January 2008, which has enabled budget savings and gains in efficiency for the three institutions involved (the Council, the ECJ and the Court of Auditors);

12.  Welcomes the ongoing successful interinstitutional cooperation with the Court of Auditors as regards training;

13.  Notes the follow-up by the ECJ of the observations made by the Parliament and the Court of Auditors in previous discharge decisions and reports, in particular, welcomes the measures taken to set up a selection procedure for the recruitment of auxiliary contract agents; however, regrets the reluctance of the ECJ to publish its members‘ declarations of financial interests, and requests that it implements this practice without delay;

14.  Praises the ECJ for its established practice of including in its activity report a chapter outlining the follow-up during the year to Parliament's previous discharge decisions and to reports of the Court of Auditors.

(1) OJ L 71, 14.3.2008.
(2) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 269, 10.11.2009, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 122.
(5) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 71, 14.3.2008.
(7) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 1.
(8) OJ C 269, 10.11.2009, p. 1.
(9) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 122.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2342/2002 of 23 December 2002 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities (OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 1).


2008 discharge: Court of Auditors
PDF 301kWORD 44k
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section V – Court of Auditors (C7-0176/2009 – 2009/2072(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0095A7-0097/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(1),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (C7-0176/2009)(2),

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008,

–   having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2008, together with the institutions‘ replies(3),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(4),

–   having regard to Article 272(10) and Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 314(10) and Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(5), and in particular Articles 50, 86, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0097/2010),

1.  Grants the Court of Auditors‘ Secretary-General discharge in respect of the implementation of its budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Court of Auditors, the European Ombudsman and the European Data Protection Supervisor, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

2.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section V – Court of Auditors (C7-0176/2009 – 2009/2072(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(6),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (C7-0176/2009)(7),

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008,

–   having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2008, together with the institutions‘ replies(8),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(9),

–   having regard to Article 272(10) and Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 314(10) and Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Articles 50, 86, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0097/2010),

1.  Notes that in 2008 the Court of Auditors had commitment appropriations available amounting to a total of EUR 133 million (2007: EUR 122 million; 2006: EUR 114 million), with a utilisation rate of 90,66 %, below the average of the other institutions (95,67 %);

2.  Recalls that, as regards the financial year 2008, the Court's accounts were audited by an external firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (as well as in 2007; before that ‐ KPMG), which reached the following conclusions:

   (a) in relation to the accuracy of the accounts for the financial year 2008, that ‘in our opinion, these financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial position of the European Court of Auditors as of 31 December 2008, and its financial performance and its cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with Council Regulation (EC, EURATOM) No. 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002, Commission Regulation (EC, EURATOM) No. 2342/2002 of 23 December 2002 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of the said Council Regulation, and the European Court of Auditors’ Accounting Rules‘; and
   (b) in relation to the use of financial resources assigned to the Court and the adequacy of control procedures in place during the financial year 2008, that ‘nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that in all material respects and based on (identified) criteria, (a) the resources assigned to the Court have not been used for their intended purposes, and (b) the control procedures in place do not provide the necessary guarantees to ensure the compliance of financial operations with the applicable rules and regulations’;

3.  Recalls its suggestion to consider a possibility to devise a more rational structure for the Court, and asks the Court to consider alternative models with a view to reducing the total number of members, by capping the number of members and adopting, for example, a rotation system based on the principle of equality among members;

4.  Notes the Court's efforts to improve the procedure for the publication and presentation of its annual reports; hopes that an agreed procedure for this decisive stage in the discharge process can be established for future use, with due regard for the absolute independence of the Court and the prerogatives of the committee responsible;

5.  Notes that the current procedure of the publication and presentation of the Court's special reports, while adding to the Court's identity and visibility, raises some concerns: while the Parliament fully respects the right of the Court to submit the observations in the form of special reports at any time, it considers that the current procedure, which commences with the special report's public presentation and the Court's press conference well in advance of the presentation of the special report to the Committee on Budgetary Control, may not fully reflect the Court's role as a reporting institution assisting the Parliament and Council in exercising their powers of control over the implementation of the budget;

6.  Welcomes the fact that a ‘peer review’ report by an international peer review team (delivered in December 2008) reached an overall conclusion, and that the report recognised that most of the recommendations had been anticipated in the framework of the action plan made prior to the review; welcomes the Court's intention to integrate the other recommendations into the 2009–2012 Audit Strategy and its endeavour to implement them during the period;

7.  Notes that although the Court recruited 97 employees in 2008 (48 officials, 18 temporary staff, 31 contract staff), the overall number of vacant posts at the end of 2008 (69) was higher than at the end of 2007 (56); takes into account that the Court obtained 22 additional posts (853 total), and the shortage of suitable laureates which prevented the Court from recruiting as many new staff as planned; requests the Court to report on its progress in shortening delays in its recruitment process;

8.  Welcomes the setting up of the Joint Committee on equal opportunities, the progress made in the areas of IT and telecommunications, and effective management of office space;

9.  Notes that the 2008 report of the Court's internal auditor was largely positive, and welcomes in this context the fact that most recommendations put forward by the internal auditor have been accepted and integrated into corrective action plans; welcomes the establishment of framework for monitoring the effectiveness of internal controls, as well as the adoption of Key Performance Indicators;

10.  Welcomes the new integrated system for management and financial control (SAP), in operation since 1 January 2008, which enabled budget savings and gains in efficiency for the three institutions involved (the Council, the Court of Auditors and the Court of Justice) while it regrets that the Court of Auditors did not implement the system before;

11.  Welcomes the ongoing successful interinstitutional cooperation with the Court of Justice of the European Union as regards training;

12.  Recalls, in relation to declarations of members‘ financial interests, that, in compliance with the Court's Code of Conduct, Court members communicate a declaration of their financial interests to the President of the Court, who keeps them under confidential custody, and that these declarations are not published; reconfirms its position that in the interests of transparency, declarations of financial interests of members of all EU institutions should be accessible on the Internet via a public register, and calls upon the Court to take the necessary steps in this regard;

13.  Commends the Court for the quality of its annual activity report, and welcomes the inclusion of a chapter outlining the follow-up during the year to Parliament's previous discharge decisions.

(1) OJ L 71, 14.3.2008.
(2) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 269, 10.11.2009, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 122.
(5) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 71, 14.3.2008.
(7) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 1.
(8) OJ C 269, 10.11.2009, p. 1.
(9) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 122.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.


2008 discharge: European Ombudsman
PDF 207kWORD 40k
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section VIII – European Ombudsman (C7-0179/2009 – 2009/2075(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0096A7-0070/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(1),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (C7-0179/2009)(2),

–   having regard to the European Ombudsman's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008,

–   having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2008, together with the institutions‘ replies(3),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(4),

–   having regard to Article 272(10) and Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 314(10) and Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(5), and in particular Articles 50, 86, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0070/2010),

1.  Grants the European Ombudsman discharge in respect of the implementation of its budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Court of Auditors, the European Ombudsman and the European Data Protection Supervisor, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

2.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section VIII – European Ombudsman (C7-0179/2009 – 2009/2075(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(6),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (C7-0179/2009)(7),

–   having regard to the European Ombudsman's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008,

–   having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2008, together with the institutions‘ replies(8),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(9),

–   having regard to Article 272(10) and Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 314(10) and Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Articles 50, 86, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0070/2010),

1.  Notes that in 2008 the European Ombudsman (the Ombudsman) had commitment appropriations available amounting to a total of EUR 9 million (2007: EUR 8,2 million), with a utilisation rate of 91,51 %, below the average of the other institutions (95,67 %);

2.  Notes that the Court of Auditors indicated in its annual report that the audit did not give rise to any significant observations as regards the Ombudsman;

3.  Notes a trend of persistent growth over the period from 2003 to 2008, during which time commitment appropriations doubled from EUR 4,4 million to EUR 9 million, and the number of posts increased from 31 to 57 (with 6 more posts in 2009), while complaints have increased from 2 436 to 3 346 and new enquiries opened from 253 to 293; notes that while the number of posts did not increase for the last three financial years, an increase to 63 in 2009 was planned; also notes that currently, after the internal restructuring of 2008, 24 out of 57 posts are assigned to analysing complaints and conducting inquiries (Legal department), and 31 are assigned to registration, distribution and follow-up of the complaints, as well as any other work not directly related to the core activity (Administration and Finance department);

4.  Recalls that the framework cooperation agreement of indefinite duration between the Ombudsman and the Parliament, which entered into force on 1 April 2006, stipulates that the Parliament provide certain administrative services, including buildings, IT, communications, legal advice, medical services, training, translation and interpretation;

5.  Notes the priority areas identified by the Internal Audit service, in particular, audit of the public procurement process, including follow-up of uncompleted actions, the process for auditing grants, and completion and reporting on 2007 audits; welcomes the findings, in particular the observation that the procurement process had considerably improved, and that two open actions from the 2005 audit had been improved, as well as the observation that the process for awarding grants complies with the regulatory framework, principles of transparency and sound financial management;

6.  Notes, however, that the internal audit also revealed areas with scope for further improvement, in particular: procurement procedure files should include more complete information, delivery-due date modifications should only be allowed in exceptional cases, better planning of timing for tendering procedures, and inconsistent clauses in contracts to be corrected before signature; expects that the Ombudsman will follow up these issues and report to the Parliament in its activity report;

7.  Welcomes the Ombudsman's decision to publish the annual declaration of interests of the Ombudsman and the fact that the declaration is published on the Ombudsman's website;

8.  Reiterates its requests that the Ombudsman should include in its activity report a chapter giving a detailed account of the follow-up during the year to Parliament's earlier discharge decisions.

(1) OJ L 71, 14.3.2008.
(2) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 269, 10.11.2009, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 122.
(5) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 71, 14.3.2008.
(7) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 1.
(8) OJ C 269, 10.11.2009, p. 1.
(9) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 122.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.


2008 discharge: European Data Protection Supervisor
PDF 208kWORD 40k
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section IX – European Data Protection Supervisor (C7-0180/2009 – 2009/2076(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0097A7-0098/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(1),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (C7-0180/2009)(2),

–   having regard to the European Data Protection Supervisor's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008,

–   having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2008, together with the institutions‘ replies(3),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(4),

–   having regard to Article 272(10) and Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 314(10) and Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(5), and in particular Articles 50, 86, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0098/2010),

1.  Grants the European Data Protection Supervisor discharge in respect of the implementation of its budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Court of Auditors, the European Ombudsman and the European Data Protection Supervisor, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

2.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section IX – European Data Protection Supervisor (C7-0180/2009 – 2009/2076(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(6),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (C7-0180/2009)(7),

–   having regard to the European Data Protection Supervisor's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008,

–   having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2008, together with the institutions‘ replies(8),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(9),

–   having regard to Article 272(10) and Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 314(10) and Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Articles 50, 86, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0098/2010),

1.  Notes that in 2008 the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) had commitment appropriations available amounting to a total of EUR 5,3 million (2007: EUR 5 million(11)), with a utilisation rate of 86,14 %, below the average of the other institutions (95,67 %);

2.  Notes the continuous increase in permanent posts from 29 in 2007 to 33 in 2008 (2006: 24 posts) allocated to the EDPS; welcomes the fact that all those posts have been filled, and notes the controlled growth and restricted expansion in both tasks and staff, ensuring that new staff are adequately integrated and trained; notes, however, that the expenditure under budgetary article ‘Other staff’ demonstrates that the implementation rate is below the average (51,98 %);

3.  Notes that the Court of Auditors indicated in its annual report that the audit did not give rise to any significant observations as regards the EDPS;

4.  Welcomes the consolidation of the management of financial and human resources, as well as the improvement in functionality and efficiency of internal control functions achieved in 2008; looks forward to future developments regarding financial and human resources as well as internal work processes, which were selected by the EDPS among its main objectives for 2009;

5.  Recalls that the administrative handling of all EDPS missions is ensured by the Paymaster's Office of the Commission (on the basis of the Administrative Cooperation Agreement between the Secretaries-General of the Commission, Parliament and the Council, signed together with the EDPS on 7 December 2006 for a further period of three years with effect from 16 January 2007);

6.  Recalls that the evaluation performed by the EDPS Internal Audit Service (that is, Commission's internal auditor on the basis of the Administrative Cooperation Agreement) had demonstrated the functionality and efficiency of the internal control system and its ability to provide reasonable assurance for the achievement of the EDPS's objectives, and awaits the results of the follow-up audit; welcomes the fact that the internal report on internal controls showed an 80 % rate of implementation of internal recommendations;

7.  Welcomes the annual publication of declarations of financial interests of the elected Members of the institution (EDPS and Assistant Supervisor), containing relevant information on remunerated posts or activities and declarable professional activities;

8.  Requests that the EDPS include in its next activity report (financial year 2009) a chapter providing a detailed account of the follow-up during the year to Parliament's earlier discharge decisions.

(1) OJ L 71, 14.3.2008.
(2) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 269, 10.11.2009, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 122.
(5) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 71, 14.3.2008.
(7) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 1.
(8) OJ C 269, 10.11.2009, p. 1.
(9) OJ C 273, 13.11.2009, p. 122.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) 2006: EUR 4,1 million.


2008 discharge: Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union
PDF 284kWORD 47k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union for the financial year 2008 (C7-0188/2009 – 2009/2117(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0098A7-0071/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2965/94 of 28 November 1994 setting up a Translation Centre for bodies of the European Union(3), and in particular Article 14 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0071/2010),

1.  Grants the Director of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union discharge in respect of the implementation of the Centre's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Director of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union for the financial year 2008 (C7-0188/2009 – 2009/2117(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2965/94 of 28 November 1994 setting up a Translation Centre for bodies of the European Union(7), and in particular Article 14 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0071/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Director of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union for the financial year 2008 (C7-0188/2009 – 2009/2117(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2965/94 of 28 November 1994 setting up a Translation Centre for bodies of the European Union(11), and in particular Article 14 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0071/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Director of the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union discharge in respect of the implementation of the Centre's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision inter alia:

   noted the Court of Auditors‘ observation in its 2006 report that the accumulated budget surplus for 2006 was EUR 16 900 000 and that, in 2007, the Centre would refund EUR 9 300 000 to its clients; agreed with the Court of Auditors that such an accumulation of surpluses suggested that the method used by the Centre to price its translations was not precise enough,
   called on the Commission and the Centre to strive to resolve quickly the dispute over pension contributions for staff;

Performance

1.  Congratulates the Centre on having developed an efficient IT tool, FLOSYSWEB, which is used by clients to send translations, with the clients choosing between different format options and receiving the translations back via the same system;

Budget surplus contrary to the Regulation establishing the Centre

2.  Notes that for several years the Centre has had an accumulated budget surplus contrary to Regulation (EC) No 2965/94, and that in 2008 the surplus amounted to EUR 26 700 000 (whereas it had been EUR 16 900 000 in 2006, EUR 10 500 000 in 2005 and EUR 3 500 000 in 2004); notes that this surplus is mainly linked to the lack of precision in the forecasts for translation requests received from its clients; calls on the Centre to take more effective measures to remedy this constant rise in its surplus;

3.  Notes that, in 2009, the Centre refunded EUR 11 450 000 to its clients; stresses that similarly, in 2007, the Centre had already refunded EUR 9 300 000 to its clients;

4.  Notes that the Centre reported EUR 1 580 984,34 in income from interest in 2008; concludes from the financial statements and from the level of the interest payments that the Centre permanently maintains an extremely high level of cash holdings; notes that on 31 December 2008 the Centre's cash holdings amounted to EUR 48 405 006,88; asks the Commission to examine what scope there is for helping to ensure that the cash holdings are managed entirely on a needs-orientated basis, in accordance with Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, and what changes of approach are necessary in order to keep the Centre's cash holdings permanently as low as possible; calls on the Centre to offer its clients cost-covering services in future;

Pension contributions for staff

5.  Considers it very regrettable that, although this issue has been highlighted in discharge resolutions over many years, a solution concerning the conflict between the Centre and the Commission as to the employer's share of pension contributions for staff has still not been found;

6.  Notes with concern that this ongoing conflict with the Commission is costing the Centre several millions; notes in particular that in 2008 the Centre established a reserve of EUR 15 300 000 to tackle the consequences of this conflict; calls, therefore, on the Centre to inform the discharge authority of the progress of the negotiations and of staff costs (in relation to time and expenditure) incurred as a result of this conflict;

Internal audit

7.  Notes that the Centre set up an internal audit function in 2006 and that that position has been occupied since February 2008;

8.  Acknowledges that most of the recommendations of the Internal Audit Services (IAS) have now been implemented; considers that it is highly important for the Centre to implement fully a policy on sensitive posts and staff mobility;

Human resources

9.  Observes that only 81% of the posts provided for were occupied by officials and temporary staff in December 2008; notes that the Centre has justified this inadequate figure by pointing to a lack of office space, which made it impossible to recruit in accordance with the establishment plan; considers nonetheless that the Centre should plan its recruitment procedures more realistically and effectively in order to respect the time limits and meet all the needs arising from an increase in the Centre's staff;

10.  Encourages the Centre to establish comprehensive training maps based on requisite staff skills and capabilities in order to maintain a high level of competence of its staff; furthermore, supports the Centre in the steps taken by it to effectively monitor the quality of its training courses;

o
o   o

11.  Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 107.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 314, 7.12.1994, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 107.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 314, 7.12.1994, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 107.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 314, 7.12.1994, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 145.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
PDF 214kWORD 46k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2008 (C7-0181/2009 – 2009/2110(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0099A7-0091/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EEC) No 337/75 of the Council of 10 February 1975 establishing a European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training(3), and in particular Article 12a thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0091/2010),

1.  Grants the Director of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training discharge in respect of the implementation of the Centre's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Director of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2008 (C7-0181/2009 – 2009/2110(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EEC) No 337/75 of the Council of 10 February 1975 establishing a European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training(7), and in particular Article 12a thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0091/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Director of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget for the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2008 (C7-0181/2009 – 2009/2110(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EEC) No 337/75 of the Council of 10 February 1975 establishing a European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training(11), and in particular Article 12a thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0091/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Director of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training discharge in respect of the implementation of the Centre's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision, inter alia, drew attention to observations by the Court of Auditors concerning the high proportion of carry-overs and cancellations, the need to set measurable objectives and indicators in its programming and the need to establish clear links between objectives and the budgetary resources needed to achieve them,

1.  Expresses its satisfaction that the Court of Auditors has declared the Centre's annual accounts for the financial year 2008 to be legal and regular;

Performance

2.  Congratulates the Centre on its positive statement of assurance from the Court of Auditors in relation to the financial year 2008, not only with regard to the accounts, but also with regard to the underlying transactions; notes that the Centre has made enormous progress with regard to the inventory procedure for identifying, recording and capitalising assets, to documentation on internal control processes and to procurement procedures;

3.  Again stresses how important it is for the Centre to set SMART objectives and RACER indicators in its programming so as to assess its achievements; notes, however, the statement by the Centre that it has taken these observations into consideration in its 2009 programme; calls also on the Agency to consider making a Gantt diagram part of the programming for each of its operational activities, with a view to indicating in concise form the amount of time spent by each staff member on a project and encouraging an approach geared towards achieving results;

4.  Welcomes, nonetheless, the Centre's intention to introduce a pilot system in 2010 for recording the time spent by each staff member on a Centre project;

5.  Calls on the Centre to set out, in a table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year so as to enable the discharge authority to assess more effectively its performance from one year to the next;

6.  Welcomes the close cooperation and the synergies established between the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training and the European Training Foundation (ETF), given the two agencies‘ related areas of responsibility; calls on the two agencies to include a detailed follow-up report on the cooperation agreement in their 2009 activity reports.;

Budgetary and financial management

7.  Draws attention to the fact that the Centre has again carried appropriations forward (25% of payment appropriations, or EUR 1 400 000); points out that this reveals weaknesses in the programming and monitoring of differentiated appropriations for operating activities;

Human resources

8.  Points out that the Centre employs 128 staff and in 2009 introduced a performance measurement system; expects to be informed of the results of the introduction of that system;

Internal audit

9.  Congratulates the Centre on being the first agency voluntarily to undergo a pilot audit on the ethical framework; notes that this audit was conducted from 16 to 20 February 2009 by a team of three auditors and that the Internal Audit Service (IAS) confirmed that the Centre had developed a good ethical framework;

10.  Acknowledges that, since 2006, the Centre has implemented 15 recommendations out of 30 recommended by the IAS; notes that, of the 15 still not implemented, six are considered to be ‘very important’ and mainly relate to human resources management (e.g. staff performance, setting personal objectives and fixing the roles and responsibilities of the Staff Committee); expects progress in this area of fundamental importance to the Centre's work and asks to be kept informed;

o
o   o

11.  Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 118.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 39, 13.2.1975, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 118.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 39, 13.2.1975, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 118.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 39, 13.2.1975, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 141.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: Community Fisheries Control Agency
PDF 226kWORD 47k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Community Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0201/2009 – 2009/2130(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0100A7-0105/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Community Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the final annual accounts of the Community Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 768/2005 of 26 April 2005 establishing a Community Fisheries Control Agency(3), and in particular Article 36 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0105/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the Community Fisheries Control Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the Community Fisheries Control Agency, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the Community Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0201/2009 – 2009/2130(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Community Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the final annual accounts of the Community Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 768/2005 of 26 April 2005 establishing a Community Fisheries Control Agency(7), and in particular Article 36 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0105/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the Community Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the Community Fisheries Control Agency, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Community Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0201/2009 – 2009/2130(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Community Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the final annual accounts of the Community Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 768/2005 of 26 April 2005 establishing a Community Fisheries Control Agency(11), and in particular Article 36 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0105/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Executive Director of the Community Fisheries Control Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13) and, in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision, noted, inter alia:

   the Court of Auditors‘ observation that the Agency had not established appropriate procedures in order to determine the funds to be carried over, leading to at least EUR 125 000 being carried over without legal commitments,
   that according to the Court of Auditors the Agency had not yet sufficiently documented its internal control procedures;

Performance

1.  Notes the Court of Auditors‘ observation that the Agency does not draw up a multiannual work programme; emphasises, therefore, the importance of drawing up such a document so that the Agency can make effective organisational arrangements to implement its strategy and achieve its goals; nevertheless, congratulates the Agency on its decision to develop this document in accordance with its Administrative Board's medium-term strategy;

2.  Calls further on the Agency to consider making a Gantt diagram part of the programming for each of its operational activities, with a view to indicating in concise form the amount of time spent by each staff member on a project and encouraging an approach geared towards achieving results;

3.  Calls on the Agency to set out, in a table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year so as to enable the discharge authority to assess its performance from one year to the next more effectively;

Budgetary and financial management

4.  Draws attention to the need for the Agency to remedy the shortcomings in the programming of its activities so that in future the procedures for drafting the budget are sufficiently rigorous and obviate any need to increase and/or decrease the appropriations against its budget headings; emphasises that this state of affairs is also at odds with the principle of specification; notes further that contrary to the rules in force the Administrative Board was not asked to authorise the transfers or informed about them; acknowledges, however, that the Agency has undertaken to improve its budgetary planning and monitoring and, consequently, to reduce the number of budgetary modifications required;

5.  Notes further the Agency's reply that stressed that, owing to its relocation to its definitive seat, 2008 was a particularly difficult year for budgetary planning;

6.  Notes the Court of Auditors‘ observation to the effect that, contrary to the Financial Regulation, some legal commitments (a total amount of EUR 1 400 000) were entered into before the corresponding budgetary commitments had been made;

Internal audit

7.  Acknowledges that the Internal Audit Service (IAS) has identified 15 recommendations for the Agency, 9 of which have been rated as ‘very important’ and relate to the need to develop a set of indicators covering all activities of the Agency, the internal organisation and procedural structure supporting the management assurance, the human resources management (as regards strengthening recruitment procedures and documentation systems) and the need for internal procedures to reduce the Agency's payment delays;

Human resources

8.  Notes that in 2008 the rate of recruitment was much higher than originally planned and that the volume of appropriations required to pay salaries was underestimated by more than 35% (roughly EUR 1 300 000); calls, therefore, on the Agency to improve monitoring of the implementation of its budget;

o
o   o

9.  Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 128, 21.5.2005, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 128, 21.5.2005, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 1.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 128, 21.5.2005, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 202.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Agency for Reconstruction
PDF 211kWORD 45k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2008 (C7-0183/2009 – 2009/2112(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0101A7-0072/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2667/2000 of 5 December 2000 on the European Agency for Reconstruction(3), and in particular Article 8 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0072/2010),

1.  Grants the Director of the European Agency for Reconstruction discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Director of the European Agency for Reconstruction, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2008 (C7-0183/2009 – 2009/2112(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2667/2000 of 5 December 2000 on the European Agency for Reconstruction(7), and in particular Article 8 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0072/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Director of the European Agency for Reconstruction, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2008 (C7-0183/2009 – 2009/2112(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2667/2000 of 5 December 2000 on the European Agency for Reconstruction(11), and in particular Article 8 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0072/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Director of the European Agency for Reconstruction discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision noted, inter alia, that the Court of Auditors had, in its annual report for 2007, identified three potential risks relating to the transfer of activities from the Agency to the delegations, namely that:

   a) due to the multiannual character of the Agency's activity, there were still unused budgetary appropriations of EUR 453 000 000 which had to be implemented in years after 2008, which was the last year of existence of the Agency,
   b) the guidance note issued by the Commission on 11 June 2008 on the transfer of files did not cover all the items on the Agency's balance sheet,
   c) the accumulated surplus of EUR 180 000 000 shown in the Agency's balance sheet at 31 December 2007 would also have to be taken over and managed by the Commission at the end of the Agency's mandate,

1.  Notes that the memorandum of understanding of 17 December 2008 between the Commission and the European Agency for Reconstruction stipulates that the Agency's residual assets become the property of the Commission after 31 December 2008;

Budgetary and financial management

2.  Notes the Court of Auditors‘ finding that none of the formal conditions required for the award of a direct grant of EUR 1 399 132 (0,31% of the available operational budget) to an international organisation had been fulfilled;

3.  Stresses that the relevance of the five cross-border cooperation projects audited by the Court of Auditors (worth a total of EUR 528 000 – 0,12% of the available operational budget) was challenged on the grounds that the Evaluation Committee, comprising the Agency and a Commission delegation, had not taken account of the issues raised by local assessors; notes, nonetheless, the Agency's reply to the effect that, under the rules in force, the Evaluation Committee was not bound by the opinion of the assessors;

4.  Calls, now that the Agency's work has finished, for an evaluation of the funding allocated in Kosovo to determine whether the allocation of funding there resulted in the establishment of functional, sustainable justice and administration structures;

5.  Deplores the fact that the efficiently functioning Agency has been wound up and the management of the funding has been transferred to the delegations; demands that the Commission submit a report detailing how many staff the delegations have taken on to cope with the Agency's tasks; calls on the Commission to supply comprehensive and complete information on whether budget support has been provided from the funds transferred from the Agency to the delegations;

o
o   o

6.  Refers, for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 43.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 306, 7.12.2000, p. 7.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 43.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 306, 7.12.2000, p. 7.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 43.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 306, 7.12.2000, p. 7.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 176.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Aviation Safety Agency
PDF 232kWORD 51k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Aviation Safety Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0193/2009 – 2009/2122(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0102A7-0068/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Aviation Safety Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Aviation Safety Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008(3) establishing a European Aviation Safety Agency, and in particular Article 60 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0068/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Aviation Safety Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the European Aviation Safety Agency, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Aviation Safety Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0193/2009 – 2009/2122(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Aviation Safety Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Aviation Safety Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008(7) establishing a European Aviation Safety Agency, and in particular Article 60 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0068/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Aviation Safety Agency for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European Aviation Safety Agency, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Aviation Safety Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0193/2009 – 2009/2122(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Aviation Safety Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Aviation Safety Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008(11) establishing a European Aviation Safety Agency, and in particular Article 60 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0068/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors has stated that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Executive Director of the European Aviation Safety Agency discharge for implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision inter alia:

   noted that the Court of Auditors had criticised several audited procurement procedures,
   requested that the Agency keeps the promise given in its replies to the Court of Auditors to comply strictly with the procurement rules and to pay particular attention to the provision of clear information to potential bidders,
   noted that the Court of Auditors‘ observation that the 2007 establishment plan consisted of 467 temporary posts, but that budget appropriations for staff expenditure did not cover actual staff costs for these posts and that, as a consequence, the Agency had agreed with the Commission to reduce the number of its posts to a maximum of 342, of which 333 were filled at the year-end,

1.  Welcomes the fact that the Court of Auditors found the Agency accounts for 2008 to be reliable and the underlying transactions, taken as a whole, to be legal and regular;

2.  Notes that the Agency received EUR 30 000 000 in commitment and in payment appropriations from the 2008 budget;

3.  Notes that the Agency's budget increased by 42% from EUR 72 000 000 to EUR 102 000 000 from 2007 to 2008 and that staff numbers rose from 362 to 442;

Performance

4.  Stresses how important it is for the Agency to set SMART objectives and RACER indicators in its programming so as to assess its achievements; notes the reply from the Agency, which gives an assurance that it has improved its work programme for 2010, establishing objectives and key performance indicators and a better resource planning system; calls, also, on the Agency to consider making a Gantt diagram part of the programming for each of its operational activities, with a view to indicating in a concise form the amount of time spent by each staff member on a project and encouraging an approach geared towards achieving results;

5.  Calls on the Agency to set out, in a table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year so as to enable the discharge authority to assess more effectively its performance from one year to the next;

Fees and charges Regulation

6.  Notes that 2008 was the first full year of implementation of certification tasks under Commission Regulation (EC) No 593/2007 of 31 May 2007 on the fees and charges levied by the European Aviation Safety Agency(14);

7.  Calls on the Agency to establish a monitoring system at the level of certification projects to make sure that, over the entire project duration, the fees levied do not deviate significantly from the actual cost;

8.  Regrets that, in 2008, the system of annual flat fees generated income which was significantly above the actual costs of the services rendered and calls upon the Agency to put forward, as a matter of urgency, a detailed plan to guarantee that this does not recur in future years;

Carry-over of appropriations

9.  Draws attention to the fact that the Agency carried forward to 2009 a high level of appropriations for operating expenditure (more than EUR 53 000 000, which is 79% of the operating appropriations); accepts that the high level of appropriations that was carried forward to 2009 is at odds with the principle of annuality even if a certain uncertainty about the level of fees and charges is inherent in the Agency's initial business cycle; stresses also that this situation reveals weaknesses in the enterprise resource planning system resulting from a delay in signing the service contract; calls therefore, for much more realistic forecasts to be presented to the Commission and Parliament for the next financial year, allowing sufficient time for these to be analysed;

10.  Notes that the Agency's accounts for the financial year 2008 show income from interest as an amount of EUR 1 988 000; concludes from the annual closure of accounts and the amount of interest payments that the Agency maintains enormously high cash reserves over long periods; notes that as of 31 December 2008 the Agency's cash reserves amounted to EUR 57 245 000; calls on the Commission to examine ways of ensuring that the principle of needs-based cash management, as laid down in Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, is implemented in full and that changes in approach are needed to ensure that the Agency's cash reserves are kept as low as possible on a long-term basis;

11.  Notes that, in 2008, 15% of staff-related expenditure was transferred to operating expenditure, which indicates unrealistic planning; is concerned about the efficiency gains arising from this transfer and will investigate further the development and follow-up costs for the implementation of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in this regard;

Other improvements to be made by the Agency

12.  Expresses concern about the lack of coordination between the needs, staff and financial regulation of the Agency and, in particular, that the staff selection procedures make it difficult to recruit appropriately qualified personnel; considers that the interinstitutional working group on decentralised agencies could address this issue;

13.  Calls on the Agency to improve its recruitment planning so as to be more realistic and to put an end to the shortcomings affecting the establishment of the budget and the monitoring of the enterprise resource planning system;

Internal audit

14.  Acknowledges that the Agency has implemented 15 of the 28 recommendations made by the Internal Audit Service (IAS) since 2006; notes that, of the 13 in progress, 2 are considered to be ‘critical’ and 5 ‘very important’; notes that these recommendations concern the budgetary uncertainty, the absence of risk analysis, the absence of an appraisal and promotion policy, the cut-off procedure and the absence of a procedure for recording exceptions which have been closed;

o
o   o

15.  Refers, for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(15) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 21.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 79, 19.3.2008, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 21.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 79, 19.3.2008, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 21.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 79, 19.3.2008, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 122.
(14) OJ L 140, 1.6.2007, p. 3.
(15) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
PDF 303kWORD 50k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the financial year 2008 (C7-0195/2009 – 2009/2124(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0103A7-0104/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the final annual accounts of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 851/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 establishing a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control(3), and in particular Article 23 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0104/2010),

1.  Grants the Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control discharge in respect of the implementation of the Centre's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the financial year 2008 (C7-0195/2009 – 2009/2124(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the final annual accounts of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 851/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 establishing a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control(7), and in particular Article 23 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0104/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the financial year 2008 (C7-0195/2009 – 2009/2124(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the final annual accounts of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 851/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 establishing a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control(11), and in particular Article 23 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0104/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable, and the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control discharge in respect of the implementation of the Centre's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision, inter alia:

   noted that the Centre's budget increased from EUR 17 100 000 in 2006 to EUR 28 900 000 in 2007,
   noted that, in 2006, the carry-over rate was nearly 45 %, and that no major improvement was made in 2007, when it was close to 43 %, which showed the Centre's difficulties in implementing its budget,
   noted the Court of Auditors‘ observation that the level of budget amendments had revealed weaknesses in the monitoring of budget implementation,

1.  Expresses its satisfaction with the successful fifth year of operation of the Centre; notes that the Centre's budget increased from EUR 17 100 000 in 2006 to EUR 28 900 000 in 2007 and to EUR 40 700 000 in 2008;

Performance
2 Consequently, notes that the Centre consolidated its public health functions, enhanced the capacities of its disease-specific programmes, further developed partnerships and improved its managerial structures;

3.  Calls on the Centre to set out, in a table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year, so as to enable the discharge authority to assess its performance more effectively from one year to the next;

Carry-over of appropriations

4.  Notes that the Court of Auditors points out that about EUR 16 200 000 (representing 40 % of the Centre's total budget) have had to be carried over; is consequently concerned that this situation is at odds with the principle of annuality and shows weaknesses in the programming and subsequent implementation of the Centre's budget;

5.  Notes that the Centre's accounts for the financial year 2008 show income from interest of EUR 313 000 and that, in accordance with the Financial Regulation, a sum of EUR 307 000 had to be paid back to the Commission; concludes from the annual closure of accounts and the amount of interest payments that the Centre maintains enormously high cash reserves over long periods; notes that as of 31 December 2008 the Centre's cash reserves amounted to EUR 16 705 090,95; calls on the Commission to examine ways of ensuring that the principle of needs-based cash management, as laid down in Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, is implemented in full and what changes in approach are needed to ensure that the Centre's cash reserves are kept as low as possible on a long-term basis;

6.  Takes note of the Centre's efforts to conclude procurement and contracting activities initiated in 2008 early in 2009 so as to lower the carry-over level;

The Centre's seat

7.  Is concerned that as of 31 December 2008 there was still no seat agreement between the Centre and the Swedish Government as there were still many outstanding issues that needed further negotiation; points out that in its discharge for the financial year 2007, the discharge authority was already expressing concern at the Court of Auditors‘ observation that the Centre had disbursed EUR 500 000 on renovation works on the buildings rented for its premises, and that, as in 2006, these works had been decided upon by direct agreement between the Centre and the owner without specifying the nature of the works and the deadlines and payment conditions; nevertheless welcomes the fact that an agreement was concluded in March 2009 on personal identity numbers and supports the Centre's efforts to find definitive solutions with the Swedish government;

8.  Reminds the interinstitutional working group on decentralised agencies to address this issue in general terms in its discussions;

Human resources

9.  Points out that there are still weaknesses in the planning of recruitment procedures; is concerned, in particular, that by the end of 2008 only 101 of the 130 posts authorised had been filled;

10.  Notes the efforts made to implement the authorised establishment plan of 130 posts in 2008; welcomes the recruitment of 54 additional staff (temporary agents, contract agents and seconded national experts), resulting in 101 occupied posts by the end of 2008, which will help to ensure the operability of the Centre and enable it to achieve the tasks assigned to it; regrets the fact that 16 recruitment procedures needed to be re-advertised; supports the Centre's measures to improve the situation; welcomes the Centre's revision of its internal organisation;

Internal audit

11.  Deplores the fact that the Centre has not comprehensively fulfilled its obligation to send to the authority responsible for discharge a report drawn up by its Director summarising the number of internal audits conducted by the internal auditor as provided for in Article 72(5) of the framework Financial Regulation; acknowledges, nevertheless, that the Centre gave some information on the six recommendations still open, which are considered to be ‘very important’ by the Commission's Internal Audit Service; notes that these affect the quality of management (as regards scientific advice, health communication and strengthening the current procedure for urgent risk/threat assessment), follow-up action in respect of certain internal control standards (such as the setting-up of financial circuits) and the implementation of other internal control standards (such as identifying weaknesses and structuring the annual Activity Report);

o
o   o

12.  Refers, for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 112.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 142, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 112.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 142, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 112.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 142, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 133.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Chemicals Agency
PDF 217kWORD 48k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Chemicals Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0202/2009 – 2009/2131(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0104A7-0089/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Chemicals Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Chemicals Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006(3) establishing a European Chemicals Agency, and in particular Article 97 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0089/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Chemicals Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0202/2009 – 2009/2131(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Chemicals Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Chemicals Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006(7) establishing a European Chemicals Agency, and in particular Article 97 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0089/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Chemicals Agency for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Chemicals Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0202/2009 – 2009/2131(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Chemicals Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Chemicals Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006(11) establishing a European Chemicals Agency, and in particular Article 97 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0089/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas 2008 was the Agency's first year in operation,

1.  Notes that the Agency was financed in 2008 by a Community subsidy of EUR 62 200 000 in accordance with Article 185 of the general Financial Regulation, and to a minor extent by fees paid by industry for registrations of chemical substances in accordance with the REACH Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency);

Performance

2.  Believes that the Agency is performing a role that the Commission is not in a position to take on, that the Agency is fully aligned with the Union's strategic priorities and that its activities are complementary to those of other agencies;

3.  Notes the remarks made in the external evaluation of the EU decentralised agencies commissioned by the Commission in 2009, in which it is stated that the objectives and activities of the multiannual work programme are consistent with the Agency's mandate and that the outputs are timely, useful and of high quality;

4.  Underlines, however, that the Agency would benefit from developing feedback procedures and from developing a stronger customer focus;

5.  Expresses its satisfaction with the first successful year of operation of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the Commission (DG Enterprise and Industry) having been responsible for the budgetary management of the Agency in 2007; emphasises, in particular, that the smooth and quite rapid establishment of the Agency is mainly due to the effective support provided by its parent directorate-general, exchanges of experience with other similar agencies and the provision of strong support by the host country;

6.  Notes that Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006, under which the Agency was established, stipulates that it is subject to review every 10 years;

Budgetary and financial management

7.  Notes that the Court of Auditors highlights delays in the operational activities caused by difficulties in implementing the IT system and a lack of qualified staff; notes, in particular, that 41% of the commitment appropriations for operational activities were carried over and 37,5% were cancelled; stresses that this situation is at odds with the annuality principle and indicates weaknesses in the planning of the Agency's activities; calls, therefore, on the Agency to take steps to improve the planning and monitoring of its resources;

8.  Calls on the Agency also to improve its procedures for monitoring the use of its appropriations; notes, in this connection, that the Court of Auditors found that, in respect of a significant number of transactions, totalling more than EUR 400 000, the expenditure was not covered by a budget commitment and as such was irregular; nonetheless notes the Agency's reply to the effect that in 2009 it put adequate staff in place and reviewed and consolidated its financial and internal control procedures;

9.  Notes that the Agency's accounts for the financial year 2008 show income from interest in the amount of EUR 643 007,40; concludes from the annual closure of accounts and the amount of interest payments that the Agency maintains enormously high cash reserves over long periods; notes that as of 31 December 2008 the Agency's cash reserves amounted to EUR 18 747 210,75; calls on the Commission to examine ways of ensuring that the principle of needs-based cash management, as laid down in Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, is implemented in full and what changes in approach are needed to ensure that the Agency's cash reserves are kept as low as possible on a long-term basis;

Human resources

10.  Notes that the total number of posts in the establishment plan has more than doubled during the first year of independent operation of the Agency; welcomes the fact that at the end of the year the Agency had achieved 95% execution of the establishment plan; recalls in this context the need for careful implementation of the recruitment procedure;

11.  Deplores the shortcomings found by the Court of Auditors in the documentation summarising the deliberations of selection boards; notes, furthermore, the Court of Auditors‘ finding that in 14 recruitment procedures the independence of the members of the selection board (temporary staff members coming under the authority of the Agency's Director) was not guaranteed, owing to the fact that the Director himself chaired the board; commends the Agency, nonetheless, for deciding that the Director will no longer take part in the deliberations of selection boards;

12.  Is aware that the large-scale rotation in key positions in the Agency entails a business continuity risk; asks the Agency therefore to put in place well-defined handover procedures in order to ensure a smooth transition of functions and a consistent handover of relevant activities, files or procedures;

Internal audit

13.  Acknowledges that 2008 was the first year of intervention by the Internal Audit Service (IAS) in the Agency and that a risk assessment exercise was conducted in July 2008 in order to determine the audit priorities and the IAS audit plan for the next three years;

14.  Notes that the IAS made 12 recommendations, four of which are rated as ‘very important’ and concern the Agency's business continuity and its recruitment procedures; acknowledges that most of those recommendations were already implemented in 2008 and that the remaining actions were concluded by 31 December 2009;

o
o   o

15.  Refers, for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(13) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 33.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 33.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 33.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Environment Agency
PDF 213kWORD 46k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0186/2009 – 2009/2115(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0105A7-0092/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 401/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the European Environment Agency and the European Environment Information and Observation Network (codified version)(3), and in particular Article 13 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0092/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0186/2009 – 2009/2115(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 401/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the European Environment Agency and the European Environment Information and Observation Network (codified version)(7), and in particular Article 13 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0092/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0186/2009 – 2009/2115(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 401/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the European Environment Agency and the European Environment Information and Observation Network (codified version)(11), and in particular Article 13 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0092/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009, Parliament granted the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency discharge for implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13) and in its resolution accompanying the discharge Parliament noted, inter alia, deficiencies in the management of grant agreements with European topic centres and called on the Agency to fully comply with the procurement rules,

1.  Notes that the operating revenues of the Agency for the year 2008 amounted to EUR 37 100 000, including the Community subsidy of EUR 31 700 000; points out that this figure is over EUR 2 000 000 less than the corresponding figure in the general budget 2007; is satisfied with the overall implementation of commitment and payment appropriations;

2.  Emphasises the role played by the Agency in evaluating the implementation of EU environmental legislation both within the Union and in neighbouring countries;

Performance

3.  Takes note of the very positive main findings included in the external evaluation of the EU decentralised agencies commissioned by the Commission in 2009; in particular, congratulates the Agency on having built up a well-developed activity-based management system, a multiannual work programme, a balanced scorecard with indicators, and an integrated management control system, all of which contribute to efficient management of the Agency;

4.  Notes that another independent external evaluation of the Agency's 2004-2008 five-year strategy has also revealed its effectiveness in meeting its goals and satisfying its beneficiaries;

5.  Calls on the Agency to continue providing on a regular basis (i.e. every five years) an independent external evaluation on the basis of its founding regulation and the work programmes adopted by the Management Board; calls on the Agency, therefore, to inform the discharge authority of developments in the next external evaluation, for the period 2009-2013;

6.  Calls on the Agency to set out, in a table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year, so as to enable the discharge authority to assess its performance from one year to the next more effectively;

7.  Takes note of the Court of Auditors‘ comment concerning the grant agreements going through the Agency, calling for more clarification of the time charged for by partners; points out that, in order to mitigate the risk of unjustified payments, clearer instructions should be given to the beneficiaries for rate calculations and a clear link should be established between costs charged and costs estimated in the implementation plans;

Lease

8.  Notes the Court of Auditors‘ observation that a tendering procedure should have been launched for the contract for refitting the premises rented by the Agency instead of paying the costs of a firm chosen by the building's owners;

Internal audit

9.  Acknowledges that the Agency has implemented nine recommendations out of 27 recommended by the Internal Audit Service (IAS) since 2006; notes that, of the 17 which are still not implemented, five are considered to be ‘very important’ and affect the management of grants (as regards establishing financial circuits, promoting on-the-spot controls/verifications of grants, and monitoring and following up grant implementation) and the implementation of the internal control standards (as regards determining sensitive functions and improving the accounting system);

o
o   o

10.  Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 60.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 126, 21.5.2009, p. 13.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 60.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 126, 21.5.2009, p. 13.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 60.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 126, 21.5.2009, p. 13.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 180.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Food Safety Authority
PDF 234kWORD 52k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2008 (C7-0194/2009 – 2009/2123(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0106A7-0086/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2008, together with the Authority's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 establishing a European Food Safety Authority(3), and in particular Article 44 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0086/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Food Safety Authority discharge in respect of the implementation of the Authority's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the European Food Safety Authority, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2008 (C7-0194/2009 – 2009/2123(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2008, together with the Authority's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 establishing a European Food Safety Authority(7), and in particular Article 44 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0086/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European Food Safety Authority, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2008 (C7-0194/2009 – 2009/2123(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2008, together with the Authority's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 establishing a European Food Safety Authority(11), and in particular Article 44 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0086/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors has stated that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Executive Director of the European Food Safety Authority discharge in respect of the implementation of the Authority's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision noted inter alia that:

   in 2007 appropriations totalling EUR 8 600 000 (17% of the 2007 budget) were carried over and appropriations totalling EUR 4 800 000 were cancelled,
   the underspending in 2007 was partly due to the delayed adoption and implementation of the 2007 annual work plan for grants and to the carryover of EUR 7 900 000 in appropriations from the 2006 financial year, EUR 4 500 000 of which was for operational activities,

Performance and budgetary and financial management

1.  Underlines the Authority's role in providing independent scientific advice on all matters having a direct or indirect impact on food safety, including animal health and welfare and plant protection, and the need to properly communicate scientific advice;

2.  Notes that during 2008, its sixth year in operation, the Authority steadily improved its performance; notes that this improvement is clearly reflected in the performance indicators, with a 57% increase in the number of scientific opinions and statements over 2007, together with better risk assessment methodologies and scientific network coordination (e.g. guidance documents and data collection reports), better communication of scientific advice and better dialogue with stakeholders (e.g. broader coverage in media articles and broadcasts, more press releases and a 21% increase in the number of subscribers to the ‘EFSA Highlights’ bulletin over 2007); notes that this performance improvement is offset by a 27% increase in staffing compared with 2007;

3.  Notes that in 2008 the Authority reached a high level of budget execution for both commitment and payment credits: 97 % and 95 % respectively; emphasises that compared with the previous year the budget increased by EUR 9 000 000;

4.  Notes, nonetheless, that for the third successive year the Court of Auditors has flagged up carry-overs of appropriations to the following year (23% of the 2008 budget was carried over to 2009; 16% of the 2007 budget was carried over to 2008; 20% of the 2006 budget was carried over to 2007); notes that, in 2008, this situation was brought about by the late adoption and implementation of measures relating to software development, scientific cooperation with external experts, and grants for studies and data-collection projects; encourages the Authority to improve its budget management in order to reduce such high carry-over amounts;

5.  Notes also that, for the second successive year, the Court of Auditors points out that commitments for operational activities carried over from the previous year had to be cancelled (37% of commitments for operational activities carried over from 2007 and 26% of commitments for operational activities carried over from 2006); notes that, in 2008, this situation was attributable mainly to considerable delays in the implementation of 2007 grants agreements during the year;

6.  Is consequently concerned that this situation is at odds with the principle of annuality and shows weaknesses in programming, monitoring contractual deadlines, and the Authority's budget;

7.  Commends the Authority for having set out in its 2008 work programme priority objectives and performance indicators for each of the main activities planned; urges the Authority, nonetheless, to do better in establishing SMART objectives and RACER indicators in order to promote the achievement of results and enable performance to be monitored in an effective manner; considers the Authority's introduction of a risk assessment process to be a positive development which, starting in 2009, should reinforce and allow close monitoring of the Authority's scientific and administrative activities;

8.  Stresses that, in future, the Authority needs to accord greater importance in its grant agreement procedures to assessing the complexity of the service involved, with a view to setting better deadlines for the submission of tenders; notes, furthermore, that the Authority should take greater care in ensuring that contractual deadlines laid down in grant agreements are met;

9.  Views the Authority's introduction of differentiated appropriations for grants in its 2009 budget as a positive development, with a view to avoiding cancellations in subsequent financial years;

10.  Notes that the Authority's accounts for the financial year 2008 show income from interest amounting to EUR 485 651,33; concludes from the annual closure of accounts and the amount of interest payments that the Authority maintains enormously high cash reserves over long periods; notes that as of 31 December 2008 the Authority's cash reserves amounted to EUR 19 990 492,26; calls on the Commission to examine ways of ensuring that the principle of needs-based cash management, as laid down in Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, is implemented in full and what changes in approach are needed to ensure that the Authority's cash reserves are kept as low as possible on a long-term basis;

Internal audit

11.  Considers that the audit committee (AC), created by the Authority in 2006, plays an important role in assisting the Management Board by ensuring that the work of the Internal Audit Services (IAS) of the Commission and of the internal audit capabilities (IAC) of the Authority is properly carried out and duly taken into consideration by the Management Board and the Executive Director; believes, therefore, that this AC within the Authority might serve as an example to other agencies;

12.  Notes that 20 out of the 25 recommendations (80%) made by the IAS and the IAC have been implemented; nevertheless, invites the Authority to provide the Parliament with further information on their level of importance and the actions taken to implement them;

Human resources

13.  Notes that the Authority succeeded in filling 318 (representing recruitment of 45 temporary staff compared to 2007) of the 335 posts provided for in its establishment plan after having had difficulties in recruiting highly skilled scientific staff in Parma; notes that an additional 40 support staff (auxiliary, contractual, second national experts) have been recruited to support the Authority in its tasks;

14.  Welcomes the fact that the current Court of Auditors report does not point to any shortcomings in recruitment procedures;

15.  Urges the Authority to ensure that all former officials, in accordance with Article 16 of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Communities, inform the Authority when they take up new positions outside the institutions; if such activities could lead to a conflict with the legitimate interests of the institutions, the Authority should take the appropriate measures;

16.  Takes note of the second staff survey launched in October 2008 with a view to assessing the Authority's working environment; is satisfied that the level of participation increased from 44 % in 2007 to 55 % in 2008; encourages the staff committee to conduct such a survey on a regular basis and to increase the level of participation, and expects the Authority's management to incorporate the results drawn from the survey into its staff management and daily work;

Role of coordinator of the network of agencies

17.  Commends the Executive Director of the Authority on his extremely effective work as coordinator of the network of agencies between 1 March and 31 December 2009;

o
o   o

18.  Refers, for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 95.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 95.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 95.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 185.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
PDF 213kWORD 46k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction for the financial year 2008 (C7-0185/2009 – 2009/2114(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0107A7-0067/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (recast)(3), and in particular Article 15 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0067/2010),

1.  Grants the Director of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction discharge in respect of the implementation of the Centre's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Director of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction for the financial year 2008 (C7-0185/2009 – 2009/2114(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (recast)(7), and in particular Article 15 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0067/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Director of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction for the financial year 2008 (C7-0185/2009 – 2009/2114(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction for the financial year 2008, together with the Centre's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (recast)(11), and in particular Article 15 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0067/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Director of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction discharge for implementation of the Centre's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision, inter alia:

–   noted that the Centre had set up regular procedures and tools for regular supervisory and ex post controls and further developed human resources management, in particular by setting up a dedicated human resources portal on its intranet,

–   congratulated the Centre on its close cooperation with the European Maritime Safety Agency, which is also based in Lisbon, in order to share buildings and make joint use of infrastructures and services, and noted that its move into its own premises was scheduled for the third quarter of 2009,

1.  Is pleased to note that the Court of Auditors has been able to obtain reasonable assurances that the annual accounts of the Centre for the financial year ended 31 December 2008 are, in all material respects, reliable, and that the underlying transactions, taken as a whole, are legal and regular;

Performance

2.  Stresses how important it is for the Centre to set SMART objectives and RACER indicators in its programming, with a view to assessing its performance; notes, however, the assertion by the Centre that it took those observations into consideration in its 2009 work programme;

3.  Calls, further, on the Centre to consider making a Gantt diagram part of the programming for each of its operational activities, with a view to indicating in concise form the amount of time spent by each staff member on a project and encouraging an approach geared towards achieving results;

4.  Notes that in the coming years the discharge for the implementation of the budget for the Centre should be further based on the Centre's performance throughout the year;

Internal audit

5.  Acknowledges that the Centre has implemented 15 of the 41 recommendations made by the Internal Audit Service (IAS) since 2006; notes that, of the 26 that are still in progress, 14 are considered to be ‘very important’ and mainly concern preparedness for the move (as regards quality control of the new location, precautions against damage from flooding, a business continuity plan and investment in equipment) and the implementation of the internal control standards (as regards staff promotions, staff appraisal, risk management and the recording of exceptions);

6.  Notes that the Centre's accounts for the financial year 2008 show income from interest in the amount of EUR 107 591,31; concludes from the annual closure of accounts and the amount of interest payments that the Centre maintains high cash reserves over long periods; notes that as of 31 December 2008 the Centre's cash reserves amounted to EUR 1 635 537,86 and that appropriations totalling EUR 354 051,31, which, as result of a bank book-keeping error, had been included in the Centre's accounts as an amount receivable, were credited to the Centre's bank account early in 2009; calls on the Commission to examine ways of ensuring that the principle of needs-based cash management, as laid down in Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, is implemented in full and what changes in approach are needed to ensure that the Centre's cash reserves are kept as low as possible on a long-term basis;

o
o   o

7.  Refers, for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 148.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 148.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 148.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 137.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Medicines Agency
PDF 216kWORD 48k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0189/2009 – 2009/2118(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0108A7-0078/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the final annual accounts of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004(3) establishing a European Medicines Agency, and in particular Article 68 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0078/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0189/2009 – 2009/2118(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the final annual accounts of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004(7) establishing a European Medicines Agency, and in particular Article 68 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0078/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0189/2009 – 2009/2118(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Medicines Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004(11) establishing a European Medicines Agency, and in particular Article 68 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0078/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable, and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision noted, inter alia:

   weaknesses in budgetary management concerning the Telematics Programme,
   weaknesses as regards procurement procedures,
   progress towards ensuring compliance with the fee regulation;

1.  Notes that in 2008 the Agency's budget amounted to EUR 182 900 000, compared to EUR 163 100 000 in the previous year; notes furthermore that the Agency received 2,4 % less by way of Community contribution than in 2007, the Community contribution amounting to EUR 34 000 000 in 2008;

Performance

2.  Congratulates the Agency on having put in place sophisticated activity-based budgeting and user-satisfaction monitoring; also notes that the Agency is currently examining the functioning of its committee structure to enhance interactions in the light of an increase in the number of scientific committees and related scientific work;

Carry-over of appropriations

3.  Is concerned that the Court of Auditors has pointed out that the budget appropriations carried over and cancelled have amounted respectively to EUR 36 000 000 (19,7 % of the budget) and EUR 9 700 000 (5,3 % of the budget); points out, as noted in previous financial years, that the high level of carry-overs for administrative expenditure – EUR 21 400 000 – was mainly due to IT expenditure for setting up a telematics programme for the regulation of medical products; is consequently concerned, as this situation has existed for a number of years and is at odds with the annuality principle;

Procurement procedures

4.  Calls on the Agency to improve the quality of its procurement procedures so as to put an end to the shortcomings identified by the Court of Auditors (for instance, as regards the application of evaluation methods for the price criteria and as regards the essential need for justifications for the choice of procedures);

5.  Takes note of the Agency's longstanding policy of entering into a forward foreign exchange contract in order to hedge part of its administrative budget against unfavourable fluctuations in the exchange rate of sterling; expects the Agency to manage such transactions prudently; recommends that a working group be set up to observe and closely monitor the hedging strategy;

Revenue from fees

6.  Points out that the fees charged for evaluation services are the main source of the Agency's revenue, accounting for 70,2 % of its total revenue in 2008; draws attention in this context to the importance of the instrument for assigned revenue, designed for agencies whose revenue derives from fees, for dealing with unforeseeable market trends;

7.  Notes that the Agency reported EUR 2 046 000 in income from interest in 2008; concludes from the financial statements and from the level of the interest payments that the Agency has a permanently extremely high level of cash holdings; notes that on 31 December 2008 the Agency's cash holdings amounted to EUR 41 887 000; asks the Commission to examine what scope there is for helping to ensure that the cash holdings are managed entirely on a needs-orientated basis, in accordance with Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, and what changes of approach are necessary in order to keep the Agency's cash holdings permanently as low as possible;

Human resources

8.  Observes that the authorised establishment plan provided for 481 posts in 2008, of which 469 were filled by the end of 2008; notes that an additional 41 support staff (auxiliary, contractual, national experts on secondment) were recruited in 2008, and that the total number of staff thus amounted to 587;

Internal audit

9.  Acknowledges that the Commission's Internal Audit Service in its audit report made one ‘critical’ recommendation, relating to the area of experts‘ conflicts of interests, and eight ’very important‘ recommendations, in the areas of documentation of conflicts of interest for the Agency's staff, databases used to support the administrative procedures for evaluation and development of guidelines for filing and full implementation of such guidelines;

10.  Congratulates the Agency on having adopted a code of conduct setting out principles and guidance on independence and confidentiality applicable to Board and Committee members, experts and the Agency's staff;

o
o   o

11.  Refers, for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 27.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 136, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 27.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 136, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 27.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 136, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 117.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Maritime Safety Agency
PDF 214kWORD 47k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Maritime Safety Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0192/2009 – 2009/2121(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0109A7-0081/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Maritime Safety Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Maritime Safety Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency(3), and in particular Article 19 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0081/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Maritime Safety Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0192/2009 – 2009/2121(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Maritime Safety Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Maritime Safety Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency(7), and in particular Article 19 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0081/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Maritime Safety Agency for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Maritime Safety Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0192/2009 – 2009/2121(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Maritime Safety Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Maritime Safety Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency(11), and in particular Article 19 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0081/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Executive Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision inter alia:

   observed that the Court of Auditors had listed 32 budget transfers in 2007 and noted the Court of Auditors‘ criticism concerning the high number of transfers,
   noted that, as in 2006, the Court of Auditors found again that legal commitments were entered into before the corresponding budgetary commitments were made,
   called on the Agency to see to it that its recruitment procedures are transparent and non-discriminatory, in particular by ensuring the participation of the Staff Committee,

Performance

1.  Is disappointed that the Agency failed to prepare a multiannual work programme and that its annual work programme was not related to its commitment budget; stresses how important it is for the Agency to set SMART objectives and RACER indicators in its programming so as to assess its achievements; notes, nevertheless, the reply from the Agency, which gives an assurance that it has improved its work programme for 2009, establishing objectives and key performance indicators and a better resource planning system; asks, therefore, that this strategy be presented to Parliament as soon as possible; calls also on the Agency to consider making a Gantt diagram part of the programming for each of its operational activities, with a view to indicating in concise form the amount of time spent by each staff member on a project and encouraging an approach geared towards achieving results;

2.  Calls on the Agency to set out, in its table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year so as to enable the discharge authority to assess more effectively its performance from one year to the next;

Budgetary and financial management

3.  Welcomes the fact that the Court of Auditors found the Agency's accounts for 2008 to be reliable and regarded the transactions underlying them, taken as a whole, as legal and regular;

4.  Notes that the Agency received EUR 44 300 000 in commitment appropriations and EUR 46 890 000 in payment appropriations from the 2008 Union budget;

5.  Considers it a matter for concern that the Court of Auditors has again noted a high number of budget transfers in 2008 (52 in 2008 and 32 in 2007); notes the Agency's reply mentioning that the transfers for the purpose of administrative expenditure were limited to the period 2008-2009 because of the Agency's move to its final offices; is concerned, in particular, that more than EUR 2 000 000 of appropriations for personnel expenditure was transferred to administrative expenditure budget lines between June and November 2008, which made it possible to increase the amount of appropriations carried forward to 2009 and reduce the amount to be repaid to the Commission; notes, nevertheless, the reply by the Agency, which undertakes to continue its effort to improve its planning and monitoring and consequently to reduce the number of budgetary modifications;

6.  Notes that, as in 2006 and 2007, the Court of Auditors found again that legal commitments were entered into before the corresponding budgetary commitments were made; calls on the Agency therefore to step up its training and communication efforts in order to avoid this situation in future; requests, moreover, that action taken in this respect be reported in the Agency's annual activity report for 2009;

7.  Notes that the Agency's accounts for the financial year 2008 show income from interest as amounting to EUR 519 598,10, of which EUR 472 251,18 have already been paid back to the Directorate-General for Energy and Transport, with the remaining EUR 47 346,92 entered in the accounts as an accrued expense; concludes from the annual closure of accounts and the amount of interest payments that the Agency maintains enormously high cash reserves over long periods; welcomes the fact that as at 31 December 2008 the Agency's cash reserves had been reduced to EUR 3 610 677,41; calls on the Commission to examine ways of ensuring that the principle of needs-based cash management, as laid down in Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, is implemented to the full and that changes in approach are needed to ensure that the Agency's cash reserves are kept as low as possible on a long-term basis;

Internal audit and human resources

8.  Acknowledges that, at the end of 2008, the Agency has implemented 25 recommendations from the Internal Audit Service (IAS) out of 32 since 2006; notes that the recommendations considered to be ‘very important’ relate to: the adoption of the Staff Regulation Implementing Rules regarding the recruitment of temporary staff in accordance with the Staff Regulations; the controls in the selection procedure to ensure more transparency and equal treatment of candidates; the development of a career planning strategy (including training, coaching and mentoring activities); and better human resources planning;

o
o   o

9.  Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 55.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 208, 5.8.2002, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 55.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 208, 5.8.2002, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 55.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 208, 5.8.2002, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 172.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Network Information Security Agency
PDF 228kWORD 47k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Network and Information Security Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0196/2009 – 2009/2125(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0110A7-0087/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Network and Information Security Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Network and Information Security Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 460/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 establishing the European Network and Information Security Agency(3), and in particular Article 17 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0087/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Network and Information Security Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the European Network and Information Security Agency, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Network and Information Security Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0196/2009 – 2009/2125(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Network and Information Security Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Network and Information Security Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 460/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 establishing the European Network and Information Security Agency(7), and in particular Article 17 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0087/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Network and Information Security Agency for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European Network and Information Security Agency, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Network and Information Security Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0196/2009 – 2009/2125(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Network and Information Security Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Network and Information Security Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 460/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2004 establishing a European Network and Information Security Agency(11), and in particular Article 17 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0087/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Executive Director of the European Network and Information Security Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision, inter alia:

–   noted the Court of Auditors‘ criticism that the implementation of operational activities was concentrated in the last quarter of 2007, with about 40 % of commitments and more than 50 % of payments concerning operational activities being executed in November and December 2007,

–   was not satisfied with the Agency's reply that in some cases appropriations carried over were calculated with some degree of approximation,

–   expressed its concern that the Court of Auditors had found weaknesses in procurement procedures, particularly that the pre-selection of tenders was not justified, the evaluation committee had not signed the evaluation documents and files were unstructured and incomplete,

Performance

1.  Congratulates the Agency on its performance in 2008, the improvement in the resilience of European electronic communication networks, development and cooperation with Member States;

2.  Calls on the Agency to set out, in its table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year so as to enable the discharge authority to assess more effectively its performance from one year to the next;

Budgetary and financial management

3.  Notes that the Court of Auditors found deficiencies in procurement procedures, particularly with regard to the under-estimation of the budgets of a framework contract; stresses in particular that underestimating procurement budgets constitutes an obstacle to fair competition as firms are less prone to present offers for limited amounts; notes, nonetheless, the response of the Agency, which, in the third quarter of 2009, issued a new call for tenders in order to remedy its previous deficiencies;

4.  Notes that the Agency continues to take all possible measures to obtain from the tax authorities of the host Member State a refund of EUR 45 000, corresponding to the amount of VAT paid in advance by the Agency;

5.  Notes that the Agency's accounts for the financial year 2008 show income from interest in the amount of EUR 143 818; concludes from the annual closure of accounts and the amount of interest payments that the Agency maintains enormously high cash reserves over long periods; notes that as of 31 December 2008 the Agency's cash reserves amounted to EUR 2 436 694; calls on the Commission to examine ways of ensuring that the principle of needs-based cash management, as laid down in Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, is implemented in full and what changes in approach are needed to ensure that the Agency's cash reserves are kept as low as possible on a long-term basis;

Internal audit and human resources

6.  Congratulates the Agency on the fact that all eight recommendations of the Internal Audit Service considered to be ‘very important’ have been implemented; notes that those recommendations related to the follow-up to the implementation of the internal control standard audit and human resources management (e.g.: staff policy, renewal of contracts ending in 2008, independence of the selection committees, training services and transparency in the promotion procedure);

o
o   o

7.  Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 16.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 77, 13.3.2004, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 16.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 77, 13.3.2004, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 16.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 77, 13.3.2004, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 153.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Railway Agency
PDF 215kWORD 46k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Railway Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0197/2009 – 2009/2126(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0111A7-0084/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Railway Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Railway Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 881/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 establishing a European Railway Agency(3), and in particular Article 39 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0084/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Railway Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the European Railway Agency, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Railway Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0197/2009 – 2009/2126(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Railway Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Railway Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 881/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 establishing a European Railway Agency(7), and in particular Article 39 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0084/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Railway Agency for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European Railway Agency, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Railway Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0197/2009 – 2009/2126(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Railway Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Railway Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 881/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 establishing a European Railway Agency(11), and in particular Article 39 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0084/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Executive Director of the European Railway Agency discharge for implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision inter alia:

   observed from the Court of Auditors‘ annual report for 2006 that the Agency's final budget for the 2007 financial year was EUR 16 600 000, including a reserve of EUR 1 900 000; observed further that at the end of 2007 EUR 3 400 000 had to be cancelled, including the reserve, and that, in addition, EUR 2 700 000 was carried over to 2008;
   voiced concern at the Court of Auditors‘ conclusion that more than 35% of final appropriations had not been used, which, according to the Court of Auditors, showed that the Agency's programming and budgeting procedures were affected by serious weaknesses;
   called on the Agency, on the basis of Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, to implement rigorous cash management in order to ensure that cash balances are limited to duly justified requirements, and to pay particular attention to improving its cash management;

1.  Welcomes the fact that the Court of Auditors found the Agency's accounts for 2008 to be reliable and regarded the transactions underlying them, taken as a whole, as legal and regular;

2.  Notes that the Agency received EUR 18 000 000 in commitment and payment appropriations from the 2008 Union budget;

Performance

3.  Calls on the Agency to set out, in a table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year so as to enable the discharge authority to assess more effectively its performance from one year to the next;

4.  Stresses how important it is for the Agency to set SMART objectives and RACER indicators in its programming so as to assess its achievements; notes, however, the assertion by the Agency that it has taken those observations into consideration in its 2009 programme; calls also on the Agency to consider making a Gantt diagram part of the programming for each of its operational activities, with a view to indicating in a concise form the amount of time spent by each staff member on a project and encouraging an approach geared towards achieving results;

5.  Notes the Court of Auditors‘ finding that the Agency carries out its operations in two locations (Lille and Valenciennes), exposing it to additional costs;

Carry-over of appropriations

6.  Notes that the Court of Auditors found that more than EUR 4 100 000 was carried forward to 2009, about EUR 3 900 000 of which concern administrative and operational expenditure (this being 57% of the annual Title II and Title III appropriations); emphasises that this state of affairs reveals that the Agency had difficulties in the programming and the budgeting of its activities;

Procurement procedures

7.  Expresses concern at the weaknesses in procurement procedures revealed by the Court of Auditors‘ audit;

8.  Congratulates the Agency on having drawn up an action plan to address the weaknesses in procurement procedures identified by the Court of Auditors, which were hampering the transparency of those procedures;

Internal audit

9.  Acknowledges that 32 out of the 36 recommendations made by the Internal Audit Service (IAS) have been implemented since 2006; amongst the 4 recommendations which are still in progress, 1 is considered to be ‘critical’ and 3 ‘very important’; urges the Agency, therefore, to implement certain internal control standards related to bank signatures, segregation of duties, sensitive posts and maintenance of delegation powers;

o
o   o

10.  Refers, for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 89.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 164, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 89.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 164, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 89.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 164, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 167.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Training Foundation
PDF 293kWORD 50k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Training Foundation for the financial year 2008 (C7-0191/2009 – 2009/2120(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0112A7-0083/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Training Foundation for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Training Foundation for the financial year 2008, together with the Foundation's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1339/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 establishing a European Training Foundation (recast)(3), and in particular Article 17 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0083/2010),

1.  Grants the Director of the European Training Foundation discharge in respect of the implementation of the Foundation's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Director of the European Training Foundation, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Training Foundation for the financial year 2008 (C7-0191/2009 – 2009/2120(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Training Foundation for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Training Foundation for the financial year 2008, together with the Foundation's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1339/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 establishing a European Training Foundation (recast)(7), and in particular Article 17 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0083/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Training Foundation for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Director of the European Training Foundation, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Training Foundation for the financial year 2008 (C7-0191/2009 – 2009/2120(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Training Foundation for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Training Foundation for the financial year 2008, together with the Foundation's replies(9),

–  – having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1339/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 establishing a European Training Foundation (recast)(11), and in particular Article 17 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0083/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable, and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Director of the European Training Foundation discharge for implementation of the Foundation's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision, inter alia:

   noted the Court of Auditors‘ finding that the amount of assigned revenue in the amending budget was incorrect (it should have been EUR 1 200 000 and not EUR 3 400 000),
   observed that, in her statement of assurance (attached to the annual activity report), the Director expressed the same reservations as in the previous year concerning political uncertainty in partner countries, the financial management of the Tempus convention and possible social, reputational, legal and financial implications of Tempus technical assistance in the Foundation;

1.  Expresses its satisfaction that the Court of Auditors has declared the annual accounts of the Foundation for the financial year 2008 to be legal and regular;

Performance

2.  Notes that, in the interim evaluation of the Foundation (EAC/06/05 final report, 25 May 2006), the impact of its activities on its direct beneficiaries was in general considered positive; notes nevertheless that the impact on government institutions cannot easily be proved because of the difficulty of establishing a direct link between the results of the Foundation's projects and the institutions‘ activities;

3.  Congratulates the Foundation which, in supporting the Commission in 2008, obtained a 97% satisfaction rate from the Commission; points out, in particular, that the most frequent applications to the Foundation were those in the field of policies and contributions in the preparation of European Neighbourhood Instruments (32%), followed by formulation (21%), programming (11%), the identification of projects (10%) and follow-up;

4.  Calls on the Foundation to set out, in a table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year so as to enable the discharge authority to assess its performance more effectively from one year to the next;

The Foundation's field of action

5.  Notes that following the recast in 2008 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1360/90 of 7 May 1990 establishing a European Training Foundation(14), the Foundation now has the option of developing its expertise in different sectors from those considered in previous years; notes that Regulation (EC) No 1339/2008 specifies new procedural mechanisms for approving a broadening of the Foundation's thematic and geographic scope;

Cooperation with the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop)

6.  Calls, in view of the fact that some areas of interest are shared, for close cooperation and synergies between the Foundation and Cedefop and calls for information to be provided regularly in the activity reports by the Directors of both agencies;

Internal audit

7.  Acknowledges that 12 out of the 27 recommendations made by the Internal Audit Service (IAS) have been implemented since 2006; notes that, amongst the 15 recommendations which have still not been implemented, six are considered to be ‘very important’; urges the Foundation, therefore, to put in place without delay certain internal control standards (regarding the documentation of procedures, supervision of financial transactions and continuity of operations) and certain human resources management recommendations (regarding human resources management in annual planning and activity reporting; objective setting, and time recording of the staff);

Human resources

8.  Is concerned about the findings of the Court of Auditors as regards the lack of transparency in recruitment procedures and the intervention of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), which has opened an inquiry (OF/2009/0370); draws attention to the Union's Employment Guidelines and in particular Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(15) with regard to selection criteria and recruitment conditions; expects all Union Agencies to adhere at a minimum to those Guidelines and calls on the Foundation to set an example by implementing fair, transparent and comprehensive recruitment procedures in the future;

9.  Urges the Foundation to report on the allocation of its human resources; points out, in particular, that inadequate consideration of human resources in the context of annual planning and activity reporting entails a risk of inefficiency and lack of transparency in the allocation and use of the Foundation's staff; emphasises, moreover, that the objectives for individual staff members should be better aligned with the annual and strategic objectives of the Foundation and that the staff's time-recording system should also be incorporated into the framework of the annual planning and budgeting;

10.  Notes the Court of Auditors‘ observation that there are various weaknesses in the recruitment procedures; emphasises in particular the need for the Recruitment Assessment Boards to provide sufficient information on the procedures followed, including justifications for decisions and the dates on which they were taken, to ensure the transparency of these procedures;

11.  Notes, nevertheless, that the Foundation now says it has undertaken a thorough review of its recruitment procedures in response to the Court of Auditors‘ findings and in the light of an internal audit carried out by the IAS in 2008; calls on the Foundation, therefore, to inform the discharge authority of action taken and the subsequent results;

12.  Notes the Foundation's reply admitting the validity of the Court of Auditors‘ opinion concerning the expatriation allowance denied to certain members of staff because of an incorrect interpretation of the rules; congratulates the Foundation for promising to review the cases concerned and then make the appropriate changes;

o
o   o

13.  Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(16) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 136.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 354, 31.12.2008, p. 82.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 136.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 354, 31.12.2008, p. 82.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 136.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 354, 31.12.2008, p. 82.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 149.
(14) OJ L 131, 23.5.1990, p. 1.
(15) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(16) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
PDF 218kWORD 46k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work for the financial year 2008 (C7-0187/2009 – 2009/2116(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0113A7-0069/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2062/94 of 18 July 1994 establishing a European Agency for Safety and Health at Work(3), and in particular Article 14 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0069/2010),

1.  Grants the Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work for the financial year 2008 (C7-0187/2009 – 2009/2116(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2062/94 of 18 July 1994 establishing a European Agency for Safety and Health at Work(7), and in particular Article 14 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0069/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work for the financial year 2008 (C7-0187/2009 – 2009/2116(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2062/94 of 18 July 1994 establishing a European Agency for Safety and Health at Work(11), and in particular Article 14 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0069/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision drew attention, inter alia, to the fact that the Court of Auditors had issued a positive statement of assurance and had made no observations;

1.  Expresses its satisfaction that the Court of Auditors has declared the Agency's annual accounts for the financial year 2008 to be legal and regular;

Performance

2.  Congratulates the Agency on having significantly improved its financial management over the last three years; encourages it to continue to strive for the highest standards in budgetary planning, implementation and control;

3.  Congratulates the Agency, in particular, on the completion of Phases I and II of the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER), on the establishment of a network of European organisations which can provide occupational safety and health economic incentives, and on the establishment of a risk-assessment resource database for the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2008/2009;

4.  Calls on the Agency to set out, in a table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year so as to enable the discharge authority to assess its performance from one year to the next more effectively;

Governance of the Agency

5.  Finds the Agency's governance costs to be not insignificant, as it has an 84-member Governing Board and employs 64 staff (figures for the 2008 financial year);

Operating appropriations carried over

6.  Notes that the Agency carried forward EUR 3 400 000 (44% of its operating appropriations) of which approximately EUR 1 000 000 concerned commitments which were entirely related to 2009; emphasises that this state of affairs is also at odds with the principle of annuality; calls, therefore, in the interests of sound financial management, for the budget forecasts to be adjusted to reflect actual needs; notes the Agency's reply, however, which argues that the complexity of the projects meant that it took much longer than originally anticipated to finalise them; congratulates the Agency nevertheless on improving its monitoring and planning of operational expenditure to avoid committing significant funds at the year-end;

Procurement procedures

7.  Notes the irregularity identified by the Court of Auditors with respect to a procurement procedure (use of a framework contract beyond its maximum value); emphasises, in particular, that the Agency should have launched a new public procurement procedure for a new framework contract as soon as possible; takes note nevertheless of the Agency's justification which emphasises the need to make further use of this framework contract to replace the subsidy scheme without it impacting adversely on the Agency's activities;

8.  Expects the Agency to resolve the problem of using a public procurement framework contract beyond its maximum value, in order to give effect to European budgetary law;

Human resources

9.  Notes that, according to the 2008 activity report, 64 persons were employed by the Agency at the end of the year;

Internal audit

10.  Acknowledges that the Agency has implemented 19 of the 33 recommendations made by the Internal Audit Service (IAS) since 2006; notes that, of the 14 which have still not been implemented, 6 are considered to be very important and concern the management of the stakeholders‘ expectations and the implementation of certain internal control standards (i.e. dealing with individual file problems, the annual report on internal control and promoting internal control procedures);

11.  Notes that a risk assessment exercise was conducted in the last quarter of 2008 to determine the audit priorities and the IAS audit plan for the next three years;

o
o   o

12.  Refers, for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 49.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 216, 20.8.1994, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 49.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 216, 20.8.1994, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 49.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 216, 20.8.1994, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 195.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: Euratom Supply Agency
PDF 208kWORD 42k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Euratom Supply Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0203/2009 – 2009/2132(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0114A7-0076/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Euratom Supply Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the Euratom Supply Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2008/114/EC, Euratom of 12 February 2008 establishing Statutes for the Euratom Supply Agency(3) and in particular Article 8 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0076/2010),

1.  Grants the Director-General of the Euratom Supply Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Director-General of the Euratom Supply Agency, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the Euratom Supply Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0203/2009 – 2009/2132(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Euratom Supply Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the Euratom Supply Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2008/114/EC, Euratom of 12 February 2008 establishing Statutes for the Euratom Supply Agency(7) and in particular Article 8 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0076/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the Euratom Supply Agency for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Director-General of the Euratom Supply Agency, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Euratom Supply Agency for the financial year 2008 (C7-0203/2009 – 2009/2132(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Euratom Supply Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the Euratom Supply Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2008/114/EC, Euratom of 12 February 2008 establishing Statutes for the Euratom Supply Agency(11) and in particular Article 8 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0076/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable, and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas, under Decision 2008/114/EC, Euratom, Euratom Supply Agency established in Luxembourg in 1958, has a new Statute and has become an Agency,

1.  Notes that in 2008 the Agency did not receive any subsidy to cover its operations and the Commission bore all expenses incurred by the Agency for the implementation of the 2008 budget; notes also that the commitments carried over from the financial year 2007 were paid with the unused part of the 2007 subsidy;

2.  Notes therefore that, in the absence of an autonomous budget, the Agency is de facto integrated in the Commission;

3.  Points out, nevertheless, that this situation raises the issue of the need to maintain the Agency in its current form and organisation; notes, however, the Agency's reply, claiming that the present situation reflects the balance between, on the one hand, a clear relationship with the Commission (e.g. the Commission may issue directives and it appoints the Director-General of the Agency) and, on the other hand, a degree of legal and financial autonomy;

Internal audit

4.  Acknowledges that, in accordance with Article 3 of its Statutes, the Agency has selected its own internal auditor, who took up his duties only on 1 July 2009;

o
o   o

5.  Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(13) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 6.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 41, 15.2.2008, p. 15.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 6.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 41, 15.2.2008, p. 15.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 6.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 41, 15.2.2008, p. 15.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
PDF 233kWORD 51k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions for the financial year 2008 (C7-0182/2009 – 2009/2111(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0115A7-0088/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the final annual accounts of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions for the financial year 2008, together with the Foundation's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EEC) No 1365/75 of the Council of 26 May 1975 on the creation of a European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions(3), and in particular Article 16 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0088/2010),

1.  Grants the Director of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions discharge in respect of the implementation of the Foundation's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Director of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions for the financial year 2008 (C7-0182/2009 – 2009/2111(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the final annual accounts of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions for the financial year 2008, together with the Foundation's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EEC) No 1365/75 of the Council of 26 May 1975 on the creation of a European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions(7), and in particular Article 16 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0088/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Director of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions for the financial year 2008 (C7-0182/2009 – 2009/2111(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the final annual accounts of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions for the financial year 2008, together with the Foundation's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Regulation (EEC) No 1365/75 of the Council of 26 May 1975 on the creation of a European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions(11), and in particular Article 16 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0088/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Director of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions discharge for implementation of the Foundation's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision, inter alia:

   deplored the fact that in 2007, as in 2006, the Court of Auditors found weaknesses in recruitment procedures; in particular, the Court of Auditors again found a case where the selection criteria were not defined in conformity with the vacancy notice;
   was concerned that in three procurement procedures the Court of Auditors found the following anomalies:
   (a) the financial evaluation procedure for a contract was not clearly specified in the tender documents,
   (b) the selection criteria did not make it possible to evaluate the financial capacity of the candidates properly,

1.  Expresses its satisfaction that the Court of Auditors has declared the annual accounts of the Foundation for the financial year 2008 to be legal and regular;

Performance

2.  Notes that in 2007 the Foundation carried out an ex-post assessment of its 2001-2004 work programme in order to determine its impact, added value and effectiveness; congratulates the Foundation on having demonstrated, by means of that assessment, that the planned operations were duly completed; notes, further, that recent information included in the assessment of the Agencies ordered by the Commission in 2009 showed that in 2008 as well the Foundation duly completed its planned operations;

3.  Congratulates the Foundation on launching another ex-post assessment exercise, in this case of its 2005-2008 work programme; calls on the Foundation, therefore, to keep it informed of the results of that assessment so that it can determine more effectively the Foundation's impact, added value and effectiveness during that specific period;

4.  Calls on the Foundation to set out, in a table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year, so as to enable the discharge authority to assess more effectively its performance from one year to the next;

Operating appropriations carried over

5.  Notes that, according to the Court of Auditors, the amount carried over represented more than 55% of appropriations (EUR 4 900 000) for the financial year 2008; acknowledges, however, the Foundation's reply to the effect that shortcomings exist, but that the level of appropriations carried over is lower than that indicated by the Court of Auditors (10%) by virtue of the fact that its annual programming in any case made provision for 45% of the appropriations under Title 3 to be carried over, in view of the duration of the study contracts and the Foundation's payment schedule; stresses, nevertheless, that this state of affairs indicates shortcomings in the planning and programming of the Foundation's operational activities and is at odds with the principle of annuality; calls on the Foundation, therefore, to take action to prevent this situation recurring in future and then to inform the discharge authority of what it has done;

Budget transfers without supporting documents

6.  Notes the Court of Auditors‘ statement that budget transfers were not properly justified, since no estimate of needs had been provided and the Administrative Board had not been informed; congratulates the Foundation, however, on having now remedied this shortcoming;

Procurement procedures

7.  Calls on the Foundation to take steps to improve the monitoring of its contracts and the programming of its procurement procedures, by issuing new invitations to tender well before the corresponding contracts come to an end; in that connection, emphasises that the Court of Auditors states that in two cases the Foundation improperly extended a contract beyond the maximum authorised duration and that in another case it failed to provide any justification for using a negotiated procedure;

Human resources

8.  Calls on the Foundation's management to take steps, as part of its human resources management policy and in keeping with its obligations concerning implementation of the budget, to make better provision in advance for the departure of key staff members;

9.  Calls on the Foundation to enter staff numbers, including contract staff (87 persons), in the activity report in a transparent manner;

10.  Congratulates the Foundation on having introduced, in 2008, recruitment procedures consistent with the recommendations made by the Court of Auditors in the last two years; in particular, notes that on this occasion the Court of Auditors no longer identifies shortcomings in the Foundation's recruitment procedures (for example as regards the selection criteria) which were such as to undermine the transparency and non-discriminatory nature of those procedures;

Internal audit

11.  Expresses concern at the fact that the Foundation's financial statements for 2008 were inadequate and inconsistent with the 2007 accounts and consequently required substantial correction in the course of the audit; notes that this state of affairs can be explained by the fact that the Foundation was forced to recruit a temporary member of staff for a short period of time in order to close the 2008 accounts and that, in addition, the handover from one accounting officer to the next was not seamless; calls on the Foundation, therefore, to take steps to ensure that such a situation does not recur in the future;

12.  Acknowledges that 26 out of the 54 recommendations made by the Internal Audit Service (IAS) have been implemented since 2006; notes that, amongst the 28 which still need to be implemented, eight are considered to be ‘very important’; in particular, urges the Foundation to put in place the remaining internal control standards (i.e. delegation for financial actors), to follow up the implementation of other internal control standards (i.e. effective coordination of the internal control system and compliance of procurement procedures with the Financial Regulation and its implementing rules), and to introduce an effective planning and monitoring system (e.g. by setting up a risk assessment system in respect of the Foundation's activities, putting in place an activity-based methodology and monitoring IT tools);

o
o   o

13.  Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 142.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 139, 30.5.1975, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 142.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 139, 30.5.1975, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 142.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 139, 30.5.1975, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 190.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: Eurojust
PDF 232kWORD 50k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of Eurojust for the financial year 2008 (C7-0190/2009 – 2009/2119(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0116A7-0093/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of Eurojust for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of Eurojust for the financial year 2008, together with Eurojust's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2002/187/JHA of 28 February 2002 setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime(3), and in particular Article 36 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0093/2010),

1.  Grants the Administrative Director of Eurojust discharge in respect of the implementation of Eurojust's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Administrative Director of Eurojust, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of Eurojust's accounts for the financial year 2008 (C7-0190/2009 – 2009/2119(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of Eurojust for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of Eurojust for the financial year 2008, together with Eurojust's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2002/187/JHA of 28 February 2002 setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime(7), and in particular Article 36 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0093/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of Eurojust's accounts for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Administrative Director of Eurojust, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of Eurojust for the financial year 2008 (C7-0190/2009 – 2009/2119(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of Eurojust for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of Eurojust for the financial year 2008, together with Eurojust's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2002/187/JHA of 28 February 2002 setting up Eurojust with a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime(11), and in particular Article 36 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0093/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors stated that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Administrative Director of Eurojust discharge for implementation of Eurojust's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision, inter alia:

   noted the Court of Auditors‘ finding that in 2007 appropriations amounting to EUR 18 000 000 were committed, of which EUR 5 200 000 were carried over;
   regretted that the Court of Auditors had again found deficiencies in procurement procedures, as in the two previous years;
   expressed concern that the Court of Auditors had noted that Eurojust had not succeeded in recruiting the 60 members of staff needed to fill the posts provided for in the 2007 establishment plan and that at the end of 2007 only 95 posts had been filled;

1.  Is pleased to note that the Court of Auditors has been able to obtain reasonable assurances that the annual accounts of Eurojust for the financial year ended 31 December 2008 are, in all material respects, reliable, and that the underlying transactions, taken as a whole, are legal and regular;

Performance

2.  Emphasises that the lack of indicators, the deficits in measurement of user satisfaction and the lack of coordination between the budget and the work programme make it difficult to evaluate Eurojust's performance;

3.  Welcomes the conclusion on 24 September 2008 of the Practical Agreement on arrangements of cooperation between Eurojust and OLAF(14);

4.  Notes that in the coming years the discharge for the implementation of the budget for Eurojust should be further based on Eurojust's performance throughout the year;

Carry-over of appropriations

5.  Notes the Court of Auditors‘ finding that in 2008 Eurojust still had a problem as regards carrying forward appropriations, even if it seems that the amount was lower than in the previous year (13% of final budget appropriations, instead of the 25% of appropriations carried over in 2007); notes with concern, however, that the level of appropriations carried over from the previous year and then cancelled (EUR 1 000 000, or 25% of appropriations carried over) was high and that this situation is at odds with the annuality principle; calls therefore on Eurojust to take action to prevent this situation from recurring in future and to then inform the discharge authority;

6.  Notes that Eurojust reported EUR 191 390,56 in income from interest in 2008; concludes from the financial statements and from the level of interest payments that Eurojust has a permanently high level of cash holdings; notes that on 31 December 2008 Eurojust's cash holdings amounted to EUR 4 612 878,47; asks the Commission to examine what scope there is for helping to ensure that the cash holdings are managed entirely on a needs-orientated basis, in accordance with Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, and what changes of approach are necessary in order to keep Eurojust's cash holdings permanently as low as possible;

Weaknesses in procurement procedures

7.  Regrets that the Court of Auditors again found deficiencies in procurement procedures, as in the three previous years; expresses concern in particular about the Court of Auditors‘ finding that in 2008, first, in most procurement cases no prior estimation of the market value was made before the procedure was launched and, secondly, there were recurrent and severe weaknesses in the monitoring of contracts and the programming of procurements; points out that this situation reveals severe weaknesses in the capacity of the various Eurojust departments involved to liaise properly and indicates a lack of guidance and control by the authorising officer;

8.  Notes Eurojust's reply undertaking to set up an action plan to address the weaknesses identified by the Court of Auditors; calls therefore on Eurojust to inform the discharge authority of the results of these action plans;

Human resources

9.  Expresses concern at the fact that the Court of Auditors has again noted shortcomings in the planning and implementation of recruitment procedures; notes in particular that the level of vacant posts (26%) is still too high, although less significant than in 2007 (33%);

10.  Agrees with the Court of Auditors that Eurojust has not respected the principle of specification, as an amount of EUR 1 800 000 was transferred from appropriations for the salaries of temporary and contract staff, mostly to increase (by 238%) the appropriations for interim staff;

11.  Notes Eurojust's reply as regards the Court of Auditors‘ criticisms of staff selection procedures; asks in particular that Eurojust should inform the discharge authority of its new recruitment procedure, launched in 2009, which from now on should ensure more transparency and no discrimination in the treatment of external and internal applicants;

Internal audit

12.  Is concerned that none of the 26 recommendations made by the Internal Audit Service (IAS) have been fully implemented; notes that four of these are considered to be ‘critical’ and 12 ‘very important’; urges Eurojust therefore to put in place without delay the following recommendations on human resources management: preparing a short-term plan to fill the current vacancies; redefining the set-up of the Human Resources Unit; reducing the number of temporary staff; strengthening the recruitment procedure; adopting the implementing rules for career development; ensuring the independence of the members of the Selection Board; and making sure that the public procurement procedures are correctly implemented;

o
o   o

13.  Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(15) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 131.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 63, 6.3.2002, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 131.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 63, 6.3.2002, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 131.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 63, 6.3.2002, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 112.
(14) OJ C 314, 9.12.2008, p. 4.
(15) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
PDF 213kWORD 45k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2008 (C7-0184/2009 – 2009/2113(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0117A7-0090/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 of 15 February 2007 establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights(3), and in particular Article 21 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0090/2010),

1.  Grants the Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2008 (C7-0184/2009 – 2009/2113(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 of 15 February 2007 establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights(7), and in particular Article 21 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0090/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2008 (C7-0184/2009 – 2009/2113(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 168/2007 of 15 February 2007 establishing a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights(11), and in particular Article 21 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0090/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights discharge for implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision noted, inter alia:

   that the Agency should strive for synergies and avoid overlaps with other institutions active in the field of human rights, in particular the Council of Europe,
   that the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) had opened an investigation concerning the Agency; requested consequently that OLAF, the Agency and the Commission inform the discharge authority of the results of the investigation and possible follow-up measures as soon as possible,
   the Court of Auditors‘ finding, with regard to one procurement procedure, that the published evaluation method indirectly decreased the relative importance of the price criterion, which may have deterred some potential bidders and was not in line with the principle of sound financial management,

1.  Is pleased to note that the Court of Auditors has been able to obtain reasonable assurances that the annual accounts of the Agency for the financial year ended 31 December 2008 are, in all material respects, reliable and that the transactions underlying the annual accounts of the Agency, taken as a whole, are legal and regular;

Performance

2.  Encourages the Agency to set SMART objectives and RACER indicators in its programming so as to improve assessment of its achievements; notes, however, the statement by the Agency that it has taken these observations into consideration in its 2009 programme;

3.  Congratulates the Agency on having started in mid-2009 to implement Activity Based Budget software that will provide clear indicators on the financial and human resources allocated;

4.  Congratulates the Agency on having acted on the comments by the Court of Auditors and the budgetary authority at the time of the previous discharge;

5.  Notes that in the coming years the discharge for the implementation of the budget for the Agency should be further based on the Agency's performance throughout the year;

OLAF investigation

6.  Notes that in 2009 OLAF finished its investigation concerning the Agency which it had opened in 2008 and has now closed it with no further action;

Internal audit

7.  Acknowledges that in February 2008 the Internal Audit Service (IAS) performed a follow-up audit of the implementation of the outstanding recommendations of its 2007 report and found that only one recommendation (on supervision of recruitment by the Board) remained outstanding; notes, however, that circumstances had changed and that, after the Agency started operations and the new Director was appointed, that recommendation lost its initial purpose and may thus be considered as having been fulfilled;

o
o   o

8.  Refers, for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 10.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 53, 22.2.2007, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 10.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 53, 22.2.2007, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 10.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 53, 22.2.2007, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 198.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: FRONTEX
PDF 228kWORD 56k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) for the financial year 2008 (C7-0199/2009 – 2009/2128(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0118A7-0085/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union(3), and in particular Article 30 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0085/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX) for the financial year 2008 (C7-0199/2009 – 2009/2128(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union(7), and in particular Article 30 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0085/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union for the financial year 2008 (C7-0199/2009 – 2009/2128(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004 establishing a European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union(11), and in particular Article 30 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A7-0085/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Executive Director of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union discharge for implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and, in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision, inter alia:

   regretted that the Court of Auditors, in its 2007 annual report, had found several weaknesses which it had already highlighted in its 2006 annual report, in particular a high level of carry-overs and cancellations (nearly 70% of the appropriations available in 2007 not having been spent);
   noted that the Agency's 2007 budget (EUR 42 100 000) had more than doubled compared with the 2006 budget (EUR 19 200 000);
   called on the Agency to improve its financial management, especially as regards the increase in its budget for the financial years 2007 and 2008,

C.   whereas 2008 was the third full year in which the Agency had been in operation,

1.  Is pleased to note that the Court of Auditors has been able to obtain reasonable assurances that the annual accounts of the Agency for the financial year ended 31 December 2008 are, in all material respects, reliable, and that the underlying transactions, taken as a whole, are legal and regular;

2.  Notes that the Agency's budget has increased substantially in the last three years; notes that, for the financial year 2008, the budget increased by EUR 29 000 000, or nearly 69%, over the previous financial year, and that in 2007 (EUR 42 100 000) it had already more than doubled compared with 2006 (EUR 19 200 000);

Recurring problems since the financial year 2006

3.  Is concerned that the Court of Auditors has found several weaknesses which it already highlighted in its 2006 and 2007 annual reports; regrets in particular:

   a high level of carry-overs and cancellations (with 49%, nearly 69% and 55% of the appropriations available in 2008, 2007 and 2006 respectively not spent),
   the fact that legal commitments were entered into before the corresponding budgetary commitments,
   the fact that, according to the Court of Auditors, recruitment procedures depart from the rules, in particular as regards the transparency and non-discriminatory nature of the procedures in question;

4.  Notes that EUR 30 300 000 in appropriations for the year had to be carried over and that EUR 13 000 000 in appropriations available had to be cancelled; points out also that, of the EUR 26 800 000 in appropriations carried forward for operational expenditure (title III), EUR 850 000 related to elapsed operations and should have been de-committed; notes in this respect the reply by the Agency, however, stating that it has made corrections to the final annual financial statements and that it will also take additional measures to step up controls on commitments;

5.  Points out, however, that a high level of carry-overs and cancellations is indicative of the inability of the Agency to manage so large an increase in its budget; wonders, despite the substantial progress made by the Agency as regards the use of appropriations in 2009, whether it would not be more responsible for the budgetary authorities, in future, to take greater care in deciding on increases in the Agency's budget in the light of the time needed to carry out the new activities; calls on the Agency therefore to provide it with fuller details on the feasibility of future commitments;

6.  Considers that the Agency should also introduce:

   an effective system for scheduling and monitoring the contractual deadlines laid down,
   a risk assessment process for its activities so that, subsequently, they can be closely monitored,
   a system of differentiated appropriations in future budgets for making grants so that, in subsequent financial years, cancellations are avoided;

7.  Is concerned at the Court of Auditors‘ criticism of the Agency for having paid out more than EUR 17 000 000 on the basis of unilateral grant decisions signed only by the Agency, while the rules in force make no provision for this type of instrument; voices its concern, in addition, at the Court of Auditors’ view that those decisions were frequently signed by the Agency after the activities had commenced or had even been completed; notes the Agency's reply, however, giving an assurance that new framework agreements have now been signed with all border authorities which are going to be participating in Agency-coordinated joint operations;

8.  Is concerned at the Court of Auditors‘ renewed finding that legal commitments were entered into before the corresponding budgetary commitments; notes, furthermore, that 49 ex-post commitments (totalling more than EUR 1 000 000) had been registered in the register of exceptions by the end of the year; points out also that, despite the Agency's assurance that, by May 2009, there had already been a 50% reduction in the number of exceptions over the same period in the previous year, the large number of exceptions is indicative of a recurring problem in the Agency's commitment system; calls on the Agency therefore to make a more effective commitment to solving this problem completely;

9.  Congratulates the Agency on having introduced a treasury policy;

10.  Notes that the Agency reported EUR 474 116,65 in income from interest in 2008; concludes from the financial statements and from the level of the interest payments that the Agency has a permanently high level of cash holdings; notes that on 31 December 2008 the Agency's cash holdings amounted to EUR 28 604 623,67; asks the Commission to examine what scope there is for helping to ensure that the cash holdings are managed entirely on a needs-orientated basis, in accordance with Article 15(5) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002, and what changes of approach are necessary in order to keep the Agency's cash holdings permanently as low as possible;

11.  Calls on the Agency to exercise it functions to the full and to continue improving its financial management, especially as regards the increase in its 2009 and 2010 budgets;

Human resources

12.  Notes with concern that the Court of Auditors has again found that recruitment procedures depart from the rules and that their transparency and non-discrimination between applicants are not ensured;

Performance

13.  Notes that, in June 2009, the Management Board of the Agency adopted a multiannual plan for the period 2010-2013 despite the lack of provision for this in its basic regulation; stresses the importance of that multiannual plan in enabling the Agency to plan its activities and risk-assess them more effectively; nonetheless calls on the Agency to establish a link promptly between its work programme and its financial forecasts;

14.  Encourages the Director to present data on the impact of operations to the Management Board;

15.  Calls on the Agency to set out, in its table to be annexed to the Court of Auditors‘ next report, a comparison of operations carried out during the year for which discharge is to be granted and in the previous financial year so as to enable the discharge authority to assess more effectively its performance from one year to the next;

16.  Notes that in the coming years the discharge for the implementation of the budget for the Agency should be further based on the Agency's performance throughout the year;

Transparency

17.  Notes that the Agency does not publish information about its governing boards on its website; therefore recommends, as a means of increasing transparency, that a list of board members be placed on the Agency's website, with full contact details for all board members;

Cooperation with the Member States

18.  Notes that utilisation and implementation of the budget partly depend on Member State involvement; encourages the Agency, accordingly, to step up its dialogue with the Member States in order to expand their involvement;

19.  Calls on the Agency to improve its financial management with regard to reimbursement of costs contracted by Member States by identifying the roots of the problem, together with the Member States, so as to implement, with them, the appropriate solutions;

Internal audit

20.  Acknowledges that, of the 23 recommendations issued after the initial audit carried out in 2007 by the Internal Audit Service (IAS), four have been adequately and effectively implemented, 15 are in progress and four have not yet been started; emphasises that the recommendations, which are considered to be ‘very important’, relate to completing job descriptions and the setting of objectives for staff members, strengthening security, improving mail registration, strengthening the grant management process and ensuring compliance with the Financial Regulation;

21.  Congratulates the Agency on having recruited, at the end of 2008, an Internal Control Coordinator/Quality Manager; emphasises that this new post will help the Agency to ensure a more structured, disciplined and coherent approach towards the implementation of the IAS‘ recommendations;

o
o   o

22.  Refers for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(14) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 38.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 349, 25.11.2004, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 38.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 349, 25.11.2004, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 38.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 349, 25.11.2004, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 126.
(14) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European GNSS Supervisory Authority
PDF 217kWORD 49k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority for the financial year 2008 (C7-0200/2009 – 2009/2129(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0119B7-0259/2009

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority for the financial year 2008, together with the Authority's replies(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1321/2004 of 12 July 2004 on the establishment of structures for the management of the European satellite radio-navigation programmes(3), and in particular Article 12 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0073/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority discharge in respect of the implementation of the Authority's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority for the financial year 2008 (C7-0200/2009 – 2009/2129(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority for the financial year 2008, together with the Authority's replies(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1321/2004 of 12 July 2004 on the establishment of structures for the management of the European satellite radio-navigation programmes(7), and in particular Article 12 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0073/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget for the European GNSS Supervisory Authority for the financial year 2008 (C7-0200/2009 – 2009/2129(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority for the financial year 2008, together with the Authority's replies(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5827/2010 – C7-0061/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1321/2004 of 12 July 2004 on the establishment of structures for the management of the European satellite radio-navigation programmes(11), and in particular Article 12 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0073/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors nuanced its statement of assurance on the reliability of the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 and on the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions,

B.   whereas the Court of Auditors, in its report on the annual accounts of the Authority for 2006, issued a positive statement of assurance,

C.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it was unable to form an opinion on the accounts of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority for the financial year 2007 and points out that the entire architecture of the Galileo project was being revised in 2007 and that the Authority's accounts were prepared in a fragile legal environment,

D.   whereas the Authority became financially autonomous in 2006,

E.   whereas on 23 April 2009 Parliament granted the Executive Director of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority discharge for implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2007(13), and in its resolution accompanying the discharge decision inter alia:

   noted that the appropriations actually made available to the Authority (EUR 210 000 000) were substantially lower than had been budgeted, due to delays incurred in the Galileo Programme,
   was concerned that the Court of Auditors had found the following weaknesses with regard to budget implementation: low consumption level of commitment and payment appropriations for operational activities (63 % for commitments and 51 % for payments); absence of a clear link between the Authority's work programme and the budget; transfers neither justified nor documented; repeated late booking of recovery orders; inconsistent presentation of budget implementation,
   took note the Court of Auditors‘ criticism, with regard to Galileo project assets, that the Authority was unable to provide sufficient information in its accounts, as no list of the assets held by the European Space Agency (ESA) had been established by the end of 2007,

Budgetary and financial management

1.  Regrets that the Court of Auditors nuanced its statement of assurance on the reliability of the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 and on the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions;

2.  Notes that the Authority has decided to present the results of its activities without taking into account the fact that the Authority's management of the Galileo and EGNOS programmes would be discontinued after the finalisation of the transfer of assets and funds to the Commission scheduled for the end of the first quarter of 2008;

3.  Notes that Regulation (EC) No 683/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008(14) entered into force on 25 July 2008, and that in spite of the transfer to the Commission of responsibility for management of the Galileo and EGNOS programmes, the Commission transferred EUR 95 000 000 to the Authority's bank account on 24 December 2008; regrets that no proper amending budget was established;

4.  Notes that following the entry into force of Regulation (EC) No 683/2008, a very substantial reduction in the Authority's budget was adopted in 2008 (from EUR 436 500 000 in 2007 to EUR 22 700 000);

5.  Is concerned that, although under Regulation (EC) No 683/2008 the Commission became responsible, from 1 January 2009, for fund management and implementation of the European satellite navigation programmes (EGNOS and Galileo), neither activities nor any assets had yet been transferred to the Commission by the end of 2008, and that the new distribution of responsibilities between the Commission and the Authority was not clearly reflected in their respective annual accounts; understands from the Court of Auditors that the Authority should accordingly have treated the amount of EUR 58 400 000 as a debt to the Commission and not shown it as prefinancing received from the Commission; notes, moreover, that the EUR 55 600 000 payable to the European Space Agency should not have appeared in the accounts, as this figure represented contributions by the Communities to the Galileo and EGNOS programmes and came under the Commission's responsibility;

6.  Notes, nevertheless, the Authority's reply justifying its action by stating that the Commission had formally confirmed its agreement for the assets to be transferred only with effect from 31 July 2009, as it had not been possible to agree the transfer arrangements with the Commission until the end of June 2009;

7.  Refers to the recommendations in Special Report No 7/2009 of the Court of Auditors addressed to the Commission as the new manager of the Galileo Programme;

Internal audit

8.  Acknowledges that the Internal Audit Service (IAS) conducted its internal audit in November 2007 and its follow up audits in October 2008 and December 2009; notes that the two remaining important IAS recommendations yet to be implemented relate to sensitive posts and job descriptions;

o
o   o

9.  Refers, for other observations accompanying its Decision on discharge, which are of a horizontal nature, to its resolution of 5 May 2010(15) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 100.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 246, 20.7.2004, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 100.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 246, 20.7.2004, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 304, 15.12.2009, p. 100.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 246, 20.7.2004, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 255, 26.9.2009, p. 162.
(14) Regulation (EC) No 683/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 on the further implementation of the European satellite navigation programmes (EGNOS and Galileo) (OJ L 196, 24.7.2008, p. 1).
(15) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0139.


2008 discharge: European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy
PDF 215kWORD 45k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for the financial year 2008 (C7-0261/2009 – 2009/2187(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0120A7-0094/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for the financial year ended 31 December 2008, together with the replies of the Joint Undertaking(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5829/2010 – C7-0060/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2007/198/Euratom of 27 March 2007 establishing the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy and conferring advantages upon it(3), and in particular Article 5 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0094/2010),

1.  Grants the Director of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy discharge in respect of the implementation of the Joint Undertaking's budget for the financial year 2008,

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Director of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for the financial year 2008 (C7-0261/2009 – 2009/2187(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for the financial year ended 31 December 2008 , together with the replies of the Joint Undertaking(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5829/2010 – C7-0060/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2007/198/Euratom of 27 March 2007 establishing the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy and conferring advantages upon it(7), and in particular Article 5 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0094/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Director of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for the financial year 2008 (C7-0261/2009 – 2009/2187(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for the financial year ended 31 December 2008, together with the replies of the Joint Undertaking(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5829/2010 – C7-0060/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2007/198/Euratom of 27 March 2007 establishing the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy and conferring advantages upon it(11), and in particular Article 5 thereof,

–   having regard to the Financial Regulation of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy, adopted by decision of 22 October 2007 of the Joint Undertaking's Governing Board (hereinafter ‘ITER Financial Regulation’),

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A7-0094/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas the Joint Undertaking is in a start-up phase and had not fully established its internal control and financial reporting systems by the end of 2008,

C.   whereas under Article 75 of the ITER Financial Regulation the Joint Undertaking is required to have an internal audit service that complies with international audit standards,

D.   whereas the ITER Financial Regulation is based on the framework Financial Regulation, which was recently amended to bring it into line with changes made to the general Financial Regulation,

E.   whereas on 28 February 2008 the Joint Undertaking's Director sought the Court of Auditors‘ opinion on the ITER Financial Regulation,

F.   whereas in October 2008 the Court of Auditors delivered Opinion No 4/2008 on that Regulation,

Carryover of appropriations

1.  Notes that the Court of Auditors identified a surplus of EUR 57 600 000 in the budget outturn account, which represents 38% of the EUR 149 700 000 of accrued revenue; stresses, in particular, that part of that surplus (EUR 32 200 000) was carried over to the 2009 financial year; notes, nonetheless, the Joint Undertaking's reply to the effect that the under-spending to which the Court of Auditors refers stemmed from the fact that this was the Joint Undertaking's first year of financial autonomy from the Commission, and from delays in the start-up of the ITER International Organisation and the Euratom fusion programme as a whole;

Commitment irregularities

2.  Notes that, in six cases considered by the Court of Auditors, the Joint Undertaking made budget commitments only after it had already entered into legal obligations; calls accordingly on the Joint Undertaking to comply with the Financial Regulation in this respect as well;

ITER Financial Regulation

3.  Welcomes the Court of Auditors‘ finding that the ITER Financial Regulation is, in the main, founded on the principles laid down in the framework Financial Regulation and the general Financial Regulation; notes, nonetheless, that a number of specific changes need to be made, including as regards exceptions to the budgetary principles, the role of the Commission's Internal Audit Service, late payment of members’ contributions, the rules on the award of grants and the transitional provisions set out in Article 133 of the ITER Financial Regulation;

Annual activity report

4.  Expressly recommends that the Joint Undertaking meet the deadline agreed with the Court of Auditors for submission of its annual activity report;

Internal control systems

5.  Expressly recommends that the Joint Undertaking carry out further work on documenting IT processes and activities and analysing IT risks;

6.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking's internal auditor did not take up his duties until 1 July 2009; commends ITER, nonetheless, on having now drawn up an action plan for the implementation of internal control standards and set up a working group to coordinate and monitor the plan's implementation; stresses, furthermore, that ITER has appointed a Data Protection Officer and the necessary steps have been taken to further develop the Business Continuity and Data Recovery Plan;

7.  Notes the Joint Undertaking's statement to the effect that all underlying business processes are currently being mapped;

8.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking reported EUR 216 304,89 in income from interest in 2008; concludes from the financial statements and from the level of the interest payments that the Joint Undertaking has a permanently high level of cash holdings; notes that on 31 December 2008 the Joint Undertaking's cash holdings amounted to EUR 58 980 569,87; asks the Commission to examine what scope there is for introducing needs-orientated management of cash holdings at the Joint Undertaking, and what changes of approach are necessary in order to keep the Joint Undertaking's cash holdings permanently as low as possible.

(1) OJ C 310, 18.12.2009, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 90, 30.3.2007, p. 58.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 310, 18.12.2009, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 90, 30.3.2007, p. 58.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 310, 18.12.2009, p. 1
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 90, 30.3.2007, p. 58.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.


2008 discharge: SESAR joint undertaking (SJU)
PDF 218kWORD 47k
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2008 (C7-0262/2009 – 2009/2188(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0121A7-0077/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year ended 31 December 2008, together with the replies of the Joint Undertaking(1),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5829/2010 – C7-0060/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(2), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 219/2007 of 27 February 2007 on the establishment of a Joint Undertaking to develop the new generation European air traffic management system (SESAR)(3), and in particular Article 4b thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(4), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0077/2010),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking discharge in respect of the implementation of the Joint Undertaking's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking, 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.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2008 (C7-0262/2009 – 2009/2188(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year ended 31 December 2008, together with the replies of the Joint Undertaking(5),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5829/2010 – C7-0060/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(6), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 219/2007 of 27 February 2007 on the establishment of a Joint Undertaking to develop the new generation European air traffic management system (SESAR)(7), and in particular Article 4b thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0077/2010),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2008;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Executive Director of the SESAR Joint Undertaking, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2008 (C7-0262/2009 – 2009/2188(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year ended 31 December 2008, together with the replies of the Joint Undertaking(9),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 (5829/2010 – C7-0060/2010),

–   having regard to Article 276 of the EC Treaty and Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   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(10), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 219/2007 of 27 February 2007 on the establishment of a Joint Undertaking to develop the new generation European air traffic management system (SESAR)(11), and in particular Article 4b thereof,

–   having regard to the Financial Regulation of the SESAR Joint Undertaking adopted by the SESAR Administrative Board on 3 July 2007 (hereinafter ‘SESAR Financial Regulation’),

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(12), and in particular Article 94 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 77 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0077/2010),

A.   whereas the Court of Auditors states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the annual accounts for the financial year 2008 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular,

B.   whereas the SESAR Joint Undertaking was set up in February 2007 to run the SESAR (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) programme,

C.   whereas the Joint Undertaking is in a start-up phase and had not yet fully established its internal control and financial reporting systems by the end of 2008,

D.   whereas the Joint Undertaking will own all the tangible and intangible assets which it creates or which are transferred to it for the development phase of the SESAR project in accordance with specific agreements with its members,

1.  Welcomes the fact that the Court of Auditors found the SESAR Joint Undertaking's accounts for 2008 to be reliable and the underlying transactions, taken as a whole, to be legal and regular;

2.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking received EUR 250 000 000 in commitment appropriations and EUR 100 900 000 in payment appropriations from the European Union budget for 2008;

3.  Recognises that 2007-08 was a start-up period for the Joint Undertaking, that the new Council Regulation (EC) No 1361/2008(13), modifying the basic act of the Joint Undertaking, was only adopted on 16 December 2008, and that there was a delay in the payment of Eurocontrol's initial contribution;

Failure to respect the budgetary principle of annuality

4.  Notes that in April 2008 the Joint Undertaking's Administrative Board adopted the final budget covering the period August 2007 – December 2008, and that that decision was at odds with the annuality principle;

Implementation of the budget

5.  Points out that the final budget adopted by the Joint Undertaking's Administrative Board in April 2008 proved to be highly unrealistic, as is illustrated by commitment and payment appropriations take-up rates of 1% and 17% respectively;

6.  Regrets that, in a number of instances, transaction controls did not operate correctly and that adequate internal controls for contracts and procurement had not been established;

Recognition of assets

7.  Expresses its concern that, in contrast with very low utilisation rates, the Joint Undertaking had considerable sums in deposits in bank accounts at the year end, thus breaching the principle of budgetary equilibrium;

8.  Expressly recommends that the Joint Undertaking formulate an accounting policy in respect of any assets generated during the project's development phase;

SESAR Financial Regulation

9.  Welcomes the Court of Auditors‘ intention to deliver an opinion on the Financial Regulation adopted by the SESAR Administrative Board in July 2007; stresses the importance of that Regulation being in line with the framework Financial Regulation for Community bodies, and shares the Court of Auditors’ opinion that the provisions relating to the implementation of the budget and presentation of the accounts, to procurement procedures and to the internal audit function need to be completed; notes, furthermore, that the Joint Undertaking needs to adopt implementing rules for its Financial Regulation;

Annual activity report

10.  Expressly recommends that the Joint Undertaking meet the deadline agreed with the Court of Auditors for submission of its annual activity report;

Internal control systems

11.  Notes that an internal audit service consistent with applicable international standards was not established until January 2009; calls on the Joint Undertaking also to establish without delay appropriate internal control systems in connection with public procurement; stresses, in particular, the importance of formulating a disaster recovery plan and a data protection policy;

12.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking's accounts for the financial year 2008 show income from interest of EUR 148 370; concludes from the annual closure of accounts and the amount of interest payments that the Joint Undertaking maintains high cash reserves over long periods; notes that as of 31 December 2008 the Joint Undertaking's cash reserves amounted to EUR 116 007 569; calls on the Commission to examine ways of ensuring that the Joint Undertaking implements the principle of needs-based cash management and what changes in approach are needed to ensure that the Joint Undertaking's cash reserves are kept as low as possible on a long-term basis;

13.  Notes, in addition, that the Administrative Board failed to establish a staff establishment plan for 2008.

(1) OJ C 310, 18.12.2009, p. 9.
(2) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 64, 2.3.2007, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(5) OJ C 310, 18.12.2009, p. 9.
(6) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 64, 2.3.2007, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(9) OJ C 310, 18.12.2009, p. 9.
(10) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 64, 2.3.2007, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.
(13) OJ L 352, 31.12.2008, p. 12.


Transportable pressure equipment ***I
PDF 199kWORD 37k
Resolution
Text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 May 2010 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on transportable pressure equipment (COM(2009)0482 – C7-0161/2009 – 2009/0131(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2009)0482),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 71 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0161/2009),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures’ (COM(2009)0665),

–   having regard to Article 294(3) and Article 91 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 17 February 2010,

–   having consulted the Committee of the Regions,

–   having regard to Rule 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0101/2010),

1.  Adopts the position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2.  Takes note of the statement attached to this legislative resolution;

3.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend the proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

4.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, to the Commission and to the national parliaments.

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 5 May 2010 with a view to the adoption of Directive 2010/.../EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on transportable pressure equipment and repealing Council Directives 76/767/EEC, 84/525/EEC, 84/526/EEC, 84/527/EEC and 1999/36/EC

P7_TC1-COD(2009)0131


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive 2010/35/EU.)

ANNEX

Statement of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on Article 290 TFEU

The European Parliament, Council and Commission declare that the provisions of this Directive shall be without prejudice to any future position of the institutions as regards the implementation of Article 290 TFEU or individual legislative acts containing such provisions.


Aviation security charges ***I
PDF 402kWORD 93k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 May 2010 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on aviation security charges (COM(2009)0217 – C7–0038/2009 – 2009/0063(COD))
P7_TA(2010)0123A7-0035/2010

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2009)0217),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 80(2) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0038/2009),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures’ (COM(2009)0665),

–   having regard to Article 294(3) and Article 100(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 5 November 2009,

–   having consulted the Committee of the Regions,

–   having regard to Rule 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0035/2010),

1.  Adopts the position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend the proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, to the Commission and to the national parliaments.

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 5 May 2010 with a view to the adoption of Directive 2010/.../EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on aviation security charges

P7_TC1-COD(2009)0063


(Text with EEA relevance)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 100(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(1),

After consulting the Committee of the Regions,

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(2),

Whereas:

(1)  Aviation security at European airports is essentially a state responsibility. ▌It is ▌necessary to establish a common framework regulating the essential features of security charges and the way they are set, as in the absence of such framework basic requirements in the relationship between bodies setting such charges and airport users may not be respected.

(2)  The collection of charges with respect to the provision of air navigation services and groundhandling services has already been addressed by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1794/2006 of 6 December 2006 laying down a common charging scheme for air navigation services(3) and Council Directive 96/67/EC of 15 October 1996 on access to the groundhandling market at Community airports(4), respectively.

(3)  It is vital for airport users to obtain from the body setting or applying the charges, on a regular basis, information on how and on what basis aviation security charges are calculated. This information will provide airport users with an insight into the costs incurred by providing security services such as those referred to in Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 on common rules in the field of civil aviation security(5) and its implementing rules, the productivity of related investments and any grants and subsidies allocated by the authorities for security purposes. To allow the competent body setting or applying the charges to properly assess the requirements with regard to its future investments, ▌airport users should be required to share all their operational forecasts, developments projects and specific demands and wishes with the competent body on a timely basis.

(4)  As the methods for funding or establishing and levying the amounts due for the coverage of security costs differ across the Union, the harmonisation of the basis for charging security costs at Union airports where the costs of security are reflected in the security charges is necessary. At these airports the charge should be related to the cost for providing security, taking into account any public funding of security costs, with a view to avoiding any profit and to providing suitable and cost-effective security services and facilities at the airports concerned.

(5)  It is important to establish transparency with regard to the use of national security measures more stringent than the common basic standards established in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 300/2008.

(6)  In every Member State in which security charges are levied at airports an independent supervisory authority ▌should ensure the proper and effective application of this Directive. The authority should be in possession of all the necessary resources in terms of staffing, expertise and the financial resources for the performance of its tasks.

(7)  Member States should have the possibility of applying a common charging system to cover an airport network or other groups of airports including those serving the same city or conurbation.

(8)  When calculating security charges in respect of cost-relatedness, objective criteria should be used as a basis, such as those laid down in the relevant International Civil Aviation Organization documents, which advocate the use of the number of passengers or aircraft maximum take-off weight or a combination of these.

(9)  Since the objectives of the action taken cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, as security charges systems cannot be put in place at national level in a uniform manner throughout the Union and can therefore, by reason of the scale and effects of the action, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty. In accordance with the principle of proportionality as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Article 1

Subject matter

1.  This Directive sets common principles for the levying of security charges at Union airports.

2.  This Directive applies to any airport located in a territory subject to the provisions of the Treaty and open to commercial traffic.

This Directive does not apply to the charges collected for the remuneration of en-route and terminal air navigation services in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1794/2006, or to the charges collected for the remuneration of groundhandling services referred to in the Annex to Directive 96/67/EC.

Article 2

Definitions

For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitions apply:

   (a) ‘airport’ means any land area especially adapted for the landing, taking-off and manoeuvring of aircraft, including the ancillary installations which these operations may involve for the requirements of aircraft traffic and services including the installations needed to assist commercial air services;
   (b) ‘airport managing body’ means a body which, whether or not in conjunction with other activities, has as its objective under national laws or regulations the administration and management of the airport infrastructures and the coordination and control of the activities of the different operators present in the airports concerned;
   (c) 'airport network‘ means a number of airports in a Member State that are operated by an airport managing body designated by the competent national authority;
   (d) 'competent body‘ means an airport managing body or any other body or authority responsible for the application and/or the setting of the level and the structure of aviation security charges at Union airports;
   (e) ‘airport user’ means any natural or legal person responsible for the carriage of passengers, mail and/or freight by air from or to the airport concerned;
   (f) ‘security charge’ means a levy collected by any entity, airport or airport user in different forms which is specifically designed to recover ▌the costs of security measures intended to protect civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference. This cost of aviation security may include the costs incurred for ensuring the application of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 or for fulfilling the related regulatory and supervisory costs by the appropriate authority;
   (g) 'aviation security‘ means the combination of measures and human and material resources intended to safeguard civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference that jeopardise the security of civil aviation.

Article 3

Non-discrimination

Member States shall ensure that security charges do not discriminate between airport users or air passengers.

Article 4

Airport network

Member States may allow the competent body of an airport network to introduce a common and transparent charging system for security charges to cover the airport network.

Article 5

Common charging systems

After having informed the Commission and in accordance with Union law, Member States may allow the competent body to apply a common and transparent charging system at airports serving the same city or conurbation, provided that each airport fully complies with the requirements on transparency set out in Article 7.

Article 6

Consultation and remedy

1.  Member States shall ensure that the competent body has access to all necessary information on the costs of providing aviation security services at the airport.

2.  Member States shall ensure that ▌a compulsory ▌procedure for regular consultation between the competent body and airport users or the representatives or associations of airport users is established with respect to the operation of the system of security charges and the level of such charges. Such consultation shall take place at least once a year, unless agreed otherwise in the latest consultation. Where a multi-annual agreement between the competent body and the airport users exists, the consultations shall take place as provided for in such an agreement. Member States shall retain the right to request more frequent consultations.

3.  The competent body shall submit any proposal to modify the system or the level of security charges to the airport users or the representatives or associations of airport users no later than four months before it enters into force, together with the reasons for the proposed changes. The competent body shall hold consultations on the proposed changes with the airport users and take their views into account before a decision is taken.

4.  The competent body shall publish its decision no later than two months before it enters into force. When no agreement on the proposed changes is reached between the competent body and the airport users, the competent body shall justify its decision with regard to the airport users.

5.  Member States shall ensure that in the event of a disagreement over a decision on security charges taken by the competent body, either party may seek the intervention of the independent supervisory authority referred to in Article 10 which shall examine the justifications for the modification of the system or the level of security charges.

6.  A Member State may decide not to apply paragraph 5 in relation to changes to the level or the structure of the aviation security charges at those airports for which:

   (a) there is a mandatory procedure under national law whereby aviation security charges, or their maximum level, are to be determined or approved by the independent supervisory authority; or
   (b) there is a mandatory procedure under national law whereby the independent supervisory authority examines, on a regular basis or in response to requests from interested parties, whether such airports are subject to effective competition. Whenever the situation so warrants on the basis of such an examination, the Member State shall decide that the aviation security charges, or their maximum level, are to be determined or approved by the independent supervisory authority. This decision shall apply for as long as is necessary on the basis of the examination conducted by that authority.

The procedures, conditions and criteria applied by the Member State for the purposes of this paragraph shall be relevant, objective, non-discriminatory and transparent.

Article 7

Transparency

1.  Member States shall ensure that the competent body provides each airport user, or the representatives or associations of airport users, every time consultations as referred to in Article 6(2) are to be held, with information on the components serving as a basis for determining the structure and the level of all security charges levied at each airport. This information shall at least include:

   (a) a list of the various services and infrastructure provided in return for the security charge levied;
   (b) the method of calculation of security charges;
   (c) the overall cost structure with regard to the facilities and services to which security charges relate;
   (d) the revenueof the security charges and the total cost of the services covered by them;
   (e) the total number of staff deployed to services which give rise to the collection of security charges;
   (f) any financing from public authorities of the facilities and services to which security charges relate;
   (g) forecasts of the level of security charges taking into account proposed investments, traffic growth and increased levels of security threats;
   (h) any intended investments that may affect significantly the level of security charges.

2.  Member States shall ensure that airport users submit information to the competent body before every consultation, as provided for in Article 6, concerning in particular:

   (a) forecasts as regards traffic;
   (b) forecasts as to the composition and envisaged use of their fleet;
   (c) their development projects at the airport concerned;
   (d) their requirements at the airport concerned;
   (e) the amount of the security charge levied by airport users on passengers departing from the airport and information on the components serving as a basis for determining these charges in accordance with points (a) to (h) of paragraph 1.

3.  Member States shall ensure that information on the amount of security charges levied by the competent body and the airport users is publicly accessible.

4.  Subject to national legislation, the information provided on the basis of this Article shall be regarded as confidential or economically sensitive and handled accordingly. In the case of airport managing bodies that are quoted on a stock exchange, stock exchange regulations in particular shall be complied with.

Article 8

More stringent measures

1.  The additional costs of implementing more stringent measures pursuant to Article 6 of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 shall be borne by the Member States.

2.  Before adopting measures pursuant to Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008, the Commission shall undertake an impact assessment with regard to the effects on the level of security charges. The Commission shall consult the Stakeholders‘ Advisory Group constituted under Article 17 of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 about the outcome of this impact assessment.

Article 9

Cost-relatedness of security charges

Security charges shall be used exclusively to meet security costs. These costs shall be determined using the principles of accounting and evaluation generally accepted in each of the Member States. The total revenue from security charges shall not be higher than the total costs of aviation security for that airport, airport network, or group of airports.

However, Member States shall ensure that particular account is taken of:

   the cost of financing the facilities and installations dedicated to security operations, including fair depreciation in the value of these facilities and installations;
   the national and/or international level of the security threat;
   the expenditure on security staff and security operations;
   the grants and subsidies allocated by the authorities for security purposes.

The cost base for the calculation of security charges shall not include any costs that would be incurred for more general security functions performed by Member States such as general policing, intelligence gathering and national security.

Article 10

Independent supervisory authority

1.  Member States shall nominate or establish an independent body as their national independent supervisory authority in order to ensure the correct application of the measures taken to comply with this Directive. That body may be the same as the entity entrusted by a Member State with the application of Directive 2009/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2009 on airport charges(6).

2.  This Directive shall not prevent the national independent supervisory authority from delegating, under its supervision and full responsibility, and in compliance with national law, the implementation of this Directive to other independent supervisory authorities, provided that implementation takes place in accordance with the same standards.

3.  Member States shall guarantee the independence of the independent supervisory authority by ensuring that it is legally distinct from and functionally independent of any competent body or air carrier. Member States that retain ownership or control of airports, airport managing bodies or air carriers shall ensure effective structural separation of the regulatory function from activities associated with ownership or control. Member States shall ensure that the independent supervisory authority exercises its powers impartially and transparently.

4.  Member States shall notify to the Commission the name and address of the independent supervisory authority, its assigned tasks and responsibilities, and the measures taken to ensure compliance with paragraph 3.

5.  Member States shall ensure, in respect of disagreements with regard to security charges, that measures are taken to:

   (a) establish a procedure for resolving disagreements between the competent body and the airport users;
   (b) determine the conditions under which a disagreement may be submitted to the independent supervisory authority and in particular provide for the dismissal by the authority of complaints which it deems are not properly justified or adequately documented; and
   (c) determine the criteria against which disagreements will be assessed for resolution.

These procedures, conditions and criteria shall be non-discriminatory, transparent and objective.

6.  The independent supervisory authority shall publish an annual report concerning its activities.

7.  When a Member State applies, in accordance with its national law, a regulatory or legislative procedure to determine and approve the structure or level of security charges at national level, the national authorities responsible for examining the validity of security charges shall perform the tasks of the independent supervisory authority set out in paragraphs 1 to 6.

Article 11

Report and revision

1.  The Commission shall not later than ...(7) submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the operation of this Directive as well as, where appropriate, any suitable proposal.

2.  The Member States and the Commission shall co-operate in the application of this Directive, particularly as regards the collection of information for the report mentioned in paragraph 1.

3.  The Commission shall not later than ...(8)* submit a report on the funding of aviation security, examining the evolution of aviation security costs and the methods for funding aviation security.

Article 12

Transposition

1.  Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive before ...(9). They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions and a correlation table between those provisions and this Directive.

When Member States adopt those provisions, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their official publication. Member States shall determine how such reference is to be made.

2.  Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.

3.  A Member State shall not be required to comply with paragraphs 1 and 2, in so far as no security charges are levied at any airport in that Member State, and without prejudice to Article 11(2).

Article 13

Entry into force

This Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Article 14

Addressees

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at ,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) OJ C 128, 18.5.2010, p. 142.
(2) Position of the European Parliament of 5 May 2010.
(3) OJ L 341, 7.12.2006, p. 3.
(4) OJ L 272, 25.10.1996, p. 36.
(5) OJ L 97, 9.4.2008, p. 72.
(6) OJ L 70, 14.3.2009, p. 11.
(7)* Four years after the entry into force of this Directive.
(8)** Two years after the entry into force of this Directive.
(9)* Two years after the entry into force of this Directive.


Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (recast) ***I
PDF 198kWORD 36k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 May 2010 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (recast) (COM(2009)0391 – C7-0111/2009 – 2009/0110(COD))
P7_TA(2010)0124A7-0030/2010

(Ordinary legislative procedure – recast)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2009)0391),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 156(1) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0111/2009),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures’ (COM(2009)0665),

–   having regard to Article 294(3) and Article 172(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 4 November 2009,

–   having consulted the Committee of the Regions,

–   having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 28 November 2001 on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal acts(1),

–   having regard to the letter of 11 December 2009 from the Committee on Legal Affairs to the Committee on Transport and Tourism in accordance with Rule 87(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to Rules 87 and 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0030/2010),

A.   whereas, according to the Consultative Working Party of the legal services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the proposal in question does not include any substantive amendments other than those identified as such in the proposal and whereas, as regards the codification of the unchanged provisions of the earlier acts together with those amendments, the proposal contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts, without any change in their substance,

1.  Adopts the position hereinafter set out, taking into account the recommendations of the Consultative Working Party of the legal services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, to the Commission and to the national parliaments.

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 5 May 2010 with a view to the adoption of to the adoption of Decision No .../2010/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (recast)

P7_TC1-COD(2009)0110


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Decision No 661/2010/EU.)

(1) OJ C 77, 28.3.2002, p. 1.


General provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund as regards simplification of certain requirements and as regards certain provisions relating to financial management ***I
PDF 198kWORD 26k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 5 May 2010 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 concerning general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund as regards simplification of certain requirements and as regards provisions relating to financial management (COM(2009)0384 – C7-0003/2010 – 2009/0107(COD))
P7_TA(2010)0125A7-0055/2010

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2009)0384),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 161 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C7-0003/2010),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication to Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures’ (COM(2009)0665),

–   having regard to Article 294(3) and Article 177 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 5 November 2009,

–   after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–   having regard to Rule 55 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Regional Development and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0055/2010),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 5 May 2010 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) No .../2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund as regards simplification of certain requirements and as regards certain provisions relating to financial management

P7_TC1-COD(2009)0107


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) No 539/2010.)


Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures
PDF 215kWORD 46k
European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on the consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures (COM(2009)0665) – ‘omnibus’
P7_TA(2010)0126B7-0221/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Consequences of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon for ongoing interinstitutional decision-making procedures’ (COM(2009)0665) and the Addendum thereto (COM(2010)0147),

–   having regard to the re-consultation letter of the Council of Ministers of 23 March 2010,

–   having regard to the President's announcement of 15 December 2009 in plenary,

–   having regard to Rules 58 and 59 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to its Resolution of 7 May 2009 on Parliament's new role and responsibilities in implementing the Treaty of Lisbon(1), in particular paragraph 75 thereof,

–   having regard to the parliamentary committees‘ screening of all pending proposals and the results, which were compiled by the Conference of Committee Chairs on 8 February 2010,

–   having regard to the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 4 March 2010 endorsing the results of the screening exercise,

–   having regard to the letters of the President of 14 April 2010 to the President of the Council of Ministers and to the President of the European Commission, in response to Commission communication COM(2009)0665,

A.   whereas the European Parliament has verified the completeness of the Commission Communication as well as its correctness, in particular regarding the legal basis and the procedure under the Treaty of Lisbon indicated by the Commission in its lists,

1.  Considers that the Treaty of Lisbon establishes a new legal framework affecting pending files, notably owing to the changes made to their legal basis and/or the relevant procedures and, therefore, takes note of the following list of 10 procedures for which it wishes a new or an amended Commission proposal, or, where appropriate, a re-consultation by the Council of Ministers in order to take that new framework into due account and calls on both Institutions to comply with these requests:

   Proposal for a Council Regulation implementing within the European Economic Community Decision No 3/80 of the EEC-Turkey Association Council on the application of the social security schemes of the Member States of the European Communities to Turkish workers and members of their families, 1983/1101(CNS),
   Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on improving the portability of supplementary pension rights, 2005/0214(COD),
   Proposal for a Council Recommendation on measures to combat neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Alzheimer's, through joint programming of research activities, 2009/0113(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Regulation on the establishment of an evaluation mechanism to verify the application of the Schengen acquis, 2009/0033(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Regulation imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain natural and legal persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Somalia, 2009/0114(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1104/2008 on migration from the Schengen Information System (SIS 1+) to the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), 2009/0136(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Regulation concerning the conservation of fisheries resources through technical measures, 2008/0112(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion by the European Community of the interim agreement between the European Community, the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and the Republic of Belarus, of the other part, on trade and trade-related matters, 1996/0053(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Community of the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006, 2006/0263(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 2100/94 as regards the term of office of the President of the Community Plant Variety Office, 2005/0078(CNS);

2.  Confirms its position in the following 29 procedures which changed under the Treaty of Lisbon from consultation to the ordinary legislative procedure, from consultation to consent or from assent to consent:

   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republics of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, of the other, 2003/0266(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Andean Community and its member countries, the Republics of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, of the other part, 2003/0268(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1290/2005 on the financing of the common agricultural policy and Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation) as regards food distribution to the most deprived persons in the Community, 2008/0183(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision concerning the conclusion of an Agreement between the Community and the Swiss Confederation in the audiovisual field, establishing the terms and conditions for the participation of the Swiss Confederation in the Community programme MEDIA 2007, and a Final Act, 2007/0171(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Regulation extending the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 and Regulation (EC) No […] to nationals of third countries who are not already covered by these provisions solely on the ground of their nationality, 2007/0152(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision authorising Member States to ratify, in the interests of the European Community, the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007, of the International Labour Organisation (Convention 188), 2008/0107(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision concerning the conclusion, by the European Community, of the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2008/0171(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the relevant agreements under Article XXI GATS with Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the Separate customs territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Chinese Taipei), Columbia, Cuba, Ecuador, Hong Kong China, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Switzerland, and the United States, on the necessary compensatory adjustments resulting from the accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovak Republic, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden to the European Union, 2007/0055(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of a Protocol to the Framework Agreement for Trade and Cooperation between the European Community and its Member States, on the one hand, and the Republic of Korea, on the other hand, to take account of the accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia, and the Slovak Republic to the European Union, 2005/0121(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion by the European Community of the interim agreement between the European Community, the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and Turkmenistan, of the other part, on trade and trade-related matters, 1998/0304(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of an Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Chile, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union, 2007/0083(AVC),
   Proposal for a Council Decision concluding the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the CARIFORUM States, of the other part, 2008/0061(AVC),
   Proposal for a Council Decision concluding the stepping stone Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and Côte d'Ivoire, of the other part, 2008/0136(AVC),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of an Agreement on the participation of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania in the European Economic Area and four related agreements, 2007/0115(AVC),
   Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 as regards the term of office of the Executive Director and the Deputy Executive Director of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, 2005/0089(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Directive on the marketing of material for the vegetative propagation of the vine (codified version), 2008/0039(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Directive concerning veterinary checks in intra-Community trade (codified version), 2008/0037(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Directive laying down the principles governing the organisation of veterinary checks on animals entering the Community from third countries (codified version), 2008/0253(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Regulation on the Community patent, 2000/0177(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Albania on certain aspects of air services, 2005/0143(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and Bosnia and Herzegovina on certain aspects of air services, 2005/0140(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and Serbia and Montenegro on certain aspects of air services, 2005/0141(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Multilateral Agreement between the Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Croatia, the European Community, the Republic of Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Kingdom of Norway, Serbia and Montenegro, Romania and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo on the Establishment of a European Common Aviation Area (ECAA), 2006/0036(CNS),
   Proposal for a Decision of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of the European Union, meeting within the Council on the conclusion of the Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, on the one hand, and the Kingdom of Morocco, on the other hand, 2006/0048(CNS),
   Proposal for a Decision of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of the European Union, meeting within the Council on the conclusion of the Air Transport Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, on the one hand, and the United States of America, on the other hand, 2006/0058(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of an Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America on cooperation in the regulation of civil aviation safety, 2007/0111(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the International Civil Aviation Organization and the European Community regarding security audits / inspections and related matters, 2008/0111(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Protocol on the Implementation of the Alpine Convention in the field of Transport (Transport Protocol), 2008/0262(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion by the European Community of the Agreement on the Accession of the European Community to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF) of 9 May 1980, as amended by the Vilnius Protocol of 3 June 1999, 2009/0121(CNS);

3.  Decides not to confirm its position already taken in the following four procedures and underlines that it wishes to proceed to a new first reading of the original proposal:

   Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) by the European Community and on the exercise of its rights and obligations, 2009/0085(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2003/109/EC to extend its scope to beneficiaries of international protection, 2007/0112(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Directive on a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State, 2007/0229(CNS),
   Proposal for a Council Decision on a Critical Infrastructure Warning Information Network (CIWIN), 2008/0200(CNS);

4.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council of Ministers, the Commission and the parliaments of the Member States.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0373.


Power of legislative delegation
PDF 140kWORD 51k
European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on the power of legislative delegation (2010/2021(INI))
P7_TA(2010)0127A7-0110/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’),

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 September 2008 with recommendations to the Commission on the alignment of legal acts to the new Comitology Decision(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 May 2009 on Parliament's new role and responsibilities in implementing the Treaty of Lisbon(2),

–   having regard to its position of 24 November 2009 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council adapting a number of instruments subject to the procedure referred to in Article 251 of the Treaty to Council Decision 1999/468/EC, with regard to the regulatory procedure with scrutiny – Adaptation to the regulatory procedure with scrutiny – Part Five(3),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication of 9 December 2009 on the implementation of Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (COM(2009)0673),

–   having regard to the letter of 29 January 2010 from the President of the European Parliament to the President of the European Commission on Articles 290 and 291 TFEU,

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A7-0110/2010),

A.   whereas the Treaty of Lisbon consecrates legislative power and introduces a hierarchy of norms in the Union's legal order, thus reinforcing the democratic character of the Union and rationalising its legal order; whereas the Treaty of Lisbon introduces the novel concept of a legislative act, with far-reaching consequences,

B.   whereas one of the elements of legislative power is the possibility, provided for in Article 290 TFEU, for the Legislator to delegate part of its own power to the Commission in a legislative act (hereinafter ‘the basic act’),

C.   whereas delegation is a delicate operation in which the Commission is instructed to exercise a power which is intrinsic to the Legislator's own role; whereas the starting-point in examining the issue of delegation must therefore always be the freedom of the Legislator,

D.   whereas this delegated power can only consist in supplementing or amending parts of a legislative act which the Legislator does not consider to be essential; whereas the resulting delegated acts adopted by the Commission will be non-legislative acts of general scope; whereas the basic act must explicitly define the objective, content, scope and duration of that delegation, and must lay down the conditions to which the delegation is subject,

E.   whereas delegated acts will have important implications in many areas; whereas it is therefore of paramount importance, in particular with regard to delegated acts, that they are developed and decided upon in a fully transparent manner which effectively enables the co-legislators to democratically control the exercise of the power delegated to the Commission, including by public debate in Parliament, where necessary,

F.   whereas Parliament should be on an equal footing with the Council with respect to all aspects of the power of legislative delegation,

G.   whereas the ‘Lamfalussy procedure’ paved the way for the present mechanism of delegation with full control by the Legislator; whereas Declaration 39 of the Conference of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of 23 July 2007, annexed to the Treaty of Lisbon, recognised the specific nature of the financial services area; whereas the new regime for delegated acts cannot in any way undermine Parliament's existing rights in that area, especially concerning the early transmission of documents and information,

H.   whereas delegation can be seen as a tool for better law-making, the objective of which is to ensure that legislation can at the same time remain simple and be completed and updated without needing to have recourse to repeated legislative procedures, whilst also allowing the Legislator to maintain its ultimate power and responsibility,

I.   whereas, by contrast with the approach taken in Article 291 TFEU concerning implementing measures, Article 290 TFEU does not contain a legal basis for the adoption of a horizontal act setting out the rules and general principles applicable to delegations of power; whereas those conditions must therefore be set out in each basic act,

J.   whereas the Commission is accountable to Parliament; whereas the Commissioner responsible for inter-institutional relations and administration made a commitment, at his hearing before the Committee on Constitutional Affairs on 18 January 2010, to work very closely with Parliament to ensure that the Commission's exercise of delegated power was to Parliament's satisfaction,

Aspects to be defined in the basic act

1.  Considers that the objectives, content, scope and duration of a delegation pursuant to Article 290 TFEU must be expressly and meticulously defined in each basic act;

2.  Stresses that Article 290 TFEU gives the Legislator the freedom to choose which control mechanism(s) to put in place; considers that the two examples enumerated in Article 290(2), objection and revocation, are purely illustrative and that one could envisage subjecting a delegation of power to other means of control, such as an express approval by Parliament and the Council of each delegated act or a possibility of repealing individual delegated acts already in force;

3.  Takes the view, however, that the two examples of possible conditions mentioned in Article 290(2) TFEU, objection and revocation, may be regarded as the most usual ways to control the Commission's use of delegated powers and should both be included in every basic act;

4.  Is of the opinion that the control mechanisms set out by the Legislator must respect certain general principles of Union law and that, in particular, they must:

   be simple and easily understandable,
   safeguard legal certainty,
   enable the Commission to exercise the delegated power effectively, and
   enable the Legislator to monitor properly the use made of delegated power;

5.  Considers that Parliament's exercise of the right of objection is necessarily conditioned by its parliamentary role and places of work; considers that a fixed period for objection applicable to all legal acts is not warranted, and that that period should be fixed on a case-by-case basis in each basic act taking into account the complexity of the issues and must be sufficient to permit effective control of the delegation, without unduly delaying the entry into force of uncontroversial delegated acts;

6.  Considers that an urgency procedure provided for in the basic act itself should be introduced for particularly exceptional cases, for example relating to security matters, health or humanitarian crises;

7.  Believes, however, that the vast majority of situations requiring the speedy adoption of delegated acts could be dealt with by a flexible procedure for early non-objection by Parliament and the Council, following a request by the Commission in duly justified cases;

8.  Maintains that the duration of a delegation can be indefinite, taking into account the fact that the delegation can be revoked at any time; is of the opinion, however, that a delegation of a limited duration could provide for the possibility of periodic renewal following an express request by the Commission; considers that the delegation can only be renewed if neither Parliament nor the Council expresses any objections within a specified deadline;

9.  Strongly rejects the insertion in basic acts of provisions imposing on the Legislator additional obligations over and above those already contained in Article 290 TFEU;

Practical arrangements

10.  Considers that certain practical arrangements could be better coordinated in a Common Understanding between the institutions, which may take the form of an inter-institutional agreement covering inter alia:

   consultations in the preparation and drawing-up of delegated acts,
   mutual exchanges of information, in particular in the event of a revocation,
   arrangements for the transmission of documents,
   minimum periods for objection by Parliament and the Council;
   computation of time periods,
   the publication of acts in the Official Journal at different stages in the procedure;

11.  Stresses that, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, the Commission must:

   ensure an early and continuous transmission of information and relevant documents to Parliament's relevant committees, including successive drafts of delegated acts and any contributions received; to this end, the current comitology register could be used as a model for an improved digital information system,
   give Parliament access to related preparatory meetings, exchanges of views and consultations;

12.  Is of the opinion that the exchange of information prior to a revocation should take place as a matter of transparency, courtesy and loyal cooperation between the institutions concerned thereby ensuring that all institutions are fully aware of the possibility of revocation in good time; however, deems it redundant and confusing to introduce a specific legal obligation in basic acts requiring a statement of reasons for the adoption of certain legal acts in addition to the general requirement laid down in Article 296 TFEU which is applicable to all legal acts;

13.  Proposes that a minimum period for objection be fixed in any future Agreement, it being made clear that this should be understood not as a straitjacket but merely as a minimum below which Parliament's democratic control would become nugatory; considers that the minimum period for objection should be two months, with a possibility of its being extended by a further two months at the initiative of Parliament or the Council; stresses, however, that the period for objection should depend on the nature of the delegated act;

14.  Insists, in the context of any future Agreement, that the various periods for scrutiny of delegated acts must only start on transmission by the Commission of all language versions, and must properly take account of Parliament's recess and electoral periods;

15.  Stresses, in the context of any future Agreement, that delegated acts subject to a right of objection can only be published in the Official Journal and thus enter into force after the expiry of the period for objection, except where an early non-objection is granted; considers that an express obligation requiring Parliament and the Council in each basic act to publish decisions taken in controlling the Commission's exercise of delegated power is superfluous;

Final remarks

16.  Calls on each of its committees to exchange and regularly update best practice and establish a mechanism to ensure that Parliament's practices under Article 290 TFEU are as coherent as possible; underlines the need for each parliamentary committee to organise its work in a way that is consistent with its specific nature and takes advantage of its accumulated expertise;

17.  Requires Parliament's administration to reallocate resources as a (budget-neutral) means of providing the posts needed to deliver appropriate support for the performance of tasks connected with Article 290 TFEU; calls for an institutional approach to assess the administrative structures and human resources available to develop delegated competences;

18.  Urges the Commission to present as a matter of priority the legislative proposals needed to adapt the acquis to the provisions of Articles 290 and 291 TFEU; considers, in respect of Article 290 TFEU, that this alignment should not be limited to those measures previously dealt with under the regulatory procedure with scrutiny but should cover all appropriate measures of general scope independently of the decision-making procedure or comitology procedure applicable to them prior to the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon;

19.  Insists that the first priority must be to adapt the acquis in policy areas which, prior to the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, were not subject to the codecision procedure; calls for them to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis in such a way as to ensure that, in particular, all appropriate measures of general scope which were previously adopted under Articles 4 and 5 of Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission(4) are defined as delegated acts;

20.  Considers that, in order to fully preserve the Legislator's prerogatives, special attention should be given to the relative use of Articles 290 and 291 TFEU and to the practical consequences of having recourse to one article or the other, be it during the above-mentioned alignment or when dealing with proposals under the ordinary legislative procedure; insists that the co-legislators have the power to decide that the matters previously adopted under the regulatory procedure with scrutiny can be adopted either under Article 290 TFEU or under the ordinary legislative procedure;

o
o   o

21.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ C 8 E, 14.1.2010, p. 22.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0373.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0083.
(4) OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.


Strategic goals and recommendations for the EU's maritime transport policy until 2018
PDF 293kWORD 54k
European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on strategic goals and recommendations for the EU's maritime transport policy until 2018 (2009/2095(INI))
P7_TA(2010)0128A7-0114/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 21 January 2009 on strategic goals and recommendations for the EU's maritime transport policy until 2018 (COM(2009)0008) (‘communication on the EU's maritime transport policy until 2018’),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 10 October 2007 on an integrated maritime policy for the European Union (COM(2007)0575),

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0114/2010),

A.   whereas European ship owners make an important contribution to the European economy but have to compete in a global environment,

B.   whereas structural and integrated measures to preserve and develop the thriving maritime sector in Europe are important and ought to enhance the competitiveness of maritime transport and related sectors, integrating the requirements of sustainable development and fair competition,

C.   whereas attracting young people to, and keeping them in, maritime careers is an absolute necessity, and the level of training for maritime professionals in Europe needs to be improved through the impending revision of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping of Seafarers (STCW Convention),

D.   whereas climate change poses the greatest challenge for all areas of European policy in the 21st century,

E.   whereas maritime transport is a relatively environmentally sound mode of transport, which nonetheless has much potential to become even cleaner than it already is; whereas it must be involved, through a gradual reduction in the carbon footprint of vessels and port infrastructures, in the efforts to combat climate change,

F.   whereas safety is of the utmost importance to ports, ship owners and seafarers on board and on shore; whereas safety measures must take into consideration protection of the coastal and marine environment as well as working conditions in ports and on board vessels,

G.   whereas criminal attacks on European fishing and commercial vessels and passenger ships continue to take place in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia and in international waters,

H.   whereas the European maritime industry is a world leader, its lead must be safeguarded in the long term and this is achievable only through innovation,

I.   whereas decisions need to be taken at the right administrative level, which means at global level where possible and at European level where necessary,

General

1.  Welcomes the communication on the EU's maritime transport policy until 2018;

2.  Stresses the importance of the maritime transport sector to the European economy, not only as a carrier of passengers, raw materials, goods and energy products but also as the core of a wider cluster of maritime activities such as the naval industry, logistics, research, tourism, fisheries and aquaculture, and education;

3.  Emphasises that EU maritime policy should take account of the fact that the maritime transport industry faces competition not only within the Union but also, and above all, globally; emphasises, also, the importance of the growth of maritime transport, as part of the wider transport sector, both within and outside the EU;

4.  Hopes that EU maritime policies will henceforth be designed within the framework of a ‘single European sea’ and, consequently, calls on the Commission to develop a European maritime transport policy as part of a common maritime area;

The market

5.  Urges the Commission to continue to combat abuses of flags of convenience;

6.  Urges Member States, therefore, to encourage the use of their flags and to support their maritime clusters on shore, for example by providing fiscal facilities such as a tonnage tax system for ships as well as fiscal facilities for seafarers and ship owners;

7.  Considers that, like any sector of the economy, the maritime sector must in principle be governed by the rules on State aid, although State aid may exceptionally be permitted for specific cases provided that it is made available temporarily and in a transparent and comprehensible manner;

8.  Considers that the guidelines on State aid to shipping, which expire in 2011, must be retained and extended, since they have contributed substantially towards maintaining the international competitiveness of European shipping, towards its ability successfully to overcome the often unfair competition from third countries, and towards maintaining its leading position worldwide, and have therefore helped to support the economies of Member States;

9.  Calls on the Commission to submit the promised new rules on State aid for maritime transport in 2010, and further considers that the Commission should submit the guidelines on State aid to sea ports as quickly as possible;

10.  Emphasises, in this context, that State aid should be used exclusively to support European maritime sectors that are committed to social standards, the promotion of jobs and the training of personnel in Europe, and to ensure the global competitiveness of European shipping;

11.  Calls on Member States speedily to sign, ratify and implement the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, known as the ‘Rotterdam Rules’, establishing the new maritime liability system;

12.  Calls on the Commission to give greater consideration to maritime transport and its land-based structures during the forthcoming revision of the Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network, in particular the multimodal linking of European sea ports with the hinterland;

13.  Welcomes the Commission's proposal for a directive on reporting formalities for ships arriving in or departing from ports of the Member States of the Community (COM(2009)0011), in order to simplify, reduce and eliminate administrative procedures for European short sea shipping; calls on the Commission to continue to support short sea shipping with a view to substantially increasing the performance capacities of maritime transport within the Union;

Social aspects

14.  Welcomes initiatives by Member States and the Commission to make maritime occupations more attractive to young EU citizens; emphasises the need to provide lifelong learning and retraining for seafarers at all levels, on shore and on board, with a view to strengthening the professional qualifications and skills of the workforce; advocates also that more information on the sector be provided at schools and that more traineeships be made available;

15.  Calls on Member States, within the scope of international conventions such as the STCW Convention and the ILO 2006 Maritime Labour Convention, to improve and modernise existing training programmes with a view to further qualitative development of maritime colleges;

16.  Stresses that seafarers from third countries must comply with satisfactory training requirements in accordance with the STCW Convention and calls on ship owners and national inspectorates to guarantee and enforce this, where necessary with the assistance of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA); reiterates its request for rapid ratification by Member States of the ILO 2006 Maritime Labour Convention and early adoption of the Commission's proposal, based on the industry agreement, for incorporating key elements of the Convention into EU law;

17.  Calls on Member States to encourage the use of EU seafarers in their own fleets and to create sufficient facilities to prevent the migration of seafarers outside the Union;

18.  Welcomes the Commission's suggestion that Member States should promote cooperation between European maritime institutions, and encourages Member States to harmonise their respective curricula and training schemes in order to promote and develop high levels of qualification and advanced skills among EU seafarers;

19.  Emphasises that the social dimension and the working conditions of EU seafarers are closely linked to the competitiveness of the European fleet, and that it is necessary to facilitate labour mobility in the maritime industries throughout Europe and to ensure a fully functioning internal market without barriers and without unjustified restrictions on the provision of services;

20.  Encourages the exchange of good practices in relation to employment conditions and social standards, as well as an improvement in living conditions on board vessels, particularly through the development of information and communication technologies, better access to healthcare, better safety standards and training to enable seafarers to cope with the risks inherent in their jobs;

21.  Stresses that inspections must be specific and risk-based and must not generate any superfluous regulatory pressure on the industry;

22.  Hopes that the capacity of technological developments to compensate for the declining availability of seafarers will be investigated, but warns against introducing untried technology too hastily;

23.  Calls on maritime port authorities to improve facilities for seafarers on ships waiting at anchor in roadsteads, including facilities for easier transportation from ship to shore and vice versa;

The environment

24.  Acknowledges that considerable progress must be made on reducing emissions of sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides, particulates (PM10) and CO2, and that this is necessary within the framework of the EU climate protection goals; stresses that the sector can contribute to the fight against harmful emissions and climate change and that public and private investments in research and development will be of particular interest in this regard;

25.  Stresses that emissions reductions must be agreed rapidly and implemented with binding force via the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in order to limit disparities in competitive conditions, but that this must not prevent the Union from taking initiatives aimed at further reductions by the fleets of its Member States, thereby encouraging the other continents to become competitive in this area; draws attention here to the major disparities between short and long-distance sea shipping, which must be considered when reaching agreements in the IMO;

26.  Calls on Member States to make more use – where possible in conjunction with neighbouring countries – of the option of designating maritime emission control areas, particularly for nitrogen oxides; emphasises that the establishment of further maritime emission control areas must not lead to distortion of competition within Europe;

27.  Supports measures that encourage modal shifts towards maritime transport with a view to easing congestion on major roads; invites the Union and Member States to create logistics platforms at ports, which are essential for developing intermodality and strengthening territorial cohesion; stresses that international and EU rules must not hinder the efforts undertaken by national authorities in this regard; hopes to see the rapid and extensive introduction, within the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean, of ‘motorways of the sea’, which will help to reduce both pollution and congestion in land networks;

28.  Supports in principle the amendments to Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention to reduce sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from ships, adopted by the IMO in October 2008; is concerned, however, about a possible shift back from short sea transport to road haulage as a result of the introduction of the 0.1% sulphur limit, envisaged as of 2015, in the sulphur emission control areas in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea; calls on the Commission, therefore, to submit a relevant impact assessment to Parliament as swiftly as possible and by the end of 2010 at the latest;

29.  Considers that all modes of transport, including maritime transport, must gradually internalise their external costs; believes that the introduction of this principle will generate funds that can subsequently be used primarily for efforts to encourage innovation;

30.  Calls on the Commission and Member States also to work on alternative instruments such as the introduction of a levy on bunker fuel, preferably geared to the quality and environmental performance of the fuel, or the concept of ‘green ports’, where clean vessels are dealt with more quickly and/or pay reduced harbour dues;

31.  Calls on Member States to work within the IMO to set and implement appropriate and globally applicable environmental standards;

32.  Notes in this connection the breakthrough in inland shipping technology which has made it possible to reduce emissions from existing ships‘ engines substantially and the possible use of liquid natural gas as a fuel; calls on the Commission to investigate whether these techniques can also be used in seagoing vessels and how their implementation might be accelerated;

33.  Deplores the fact that the Copenhagen Climate Summit did not succeed in reaching any conclusions with regard to reducing emissions from seagoing vessels, but stresses that intensive efforts must continue, both in the post-Kyoto process and in the IMO, to agree global measures to bring about such reductions; invites Member States to make every effort to ensure that the IMO receives a mandate for the next international climate negotiations, with quantifiable reduction targets for maritime transport;

34.  Calls on the Union to lead this process at global level, notably in the IMO, with a view to reducing emissions from the maritime sector;

35.  Stresses the importance in European ports of interoperable technical facilities for the supply of electricity from shore to ship, which can considerably reduce pollution; calls on the Commission to ascertain in which ports these facilities can be utilised efficiently;

36.  Stresses that, as part of its research and development policy, the Commission must give priority to innovation in the area of renewable technologies for use on vessels, such as solar and wind technologies;

37.  Calls on the Commission to examine the potential for reducing and monitoring pollution by using intelligent technologies in the transport sector, notably Galileo;

38.  Stresses the need to promote paper-free port and customs operations and to ease cooperation at ports between the various service providers and consumers through the use of intelligent transport systems and networks such as SafeSeaNet and e-Custom, with a view to speeding up port operations and reducing pollution;

Safety

39.  Appreciates the adoption of the Third Maritime Safety Package, and calls on Member States to implement the package speedily;

40.  Advocates stringent checks on shipbuilding, including on the quality of steel used and on vessel design and maintenance, as provided for inter alia in the amended legislation on classification societies;

41.  Supports the change of course in the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control, which entails replacing regular inspections with risk-based inspections, so that precisely those vessels which display numerous shortcomings are tackled effectively;

42.  Calls on Member States and ship owners to seek to be placed on the Paris MoU ‘white list’; calls on Slovakia, in particular, to make an extra effort in this regard;

43.  Calls on national inspectorates and other national authorities to cooperate more closely in exchanging data on vessels and their cargoes, so as to reduce regulatory pressure but increase the effectiveness of inspections; calls for the rapid introduction of an integrated information management system through the use and improvement of resources already available, especially SafeSeaNet; calls on the Commission to put in place as soon as possible an EU-wide cross-border and cross-sectoral surveillance system;

44.  Is aware of the danger of piracy on the high seas, notably in the Horn of Africa area and the waters off the coast of Somalia, and calls on all ship owners to cooperate with government initiatives to protect them against piracy, along the lines of the EU's successful first naval operation, Atalanta; calls on the Commission and Member States to strengthen cooperation among themselves and within the United Nations in order to protect seafarers, fishermen and passengers as well as the fleet;

45.  Notes that the global approach to combating piracy cannot be limited to an international naval force but should form part of a comprehensive plan aimed at promoting peace and development in the area concerned; is aware, too, of the need for full and correct implementation by ships of the self-protection measures adopted by shipping organisations, through the Best Management Practices approved by the IMO;

Miscellaneous

46.  Stresses that shipping is a global industry and that agreements ought, for preference, to be concluded on a global scale; considers the IMO to be the most appropriate forum for this; calls on Member States to make more effort to ratify and implement quickly IMO conventions which they have signed;

47.  Acknowledges fully, moreover, the Union's role in the transposition of international rules into EU law and in the implementation of and support for maritime policy, for example by EMSA;

48.  Underlines the need to speed up the modernisation and expansion of port infrastructure capacities in anticipation of the expected rise in the volume of goods transported by sea; points out that this will require huge investments, which will have to comply with transparent and fair financing rules in order to ensure fair competition among European ports; calls on the Commission to ensure that the regulatory framework is coherent in this regard;

49.  Calls on the Commission to consider its communication on the EU's maritime transport policy until 2018 and this resolution as the basis for the forthcoming review of the Transport White Paper;

50.  Calls for a policy that promotes connections between ports and inland areas (dry ports and logistics platforms) in regions suffering from congestion, this policy to be incorporated into the TEN-T review;

51.  Underlines the economic and strategic importance of shipbuilding, which makes it possible to develop and use the new technologies applicable to vessels and to preserve crucial European skills that are needed to build new generations of vessels; calls for measures to support innovation, research and development, and training, with a view to developing a competitive and innovative European shipbuilding industry;

52.  Requests that it be obligatory in port modernisation and expansion projects to equip passenger terminals and new passenger ships with facilities for people with reduced mobility;

53.  Welcomes the initiative to develop a campaign to promote best practices among passenger transport and cruise ship operators in relation to passengers‘ rights;

54.  Calls on the Commission to take into account during the current TEN-T review the recommendations for the EU's maritime transport policy until 2018, notably those concerning efficient integration of the ‘motorways of the sea’ and inland waterway transport, as well as the network of ports of European interest as integrating nodes;

55.  Calls on the Commission to draft a comparable strategy for European inland waterway transport and to coordinate it with the present strategy, in order to promote the development of an optimised transport chain linking maritime freight transport and goods transport on inland waterways;

56.  Calls on the Commission to submit without delay its promised roadmap, providing essential details to supplement its communication;

o
o   o

57.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.


Europeana - the next steps
PDF 151kWORD 66k
European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on ‘Europeana - the next steps’ (2009/2158(INI))
P7_TA(2010)0129A7-0028/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to having regard to the Commission communication of 28 August 2009 entitled: ‘Europeana - next steps’ (COM(2009)0440),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 19 October 2009 entitled: ‘Copyright in the Knowledge Economy’ (COM(2009)0532),

–   having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 November 2008 on the European digital library EUROPEANA(1),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 11 August 2008 entitled ‘Europe's cultural heritage at the click of a mouse - Progress on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation across the EU’ (COM(2008)0513),

–   having regard to the final report of 4 June 2008 by the High-Level Expert Group - Copyright subgroup- on Digital Libraries on digital preservation, orphan works and out-of-print works,

–   having regard to the final report of May 2008 by the High-Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries -Sub-group on Public Private Partnerships- on Public Private Partnerships for the Digitisation and Online Accessibility of Europe's Cultural Heritage,

–   having regard to its resolution of 27 September 2007 on i2010: towards a European digital library(2),

–   having regard to the Commission Recommendation 2006/585/EC of 24 August 2006 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation(3),

–   having regard to Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society(4),

–   having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and in particularly Article 167 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Legal Affairs (A7-0028/2010),

A.   whereas in a digital environment it is essential to guarantee and simplify universal access to European cultural heritage and to ensure that it be promoted and preserved for generations to come, both within and outside Europe,

B.   whereas, with reference to the digitisation of European cultural heritage materials, a European policy in the field of culture is essential and shows a strong public commitment by the European Union and its Member States to preserving, respecting and promoting cultural diversity,

C.   whereas the wealth and diversity of the common European cultural heritage ought to be promoted and accessible as widely as possible, including outside Europe, and the Member States and cultural institutions, particularly libraries, have a key role to play in this endeavour both at national level and at regional and local levels,

D.   whereas European cultural heritage is largely made up of works in the public domain, and access to them should be provided in the digital world as far as possible in high-quality formats,

E.   whereas access to cultural and educational information must be a priority in order to improve educational and living standards,

F.   whereas there is a need to establish common standards for the digitisation of European cultural heritage, and whereas large numbers of digitised works currently held by various libraries have not been made publicly available owing to incompatibilities between digital formats,

G.   whereas, thanks to their staff, libraries are the institutions most qualified to supervise and manage the process of digitising works,

H.   whereas the European digital library should be more than a digital collection with information management tools, but should rather embrace the development of a whole range of technical capacities and resources for the creation, research and use of information,

I.   whereas account must be taken of the rapid development of new technologies with resulting changes in cultural practices, and of existing digitisation projects outside Europe,

J.   whereas there is, consequently, an urgent need for Member States to step up their efforts, join forces and equip themselves with the requisite means to maintain and encourage their contribution to Europeana so as to raise Europe's profile in the world,

K.   whereas only a tiny part of European cultural heritage has been digitised so far, Member States are progressing at different speeds, and public funding allocated to mass digitisation is insufficient; whereas Member States should step up their efforts to speed up the process of digitising public and private works,

L.   whereas digitisation of European cultural heritage and scientific materials will benefit, in particular, sectors such as education, science, research, tourism, entrepreneurship, innovation, and the media,

M.   whereas digital technology also constitutes a remarkable tool for generating access to European cultural heritage for people coming up against barriers to their access to culture, including disabled people,

N.   whereas copyright legislation differs widely amongst EU member States and the copyright status of a great number of works remains uncertain,

O.   whereas urgent efforts are needed to solve the issue of a ‘digital black hole’ with regard to 20th and 21st century content, where works of high cultural value are languishing unused; whereas any solution must take proper account of the interests of all parties involved,

P.   whereas any protected or disclosed work for which, despite a documented and serious search being made, one or more copyright holders or holders of related rights cannot be identified or located should be considered an orphan work,

Q.   whereas there is a need for more information on the progress made in the work being conducted by the European Digital Library Foundation,

R.   whereas there is a need for greater transparency in the European Union's activities,

Europeana - a key step in preserving and disseminating Europe's cultural heritage

1.  Welcomes the opening and development of the European digital library, museum and archive for high-quality content named Europeana, as a single, direct and multilingual access point and gateway to European cultural heritage;

2.  States that the role of the Europeana digital library should be to protect European cultural heritage so that future generations may be able to put together a collective European memory and more fragile documents may be protected from the damage caused by constant use;

3.  Stresses that the European digital library, being available to everyone from afar, constitutes a tool for the democratisation of culture and will therefore allow a very wide section of the public to access rare or old documents in Europe's heritage whose conservation renders their consultation difficult;

4.  Underlines the importance of developing Europeana into a fully operational service, with multilingual interface and semantic web features preserving the high-quality of works and data accessible worldwide;

Targets and objectives

5.  Calls for Europeana to reach a stock of at least 15 million different digitised objects by 2015;

6.  Seriously regrets the uneven contributions from Member States to the content of Europeana, and strongly encourages them and other cultural institutions to cooperate closely in digitising works and to keep up their efforts in drawing up digitisation plans at all possible levels, thus avoiding duplication of efforts as well as to speed up the rate of digitisation of cultural content in order to reach the goals set (10 million documents in 2010);

7.  Stresses the need to consider ways of encouraging cultural institutions, once they have drafted a digitisation plan, to conclude agreements with rights-holders to make works accessible on a multiterritory basis and to foster the development of a competitive environment with the participation of online booksellers, thus helping to spread Europe's cultural heritage throughout the continent;

8.  Notes that France alone has provided 47% of Europeana's total number of digitised objects to date, and that it is therefore necessary to be considerably more active in encouraging the Member States to make available contributions from their national libraries and cultural institutions, so that all Europeans have full access to their own cultural heritage;

9.  Encourages the Commission to assist in finding ways and means of drawing Member States‘ attention to the fact that users of Europeana are seeking major works available in their national collections but not through Europeana;

Benefits

10.  Emphasises the potential economic benefits of digitisation, as digitised cultural assets have an important economic impact, especially on culture-related industries, and underpin the knowledge economy, all the while bearing in mind the fact that cultural assets are not standard economic goods and must be protected from excessive commercialisation;

11.  Stresses that Europeana should become one of the main reference points for education and research purposes; considers that, if integrated coherently into education systems, it could bring young Europeans closer to their cultural, literary and scientific heritage and content; would become an area of convergence and contribute towards transcultural cohesion in the EU;

Access for everyone

12.  Stresses that user-friendliness, in particular clarity and the ease with which content can be found, should be key criteria for the design of the portal;

13.  Emphasises that, in view of the benefits for all EU citizens of accessing Europeana, its availability in all the official languages should be envisaged as soon as possible;

14.  Points out that the portal should take into account the needs of disabled people, who should be able to get full access to Europe's collective knowledge; therefore encourages publishers to make more works available in formats accessible to disabled persons; recommends to the Commission that it ensure the provision of special digital versions for people with disabilities, such as audio reading, for as much of the digital content as possible;

15.  Stresses the importance of equal access to the common European cultural heritage and therefore asks the Member States to remove intra-EU barriers to access to some parts of Europeana content;

16.  Stresses that access to the Europeana portal and viewing documents, without downloading must be free of charge for private individuals and public institutions; stresses that Europeana should have the possibility to charge for downloads and printouts of all materials under copyright, and that such charges should be socially acceptable;

17.  Urges the Commission and Member States to take all necessary steps to avoid a knowledge gap between Europe and non-EU countries and to ensure full access for Europeans to their own cultural heritage in all its diversity, as well as facilitating access thereto for the whole world;

18.  Asks the Commission to continue the work started by the High Level Expert Group, as it contributes to a shared vision for European digital libraries, and supports practical solutions for key issues affecting online accessibility of cultural assets;

19.  Stresses that Europeana should take all necessary steps online and offline to promote itself among citizens of Europe, in particular those involved in cultural activities in the private, public and educational sectors;

More and better content for Europeana

20.  Encourages content providers to increase the diversity of the types of content for Europeana, especially audio and video content, paying special attention to those forms of expression belonging to oral cultures and to those works which deteriorate easily, while respecting intellectual property rights, especially authors and performers‘ rights; stresses, in this regard, the importance of respecting moral rights in order to protect the integrity of the work, and avoid any possible changes (censorship, alterations to works, etc.);

21.  Believes that free and artistic expression are fundamental values; considers that cultural institutions or aggregators shall not be the subject of scrutiny or censorship with regard to the European cultural, literary or scientific content provided to Europeana;

Public domain content and access

22.  Is convinced that public domain content in the analogue world should remain in the public domain in the digital environment even after the format shift;

23.  Recalls that the main objective of European digitisation policy must be the protection of Europe's cultural heritage, and that guarantees must be given in this regard to ensure that digitisation activities have a non-exclusive status, so that these activities do not lead to the appearance of ‘new rights’ derived from the digitisation process, such as, for example, an obligation to pay for the reuse of works in the public domain;

24.  Recalls that Europeana must be able to benefit from agreements signed with other libraries under public-private partnerships and that said libraries must therefore be provided with a physical copy of the files already digitised;

25.  States that physical files of works in the public domain which have been digitised by public-private partnerships must remain the property of the public partner institution, and that, should this prove impossible and cultural institutions from Member States are led, under a public-private partnership, to conclude agreements with exclusivity clauses for the digitisation of works from their national heritage, then assurances must be obtained before accessing the Europeana portal that the digitised files will become the property of the institutions upon the expiry of said clauses;

26.  Stresses that the digital library must not depart from its prime objective, namely to ensure that the dissemination of knowledge on the Internet is not left to private commercial firms, in order that the digitisation of works does not equate to a stranglehold on Europe's public heritage that results in the public domain being privatised;

27.  Recommends to the Commission that it asks digital content providers to certify websites referenced by Europeana;

28.  Calls on those European cultural institutions which take up the digitisation of their public domain works‘ content to make it available via Europeana and not to restrict availability to the territory of their country;

Copyright issues, including orphan works

29.  Stresses that solutions should be found for Europeana also to offer in-copyright works, particularly out-of-print and orphan works, taking a sector-by-sector approach, while complying with laws governing intellectual property and preserving the legitimate interests of rightholders; believes that solutions such as extended collective licensing or other collective management practices could be favoured;

30.  Welcomes the Commission's launch of the debate on EU copyright law, which seeks to strike a balance between rightsholders and consumer rights in a globally connected world, in the context of the rapidly changing online reality of new technologies and social and cultural practices;

31.  Urges the Commission and the Member States, in the context of the further development of copyright protection in Europe, to adopt legal provisions which are as uniform and comprehensive as possible, designed to ensure that digitisation processes by themselves do not bring about any ‘sui generis’ copyright; takes the view that these discussions should also address the issue of whether legal derogations should be introduced for the digitisation of orphan works by public institutions;

32.  Stresses the importance of orphan works – works which are covered under copyright, but whose rights-holders cannot be determined despite a diligent search – and the need to ascertain precisely, on a sector-by-sector basis, the number and type of such works in order to find appropriate solutions;

33.  Calls on the Commission, in regard to its Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy of 19 October 2009, to submit a legislative proposal on the digitisation, preservation and dissemination of orphan works which would put an end to the current legal uncertainty, in accordance with the requirement for diligent search for, and remuneration of, rights-holders;

34.  Endorses the Commission's intention to establish a simple and cost-efficient rights clearance system for the digitisation of published works and their availability on the Internet, working in close cooperation with all the stakeholders involved;

35.  Therefore, welcomes and supports initiatives, such as the ARROW project(5), partnered by both rights-holders and library representatives, in particular since these seek to identify rights-holders and their rights, and to clarify the rights‘ status of works including whether these are orphan or out of print;

36.  Calls on the Commission to develop a European database of orphan works understood to be protected works whose rightholders are unknown or cannot be located, despite documented serious searches being made which would make it possible to exchange information on the ownership of rights and thereby reduce costs incurred in making diligent searches for rights-holders;

37.  Favours a balanced Europe-wide solution for digitising and disseminating orphan works, starting by clearly defining them, establishing common standards (including that of due diligence applied in searching for their owners), and resolving the issue of potential copyright infringement when orphan works are used;

38.  Emphasises that a solution must be found for personal documents (correspondence, notes, photos, films) which are held by cultural institutions, but have never been published or made available to the public, and which raise privacy-protection and moral-rights issues;

Technologies

39.  Points out the need to develop technologies to ensure long-term and sustainable digital preservation, interoperability of access systems to content, multilingual navigation and availability of content and a set of unifying standards; welcomes the continued use of open source software in building the Europeana collection;

40.  Recommends to the Commission that backups of digitised material provided by national institutions or private partners be kept on hardware belonging to those institutions or partners;

41.  Recommends that the Commission and partner institutions in the private sector find IT solutions – such as read-only and copy protect formats – for digitised material available on the Europeana website that is subject to copyright, and that the file's presentation page include a link to a page on the content provider's website where the document can be downloaded under the conditions stipulated by the provider;

42.  Recommends to the Commission that it insist on a standard electronic format for the digitised works, so as to ensure that the digitised documents are compatible with the online interface and the database;

43.  Asks the High Level Expert Group to examine the possibility of using Web 2.0 applications in a separate online space;

Financing and governance issues

44.  Emphasises that creating a sustainable financing and governance model is crucial to Europeana's long-term existence and that the role of the immediate stakeholders in the process of establishing such a governance model is crucial;

Sponsorship and public - private partnerships

45.  Stresses that, in order to meet the high costs of digitisation and time pressures, new methods of financing must be developed, such as public-private partnerships, provided that the latter comply with rules on intellectual property and competition while furthering access to works via cultural institutions, ensuring digitised files will be freely available to libraries with no time limits;

46.  Stresses the importance of a concerted approach at European level to the issue of the terms and conditions governing public-private partnerships and the need for an in-depth examination of partnership agreements with private stakeholders on digitisation plans, notably as regards the duration of exclusivity clauses, the indexing and referencing via search engine by libraries of digitised files held for their own use, service continuity, the non-confidential nature of such agreements and digitisation quality;

47.  Points out that the digitisation of works in national libraries is the fruit of the financial investment of taxpayers via payment of their taxes; stresses, therefore, that public-private partnership contracts must stipulate that the copy of the work digitised by the private half of the partnership on behalf of the library may be indexed by all search engines, so that it may be consulted on the library's website and not solely on the website of the partner private company;

48.  Recalls that the involvement of private partners in the digitisation process must not lead to the creation of private monopolies, which would threaten cultural diversity and pluralism, and that compliance with the rules of competition is a prerequisite to the involvement of private companies;

49.  Stresses that sponsorship is an interesting alternative for Europeana insofar as it offers an opportunity to fund not just digitisation activities but also the management of copyright payments for out-of-print, orphan and copyrighted works, as well as putting them online;

EU and public financial support

50.  Stresses that a substantial part of the financing should come from public contributions, such as contributions from the EU, Member States and cultural organisations and proposes that Europeana's digitisation process be interpreted as part of the Lisbon strategy and that a separate budget line be established in the next Multiannual Financial Framework;

51.  Stresses that only a separate budget line can create the conditions to ensure that the funding available is spent transparently, cost-efficiently and in accordance with the objectives set;

52.  Notes that only € 6.2 million has been earmarked to date for Europeana for 2009 to 2011 under the eContentplus programme;

53.  Calls for the next Multiannual Financial Framework to provide for several times more funding than that available to Europeana hitherto;

54.  Stresses the need to eliminate legal obstacles at EU level in order to enable libraries to apply for European financing for digitising operations;

55.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to present an annual report to the European Parliament on the outlay on Europeana and the progress made;

56.  Proposes that a review of the funding arrangements for Europeana be carried out by Parliament, in conjunction with the Commission, as early as 2011, with a view to finding a sustainable financing model for the project for 2013 and beyond; suggests that a move to the public-private funding structure would maximise the potential of the site;

Information and awareness raising

57.  Proposes to organise a funding and advertising campaign entitled ‘Join Europeana’ in order to heighten awareness of the issue and its urgency, and recommends that part of the resources earmarked for Europeana should be devoted to promoting this library among the broadest possible public a library containing as wide-ranging a collection of works as possible on all forms of media (text, audio, video);

58.  Proposes that ‘Join Europeana’ be advertised creatively; carried out under public-private partnerships and sponsoring, this should be targeted primarily at young people, for instance at international sports events , or in the context of art exhibitions and cultural competitions;

59.  Asks the Commission to launch a media and online campaign for popularising the Europeana site, directing traffic from European servers to Europeana sources as the main location for accessing data in digital form, and encouraging the Member States and cultural institutions to provide content to the site; calls, at the same time, for a special media campaign to target students and teachers at all levels of education, focusing on the use of the Europeana digital resources for educational purposes;

60.  Is of the opinion that such a campaign is very similar to the type of action already identified as being necessary in order to close the digital divide that still exists across Europe, thereby ensuring that everyone has access to Europeana and other online content and information and to the potential benefits thereof, no matter where they are; recommends that this campaign and in particular the potential use of Europeana in schools be based on an understanding that access to greater content and information online is not an end in itself, and must therefore be accompanied by initiatives which stimulate critical analysis of online content and information;

61.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that information campaigns and similar awareness-raising activities regarding Europeana are channelled through the relevant partnership organisations in the Member States;

Governance

62.  Welcomes current input by the European Digital Library Foundation in facilitating formal agreements between museums, archives, audio-visual archives and libraries on how to cooperate in the delivery and sustainability of the joint portal Europeana;

63.  Believes that cultural institutions must continue to play a major role in the governance, which should be as democratic as possible, of the Europeana project; and calls on them to collaborate in order to avoid duplicating works digitised and to rationalise use of resources;

64.  Asks the Commission and the Member States to improve the management of the project and ensure that a competent authority is designated at national level for the purpose of managing and monitoring the digitisation process, to raise awareness of the Europeana project among libraries and providers of cultural material and to collect existing digital material directly from providers with the aim of converting it to a single digital standard so that new content can immediately be added to the Europeana database; is of the view that, in the long run, consideration must be given to making it a priority to collect existing digital material produced as part of projects co-funded by the European Union and add it to the Europeana digital library;

65.  Suggests issuing a public call for tenders with a view to coordinating the administration of Europeana as effectively as possible, defining clear, realistic objectives and re-evaluating the operation if necessary;

66.  Recommends to the Commission that it research the possibility of establishing a European body to coordinate the involvement of national authorities in monitoring the digitisation process, copyright payments to authors and other issues relevant to the Europeana project;

o
o   o

67.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 319, 13.12.2008, p. 18.
(2) OJ C 219 E, 28.8.2008, p. 296.
(3) OJ L 236, 31.8.2006, p. 28.
(4) OJ L 167, 22.6.2001, p. 10.
(5) Accessible Registries of Rights Information and Orphan Works.


Evaluation and assessment of the Animal Welfare Action Plan 2006-2010
PDF 145kWORD 61k
European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on evaluation and assessment of the Animal Welfare Action Plan 2006-2010 (2009/2202(INI))
P7_TA(2010)0130A7-0053/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 23 January 2006 on a Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006-2010 (COM(2006)0013),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 October 2006 on a Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006-2010(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2008 on a new animal health strategy for the European Union 2007-2013(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 May 2009 on the proposal for a Council Regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing(3),

–   having regard to Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which lays down that, in formulating and implementing the Union's agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies, the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 28 October 2009 on options for animal welfare labelling and the establishment of a European Network of Reference Centres for the protection and welfare of animals (COM(2009)0584),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 28 October 2009, ‘A better functioning food supply chain in Europe’ (COM(2009)0591),

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A7-0053/2010),

A.   whereas animal health standards are of vital importance for the management of European livestock farming, as they are having an increasing impact on the level of competitiveness of farms,

B.   whereas any harmonisation of the protection of livestock in the Union must be accompanied by rules on imports with the same aim, in order to avoid placing European producers at a disadvantage on the European market,

C.   whereas every activity to protect and ensure the well-being of animals must be based on the principle that animals are sentient beings whose specific needs must be taken into account, and whereas animal welfare in the 21st century is an expression of our humanity and a challenge to European civilisation and culture,

D.   whereas the goal of an animal welfare strategy must be to ensure that proper account is taken of the increased costs which animal welfare generates, and whereas an ambitious animal welfare policy can only be partially successful without European and worldwide dialogue and without an aggressive policy of raising awareness and providing information inside and outside Europe about the advantages of high animal welfare standards, i.e. if it is developed unilaterally by the European Union,

E.   whereas, in order to further develop animal protection in the Community, it is necessary to step up research efforts and to integrate animal protection into all relevant impact assessments, as well as to involve all interest groups in the decision-making process; whereas the transparency, acceptance and uniform application of, and monitoring of compliance with, existing provisions at all levels are a prerequisite for a successful animal protection strategy in Europe,

F.   whereas in recent years Europe has enacted a wide range of animal welfare laws and achieved one of the world's highest levels of animal welfare,

G.   whereas, in its resolution of 2006, Parliament asked the Commission to submit a report on the development of animal welfare policy before it presented the next Action Plan and to include animal welfare in all fields of its international negotiation agenda,

H.   whereas, back in 2006, Parliament highlighted the need to improve information to citizens on animal welfare and on the efforts made by our producers to comply with the rules,

I.   whereas animal welfare must not be neglected, as it may constitute a comparative advantage for the European Union, on condition, however, that the Union ensures, in an open market, that all animals and meat imported from third countries meet the same welfare requirements as apply within the Union,

J.   whereas at the time of the assessment and review of the Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006-2010 the European Union must commit itself to securing recognition of animal welfare standards in the agricultural section of the next WTO Agreement, before the final conclusion of a general agreement,

K.   whereas there is a link between animal welfare, animal health and product safety, and whereas a high level of animal welfare from breeding to slaughter can improve product safety and quality,

L.   whereas a certain category of consumers accepts higher prices for products meeting higher animal welfare standards, while the vast majority of consumers still choose lower-priced products,

M.   whereas in its above-mentioned resolution of 2006 the European Parliament insisted that the rules, standards and indicators adopted should be based on the latest technology and science and stressed that economic aspects must also be taken into account, since a high standard of animal welfare in particular also entailed operating, financial and administrative costs for the EU's farmers; whereas failure to respect the principle of reciprocity poses a risk to fair competition vis-à-vis non-Community producers,

N.   whereas at the time of this review of the Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006-2010 and on the eve of the first reflections on the CAP for the period after 2013, the European Union must adopt a balanced position on welfare, taking into account the economic consequences in terms of additional costs for livestock producers, linked to adequate income support for them through policy on prices and markets and/or direct aid,

O.   whereas it is essential that European animal protection policy be accompanied by a coherent trade policy, which must be based on the fact that, in spite of the efforts of the EU, animal welfare concerns are not addressed by either the July 2004 Framework Agreement or by any other key documents of the Doha Round; whereas, therefore, until there is a fundamental change in the attitude of the main trading partners in the WTO, it is not viable to introduce further animal welfare standards which have negative effects on the international competitiveness of producers,

P.   whereas animal welfare is commonly understood to mean the result of the application of standards and norms relating to the well-being and health of animals which are designed to meet their inherent species-specific needs and long-term welfare needs; whereas the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recognises the following as being among the essential requirements for animal welfare: food and water, the opportunity to exhibit natural behaviour, and health care,

Q.   whereas the Commission communication of October 2009 entitled ‘A better functioning food supply chain in Europe’ indicates that ‘significant imbalances in bargaining power between contracting parties are a common occurrence’ and that they ‘have a negative impact on the competitiveness of the food supply chain as smaller but efficient actors may be obliged to operate under reduced profitability, limiting their ability and incentives to invest in improved product quality and innovation of production processes’,

R.   whereas the aforementioned cost increases may lead to production being moved to regions with lower levels of animal protection,

Action plan for 2006-2010

1.  Welcomes the Commission's decision to focus, in a multiannual action plan for animal welfare, on a few essential fields of action and then take action in these fields;

2.  Welcomes the Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006-2010, which has for the first time translated the Protocol on protection and welfare of animals appended to the Amsterdam Treaty into an integrated approach to the development of the protection of animals in Europe;

3.  Notes that the vast majority of the measures contained in the current action plan have been implemented satisfactorily;

4.  Notes that there has been a positive development in the welfare of animals as a result of the action plan 2006-2010, but points out that the EU's farmers have not benefited from their efforts on the markets and in international trade and maintains that this should be highlighted in the next action plan;

5.  Appreciates the work which has been done to develop alternatives to animal testing, but deplores the fact that not enough has yet been done to ensure that such alternatives are used if they are available, as required by the relevant EU legislation;

6.  Acknowledges the efforts of the Commission to include non-trade concerns, including animal welfare, in bilateral trade agreements, but stresses that such non-trade concerns must be promoted efficiently via the WTO;

7.  Calls on the Commission to outline what progress has been made in WTO negotiations towards securing acknowledgment of non-trade-related concerns, which include animal welfare, as well as the extent to which animal welfare issues and standards are being taken into account in the Doha round of WTO negotiations;

8.  Notes with great satisfaction the progress which has been made in the Animal Welfare Quality Project as regards new science and knowledge relating to animal health and welfare indicators; notes, however, that this project has not fully taken into account the promotion, in practice, of the use of these indicators;

9.  Recognises that there is a need to follow up and ensure proper implementation of the existing rules on animal transport in the EU Member States, with particular reference to the issue of developing a satellite system to monitor such transport, and urges the Commission, in the time still remaining before the action plan expires, to discharge its responsibilities in this field and to present the study requested by Parliament and referred to in Article 32 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005; requests an economic impact analysis on livestock farming to be conducted before any new rules, which should be based on scientifically proven and objective indicators, are implemented;

10.  Takes the view that it would make sense to create incentives for the regional breeding, marketing and slaughter of animals in order to obviate the need for breeding and slaughter animals to be transported over long distances;

11.  Believes that zoos play an important role in informing the public about the conservation and welfare of wild animals; is concerned that there is a lack of stringent supervision to ensure compliance with Council Directive 1999/22/EC(4) relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos, and urges the Commission to initiate a study of the effectiveness and implementation of the Directive in all European Union Member States;

12.  Welcomes the progress made in connection with compliance with the rearing requirements for pigs, even though there are still cases of non-compliance; is concerned, however, that, despite recommendations by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in this regard, workable plans are still lacking as regards the implementation of individual provisions of Directive 2008/120/EC of 18 December 2008 laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs, and calls, therefore, on the Commission, the Member States and the sectors involved to identify cases of non-compliance and the reasons for such behaviour, and make the necessary efforts to ensure greater compliance with this Directive;

13.  Urges the Commission likewise to ensure that the ban on systems lacking cages with nests for laying hens, which enters into force in 2012, is fully complied with, and calls on the Commission and Member States to introduce the necessary measures to make sure that the sector is able to comply with this obligation and to monitor the process of implementation in the Member States; maintains that imports of eggs into the EU must likewise comply with the production conditions imposed on European producers;

14.  Calls for an EU-wide trade ban on eggs that do not comply with the law;

15.  Concludes that the implementation of the current action plan is inadequate in a number of respects and stresses the need to enforce existing rules before drawing up new ones; draws attention in that connection to the importance of effective penalties for non-compliance in all Member States;

16.  Stresses the need for the Commission's own evaluation exercise, to be undertaken in 2010, to include a thorough analysis of achievements and of the lessons to be learned from potential flaws;

17.  Regrets that the Commission has not, during this period, developed a clear communication strategy on the value of products that comply with animal welfare standards, contenting itself with the report presented in October 2009;

18.  Acknowledges that the Community regards all animals as sentient beings (Article 13 of the Treaty); recognises that action has thus far predominantly focused on food-producing animals and that there is a need to bring other categories of animals into the Action Plan 2011 – 2015;

Action plan for 2011-2015

19.  Recalls that its above-mentioned resolution of 2006 already called for the existing action plan to be followed by a new one, and urges the Commission therefore to submit – based on new scientific evidence and experience – a report assessing the implementation of the current plan and the situation concerning animal welfare policy in the EU, on the basis of which it should compile the action plan for animal welfare 2011-2015 backed by the required funding;

20.  Calls for measures to be taken to ensure that existing legislation is enforced without delay and to secure the harmonisation of standards and a level playing-field within the internal market; recommends that any proposals for new legislation be assessed against the alternative course of fully implementing existing legislation, to avoid unnecessary duplication;

21.  Suggests to the Commission that, in its assessment report, it analyse inter alia the extent to which the current action plan has met the demands of European society in the area of animal welfare, the sustainability of the system for European producers, and how the functioning of the internal market has been affected since the implementation of this plan;

22.  Calls on the Commission to demonstrate the impact of animal welfare standards and to take full account of the way different factors, such as animal welfare, sustainability, animal health, the environment, product quality and economic viability, interrelate;

A general European animal welfare law

23.  Observes that Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union has created a new legal situation under which, when formulating and implementing Union policy in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, transport, the internal market, research and technological development and space, the Union and Member States must, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage; considers that this article applies to all livestock and animals in captivity, such as food-producing animals, pets, circus animals and animals in zoos or stray animals, whilst bearing in mind that differing characteristics and living conditions require differentiated treatment;

24.  Calls on the Commission, in the light of Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, to submit, no later than 2014 and on the basis of an impact study and after consulting stakeholders, a reasoned proposal for general animal welfare legislation for the EU, which, on the basis of the available science and proven experience, should contribute to a common understanding of the concept of animal welfare, the associated costs and the fundamental conditions applicable;

25.  Considers that this general animal welfare legislation must include, in accordance with animal health law, suitable guidelines on responsible keeping of animals, a uniform system for monitoring and for gathering comparable data, as well as requirements relating to the training of animal handlers and provisions establishing the particular responsibilities of animal owners , farmers and keepers; considers that all these requirements should go hand in hand with the provision of resources to producers in order to ensure that they are properly implemented;

26.  Considers that European animal welfare legislation should establish a common basic level of animal welfare in the European Union, which is the precondition for free and equitable competition within the internal market for both domestic products and third-country imports; considers, however, that Member States and regions should have the possibility to allow individual producers or groups of producers to introduce voluntary systems which are more far-reaching while avoiding distortion of competition and safeguarding the EU's competitiveness on international markets;

27.  Considers that imported products must comply with the same animal welfare requirements as those imposed on European operators;

28.  Calls for European farmers to be compensated for the higher production costs associated with higher animal welfare standards; suggests that financing for animal welfare measures be incorporated into the new common agricultural policy support schemes from 2013;

29.  Considers also that information to citizens on the high level of animal welfare in the EU and on the efforts made by the various sectors involved should be a key element in this policy;

30.  Considers that the inclusion of animal welfare requirements in international agreements is essential in order to allow our producers to compete in a globalised market and prevent the relocation of production to regions which have much lower levels of animal welfare and thus compete unfairly with our model;

31.  Welcomes the debate concerning various possible animal welfare labelling schemes in the aforementioned Commission communication of 28 October 2009; recalls, however, the need to consider them in a wider context, taking account, in particular, of the various existing environmental, nutritional and climate labelling schemes; stresses that information on the subject for European consumers absolutely must have a sound and consensual scientific basis and be clear to consumers;

32.  Recommends that the information given on the label should be precise and direct and should make reference to compliance with the high animal welfare standards demanded by the EU; maintains that it should be the task of the Commission to provide citizens with the necessary information on the European animal welfare system, so as to ensure that they receive objective information;

33.  Recommends that a review be conducted of the consistency of animal welfare policy with the Union's other policies;

34.  Calls on the Commission to carry out a thorough assessment of the possible problems that European animal welfare standards cause for the competitiveness of our producers and to review the support systems for producers relating to the implementation of these standards;

35.  Considers that, before any new legislation is drafted, existing rules – whether general or specific – should be enforced properly; points, by way of examples, to the ban on battery cages for hens, the rules on pigs and the rules on animal transport and the rearing of geese and ducks; stresses that further animal welfare measures should be brought into line with other Community objectives such as sustainable development, in particular sustainable livestock production and consumption, protection of the environment and biodiversity, a strategy to improve the enforcement of existing legislation, and a coherent strategy to speed up progress towards non-animal research;

A European network of reference centres for animal welfare

36.  Considers that a European coordinated network for animal welfare should be set up under the existing Community or Member State institutions, and that its work should be based on the general animal welfare legislation proposed above; considers that such a network should designate one institution as the coordinating body, which should perform the tasks assigned to the ‘central coordination institute’ referred to in the aforementioned Commission communication of 28 October 2009; considers, furthermore, that such a coordinating body should in no way duplicate tasks of the Commission or other agencies, but should become a support tool providing assistance to the Commission, Member States, food chain actors and citizens regarding training and education, best practices, information and consumer communication and assessing and stating its views on future legislative and policy proposals and their impact on animal welfare, assessing animal welfare standards on the basis of the latest available knowledge and coordinating an EU system for testing new techniques;

37.  Takes the view that, on the basis of scientific findings, the public should be provided with information about animals‘ needs and the correct ways of dealing with animals and that this should be done in an appropriate, serious-minded manner; considers that a European network of centres of reference should be responsible for implementing education and information measures, since imparting knowledge on the basis of standardised quality criteria is fundamental if people are to be prevented from developing extreme views;

Better enforcement of existing legislation

38.  Calls on the Commission as soon as possible to assess the cost to European producers of animal welfare measures, and to propose in 2012 at the latest recommendations, guidelines and other necessary measures to tackle the loss of competitiveness of European livestock farmers;

39.  Calls on the Member States to take appropriate steps to ensure that the notion of animal protection and welfare is promoted via education;

40.  Considers that the aim must be a purposeful monitoring system based on a risk analysis in which objective factors are central and in which Member States whose infringement rates are above average must expect to face more stringent checks;

41.  Stresses that the imbalances in the food chain, as described in the Commission communication entitled ‘A better functioning food supply chain in Europe’, often place primary producers at a disadvantage; recalls that primary producers have limited scope for investment on account of the extra costs which this situation entails;

42.  Stresses that the European Union budget must include sufficient appropriations to enable the Commission to perform its monitoring tasks, to support producers where necessary and to counter the loss of competitiveness faced by producers as a result of the adoption of new and changing animal welfare standards, bearing in mind that the cost of these standards is not passed on in the price received by farmers when they sell their products;

43.  Stresses that the competitiveness of the farming sector should continue to be improved and strengthened through the promotion of and compliance with the animal welfare rules in force, and also in accordance with environmental protection requirements;

44.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that any violations of EU animal welfare rules result in effective and proportionate penalties, and that in each individual case these penalties are accompanied by comprehensive guidance and advice from the competent authorities and appropriate corrective actions;

45.  Calls on the Member States to take appropriate steps to prevent breaches of animal welfare regulations in the future;

46.  Welcomes the considerable reduction in the use of antibiotics for animals in the Member States since their use as a growth promoter was banned in the EU, while still being allowed in the US and some other countries; expects, however, the Commission and the Member States to address the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in animals in a responsible way; calls on the Commission to collect and analyse data on the use of animal health products, including antibiotics, with a view to ensuring the effective use of such products;

Indicators and new techniques

47.  Calls for an assessment and further development of the Animal Welfare Quality Project, particularly as regards the instrument's simplification and practical application;

48.  Considers that it will prove complex to measure these animal welfare indicators in the case of imported products; stresses that, without calling into question their utility or validity, these tools should not distort competition to the detriment of European producers;

49.  Calls on the Commission, on the basis of the final report of the Animal Welfare Quality Project, to propose a trial period for the assessment of animal welfare within the European Union using the methods developed in the Animal Welfare Quality Project;

50.  Calls on the Member States in this context to make better use of the opportunities for support for applied research and investment in innovation and modernisation beneficial to animal welfare which is available from EU rural development funds and DG Research's 7th Framework Programme (2007-2013); calls also on the Member States and the Commission to step up financial investment in research and the development of new technologies and techniques in the field of animal welfare;

51.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to use their best efforts to ensure that the OIE guidelines on animal welfare encourage good standards of welfare that properly reflect the scientific evidence in this field;

o
o   o

52.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ C 308 E, 16.12.2006, p. 170.
(2) OJ C 279 E, 19.11.2009, p. 89.
(3) OJ L 303, 18.11.2009, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 94, 9.4.1999, p. 24.


EU agriculture and climate change
PDF 145kWORD 61k
European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on EU agriculture and climate change (2009/2157(INI))
P7_TA(2010)0131A7-0060/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission staff working document entitled ‘Adapting to climate change: the challenge for European agriculture and rural areas’ (SEC(2009)0417),

–   having regard to the Commission staff working document entitled ‘The role of European agriculture in climate change mitigation’ (SEC(2009)1093),

–   having regard to its legislative resolution of 14 November 2007 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the protection of soil and amending Directive 2004/35/EC(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2008 on sustainable agriculture and biogas: a need for review of EU legislation(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 February 2009 entitled ‘2050: The future begins today – recommendations for the EU's future integrated policy on climate change’(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2009 on ‘the challenge of deterioration of agricultural land in the EU and in particular in southern Europe: the response through EU agricultural policy instruments’(4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2009 on the EU strategy for the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change (COP 15)(5),

–   having regard to the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology (IAASTD) report drawn up by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Bank and signed by 58 countries,

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the opinion of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A7-0060/2010),

A.   whereas the climate change caused by the historical build-up of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere is a scientifically established fact that may have a serious impact on ecosystems,

B.   whereas agriculture is directly affected, since it is one of the many economic activities that manage natural resources for the benefit of humankind,

C.   whereas climate change poses one of the most serious threats not only to the environment, but to the economy and society as well, with crop yields fluctuating from one year to the next, heavily influenced by the variation in extreme climate conditions, which has an implicit impact on every sector of the economy, although agriculture remains the most vulnerable,

D.   whereas agriculture, as one of the main sources of two major GHGs (nitrous oxide and methane) which are generated by various biological processes linked to agricultural production is contributing to climate change while also being very vulnerable to its adverse impact,

E.   whereas GHG emissions from agriculture (including livestock farming) declined by 20% in the EU-27 between 1999 and 2007 and the proportion of the Union's GHG emissions produced by agriculture dropped from 11% in 1990 to 9.3% in 2007, inter alia as a result of the increased efficiency of EU agriculture, constant innovations and the use of new techniques, the more effective use of fertilisers and the recent reforms of the CAP,

F.   whereas agriculture and forestry are the main economic sectors able to capture the CO2 produced by human activities, to accumulate and store it in the soil by acting as sinks, and to fix it in plants through photosynthesis; whereas these sectors consequently have considerable potential to make a positive contribution to global warming mitigation efforts,

G.   whereas climate change is already having adverse effects on EU agriculture (including declining water resources, brackishness and more frequent drought, desertification, a significant increase in winter rainfall and flooding in the north, threats to low-lying coastal areas from rising sea levels and the danger of salination, storms and other extreme weather events, erosion and landslides and the proliferation of insect pests and animal and plant diseases), and whereas the expected acceleration of such problems could have serious economic, social and environmental repercussions for the agricultural, forestry and tourism sectors,

H.   whereas the agricultural sector is capable both of adapting and of mitigating climate change with the help of farmers‘ know-how, a strong CAP and research and innovation developments but, since the natural processes involved are difficult to deal with, a great deal of effort must be made,

I.   whereas European agriculture constitutes a pool of jobs which should be protected and expanded,

J.   whereas agriculture remains vital to the continuance of human activity in European rural areas, inter alia because of the wide range of services which farmers can provide for the rest of society,

K.   whereas the Union's objectives for the development of renewable energies have a direct bearing on agriculture, and whereas this development can help substantially to reduce GHG emissions,

L.   whereas one of the primary functions of EU agriculture is to feed the Union's population,

M.   whereas the Union should be a leader in the fight against global warming,

Contribution of EU agriculture to global warming mitigation efforts

1.  Affirms that EU agriculture and forestry can contribute to achieving the Union's climate change mitigation objectives by finding ways and support to help reduce its GHG emissions, promoting CO2 sequestration in the soil, developing the production of sustainable renewable energies, and maximising the photosynthesis function; emphasises that, to this end, it is essential to foster the development of an agriculture producing tradable and non tradable goods which exploit the potential and natural resources of each ecosystem as efficiently as possible and which reconcile economic, environmental and social performance as well as animal welfare imperatives so as to improve its sustainability;

2.  Considers that, if agriculture is to be more actively involved in the global process of curbing climate change, care must be taken to ensure that the competitive position of the EU's agri-foodstuffs sector in the world market does not suffer;

3.  Takes the view that organic farming, extensive grazing and integrated pest management practices are among the ecologically effective systems needing further development; emphasises, however, the need to find ways to facilitate a transition to more sustainable agriculture in the case of the other systems used on most farmland;

4.  Recognises that innovation has a major role to play in reducing the impact agriculture has on climate change and in lowering its environmental impact;

5.  Calls, in particular, for the future CAP to encourage – through the provision of information, training and incentives – practices that contribute to improving the efficiency of agriculture and its potential to reduce GHG emissions, and to improving carbon sequestration, including:

   simplified, appropriate cultivation techniques that provide plant cover (such as reduced or no-tillage and leaving crop residues on the ground) and facilitate intercropping and crop rotation, thereby maximising photosynthesis and helping to enrich the soil with organic matter, as demonstrated by the SoCo project launched at the European Parliament's instigation;
   the preservation and development of afforestation, reforestation, agroforestry, hedges, wooded areas on farmland, permanent or temporary grassland pasture systems and reforestation;
   the introduction of farming methods which will increase the carbon storage period in existing forests;
   better management of soil and of minerals and appropriate protection of carbon-rich land (peatland) and wetlands (growing suitable crops, such as reeds, as an alternative to drainage);
   farm modernisation (building insulation, energy-efficient equipment and the use of renewable energies) and more efficient production chains;
   modern techniques of feeding, animal keeping and manure treatment and use, which will significantly reduce methane emissions;
   the use of biomass energy integrated into food production, which will contribute to reducing CO2 emissions in addition to making use of by-products and waste;
   the planting of woody and herbaceous energy crops (cultures) in floodplains, areas which are wet or sandy and areas less suitable for agriculture, with the aim of increasing CO2 absorption and carbon sequestration;

6.  Emphasises that, as well as being more environmentally friendly, such farming practices have a positive impact in terms of improved biodiversity and soil quality, water retention and efforts to combat erosion and pollution and that mitigating the effects of farming activity on climate change is another of the ‘public goods’ provided by agriculture;

7.  Recommends introducing a common European forestry policy that promotes sustainable forestry management and production and does more to tap the potential and the economic development of this industry, which is the one that makes the greatest contribution to carbon capture, as this sector makes the greatest contribution to carbon capture; this policy should pay maximum attention to the different regional conditions for forestry, because there are different opportunities and threats for forest environments in northern and southern Europe;

8.  Points out that forests also make a significant contribution to efficient water management. Member States must therefore be encouraged to undertake forest management which will reduce differences in the water regime between periods of drought and flood, thereby reducing the negative effects of droughts and floods on agriculture, energy production and the population;

9.  Recommends stepping up policies on mountain regions, as the pasturing and stock-breeding industries have a particularly important role to play in mitigating climate change and in helping to adjust and reduce vulnerability, particularly by means of proper management of pastureland;

10.  Recommends that strategies be devised for preventing and mitigating the adverse consequences for agriculture in the European Union through:

   an action plan for the most affected areas: using certain plant varieties which are resistant to the new climate conditions, adapting the calendar of farming activities to the new conditions, forestation, building greenhouses, managing water resources for agriculture and making polluted land more environmentally friendly;
   the other measure should be a plan for the future aimed at eliminating the causes of climate change by promoting a global economy based on reduced CO2 emissions, combined with the promotion of energy security;

11.  Emphasises that nitrous oxide emissions can be cut by making more effective use of nitrogen fertilisers (precision farming); also points out that fertilisation using the residual mass from biogas production provides opportunities for organic precision fertilisation and thus the reduction of emissions;

12.  Calls for research on livestock feed and genetic selection of farm animals to be stepped up with a view to reducing methane emissions, provided that such mitigation measures are not adopted if they jeopardise animal health or welfare; also calls for the introduction of a food programme designed to reduce the Union's dependence on imported plant proteins for animal feed and for an information programme to educate consumers about the impact of their purchasing and eating behaviour on the climate;

13.  Urges also that action should be taken to speed up and step up research into plant breeding to make crops and plants better able to withstand new climatic conditions and to be able to meet the challenges posed by climate change, particularly with regard to requiring that a suitable quantity of good-quality raw materials, and therefore a secure food supply, is maintained; considers that this research should as a matter of priority relate to plant varieties which tolerate water stress and extremely high temperatures, and the relevant crop techniques; stresses also that these varieties and techniques could offer a viable alternative to the current costly and inefficient irrigation systems in some areas, and that they also offer the advantage of being more acceptable to local communities;

14.  Emphasises that optimised storage – and the application – of organic fertiliser and the processing of such fertiliser in anaerobic digesters are currently some of the most promising ways of reducing methane emissions (whilst also providing a source of renewable energy) and reducing dependence on chemical nitrogen fertilisers, particularly in regions characterised by high-density livestock farming; considers that this biogas helps make agriculture self-sufficient in energy;

15.  Draws attention, in this context, to the need to be able to use digestate from manure fermentation installations for biogas production as a substitute for artificial fertiliser without its falling into the category of ‘livestock manure’, so that the use of artificial fertiliser can be further reduced;

16.  Calls for the speeding up of administrative simplification and of research and development work on the exploitation and utilisation of biomass found on farms (farm and forest waste), biogas from livestock farming and other sustainable agrofuels, provided that the latter do not jeopardise food security;

17.  Stresses that the principle of sustainability must be enforced when using biomass; considers therefore that its use as close as possible to the place of production of the agricultural raw materials must be encouraged as this would reduce energy loss caused by transport;

18.  Points out that the use of biomass for heating might significantly reduce the harmful impact of climate change, and therefore calls on the Commission and the Member States to award rural development funding to rural public institutions switching to heating systems based on bioenergy;

19.  Stresses that more extensive use of ICT could improve the monitoring of several phases of production and improve their management in order to increase production in relation to the use of the means of production and, simultaneously, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption; stresses, likewise, that the more extensive use of ICT, the integration of policies to promote training for farmers in new technologies and support for innovation and entrepreneurship among young farmers in particular are key topics, with a view both to making farming more environmentally sustainable and making the sector more competitive;

20.  Emphasises that the Union's position as the leading importer of agricultural produce results in a higher carbon cost than that generated by European farms, owing to the lower environmental standards often found in non-EU countries, coupled with long-distance transport emissions and deforestation; takes the view that there is a need to inform consumers, by means of a targeted communication strategy, of the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet made up of high-quality regional and seasonal items produced by a sustainable and efficient agriculture, the carbon footprint of which could be differentiated from those of imported products; takes the view also that there is a need to compensate European farmers fairly for their efforts to reduce emissions, and to encourage local farms to diversify (inter alia by developing EU production of plant proteins);

21.  Endorses, in this context, the idea of voluntary EU origin labelling in the case of products originating entirely within the European Union;

22.  Calls for the implementation of effective control mechanisms on imports from third countries and advocates full reciprocity between the criteria that have to be met by European producers to combat climate change and the requirements applying to imports from third countries, to avoid any loss in the competitiveness of Community products;

23.  Emphasises that the Union must reinvest in the rural and forestry management development policy in order to help disseminate new practices and foster the development of sustainable agriculture elsewhere in the world;

Measures to help EU agriculture adapt to the effects of global warming

24.  Emphasises that EU agriculture must now adapt to the effects of the climate change currently taking place and prepare for its negative net impact on many regions of the Union;

25.  Considers in this regard that the Union must develop a coherent strategy for agriculture to adapt to the two kinds of adverse climatic effects anticipated:

   overall global warming;
   more marked variations in climate conditions resulting in an increase in extreme weather events;

26.  Takes the view that the CAP must focus on the management of resources in a more sustainable and efficient way and that this must be taken into account in the forthcoming reform of the CAP, including for example:

   optimising water resource management (more efficient irrigation systems, use of recycled water, economical use of water on the land, hillside reservoirs, etc.), making users responsible;
   choosing crop varieties, particularly those selected for their ability to resist extreme weather events, and practising crop rotation according to considerations such as drought and disease;
   protecting the soil from water and wind erosion by ensuring organic matter content;
   planting rows of trees, hedges or wooded areas on the edges of farmland to retain water, limit runoff, act as windbreaks and provide shelter for crop auxiliaries such as pollinating insects;
   preserving pastureland and promoting animal production on pastureland;
   monitoring and controlling disease; in this context, there is a need to develop national and European instruments to monitor outbreaks and repeat outbreaks;
   undertaking monitoring and control of insects; in this context, monitoring of invasiveness potential and cross compliance measures concerning plant health (increased controls at borders and sensitive locations such as tree nurseries and airports, biosecurity measures) must be developed;
   restoring damaged areas;
   maintaining forests which can adapt to climate change and managing forests in such a way as to limit the risk of fire;

27.  Emphasises that it may be necessary to re-think the water management, including river regulation, of former floodplain areas with unfavourable growing conditions which were subsequently drained, revitalise suitable floodplain areas and replant former floodplain forests;

Implications for the European agricultural model

28.  Emphasises that the CAP will have to contribute to a more sustainable agricultural policy, whilst at the same time increasing yields and bearing in mind that global warming may jeopardise world food production capacity, including in Europe;

29.  Takes the view, likewise, that the CAP should provide financial incentives for local authorities in the Member States to take measures aimed at:

   restoring the production and protection capacities of natural ecosystems, agricultural crops and other assets that are affected by drought and desertification or flooding;
   improving practices with regard to the use of water resources, soil and vegetation which have proved to be unsustainable over time;
   identifying, improving and promoting plant species and animal breeds in areas affected by drought and/or at risk of aridity;
   improving preventive measures;

30.  Notes that climate change has a direct and disproportionately harmful impact on agriculture, which must therefore be given priority when measures are drawn up to mitigate the effects of climate change;

31.  Takes the view that the ‘new challenges’ referred to in the CAP Health Check, i.e. climate change, water management, renewable energies and biodiversity, should be reiterated and respect for and improvement of the quality of the soil and its functions (carbon capture, retention capacity of water and mineral elements, biological life...) should also be added to these challenges as all these are major issues affecting the interests of future generations, and should be further taken into account in the future CAP;

32.  Notes that the current cross-compliance system, which was designed to ensure that agricultural producers meet very high standards in terms of animal welfare, animal health and environmental protection, has been problematic for farmers and has, in its current form, perhaps not been the best means of achieving the desired outcomes; calls, in the context of the next reform of the CAP, for greater emphasis on more sustainable and more efficient production models, bearing in mind that these require public funding to enable farmers to cover the extra costs arising from the supply of ‘public goods’ of benefit to the whole of society (such as the preservation of rural areas, biodiversity conservation, carbon capture and food security);

33.  Recognises that the CAP needs to set world-leading standards in environmental protection; points out that this will mean a level of cost which cannot be recovered from the market, although in part that can be regarded as delivery of public goods, and that European producers will need protection from third-country competition which does not meet EU environmental standards;

34.  Takes the view that climate change is forcing the Union to adapt the agricultural policy model; consequently calls on the Commission, in its future communication on CAP reform after 2013, to promote a more sustainable and efficient agricultural model in line with all the aims of the CAP, geared to producing sufficient, safe food and more respectful of environmental balance; such a model must be based on a fair and legitimate farmer support system and must also enhance the role of the farming profession;

35.  Considers that, to enable European agriculture to contribute in future to food security and climate protection, an ambitious CAP must be maintained, including in particular the system of direct payments from the Community budget and simplified and fair payments for the EU as a whole;

36.  Stresses the importance of creating and permanently guaranteeing the basis for the development of alternative economic activities that will gradually reduce local communities‘ dependence on drought-affected agricultural production or on natural resources; takes the view that access to financing from European funds is a key factor in safeguarding the conditions in which alternative economic activities are carried out;

37.  Stresses the importance of promoting integrated development planning practices in rural areas in line with local needs, by introducing principles based on optimising land use in order to adapt to changing environmental conditions (prolonged drought, landslides, floods, etc.) and to the market for products and services that can be supplied at local level;

38.  Also calls on the Commission to give thought to new support systems that support the contribution which farming makes to reducing CO2, such as carbon fixing in farm soil and biomass, and that encourage agricultural use of areas that make a positive contribution to climate change;

39.  Stresses the need for accurate Commission estimates of the costs of adapting agriculture to climate change;

40.  Considers it essential to strengthen risk and crisis management instruments and adapt them to increasing market volatility and growing climatic risks;

41.  Emphasises, given the scale of the climate challenge and investment, that the farming and forestry management community must focus on more sustainable modes of production and there is a need to retain a strong CAP with a commensurate budget beyond 2013; adds that provision must be made for new additional funding to be used to provide incentives to disseminate modern and innovative technologies and systems which can achieve practical results in terms of mitigation and adjustment in the various sectors of agriculture;

42.  Stresses that, although the CAP is not a European climate policy, it must nevertheless be the basis for the introduction of effective instruments and incentives to combat climate change, something which should also be borne in mind when discussing the future of the EU budget;

43.  Takes the view that the European Union should maintain its leading position in the battle against climate change, and that it should not slip to number two as a result of the current economic difficulties;

44.  Stresses that the European Union needs development and financing policies for agriculture that guarantee safe and high-quality food;

o
o   o

45.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States‘ governments and parliaments.

(1) OJ C 282 E, 6.11.2008, p. 281.
(2) OJ C 66 E, 20.3.2009, p. 29.
(3) OJ C 67 E, 18.3.2010, p. 44.
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0130.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0089.


Agriculture in areas with natural handicaps: a special health check
PDF 125kWORD 45k
European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on agriculture in areas with natural handicaps: a special health check (2009/2156(INI))
P7_TA(2010)0132A7-0056/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Article 39 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions ‘Towards a better targeting of the aid to farmers in areas with natural handicaps’ (COM(2009)0161),

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Communication from the Commission, delivered on 17 December 2009,

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the opinion of the Committee on Regional Development (A7-0056/2010),

A.   whereas, at 54%, more than half of the utilised agricultural area in the EU is classed as less-favoured areas,

B.   whereas each Member State has designated less-favoured areas, although to a differing extent,

C.   whereas mountain areas (including arctic regions north of the 62nd parallel which are also regarded as mountain areas) account for around 16% of the utilised agricultural area, whilst over 35% of the utilised agricultural area is classed as ‘intermediate LFAs’,

D.   whereas these ‘intermediate LFAs’ are classified by the Member States on the basis of a large number of different criteria, which, in the view of the European Court of Auditors(1), can lead to disparities in treatment,

E.   whereas only a small proportion of farms in these areas receive compensatory payments and the level of these payments varies significantly between the Member States(2),

F.   whereas for mountain areas and areas with specific handicaps, which are defined in Article 50(2) and Article 50(3)(b) respectively of Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 of 20 September 2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), there are clear and uncontested criteria, so that the classification of these areas has neither been criticised by the European Court of Auditors nor is affected by the current Commission communication,

G.   whereas the particular situation in the outermost regions requires the implementation of specific procedures to deal with them,

H.   whereas support for less favoured areas is an essential component of the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy, namely rural development policy, and consequently neither regional policy objectives nor the issue of the redistribution of EAFRD funding should be at the heart of the debate,

I.   whereas, as a result of the reform of legislation on support for less-favoured areas and the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005, the previous category of ‘intermediate LFAs’ has been abolished and eligible areas are defined as areas ‘affected by significant natural handicaps’,

J.   whereas the socio-economic criteria used prior to the 2005 reform by some Member States may no longer be used to delimit areas with ‘natural handicaps’, but may continue to be used to define areas with ‘specific handicaps’, which are supported pursuant to Article 50(3)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005,

K.   whereas, in formulating their national and regional programmes for rural development, Member States have significant room for manoeuvre in order to present a balanced set of measures adapted to their specific regional situation, and whereas it falls to the Member States to present suitable measures for their less favoured areas within their programmes,

L.   whereas the proposed eight biophysical criteria might not prove to be sufficient and the proposed threshold value of 66% of the area might not be found suitable in all cases for determining the actual handicap in a manner respectful of the great diversity of EU rural areas; whereas the crop grown, the combination of soil types, soil moisture and climate are, among others, also factors relevant for the purpose of determining the actual handicap in a given area,

1.  Stresses the importance of an appropriate compensatory payment for less-favoured areas as an indispensable tool to secure the provision of high-value public goods such as maintaining the management of the land and the cultivated landscape in these regions; emphasises that less-favoured areas, in particular, are often of high value in terms of the cultivated landscape, biodiversity preservation and environmental benefits, as well as rural employment and the vitality of rural communities;

2.  Recognises that because of their unique position less-favoured areas have an important role to play in delivering environmental benefits and in maintaining the landscape and stresses that payments under this measure should seek to achieve these goals;

3.  Stresses that Article 158 of the TEC on the cohesion policy, as reformed in Lisbon, pays particular attention to regions with natural handicaps; urges the Commission to devise a comprehensive strategy to eliminate the disparities between Member States in dealing with these areas and promote an integrated strategy that takes account of specific national and regional characteristics;

4.  Emphasises that support for areas with natural handicaps is aimed in particular at ensuring that an efficient and multifunctional form of agriculture is widely and permanently preserved, thereby maintaining the countryside as a vital economic area and place to live in;

5.  Stresses the need to manage these less favoured areas not only with a view to producing nutritious foodstuffs, but also as a contribution to overall economic development, increased quality of life and demographic and social stability in these areas;

6.  In this sense, calls on the Commission to take into account also the social implications of the new classification for areas with natural handicaps;

7.  Points out that, in contrast to agri-environmental measures, compensatory payments for less-favoured areas must not be subject to additional specific conditions regarding the method of land management which would go beyond cross-compliance requirements; recalls that the LFA scheme must in principle offer compensation to farmers who are also land managers operating with significant natural handicaps which the market does not compensate for as such;

8.  Emphasises, however, that LFA payments must be linked to active farming of the land, i.e. the production of food or activities intimately related to the production of food;

9.  Takes the view that the eight biophysical criteria proposed by the Commission could, in principle, be suitable for delimiting areas with natural handicaps to a degree; stresses, however, that the criteria may not be used in all cases for objectively delimiting areas with natural handicaps;

10.  Recognises, however, that strict and purely biophysical criteria may not be suitable for all areas of Europe, and may lead to unintended consequences in terms of areas which qualify; therefore recommends that the case for socio-economic criteria such as distance from markets, lack of services and depopulation be re-examined, on a purely objective basis;

11.  Urges the Commission to take into account all the standpoints expressed during the consultation with the Member States, regional and local authorities and farming organisations, regarding the definition of areas with natural handicaps;

12.  Considers, in particular, that the inclusion of a geographical criterion referred to as ‘isolation’ would address the specific natural handicap stemming from distance from the market, remoteness and limited access to services;

13.  Considers it necessary to review the definition of the criterion of ‘soil moisture balance’ so as take account of the different agro-climatic conditions which exist in the various Member States of the Union;

14.  Notes that, to acknowledge the limitations of wet unworkable soils, the inclusion of a ‘field capacity days’ criterion would allow the interaction between soil types and climate to be taken into account (for instance to adequately reflect maritime climate difficulties);

15.  Asks the Commission, therefore, to pursue its research efforts and analysis with a view to including potential additional criteria in the new LFA scheme in order to further adapt its proposals to practical difficulties farmers are facing and build a robust set of criteria which will remain suitable in the long term;

16.  Stresses, however, that in order to apply these criteria and establish realistic threshold values in practice, it is essential that the necessary biophysical data are available to the Member States and regions with a sufficient degree of accuracy in relation to the natural environment; supports, therefore, the test of practical application of the proposed criteria introduced by the Commission; calls for the detailed maps that are to be submitted by the Member States to be used if necessary to adapt the limit values of the criteria, defining areas with natural handicaps, and the proposed threshold value of 66% at Member State or regional level (to the reality in terms of the natural environment);

17.  Stresses, in particular, that in order to address the interactions between many influencing factors in a practical manner, the cumulative use of the adopted criteria might prove necessary: it could enable those disadvantaged areas which accumulate two or more small to medium-scale natural handicaps to be classified as LFAs even when individual criteria would not trigger that classification;

18.  Emphasises that a final opinion on the basic territorial unit chosen, the criteria and the threshold values proposed by the Commission can only be given when the detailed maps drawn up by the Member States are available; stresses that, in the absence of such simulation results, the proposed 66% threshold as well as the thresholds defining the criteria themselves must be viewed with considerable caution and can only be objectively and appropriately adjusted once the national maps are made available; calls on the Commission therefore promptly to examine the results of the mapping exercise and, on this basis, to draw up as soon as possible a detailed communication to the European Parliament and the Council on the delimitation of areas with natural handicaps;

19.  Stresses that when the final map of intermediate disadvantaged areas is drawn up, objective national criteria should also be taken into account in order to make possible the adaptation of the definition of the areas to the different specific conditions in each country; considers that this adaptation should be performed in a transparent manner;

20.  Considers a degree of voluntary, national fine-tuning of the criteria for support for areas with natural handicaps to be necessary in order to be able to respond appropriately to particular geographical situations where natural handicaps have been offset by human intervention; emphasises however that where land quality has been improved, the burden of ongoing associated maintenance costs such as drainage and irrigation must be taken into consideration; proposes that farm data (such as farm income and land productivity) be used inter alia for this purpose; emphasises, however, that the decision on the criteria to be used for fine-tuning must lie with the Member States since many Member States have already developed an appropriate and suitable system of differentiation which should be maintained;

21.  Considers that the new criteria might exclude certain areas with natural handicaps that are currently eligible; points out that an adequate phasing-out period should be defined, in order to allow for the regions concerned to adapt to the new situation;

22.  Underlines that the areas which have overcome the natural disadvantages of the land through farming techniques should not be definitively removed, especially if they still have low agricultural income or very few production alternatives, and calls on the Commission to ensure a smooth transition for these areas;

23.  Calls for technical procedures intended to offset natural handicaps not only to take account of short-term advantages but also to be subject to a Sustainability Impact Assessment;

24.  Emphasises the responsibility of the Member States in connection with the objective designation of areas with natural handicaps and the formulation of balanced programmes for rural development; underlines the need for partnership with regional and local authorities in this process; stresses at the same time the need for notification and approval of these national or regional decisions by the Commission;

25.  Emphasises that the reform concerning areas with natural handicaps forms an essential part of the future development of the European Union's common agricultural policy;

26.  Calls on the Commission within one year to draw up a separate legislative text on agriculture in areas with natural handicaps;

27.  Calls for the review of the Less Favoured Area Scheme to take place in concert with discussions of CAP reform as a whole, to ensure coherence in design of the new support systems for farmers, especially in relation to the new Single Farm Payment;

28.  Is aware of the implications that the exercise to re-define intermediate disadvantaged areas could have for the future design of CAP aid, so calls on the Commission to take account of all the standpoints expressed during the public consultation by Member States and by regional and local authorities and the farming groups concerned;

29.  Demands the protection of the European budget for rural development, and urges Member States to make full use of co-financing opportunities for LFAs, as one of the most effective and important rural development schemes;

30.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

(1) European Court of Auditors: Special Report No 4/2003, OJ C 151, 27.6.2003.
(2) From 16 EUR/ha in Spain to 250 EUR/ha in Malta.


A new Digital Agenda for Europe: 2015.eu
PDF 153kWORD 68k
European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on a new Digital Agenda for Europe: 2015.eu (2009/2225(INI))
P7_TA(2010)0133A7-0066/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Europe's Digital Competitiveness Report. Main achievements of the i2010 strategy 2005-2009’ (COM(2009)0390),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Cross-Border Business to Consumer e-Commerce in the EU’ (COM(2009)0557),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2006 on a European information society for growth and employment(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 14 February 2007 - Towards a European policy on the radio spectrum(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 19 June 2007 on building a European policy on broadband(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 21 June 2007 on consumer confidence in the digital environment(4),

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Culture and Education (A7-0066/2010),

A.   whereas Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) permeate virtually all aspects of our lives and are inextricably linked with our desire for a prosperous and competitive economy, for the preservation of our environment, and for a more democratic, open, inclusive society,

B.   whereas Europe should play a leading role in creating and applying ICT, bringing more value to its citizens and businesses; whereas the use of ICT contributes to underpinning current structural challenges, achieving a sustainable economic growth,

C.   whereas Europe will only reap the benefits of this digital revolution if all EU citizens are mobilised and empowered to participate fully in the new digital society and the person is placed at the core of the policy action; whereas this digital revolution can no longer be thought of as an evolution from the industrial past but rather as a process of radical transformation,

D.   whereas the development of the digital society should be inclusive and accessible to all EU citizens and should be supported by effective policies aiming at closing the digital gap within the EU, empowering more citizens with e-skills to fully use the opportunities offered by ICTs,

E.   whereas, while broadband is available to more than 90% of the EU's population, take-up occurs in only 50% of households,

F.   whereas competitive communications markets are important in ensuring that users receive maximum benefits in terms of choice, quality and affordable prices,

G.   whereas Europe's potential is indissolubly linked with the skills of its population, its workforce, and its organisations; whereas without skills there can only be limited economic and social added value from ICT technologies and infrastructures,

H.   whereas ICT can be an extremely powerful enabler in efforts to bring positive and sustainable development to countries around the globe and to fight against poverty and social and economic inequalities,

I.   whereas citizens will refrain from interacting, expressing their opinions freely and entering into transactions if they do not have sufficient confidence in the legal framework of the new digital space; whereas the guarantee and enforcement of fundamental rights in this context is an essential condition for confidence on the part of citizens; whereas the guarantee of protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and other rights is an essential condition for confidence on the part of business,

J.   whereas cybercrimes, such as incitation to commit terrorist attacks, hate-based criminal acts, and child pornography, have increased and are endangering individuals including children,

K.   whereas Europe's cultural and creative industries not only play an essential role in promoting cultural diversity, pluralism of the media and participative democracy in Europe, but also constitute a major engine of sustainable growth and economic recovery in the European Union; whereas particular attention must be paid to cultural and language specificities in the debate on the establishment of a single market in the creative content sector;

L.   whereas European democratic society, the participation of citizens in public debate and access to information in the digital world depends on a vibrant and competitive press sector as the fourth pillar of democracy,

M.   whereas the lack of progress in creating, disseminating and using ICT is responsible for a delay in growth and productivity, and whereas young businesses with high growth potential working in the area of ICT innovation are hard pressed to establish a sustainable market position,

N.   whereas the private and public sectors need to invest in new innovative platforms and services such as, for example, cloud computing, e-health, smart meters, smart mobility, etc; whereas strengthening the single European market will increase interest in investments in the European economy and markets, and lead to further economies of scale,

O.   whereas we have not yet achieved a fully functioning digital single market for online and communications services in Europe; whereas the free movement of digital services and cross- border e-commerce is today severely hindered by fragmented rules at national level; whereas European companies and public services will gain economic and social benefits from the use of advanced ICT services and applications,

P.   whereas, whilst the Internet is the fastest growing retail channel, the gap between domestic and cross-border e-commerce in the EU is widening; whereas a considerable potential for substantial savings exists through cross-border e-commerce for EU citizens, as identified by the Commission Communication on cross-border business to consumer e-commerce in the EU (COM(2009)0557),

1.  Calls on the Commission to come forward with a proposal for an ambitious digital agenda and action plan enabling Europe to progress towards an open and prosperous digital society offering all citizens economic, social and cultural opportunities; proposes that this new digital agenda be called ‘2015.eu agenda’ and be based on the model of the virtuous 2015.eu spiral;

2.  Stresses the importance of continuing efforts towards ubiquitous and high-speed access to fixed and mobile broadband for all citizens and consumers, including by safeguarding competition to the benefit of consumers; emphasises that this requires targeted policies that promote competition and efficient investment and innovation in new and enhanced access infrastructures and consumer choice in delivering access, on fair terms and at competitive prices for all citizens, irrespective of location, thereby ensuring that no European citizen faces exclusion;

3.  Believes that every EU household should have access to broadband Internet at a competitive price by 2013; calls upon the Commission and the Member States to promote all available policy instruments to achieve broadband for all European citizens, including the use of the European Structural Funds and of the digital dividend for extending mobile broadband coverage and quality; calls, furthermore, on Member States to impart new impetus to the European high-speed broadband strategy, notably by updating national targets for broadband and high-speed coverage;

4.  Notes that there are some ambiguities in the State aid rules that may affect Community-supported broadband services, particularly as regards the ability of public authorities to consolidate their own network requirements as the basis for new investment; asks the Commission to deal with these problems urgently;

5.  Recalls that particular attention should be paid to rural areas, areas affected by industrial transition, and regions which suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps, in particular the outermost regions; considers that an appropriate solution to ensure the effective supply of and access to broadband Internet by the citizens of these regions within an acceptable timeframe and at a reasonable cost is through wireless technologies including satellite which enable an immediate ubiquitous connectivity to the Internet backbone;

6.  Recalls that the universal service obligations correspond to the minimum set of services of specified quality to which all end-users should have access at an affordable price without distorting competition and imposing an additional burden on consumers and operators; urges the Commission to produce its long-awaited review of universal service without delay;

7.  Highlights the importance of guaranteeing disabled end-users access at a level equivalent to that available to other end-users, as urged by the European Parliament in its review of the Universal Service and Users‘ Rights Directive; asks the Commission to take the utmost account of disabled users’ needs in the ‘2015.eu agenda’;

8.  Calls on the Commission to carry out an impact assessment to examine how an EU-wide number portability can be realised;

9.  Underlines the importance of maintaining Europe as the ‘mobile continent’ in the world and ensuring that 75% of mobile subscribers are mobile broadband users with access to high-speed wireless services by 2015;

10.  Recalls the necessity to accelerate the harmonised deployment of the digital dividend spectrum in a non-discriminatory manner, without compromising existing and enhanced broadcast services;

11.  Calls on the Commission to address through the Radio Spectrum Committee practical and technical requirements to ensure the timely availability of spectrum, with sufficient flexibility, to enable the deployment of new technologies and services such as mobile broadband; calls on the Commission to report on competition and spectrum market developments;

12.  Underlines the need for further assessment and research into potential interference between existing and future users of the spectrum so as to mitigate potential negative consequences for consumers;

13.  Considers that, as Internet access rates are increasing, Member States should strive to achieve the connection of 50% of EU households to very high-speed networks by 2015 and 100% by 2020 enabling a reliable and improved end-user experience in line with consumer expectations and needs; recalls that for achieving these objectives an appropriate policy framework is vital to enable private investment, while safeguarding competition and boosting consumer choice;

14.  Urges Member States to transpose the new electronic communications regulatory framework before the established deadline and to fully enforce it and to empower national regulators accordingly; emphasises that the new framework provides for a predictable and consistent regulatory environment which stimulates investment and promotes competitive markets for ICT networks, products and services contributing to an enhanced single market for information society services; insists that any guidance on the application of the telecoms package to Next Generation Access needs to give full effect to the concepts introduced in the directives to foster the deployment of these networks;

15.  Considers that it is necessary to increase the effectiveness of regulatory coordination by ensuring that BEREC is fully operational as soon as possible;

16.  Calls on stakeholders to adopt open models for communications network deployment to help boost innovation and drive demand;

17.  Recalls the need for transparency and predictability of regulation and calls on the Commission to continue to integrate Better Regulation principles in the preparation of legislative and non-legislative initiatives, in particular through targeted and timely impact assessments;

18.  Recalls that interoperability and accessibility are interlinked and are the bricks on which an efficient information society will be built in order for products, infrastructures and services to interoperate with each other so that Europeans can access services and data independently of which software they use;

19.  Insists that digital competences are crucial for an inclusive digital society and that all EU citizens should be empowered and have the incentives to develop the appropriate digital skills; stresses that digital competences could help disadvantaged people (i.e. elderly people and those on low incomes) to be included in society; calls on the Commission and on the Member States to tackle the disparities between the different groups in society in terms of digital literacy and Internet use, the so-called emerging second digital divide; emphasises the essential commitment to reduce digital literacy and competence gaps by half by 2015;

20.  Calls for respect for transparency, accessibility and equality of opportunity in the use of ICT systems, with a view to improving their user-friendliness for the largest possible number of European citizens;

21.  Stresses that all primary and secondary schools must have reliable, quality Internet connections by 2013 and very high-speed Internet connections by 2015 with the support of the regional and cohesion policy where appropriate; emphasises that ICT training and e-learning should become an integral part of lifelong learning activities enabling better and accessible education and training programmes;

22.  Recognises the importance of e-learning as a method of education adapted to ICT innovations which can meet the needs of people who do not have ready access to conventional educational methods, but underlines that the need for the exchange of information between teachers, students and other interested parties is an essential prerequisite; takes the view that international exchanges must also be encouraged in order that educational establishments may regain their important role in promoting understanding between peoples;

23.  Recommends introducing the notion of digital literacy into education systems, starting as early as the pre-primary level, in parallel with foreign languages, with the aim of producing skilled users as early as possible;

24.  Notes the importance of equipping EU citizens with digital skills in order to help them fully exploit the benefits of participating in the digital society; reaffirms the need to ensure that the knowledge, skills, competence and creativity of the European workforce meet the highest global standards and are constantly updated; believes that digital literacy and competences should be central aspects of EU policies as they are the main drivers of Europe's innovation society;

25.  Proposes the launch of a ‘Digital literacy and inclusion action plan’ at EU and Member State levels, notably comprising: specific digital literacy training opportunities for unemployed people and groups at risk of exclusion; incentives for private-sector initiatives to provide digital skills training to all employees; a European-wide ‘Be smart online!’ initiative to make all students, including those engaged in life-long learning and professional training, familiar with the safe use of ICT and online services; and a common EU-level ICT certification scheme;

26.  Calls on the Member States to take all necessary measures to inspire young professionals to choose ICT as a career; calls on Member States in the meantime to place more emphasis in their national education programmes on natural science subjects, such as maths and physics, for primary school pupils; takes the view that, as there is a real and urgent need for action to meet the demand for ICT skills in Europe in even the short to medium term, a better data base for e-skills monitoring will be needed; calls on the EU institutions to take further actions to create this data base;

27.  Emphasises that all EU citizens should be made aware of their basic digital rights and obligations through a European Charter of citizens‘ and consumers’ rights in the digital environment; believes that this Charter should consolidate the Community acquis including, in particular, users‘ rights relating to the protection of privacy, vulnerable users and digital content as well as guaranteeing adequate interoperability performance; reaffirms that rights in the digital environment should be considered within the overall framework of fundamental rights;

28.  Believes firmly that the protection of privacy constitutes a core value and that all users should have control of their personal data, including the ‘right to be forgotten’; urges the Commission to take account not only of data protection and privacy questions as such, but especially of the specific needs of minors and young adults with respect to these questions; calls on the Commission to submit a proposal for the adaptation of the Data Protection Directive to the current digital environment;

29.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take further action to improve digital security, to fight cybercrime and spam, to enhance users‘ confidence and to secure the European Union cyberspace against all kinds of crimes and offences; calls on the Commission and the Member States to effectively engage and enhance international cooperation in this area; reminds Member States that almost half of them have still not ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime and urges all Member States to ratify and implement this Convention;

30.  Calls on the Member States to take steps with a view to making secure electronic identification available to everyone in Europe;

31.  Insists on safeguarding an open Internet, where citizens have the right and business users are able to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice as provided for by the new regulatory framework; calls on the Commission, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to promote the ‘net neutrality’ provisions, to monitor its implementation closely and to report to the European Parliament before the end of 2010; considers that EU legislation should preserve the ‘mere conduit’ provision established in the e-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) as a crucial way of enabling free and open competition on the digital market;

32.  Stresses that pluralism, freedom of the press and respect for cultural diversity are core values and end goals of the European Union; calls on the European Commission therefore to ensure that all proposed EU policies comply with these values and goals;

33.  Welcomes the rapid implementation of the legislation on roaming; underlines the further need for constant monitoring of EU mobile roaming prices, including those of data roaming; calls on BEREC to carry out an independent analysis on methods other than price regulation which could be used to create a competitive internal market for roaming; calls on the Commission on the basis of the analysis of BEREC and of its own review, to propose before 2013 a long-term solution to the problem of roaming in order to ensure a well-functioning, consumer-oriented and competitive roaming market thereby leading to lower prices;

34.  Stresses that digital services can contribute to Europe making full use of the internal market; calls for an effective policy for a digital single market that makes online services in Europe more competitive, accessible, cross-border and transparent providing the highest possible level of consumer protection and putting an end to territorial discrimination; calls on the EU institutions to remove the key regulatory and administrative obstacles to cross-border online transactions by 2013; calls on the Commission to further its ongoing assessment of the Community acquis affecting the digital single market and to propose targeted legislative action on key impediments;

35.  Calls for a study on harmonised rules within the EU to promote a common market in cloud computing and e-commerce;

36.  Calls on the Commission to consider measures to further increase the transparency of terms and conditions of cross-border online trade and the effectiveness of cross-border enforcement and redress; underlines that a successful development of online trade requires efficient distribution of products and goods, and therefore highlights the need for a rapid implementation of the 3rd Postal Directive (2008/6/EC);

37.  Believes that Member States should ensure the necessary digital environment for enterprises, especially SMEs; calls on Member States to establish ‘one-stop-shops’ for VAT in order to facilitate cross-border e-commerce for SMEs and entrepreneurs and calls on the Commission to support the wide use of e-invoices;

38.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that, by 2015, at least 50% of all public procurements are carried out through electronic means, as established by the Action Plan agreed to at the Ministerial Conference on e-government, held in Manchester in 2005;

39.  Takes the view that, almost a decade after their adoption, the Directives constituting the legal framework for the information society appear out of date due to the increased complexity of the online environment, the introduction of new technologies and the fact that EU citizens‘ data are increasingly processed outside of the EU; believes that, while the legal issues arising from some Directives can be resolved through an incremental update, other Directives need a more fundamental revision and that the adoption of an international framework for data protection is needed;

40.  Emphasises the potential value for citizens and businesses of the digital switchover of public services (e-government) in order to enable a more efficient and personalised provision of public services; calls on Member States to seize ICT tools to improve transparency and accountability of government action and to contribute to a more participative democracy involving all socio-economic groups, raising the awareness of new users, and building up trust and confidence; calls on Member States to develop national plans for the digital switchover of public services, which should include targets and measures for getting all public services online and accessible to persons with disabilities by 2015;

41.  Underlines the importance of broadband for European citizens‘ health in enabling the use of efficient health information technologies, enhancing the quality of care, extending the geographic reach of healthcare to rural insular, mountainous and sparsely populated areas, facilitating in-home care and reducing unnecessary treatments and costly patient transfers; recalls that broadband can also help protect European citizens by facilitating and promoting public safety information, procedures, disaster response and recovery;

42.  Points out that ICTs are particularly important to people with disabilities, who have a greater need than most for technological assistance in their day-to-day activities; considers that people with disabilities have a right to share, on equal terms, in the rapid development of products and services derived from new technologies, since this will enable them to participate in an inclusive information society without barriers;

43.  Emphasises the need to develop a ‘Fifth Freedom’ that enables the free circulation of content and knowledge and to achieve, by 2015, a convergent, consumer-friendly legal framework for accessing digital content in Europe, which would improve certainty for consumers and achieve a fair balance between the right-holders‘ rights and the general public's access to content and knowledge; urges the EU, in view of the pace of technological development, to accelerate the debate on copyright and to analyse the impact of an EU copyright title under Article 118 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU to provide uniform protection of intellectual property rights throughout the Union, both online and offline;

44.  Recognises that Europe's creative and cultural industries not only play an essential role in the promotion of cultural diversity, media pluralism and participatory democracy in Europe, but are also an important engine for sustainable growth in Europe and thus can play a decisive role in the EU's economic recovery; acknowledges the need to foster an environment that will continue to encourage creative industry; calls in this respect on the Commission to implement the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in all policy initiatives relating to the Digital Agenda;

45.  Stresses that a European digital agenda needs to promote the production and dissemination of high-quality and culturally diverse content in the EU in order to incentivise all EU citizens to adopt digital technologies such as the Internet, and to maximise the cultural and social benefits EU citizens can derive from those technologies; recommends that an EU-level information campaign be initiated in order to achieve a higher level of awareness, notably by the development and dissemination of digital cultural content; calls on the Commission to consider, within its legislative work programme, the possibility of allowing Member States to apply a reduced VAT rate to the distribution of online cultural goods;

46.  Underlines that the Internet, which offers many new opportunities for the circulation of and access to the products of creative work, also poses new challenges to securing the European Union cyberspace against new kinds of crimes and offences; notes that sanctions, as one of the possible tools in the field of copyright enforcement, should be targeted at commercial exploiters before individual citizens, as a point of principle;

47.  Believes that, in the light of new technologies, new digital delivery means and changing consumer behaviour, the EU needs to promote supply-side policies and to consider the further development of copyright licensing and clearance rules; calls for an improved, more efficient, and more consistent transparent rights management and clearance system for both musical and audiovisual works and for more transparency and competition between collecting rights management organisations;

48.  Underlines that greater attention must be paid in the new Digital Agenda to the digitisation of, and improving citizens‘ access to, Europe's unique cultural heritage; urges Member States to provide adequate financial support for the EU digitisation policy, while encouraging both the Commission and the Member States to find appropriate solutions to the current legal obstacles;

49.  Expresses its deep concern regarding the future of the European digital library project unless radical changes take place in the fields of the digital format of the library, management, efficiency, practicability, usefulness and large-scale mediatisation of the project;

50.  Considers that, alongside consistent deployment of ICT, it is essential to promote ICT research excellence and foster public and private investment in high-risk, collaborative ICT research and innovation; stresses that Europe should be at the cutting edge in the development of Internet technologies, cloud computing, intelligent environments and supercomputers, and ICT low-carbon applications; proposes that the EU ICT research budget be doubled and that the budget for ICT take-up be multiplied by four in the next Financial Perspective;

51.  Regrets the fact that, with respect to attracting, developing and keeping academic talent in ICT, Europe continues to lag behind other leading marketplaces and suffers a substantial brain drain due to better working conditions in the US for academics and researchers; stresses that, to address this problem, Europe needs to work with academia, along with industry, to develop a vibrant career development programme that supports the vital role of the scientific research community in a broad-based world-class ICT innovation strategy;

52.  Considers that by 2015 all European research institutes and infrastructures must be linked by Gbps ultra-high speed transmission networks, creating a European research community intranet;

53.  Calls for greater investment in the use of open source software in the EU;

54.  Calls for new investment in research in order to improve implementation of existing digital instruments, so as to guarantee access to cultural products for all citizens;

55.  Is concerned about red tape in the EU Framework Programme (FP); calls on the Commission to eliminate red tape by re-engineering FP processes without jeopardising the programme, and by creating a users‘ board;

56.  Calls on the Commission to assess with the Member States in what way Directives 2004/17/EC et 2004/18/EC on public works contracts and the transposition thereof support research and innovation and, where appropriate, to identify best practices; calls on the Commission and the Member States to consider developing public works contract innovation indicators;

57.  Recalls that the future competitiveness of Europe and its capacity to recover from the current economic crisis largely depend on its ability to facilitate the general and effective deployment of ICT in undertakings; notes, however, that SMEs are still lagging far behind large undertakings and draws special attention to the guarantees which micro and small undertakings should be given to ensure that they are not deprived of the benefits of the development of ICTs; calls on Member States and the Commission to step up support for SMEs as regards the use of ICT tools to increase their productivity;

58.  Calls on the Commission to come forward with a digital plan to promote on-line business opportunities, aimed primarily at offering alternatives to those people recently made unemployed in the context of the financial crisis; takes the view that this plan should consist of making available affordable software and hardware alongside free Internet connection and free-of-charge consultancy;

59.  Considers that the 2015.eu agenda should aim at mainstreaming ICT for a low-carbon economy; calls for exploitation of ICT technologies to meet the 20-20-20 objectives of the Climate Change strategy; considers that the implementation of applications such as smart power grids, smart metering, smart mobility, smart cars, smart water management and e-health should be key initiatives of 2015.eu; points out also that the ICT sector footprint should be reduced by 50% by 2015;

60.  Considers that international commerce should be driven by the principle of fair trade, with the aim of achieving a proper balance between the opening-up of markets and the legitimate protection of the various economic sectors, with a particular focus on working and social conditions;

61.  Considers that the ownership of the 2015.eu agenda by all political and geographical levels (EU, national and regional), in the spirit of multilevel governance, as well as political visibility, are essential prerequisites for effective implementation; proposes in this regard that Digital Agenda Summits be periodically organised to review progress at Union and Member State level and to renew political impetus;

62.  Draws the attention of the Commission specifically to the necessity to set smart (specific, measurable, appropriate, realistic and time-based) objectives and targets and adopt an Action Plan mobilising all appropriate EU instruments: funding, soft law, enforcement and, where necessary, targeted legislation across all relevant policy fields (i.e. electronic communications, education, research, innovation, cohesion policy); calls on the Commission to carry out a regular review of the 2015.eu strategy's achievements on the basis of a broad set of indicators enabling a quantitative and qualitative analysis of social and economic impacts; calls upon the Commission and the Member States to ensure appropriate coordination among EU and national and regional programmes in this field;

63.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

(1) OJ C 291 E, 30.11.2006, p. 133.
(2) OJ C 287 E, 29.11.2007, p. 364.
(3) OJ C 146 E, 12.6.2008, p. 87.
(4) OJ C 146 E, 12.6.2008, p. 370.


2008 discharge: Commission
PDF 652kWORD 312k
Decision
Decision
Decision
Decision
Decision
Decision
Resolution
1.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009 – 2009/2068(DEC))
P7_TA(2010)0134A7-0099/2010

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(1),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009)(2),

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the European Parliament on the follow-up to 2007 discharge decisions (COM(2009)0526), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1427),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Synthesis of the Commission's management achievements in 2008’ (COM(2009)0256),

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008 (COM(2009)0419), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1102),

–   having regard to the Commission's report on Member States‘ replies to the Court of Auditors’ 2008 annual report (SEC(2010)0178 and SEC (2010)0196)),

–   having regard to the Green Paper on the European transparency initiative, adopted by the Commission on 3 May 2006 (COM(2006)0194),

–   having regard to Opinion No 2/2004 of the Court of Auditors on the ‘single audit’ model (and a proposal for a Community internal control framework)(3),

–   having regard to the Commission communication on a roadmap to an integrated internal control framework (COM(2005)0252),

–   having regard to the Commission action plan towards an Integrated Internal Control Framework (COM(2006)0009), the report on the Commission action plan towards an integrated internal control framework (COM(2008)0110), and the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2008)0259),

–   having regard to the Impact Report on the Commission action plan towards an integrated internal control framework (COM(2009)0043),

–   having regard to Opinion No 6/2007 of the Court of Auditors on the annual summaries of Member States; ‘national declarations’ of Member States; and audit work on EU funds of national audit bodies(4),

–   having regard to the Commission's action plan to strengthen the Commission's supervisory role under shared management of structural actions (COM(2008)0097) and the interim report on the follow-up to that action plan (SEC(2009)1463),

–   having regard to the Commission's report on progress in Bulgaria under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (COM(2009)0402) and the supporting document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1074),

–   having regard to the Commission's report on progress in Romania under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (COM(2009)0401) and the supporting document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1073),

–   having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2008, together with the institutions‘ replies(5), and to the Court of Auditors‘ special reports,

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions, provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(6),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on a common understanding of the concept of tolerable risk of error (COM(2008)0866), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that communication (SEC(2008)3054),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 on the discharge to be given to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2008 (5826/2010 – C7-0054/2010),

–   having regard to Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty, Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Articles 179a and 180b of the Euratom Treaty,

–   having regard to international audit standards and international accounting standards, in particular those applying to the public sector,

–   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(7), and in particular Articles 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 76 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A7-0099/2010),

A.   whereas under Article 317 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union the Commission implements the budget in cooperation with the Member States on its own responsibility, having regard to the principle of sound financial management,

1.  Grants the Commission discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution that forms an integral part of the Decisions on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission and executive agencies;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision, and the resolution that forms an integral part of it, to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

2.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency for the financial year 2008 (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009 – 2009/2068(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(8),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009)(9),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the European Parliament on the follow-up to 2007 discharge decisions (COM(2009)0526), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1427),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Synthesis of the Commission's management achievements in 2008’ (COM(2009)0256),

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008 (COM(2009)0419), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1102),

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(10),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions, provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(11),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on a common understanding of the concept of tolerable risk of error (COM(2008)0866), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that communication (SEC(2008)3054),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 on the discharge to be given to the executive agencies in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2008 (5828/2010 – C7-0055/2010),

–   having regard to Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty, Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Articles 179a and 180b of the Euratom 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(12), and in particular Articles 55, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003 of 19 December 2002 laying down the statute for executive agencies to be entrusted with certain tasks in the management of Community programmes(13), and in particular Article 14(3) thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1653/2004 of 21 September 2004 on a standard financial regulation for the executive agencies pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003 laying down the statute for executive agencies to be entrusted with certain tasks in the management of Community programmes(14), and in particular the first and second paragraphs of Article 66 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Decision 2005/56/EC of 14 January 2005 setting up the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency for the management of Community action in the fields of education, audiovisual and culture in application of Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003(15),

–   having regard to Rule 76 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A7-0099/2010),

A.   whereas under Article 317 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union the Commission implements the budget in cooperation with the Member States on its own responsibility, having regard to the principle of sound financial management,

1.  Grants the Director of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution that forms an integral part of the Decisions on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission and executive agencies;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision, together with the Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission and the resolution that forms an integral part of those Decisions, to the Director of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation for the financial year 2008 (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009 – 2009/2068(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(16),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009)(17),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the European Parliament on the follow-up to 2007 discharge decisions (COM(2009)0526), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1427),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Synthesis of the Commission's management achievements in 2008’ (COM(2009)0256),

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008 (COM(2009)0419), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1102),

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(18),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions, provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(19),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on a common understanding of the concept of tolerable risk of error (COM(2008)0866), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that communication (SEC(2008)3054),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 on the discharge to be given to the executive agencies in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2008 (5828/2010 – C7-0055/2010),

–   having regard to Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty, Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Articles 179a and 180b of the Euratom 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(20), and in particular Articles 55, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003 of 19 December 2002 laying down the statute for executive agencies to be entrusted with certain tasks in the management of Community programmes(21), and in particular Article 14(3) thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1653/2004 of 21 September 2004 on a standard financial regulation for the executive agencies pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003 laying down the statute for executive agencies to be entrusted with certain tasks in the management of Community programmes(22), and in particular the first and second paragraphs of Article 66 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Decision 2004/20/EC of 23 December 2003 setting up an executive agency, the ‘Intelligent Energy Executive Agency’, to manage Community action in the field of energy in application of Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003(23),

–   having regard to Commission Decision 2007/372/EC of 31 May 2007 amending Decision 2004/20/EC in order to transform the Intelligent Energy Executive Agency into the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation(24),

–   having regard to Rule 76 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A7-0099/2010),

A.   whereas under Article 317 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union the Commission implements the budget in cooperation with the Member States on its own responsibility, having regard to the principle of sound financial management,

1.   .Grants the Director of the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution that forms an integral part of the Decisions on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission and executive agencies;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this decision, together with the Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, section III – Commission and the resolution that forms an integral part of those Decisions, to the Director of the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

4.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers for the financial year 2008 (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009 – 2009/2068(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(25),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009)(26),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the European Parliament on the follow-up to 2007 discharge decisions (COM(2009)0526), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1427),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Synthesis of the Commission's management achievements in 2008’ (COM(2009)0256),

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008 (COM(2009)0419), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1102),

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(27),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions, provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(28),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on a common understanding of the concept of tolerable risk of error (COM(2008)0866), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that communication (SEC(2008)3054),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 on the discharge to be given to the executive agencies in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2008 (5828/2010 – C7-0055/2010),

–   having regard to Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty, Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Articles 179a and 180b of the Euratom 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(29), and in particular Articles 55, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003 of 19 December 2002 laying down the statute for executive agencies to be entrusted with certain tasks in the management of Community programmes(30), and in particular Article 14(3) thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1653/2004 of 21 September 2004 on a standard financial regulation for the executive agencies pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003 laying down the statute for executive agencies to be entrusted with certain tasks in the management of Community programmes(31), and in particular the first and second paragraphs of Article 66 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Decision 2004/858/EC of 15 December 2004 setting up an executive agency, the ‘Executive Agency for the Public Health Programme’, for the management of Community action in the field of public health ‐ pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003(32),

–   having regard to Commission Decision 2008/544/EC of 20 June 2008 amending Decision 2004/858/EC in order to transform the Executive Agency for the Public Health Programme into the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers(33),

–   having regard to Rule 76 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A7-0099/2010),

A.   whereas under Article 317 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union the Commission implements the budget in cooperation with the Member States on its own responsibility, having regard to the principle of sound financial management,

1.  Grants the Director of the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution that forms an integral part of the Decisions on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission and executive agencies;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision, together with the Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission and the resolution that forms an integral part of those Decisions, to the Director of the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

5.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency for the financial year 2008 (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009 – 2009/2068(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(34),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009)(35),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency for the financial year 2008,

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the European Parliament on the follow-up to 2007 discharge decisions (COM(2009)0526), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1427),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Synthesis of the Commission's management achievements in 2008’ (COM(2009)0256),

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008 (COM(2009)0419), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1102),

–   having regard to the Court of Auditors‘ report on the annual accounts of the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency for the financial year 2008, together with the Agency's replies(36),

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions, provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(37),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on a common understanding of the concept of tolerable risk of error (COM(2008)0866), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that communication (SEC(2008)3054),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 on the discharge to be given to the executive agencies in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2008 (5828/2010 – C7-0055/2010),

–   having regard to Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty, Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Articles 179a and 180b of the Euratom 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(38), and in particular Articles 55, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003 of 19 December 2002 laying down the statute for executive agencies to be entrusted with certain tasks in the management of Community programmes(39), and in particular Article 14(3) thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1653/2004 of 21 September 2004 on a standard financial regulation for the executive agencies pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003 laying down the statute for executive agencies to be entrusted with certain tasks in the management of Community programmes(40), and in particular the first and second paragraphs of Article 66 thereof,

–   having regard to Commission Decision 2007/60/EC of 26 October 2006 establishing the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003(41),

–   having regard to Rule 76 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A7-0099/2010),

A.   whereas under Article 317 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union the Commission implements the budget in cooperation with the Member States on its own responsibility, having regard to the principle of sound financial management,

1.  Grants the Director of the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency's budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution that forms an integral part of the Decisions on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission and executive agencies;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision, together with the Decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission and the resolution that forms an integral part of those Decisions, to the Director of the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

6.European Parliament decision of 5 May 2010 on the closure of the accounts of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009 – 2009/2068(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(42),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009)(43),

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the European Parliament on the follow-up to 2007 discharge decisions (COM(2009)0526), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1427),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Synthesis of the Commission's management achievements in 2008’ (COM(2009)0256),

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008 (COM(2009)0419), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1102),

–   having regard to the Commission's report on Member States‘ replies to the Court of Auditors’ 2008 annual report (SEC(2010)0178 and SEC(2010)0196),

–   having regard to the Green Paper on the European transparency initiative, adopted by the Commission on 3 May 2006 (COM(2006)0194),

–   having regard to Opinion No 2/2004 of the Court of Auditors on the ‘single audit’ model (and a proposal for a Community internal control framework)(44),

–   having regard to the Commission communication on a roadmap to an integrated internal control framework (COM(2005)0252),

–   having regard to the Commission action plan towards an Integrated Internal Control Framework (COM(2006)0009), the report on the Commission action plan towards an integrated internal control framework (COM(2008)0110), and the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2008)0259),

–   having regard to the Impact Report on the Commission action plan towards an integrated internal control framework (COM(2009)0043),

–   having regard to Opinion No 6/2007 of the Court of Auditors on the annual summaries of Member States; ‘national declarations’ of Member States; and audit work on EU funds of national audit bodies(45),

–   having regard to the Commission's action plan to strengthen the Commission's supervisory role under shared management of structural actions (COM(2008)0097) and the interim report on the follow-up to that action plan (SEC(2009)1463),

–   having regard to the Commission's report on progress in Bulgaria under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (COM(2009)0402) and the supporting document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1074),

–   having regard to the Commission's report on progress in Romania under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (COM(2009)0401) and the supporting document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1073),

–   having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2008, together with the institutions‘ replies(46), and to the Court of Auditors‘ special reports,

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions, provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(47),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on a common understanding of the concept of tolerable risk of error (COM(2008)0866), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that communication (SEC(2008)3054),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 on the discharge to be given to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2008 (5826/2010 – C7-0054/2010),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 on the discharge to be given to the executive agencies in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2008 (5828/2010 – C7-0055/2010),

–   having regard to Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty, Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Articles 179a and 180b of the Euratom Treaty,

–   having regard to international audit standards and international accounting standards, in particular those applying to the public sector,

–   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(48), and in particular Articles 55, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003 of 19 December 2002 laying down the statute for executive agencies to be entrusted with certain tasks in the management of Community programmes(49), and in particular Article 14(2) and (3) thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 76 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A7-0099/2010),

A.   whereas under Article 318 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union the Commission is responsible for drawing up the accounts,

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution that forms an integral part of the Decisions on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission and executive agencies;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this Decision to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Court of Auditors and the European Investment Bank, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

7.European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 with observations forming an integral part of its Decisions on discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008, Section III – Commission and executive agencies (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009 – 2009/2068(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2008(50),

–   having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2008 – Volume I (SEC(2009)1089 – C7-0172/2009)(51),

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the European Parliament on the follow-up to 2007 discharge decisions (COM(2009)0526), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1427),

–   having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Synthesis of the Commission's management achievements in 2008’ (COM(2009)0256),

–   having regard to the Commission's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2008 (COM(2009)0419), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1102),

–   having regard to the Commission's report on Member States‘ replies to the Court of Auditors’ 2008 annual report (SEC(2010)0178 and SEC(2010)0196),

–   having regard to the Green Paper on the European transparency initiative, adopted by the Commission on 3 May 2006 (COM(2006)0194),

–   having regard to Opinion No 2/2004 of the Court of Auditors on the ‘single audit’ model (and a proposal for a Community internal control framework)(52),

–   having regard to the Commission communication on a roadmap to an integrated internal control framework (COM(2005)0252),

–   having regard to the Commission Action Plan towards an Integrated Internal Control Framework (COM(2006)0009), the report on the Commission action plan towards an integrated internal control framework (COM(2008)0110), and the Commission staff working document accompanying that report (SEC(2008)0259),

–   having regard to the Impact Report on the Commission action plan towards an integrated internal control framework (COM(2009)0043),

–   having regard to Opinion No 6/2007 of the Court of Auditors on the annual summaries of Member States; ‘national declarations’ of Member States; and audit work on EU funds of national audit bodies(53),

–   having regard to the Commission's action plan to strengthen the Commission's supervisory role under shared management of structural actions (COM(2008)0097) and the interim report on the follow-up to that action plan (SEC(2009)1463),

–   having regard to the Commission's report on progress in Bulgaria under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (COM(2009)0402) and the supporting document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1074),

–   having regard to the Commission's report on progress in Romania under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (COM(2009)0401) and the supporting document accompanying that report (SEC(2009)1073),

–   having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2008, together with the institutions‘ replies(54), and to the Court of Auditors‘ special reports,

–   having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions, provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty(55),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on a common understanding of the concept of tolerable risk of error (COM(2008)0866), and to the Commission staff working document accompanying that communication (SEC(2008)3054),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 on the discharge to be given to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2008 (5826/2010 – C7-0054/2010),

–   having regard to the Council's recommendation of 16 February 2010 on the discharge to be given to the executive agencies in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2008 (5828/2010 – C7-0055/2010),

–   having regard to Articles 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty, Articles 317, 318 and 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Articles 179a and 180b of the Euratom Treaty,

–   having regard to international audit standards and international accounting standards, in particular those applying to the public sector,

–   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(56), and in particular Articles 55, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003 of 19 December 2002 laying down the statute for executive agencies to be entrusted with certain tasks in the management of Community programmes(57), and in particular Article 14(2) and (3) thereof,

–   having regard to Rule 76 of, and Annex VI to, its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A7-0099/2010),

A.   whereas Article 317 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides that responsibility for implementation of the Union budget lies with the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, who are to cooperate with the Commission in order to ensure that the appropriations are used in accordance with the principles of sound financial management,

B.   whereas the second subparagraph of Article 287(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union requires the Court of Auditors to provide Parliament and the Council with a statement of assurance as to the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions, adding that the statement may be supplemented by specific assessments for each major area of Union activity,

C.   whereas the implementation of major EU policies is characterised by the ‘shared management’ of the Community budget by the Commission and the Member States, under which 80 % of Community expenditure is administered by the Member States,

D.   whereas improvement of the financial management in the Union must be supported by a close monitoring of progress in the Commission and in the Member States, and whereas Member States should assume responsibility in the management of EU funds, ensuring the completion of an EU integrated internal control framework with the aim of obtaining a positive Statement of Assurance (DAS),

E.   whereas in its last five annual discharge resolutions Parliament drew attention to the urgent need to introduce national declarations at an appropriate political level, covering all EU funds coming under shared management, in order that each Member State take responsibility for the management of EU funds received,

F.   whereas the implementation of point 44 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(58) (the IIA) and of Article 53b(3) of the Financial Regulation, concerning annual summaries of the audits and declarations available, should make a substantial contribution towards improving management of the EU budget,

G.   whereas the Court of Auditors, in its abovementioned Opinion No 6/2007, also stresses that national declarations may be regarded as a new element of internal control of EU funds, and that they could stimulate improved control of EU funds in shared management areas,

H.   whereas the work of Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control in general and the discharge procedure in particular form part of a process seeking to establish full accountability on the part of the Commission as a whole and individual Members of the Commission, as well as all other relevant actors, of which Member States are the most important part, for financial management in the EU, in accordance with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and thereby to create a more solid basis for decision-taking,

I.   whereas Parliament's Committee on Budgets should take due account of the 2008 discharge results and recommendations during the next budgetary procedure,

J.   whereas the Council recommendation on discharge should, in order to serve a constructive purpose, aim to strengthen the reform efforts and the responsibility of the Member States to remedy the problems identified by the Court and secure improved financial management in the European Union,

K.   whereas the current discharge schedule is much too long in view of the need to introduce as quickly as possible the corrective measures and reforms called for by Parliament in its control capacity; whereas the annual accounts must be drawn up before the end of the first quarter of the year following the financial year under review, so that the Court of Auditors can deliver its report before the end of the second quarter of the year following the year under review,

L.   whereas Article 83 of Regulation (EEC, Euratom, ECSC) No 259/68 laying down the Staff Regulations of Officials and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Communities(59) stipulates that pensions are charged to the budget and that the Member States jointly guarantee payment of such benefits in accordance with the scale laid down for financing such expenditure; whereas staff pay back to the general budget a share of their salaries to contribute to the funding of the pension scheme,

M.   whereas Article 83 of Regulation (EEC, Euratom, ECSC) No 259/68 establishes a joint guarantee by the Member States, which means that the guarantee is applicable in the event of the default of one or more Member States, and makes it possible to consider that the Union has a claim on the Member States that have underwritten that commitment,

HORIZONTAL ISSUES
Overriding concerns and targets to be achieved

1.  Remains concerned, at the start of the new Commission's term of office, about accumulated problems deriving from the previous Commission, notably:

   continuing high rates of error in payments,
   slowness in recoveries of undue payments, and
   carryovers at unprecedented high levels;

2.  Welcomes the initial signs of a collegial approach from the new Commission, as demonstrated in the engagement of Commissioners László Andor, Johannes Hahn and Algirdas Šemeta in discussions with Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control, and expects a strong statement from Commissioners Janusz Lewandowski and Algirdas Šemeta promising action in the areas of: Member State statements of assurance, proposals for tolerable risk of error, simplification and transparency, and trust funds covering external actions, and further believes that this must cover further action in the area of corrections and recoveries, and internal control systems;

3.  Believes that errors in expenditure hinder effectiveness in achieving EU policy targets, and reiterates that policy groups with an error rate below 2 % still account for only 47 % of the EU budget, representing an increase of just 9 % from 2005 to 2008; considers that this is still an inadequate level of improvement year on year and points out that, despite some areas of improvement, an error rate above 5 % remains in policy groups which account for 31 % of the budget, and a rate of between 2 % and 5 % for a further 22 %;

4.  Calls on the Commission to prepare and submit to Parliament a new Agenda for 2010 onwards, providing for an acceleration in the reduction of error rates so as to ensure that a further 20 % of the budget can be given a ‘green’ classification from the Court of Auditors by 2014, with interim changes called for from the Court of Auditors for a new methodology to show specific error rates within the Cohesion budget chapter and differentiating between payments made under the 2000-2006 and the 2007-2013 legislation; considers that reaching this target is an essential part of getting full value for EU expenditure in the future and progressing towards a positive DAS;

5.  Calls on the Commission President to inform Parliament about how the Commission will operate in a more coordinated way, so as to address remaining weaknesses in the financial systems and significantly reduce error rates as indicated above;

Reliability of the accounts and legality of the underlying transactions

6.  Notes with satisfaction the Court's positive opinion concerning the reliability of the final annual accounts and the Court's statement that the accounts present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Communities and the results of their operations and cash flows as at 31 December 2008;

7.  Considers it abnormal that the annual accounts should be presented with negative own capital of EUR 51 400 000 000 and wonders whether the amounts to be called on from the Member States should not be shown as assets, since this involves a certain commitment concerning pensions payable to staff and estimated at EUR 37 000 000 000; notes the explanations by the Commission's accountant to the effect that the international accounting standards applicable to the public sector were duly applied; proposes that consideration be given to creating a Community pension fund to externalise financial commitments of this kind concerning staff;

8.  Expresses nonetheless its concern at the Court's observations regarding weaknesses identified in certain bodies and Directorates-General of the Commission in the accounting system for invoices/cost statements and pre-financing which put at risk the quality of financial information;

9.  Welcomes the unqualified opinion given by the Court on revenue, commitments for all policy groups and payments underlying the accounts for the policy groups ‘Education and Citizenship’ and ‘Administrative and other expenditure’, which are in all material respects legal and regular;

10.  Calls on the Court of Auditors to provide at the next discharge the statement of assurance as to the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions as required in the second subparagraph of Article 287(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, just as it does for the reliability of the accounts;

11.  Welcomes the Commission's efforts to promote and apply improved control and management procedures which lead to an improvement compared to previous years with a reduction in the level of error found by the Court in underlying transactions in certain expenditure areas (the policy areas ‘Agriculture and natural resources’, ‘Research, energy and transport’ and ‘Education and citizenship’);

12.  Regrets that the DAS still remains qualified (negative) in extremely important Community spending areas of the budget for the 2008 financial year (Rural development, Structural measures, Research, energy and transport, External actions at the level of implementing organisations and Enlargement), where payments are still affected by large-scale material errors;

13.  Acknowledges that in its Communication on the impact of the action plan to strengthen the Commission's supervisory role under shared management of structural actions, the Commission indicates that the steps outlined in it have been completed; notes that the preliminary results show an error rate in expenditure of around 5 % for the 2007-2013 period; awaits, however, the wider benefits to cohesion policy, where there are still very large problems despite the progress made by the Commission towards a more efficient use of EU funds and the overall control environment;

14.  Considers likewise, as regards Research, energy and transport and External aid, development and enlargement, that the Commission Action Plan towards an Integrated Internal Control Framework should already bring benefits and that the Commission should be able to provide a series of indicators and descriptors to measure the impact of this Action Plan;

15.  Notes, however, the Court's observation that it is not yet possible to determine whether the Action Plan has had a measurable impact on the supervisory and control systems and ultimately on the regularity of transactions (point 2.28 of the 2008 Annual Report), and urges the Commission to take appropriate action to ensure that, for the 2009 discharge, indicators are in place to measure the impact of that Action Plan;

16.  Calls on the Commission to put forward proposals for shortening the periods involved in the discharge process, so that the vote in plenary can be held in the year following the financial year under review;

Information and framework of the DAS

17.  Welcomes the work done by the Court to further improve the clarity of the DAS approach as regards factors contributing to more efficient and effective control systems in each sector from year to year and the quality of specific parts of the Court's report, such as that dealing with structural measures, and invites the Court to continue to keep Parliament regularly informed;

18.  Considers that the Court's assessment, made each year since the Maastricht Treaty, on how the Commission manages the EU funds has proven to be a useful tool for improving the management of these funds, and recognises that the Commission has made great efforts to improve management; calls on the Member States, however, to show a greater commitment to improving the spending of funds;

19.  Points out the improvement achieved since the entry into force of the Nice Treaty, inasmuch as the Court's statement of assurance of the reliability of the accounts and of the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions may be supplemented by specific assessments for each major area of Union activity (now Article 287(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union);

20.  Nevertheless, considers also that having only one global and annual assessment does not reflect the complex structure of the European Communities‘ finances, and further considers that to continue to have a negative annual assessment after 15 consecutive years may have negative repercussions amongst citizens who do not understand why the Court always gives a negative opinion;

Revision of the Treaties: reform of the DAS

21.  Notes that, according to Article 48(2) of the EU Treaty, as modified by the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament has an enhanced role in the procedure of revision of the Treaties, having secured the right of initiative to submit to the Council proposals for the amendment of the Treaties, i.e. of the statement of assurance;

22.  Calls for reflection on the feasibility of separate statements of assurance in the future, to be provided both by sector/policy area and by multiannual programme, in order to provide a better match between the Court's methodology and the multiannual and sectoral nature of the European Communities‘ finances;

23.  Notes that the Commission has persistently claimed that the ‘multiannual nature’ of the expenditure concerned means that most errors can be detected and corrected before the closure of the relevant programmes; further notes that the Court considers that there is, at present, insufficient information available to support this claim;

Budgetary management

24.  Is concerned that outstanding budgetary commitments (unused commitments carried forward to be used in future years), mainly on multiannual programmes, increased in 2008 by EUR 16,4 billion (11,8 %) to EUR 155,0 billion (point 3.9 of the 2008 Annual Report), whilst acknowledging that this is due in certain cases to delays in the start-up phase of the new programmes while in others it reflects a poor budget planning process; is concerned that unused funds each year represent lost opportunities for implementation of EU policies and programmes;

25.  Takes note, however, that, even though outstanding budgetary commitments on differentiated expenditure remain at a very high level exceeding the total budgetary commitment appropriations for 2008, the Court also points out that most outstanding budgetary commitments are now from 2007 and 2008 and therefore related to the current financial framework (point 3.15 of the 2008 Annual Report);

26.  Welcomes the fact that automatic de-commitment should prevent problems in the current funding period but remains concerned that the highest proportion of outstanding budgetary commitments (‘RAL’) is related to the cohesion area associated with the lack of any de-commitment procedure for the 2000-2006 period;

27.  Asks the Member States to transmit the remaining compliance assessment documents of the Management and Control Systems as soon as possible and in sufficient quality in order to avoid further delays regarding the interim payments and a further increase of outstanding budgetary commitments;

28.  Calls on the Commission to provide Parliament with an overview of budgetary support granted, by country and by fund, for the years 2005 to 2009;

Recoveries

29.  Notes some improvement in recoveries, but nevertheless remains concerned about the problems which subsist regarding irregularly disbursed Community funds and the poor quality of the information supplied on the correction mechanism applied at Member State level; draws attention to the urgent need to aim for a 100 % recovery rate in respect of funds that have been falsely issued;

30.  Welcomes the information given by the Commission on financial corrections, by Member State, up to September 2009, but is concerned that the annual nature of the Court's report means a mismatch with cumulative data supplied by the Commission, thus making a complete assessment of performance for the single year in question, 2008, impossible;

31.  Calls on the Commission to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of multiannual recovery systems, including at Member State level, and to consolidate data on recoveries and financial corrections in order to provide reliable figures which can be compared between the various policy areas and fund management procedures; calls on the Commission to report to Parliament in the notes accompanying the annual accounts, so that an overview can be obtained;

32.  Requests the Commission to present complete and reliable figures for financial corrections and, in particular, recoveries, specifying the Member State concerned, the exact budget line and the year to which the individual recoveries relate (as already specified in the Discharge Report for 2006(60)), given that any other presentation makes serious control impossible;

33.  Recalls its demand that the Commission produce an annual fund-by-fund grading per Member State, specifying the error rate established – both with and without the impact of corrective mechanisms – and that it forward this to Parliament in an active, transparent and easily accessible manner;

34.  Invites the Court of Auditors to make its comments on such list, based on its own findings;

Suspension of payments

35.  Points out the importance of the final decisions and corrective measures taken with the aim of removing EU funding from expenditure which has not been carried out in conformity with EU legislation, and restates its call for the precise budget heading and the year to which individual recoveries relate to be specified;

36.  Assures the Commission of its full support in the rigorous application of the legislation on suspension of payments, and welcomes the measures already initiated for the non-transfer of funds where the Commission has no absolute guarantee of the reliability of the management and control systems of the Member State which is the beneficiary of those funds;

37.  Draws attention to the example of Greece, where significant financial corrections brought about by Commission decision appear to have resulted in better performance in some areas; invites the Commission to identify these areas and recalls that, as regards the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS), no evidence has been provided that the action plan set up and implemented by the Greek authorities was effective (2008 Annual Report, point 2.5);

38.  Believes that, in the case of recurrent reserves for expenditure programmes in a particular Member State, suspension of payments, as a means of pressure, will contribute to greater involvement of the Member States in the correct use of EU funds received;

39.  Calls on the Commission to simplify the rules and apply the existing legislation on suspension of payments wherever necessary, and to inform Parliament, the Council and the Court of Auditors in good time concerning suspensions of payments and their results;

Annual summaries

40.  Considers that the annual summaries which Member States have to provide of available audits and declarations, pursuant to the IIA and Article 53b(3) of the Financial Regulation, should be the first step towards the introduction of national management declarations in all Member States;

41.  Welcomes the statement by the Interparliamentary Conference on ‘Improving National Accountability of EU funds’ held in The Hague on 28-29 January 2010, recommending that national policy instruments be implemented or strengthened to contribute to the improvement of the control and management of EU expenditure in Member States, and that instruments used for the management and accountability of EU funding, such as the annual reports, should contain elements of a common EU framework in order to make comparisons and identify ‘best practices’, as well as taking a step forward to national management declarations;

42.  Stresses the need to strengthen the role of annual summaries in the upcoming review of the Financial Regulation as well as to improve the quality, homogeneity and comparability of the data provided by Member States so as to ensure their added value in the field of the control of EU funds;

43.  Welcomes the information provided to Parliament by the Commission on the annual summaries received in 2009 and calls on the Commission to make all annual summaries of all Member States public in order to enhance transparency and public accountability; invites the Commission, on the basis of the annual summaries received, to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of each Member State's national system for the administration and control of EU funds;

44.  Considers that it is of the utmost importance for the Commission to report on the quality of those annual summaries and to add value to the process by identifying common problems, possible solutions or best practices, using this information in its supervisory role;

45.  Considers that a comparative analysis should be forwarded to Parliament, the Council and the Court by late 2010 and should be made public soon thereafter;

46.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the general Guidance Note concerning the annual summaries requires a uniform methodology and analytical scope from all Member States; notes the intention of the Commission to revise its Guidance Note in such a way as to simplify the reporting requirements and provide more guidance on good practice; requires the Commission to take this opportunity to include in the Guidance Note a framework for national management declarations for those Member States that decide to introduce them and to develop its incentive-based approach;

National management declarations

47.  Welcomes the voluntary initiatives taken by Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom to draw up national management declarations; notes, however, the big differences between the four national initiatives; warmly welcomes the letter from the Dutch and Swedish Governments inviting the Commission to issue guidance on the definition of key aspects of national declarations, which could also serve as a valuable source of information for other Member States; regrets the fact that, despite those initiatives, most other Member States have yet to introduce them;

48.  Recalls its demand for the introduction of national management declarations (paragraph 32 of its resolution of 23 April 2009(61) accompanying its decision on discharge for 2007);

49.  Draws attention to the first paragraph of Article 317 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (ex Article 274 of the EC Treaty), which now provides that the Commission ‘shall implement the budget in cooperation with the Member States’, and remains convinced that progress will be made by obtaining national management declarations covering all EU funds coming under shared management, as requested by Parliament in its last five annual discharge resolutions;

50.  Points to the second paragraph of Article 317 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which imposes certain as yet undefined control and audit obligations of the Member States and resulting responsibilities; invites the Commission to use the new wording of Article 317 to introduce mandatory national management declarations as soon as possible; also refers to Article 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which provides the Commission with new tools to achieve an even and uniform implementation of legally binding Union acts;

51.  Calls on the Commission to propose, within the framework of the review of the Financial Regulation, the obligation for Member States to issue national management declarations signed at an appropriate political level and certified by their national supreme audit body, as a means of administrative relief as well as improved administration of funds under shared management;

52.  Calls, pursuant to Article 287(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, as regards shared-management controls, for cooperation to be stepped up between national audit bodies and the Court;

53.  Proposes that national audit bodies, in their capacity as independent external auditors, and with due regard for international audit standards, issue national audit certificates for the management of EU funds, calls on the Commission to examine the possibility of modifying and adapting the discharge timetable in order to allow for timely audits of the national management declarations by the (national) external auditors;

54.  Is deeply concerned about the proven manipulation of financial statistics and tax evasion in Greece; notes the generalised public-sector corruption throughout the administration, including in public procurement, as recognised by the Prime Minister of Greece; draws attention to the significant effect in terms of costs that this has on Greece's budget; calls on the Commission to investigate as a matter of priority the circumstances under which the Commission was provided with and effectively accepted wrong macroeconomic data for such a long period of time;

The Commission's internal control system
The Action Plan for an Integrated Internal Control Framework

55.  Voices its concern at the Court's repeated criticism of the inadequate quality of controls in Member States and considers it detrimental to the image of the EU if individual Member States are able to apply different control standards;

56.  Notwithstanding the progressive improvement in the DAS since 2003 (56 % of expenditure being given positive audit opinions by the Court in 2008 compared to 6 % in 2003), remains concerned by the Court's assessment that it is not yet possible to determine whether the Action Plan has had a measurable impact on the supervisory and control systems, and that the Commission is not able to demonstrate that the steps taken by it to improve supervisory and control systems have been effective in mitigating the risk of error in some areas of the budget (points 2.28 and 2.33 of the 2008 Annual Report);

57.  Calls on the Commission to continue to present regular assessments of the integrated internal control system, and calls for even better and more explicit coverage – in the annual activity reports and the synthesis report – of the functioning of Commission departments‘ and Member States’ shared-management systems, as is already done by the Commission's DG for Regional Policy in its annual activity report;

Analysis of the existing balance between operational expenditure and the cost of the EU funds‘ control system

58.  Draws attention, in this context, to the importance of Action 10 of the above-mentioned Action Plan, which proposes making an ‘analysis of the costs of controls’, in view of the ‘need to reach an appropriate balance between the costs and benefits of controls’;

59.  Calls on the Commission to carry out in 2010 a more complete and exhaustive evaluation of the resources given over to control systems in the areas of research, energy, transport, rural development, external aid and administrative expenditure, as requested by Parliament in its previous resolutions accompanying the discharge decisions;

60.  Believes that this will be a crucial tool for assessing what future improvements can be achieved and at what cost, as recommended by the Court in its 2008 Annual Report (point 2.35(a)), and for achieving progress on the question of tolerable risk of error;

Tolerable risk of error

61.  Takes note of the above-mentioned Commission communication of 16 December 2008 on a common understanding of the concept of tolerable risk of error as a sound methodological basis for an economic analysis of acceptable levels of risk; recalls its doubts concerning the figures provided by the Member States on control costs and calls on the Commission to update and complete the figures used in the communication; invites the Commission to address all weaknesses and shortcomings identified by the Court of Auditors, and underlines the following:

   the definition of a possible tolerable risk of error is only one of several elements to be explored with a view to improving financial management in the European Union; other elements are (1) better use of existing control systems, (2) an increase in what are generally very low control costs, (3) simplification and (4) concentration;
   the quality of the information available from the Member States is currently not sufficient as a basis for the establishment and approval of a tolerable risk of error;
   the Council's position on the question is not known;

62.  Calls on the Commission to provide a detailed analysis of the shortcomings and weaknesses identified by the Court of Auditors(62), especially regarding the quality of the data available from the Member States;

63.  Recalls Action 4 of the above-mentioned Action Plan, which, in line with the recommendations of Parliament, proposes the initiation of ‘interinstitutional dialogue on risks to be tolerated in the underlying transactions’; notes, however, that implementation of this action has scarcely begun;

64.  Considers, therefore, that the Commission, in line with the principles of proportionality and cost efficiency (value for money) of the control systems, should evaluate the relationship between, on the one hand, the resources available for each particular policy, and, on the other, the part of those resources dedicated to the control systems broken down by area of expenditure;

65.  Asks the Commission to identify areas of high political sensitivity (with high ‘reputational risk’) where a quality approach to rates of error (rather than an economic one) should be adopted;

66.  Considers that the volume of Union funds at risk because of errors should also be taken into consideration when a tolerable error rate is determined;

67.  Believes also that the cost-benefit ratio existing between the resources dedicated to control activities and the results obtained by the controls should be a key element to be taken into account by the Court when it delivers its DAS;

68.  Regrets that the Commission puts more effort into convincing Parliament about the need to introduce a ‘tolerable risk of error’ than into persuading Member States of the need for mandatory national management declarations;

Simplification

69.  Emphasises that control systems are a reflection of the complexity of regulations and rules on the various, sometimes overlapping levels; urges the Commission, therefore, to speed up the simplification exercise whilst fully involving Parliament, and asks Member States and regions to make corresponding efforts to that end;

Interinstitutional debate on the current discharge procedure system

70.  Calls on the Commission to organise an interinstitutional discussion involving in the initial phase, at the highest level, representatives of the Council, of the Commission, of the Court of Auditors and of Parliament, and in the second phase representatives from the Member States, of national parliaments and supreme audit institutions, with a view to embarking on a comprehensive debate on the current discharge procedure system;

71.  Proposes to give the Commission, during the forthcoming budgetary procedure, the financial resources needed to organise such debate;

Political responsibility and administrative responsibility at the Commission
Annual activity reports

72.  Regrets that, in the 2008 Annual Report, the Court once again stresses that some of the annual activity reports still do not include sufficient evidence for its DAS; invites the Court of Auditors to include in the different chapters of the Annual Report a detailed analysis of the corresponding annual activity reports;

73.  Expresses its concern about the fact that the Court continues to find weaknesses in the operation of supervisory and control systems and in the relevant reservations on the assurance given in the declarations by the Commission's Directors-General, namely as regards their impact on the assurance concerning the legality and regularity of underlying transactions, and reminds the Member States and the Commission of their respective responsibilities in this field;

Transparency and ethics

74.  Insists that the public must have access to information on all members of expert groups and working groups working with the Commission as well as disclosure concerning beneficiaries of EU funding;

75.  Insists that the Commission must be responsible for ensuring the completeness, searchability and comparability of the data provided concerning the beneficiaries of EU funding, including details of recipients and their projects;

76.  Welcomes the fact that the information on EU funding beneficiaries is to be published more widely and on an easily accessible and user-friendly website, and calls for standardisation of the structure and presentation of national, regional and international sites accessible from a central portal;

77.  Emphasises once again the need to revise the present Code of Conduct of the Members of the Commission in order to remedy shortcomings such as: (a) the absence of any definition of the term ‘conflict of interest’, (b) the failure to prescribe a course of action if a conflict of interest arises, (c) a lack of clarity with regard to the acceptance of gifts and hospitality, and (d) the absence of any body designated to look into complaints as well as to relieve the President from the (possible) duty of self-assessment;

78.  Expects the Commission to begin the process of consulting Parliament on revision of the present Code of Conduct of the Members of the Commission in accordance with the common understanding reached on 27 January 2010 between President José Manuel Barroso and Parliament's Working Party on the revision of the Framework Agreement between the Parliament and the Commission, and to adopt the revised version of its Code of Conduct of the Members of the Commission by August 2010 at the latest, whilst observing that this revision should have been done prior to the appointment of the new Commission;

79.  Recalls the importance of complete transparency and publicity with regard to staff working in the cabinets of Members of the Commission who have not been recruited in accordance with the Staff Regulations;

80.  Also recalls that the binding Code of Conduct of the Members of the Commission should incorporate the necessary ethical rules and the principal guidelines to be observed by Commissioners in the conduct of their office, in particular when appointing colleagues, especially to their cabinets;

81.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that all staff are well trained and properly briefed about their obligations and rights under Articles 22a and 22b of the Staff Regulations;

Governance and administrative reform

82.  Notes the small decrease (from 31,8 % in 2007 to 30,9 % in 2009) in staff allocated to ‘administrative support and coordination functions’, which forms only part of the overall overhead; recalls its previous demands for measures aimed at attaining a proportion of 20 % in this area (paragraph 217 of its above-mentioned resolution of 23 April 2009);

83.  Urges the Commission to submit, together with the preparatory documents for the 2011 budget (formerly working documents relating to the preliminary draft budget), an establishment plan implementing a 3 % reduction in this field as a first step towards reaching the 20 % level by the end of the term of office of the Barroso II Commission;

84.  Calls on the Commission, in the run-up to review of the Staff Regulations of officials and Conditions of Employment of other servants, to devise and submit alternative methods for the adjustment of the pay of officials and other servants on a proper legal and actuarial basis; considers that this should bring about a broader basis of calculation for the annual adjustment and a prompter pay adjustment, and thus more appropriately reflect general economic developments in the Member States;

85.  Calls on the Commission to assess the value of placing candidates in entry pay grades solely in the light of their suitability and to put forward proposals for placing qualified staff in higher pay grades; expects also, as part of the assessment, a report on the practical use of cabinet members after they leave office and in relation to the entry conditions they were expected to fulfil;

86.  Calls on the Commission to state its position on the extent to which the savings foreseen in the 2004 reform of the Staff Regulations have actually been achieved, especially with regard to the increase in contributions by officials and other servants in the areas of health care and pensions;

87.  Proposes that the Commission split the hierarchical power between people with accounting responsibility and those responsible for transferring funds in application of the normal security rules for internal control in treasury management;

Management of the agencies

88.  Recalls its demand (paragraphs 254 and 255 of its above-mentioned resolution of 23 April 2009) for the development and implementation of a general management system for the ‘regulatory agencies’ as well as for the introduction of an effective monitoring system for the Union agencies;

89.  Stresses in that regard that, notwithstanding the legally independent status of certain agencies, the Commission remains responsible for the implementation of the budget (in accordance with Article 317(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Articles 54, 55 and 185 of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 and Article 37 and Article 41(2) of Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2342/2002);

European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)

90.  Is concerned at the number of investigations taking over nine months and the low level of follow-up in national judiciaries of cases investigated by OLAF, and believes that an assessment of the staffing resources in OLAF should be carried out in order to see whether increased staffing could bring improvements in these two areas;

91.  Welcomes the undertakings of 15 January 2010 by the new Commission to unblock discussions in the Council about the reform of OLAF and to come forward, at the latest by July 2010, with the promised and long overdue Commission's ‘reflection paper’ as a basis for negotiations in the Council;

92.  Reiterates the importance of taking into account Parliament's first-reading position of 20 November 2008 on a proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)(63), and wishes to re-emphasise that, for the future strength of OLAF, it should remain within the Commission whilst retaining its independence; recalls that Article 317 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union places an enhanced responsibility on the Member States and thus supports Parliament's continuous call for improved cooperation by the Member States with OLAF;

93.  Wishes to have early sight of the proposal for the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) as envisaged in Article 86 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; wishes to be involved in the discussions about the establishment of an EPPO;

94.  Requires the Commission to come forward, as a matter of urgency, with its promised and long-awaited ‘reflection paper’, and reiterates the importance of Parliament's above-mentioned first-reading position of 20 November 2008 on the subject; wishes to re-emphasise that, for the future strength of OLAF, it should remain within the Commission whilst retaining its independence; stresses its proposals regarding the post of Director-General of OLAF, as contained in Parliament's position, and calls for the successful candidate to be appointed very quickly; takes the view that the selection procedure needs to be carried out in an interinstitutional framework which fully respects Parliament's prerogatives;

95.  Reaffirms its opinion that the procedure for the appointment of the interim Director General of OLAF must follow mutatis mutandis the rules contained in the act providing for OLAF's legal basis, namely Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 May 1999 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)(64); deplores the Commission's general application of the Staff Regulations and is concerned that the Commission's position may affect OLAF´s effectiveness;

SECTORAL ISSUES
Revenue

96.  Welcomes the fact that the Court considered that, overall, the Member States‘ statements regarding traditional own resources sent to the Commission were reliable and free from material error and also that the VAT– and GNI-based own resources were correctly calculated and correctly collected and entered in the Community accounts by the Commission;

97.  Takes note, with deep concern, of the Commission's report on the Greek government deficit and debt statistics (COM(2010)0001), which raises serious doubts concerning the reliability of the data delivered by the Greek authorities; calls on the Commission to establish by its own investigations the validity of the data made available in 2008 and to confirm the regularity and legality of the calculation and contribution of the own resources made available;

98.  Asks the Commission to present its plans on the future handling of operations with the Greek administration; stresses that staff involved in the management of European funds must be excepted from cost-cutting measures in order to ensure the maintenance and integrity of the management structures;

99.  Notes however, regarding the VAT-based own resources, that reservations dating back as far as 1989 continue to exist, and calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to continue its efforts to ensure that reservations are lifted within reasonable timescales;

100.  Asks the Commission, regarding GNI-based own resources, to follow the Court's recommendation in point 4.36 of its 2008 Annual Report and to communicate to Parliament details of the progress made in applying direct verification and assessing supervisory and control systems in Member States‘ national statistical institutes;

The common agricultural policy

101.  Welcomes the positive assessment by the Court, based on its audit work, that, save as regards Rural Development, the payments for the year ended 31 December 2008 for the Agriculture and Natural Resources policy group were free from material error; is pleased to note that the average EU 27 error rate is below the 2 % threshold tolerated by the Court;

102.  Notes with concern the extreme spread of on-the-spot error rates by Member State in the implementation of area aids (France 0.20 %, United Kingdom 0.24 %, Germany 0.3 %, Greece 3.70 %, Romania 12.57 %, Bulgaria approximately 6 %) and insists that the overall credibility of the system must not be jeopardised; calls for well directed, immediate measures resulting in both administrative relief for outperforming Member States and effective countermeasures;

103.  Regrets the Court's finding concerning Rural Development expenditure, which is still affected by a high level of errors, although the estimated error level was lower than in previous years;

104.  Welcomes the evaluation made by the Commission concerning the quality of the statements and annual summaries presented by Member States for Agriculture expenditure, which concluded that, in 2008, the majority of them complied with their legal obligations and generally followed the Commission guidelines;

105.  Reiterates, as in previous years, that the IACS is generally an effective control system for limiting the risk of error or irregular expenditure, but nevertheless regrets that the Court found significant weaknesses in selected paying agencies in three Member States: Bulgaria, Romania and the United Kingdom (Scotland) (point 5.32 of the 2008 Annual Report); acknowledges, however, that steps were taken to address these weaknesses;

106.  Calls for a simplification of complex rules and more precise definitions of eligibility criteria, especially for agri-environmental schemes, first of all at Commission level but also at national level, in the context of the rural development plans, and asks also for all stakeholders to be given more comprehensive and clearer instructions and guidelines, and for training actions to be organised;

107.  Regrets the fact that the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) applied by national authorities is still not correct in some Member States in which substantial deficiencies were reported by the Court (in Bulgaria, Spain, Poland and the United Kingdom); notes that different measures have been taken at national level to address the deficiencies;

108.  Also expresses its concern about the errors in respect of expenditure under the SAPARD Programme in Bulgaria and Romania, which caused the Directorate-General for Agriculture to make a reservation in its Annual Activity Report; notes the action plans already in place in response to the Commission's recommendations;

109.  Emphasises the importance of prompt and thorough ex-post audits to detect ineligible expenditure and/or inadequate supporting documentation, in order to allow the necessary corrections to be made;

110.  Is concerned by the shortcomings found by the Court concerning the Member States‘ definition of what is required to maintain land in good agricultural and environmental condition (’GAEC‘), such that certain beneficiaries are paid aid under SPS or SAPS without doing anything with the land concerned (point 5.49 of the 2008 Annual Report);

111.  Considers that these weaknesses, including the question of beneficiaries who do not meet the definition of ‘farmers’, as denounced by the Court in the 2008 Annual Report, should be resolved by the Commission in order to provide a greater level of assurance which can be gained from the work of the certification bodies;

112.  Takes note of the conclusions of the Court and therefore urges the Commission to improve checks in those Member States which did not comply with Community legislation when allocating entitlements beyond the provisions of the regulations;

113.  Notes that the Commission raised shortcomings in respect of the debtors‘ accounts for one quarter of the paying agencies and has proposed financial corrections amounting to some EUR 25,3 million; further notes that these corrections represent some 1,95 % of the EUR 1 295 million that are to be recovered as at the end of financial year 2008; stresses that, whilst just below the 2 % level of materiality, they indicate that a risk of material error at the overall level of the debtors’ accounts exists;

114.  Asks the Commission to carry out a detailed follow-up to ensure that the debts are correct and properly charged to the Community budget;

Cohesion

115.  Notes that interim payments for the period 2007-2013 made in 2008 account for only 32 % of expenditure and that the comments of the Court of Auditors refer, in particular, to expenditure during the 2000-2006 programming period, which represented 68 % of cohesion payments in 2008; notes, therefore, that the effects of the reinforcement of the legal framework for the period 2007-2013 and the simplification measures adopted in 2008 and 2009 cannot be visible yet;

116.  Stresses the absolute priority of further reducing global error rates, which remained high in this spending area in 2008, and of improving the Commission's supervision and the system of recoveries;

117.  Is concerned that errors in the area of Cohesion funding indicate that at least 11 % of the total amount reimbursed should not have been paid out, with no improvement on 2007; regrets that financial corrections and recoveries are only partly functional; notes that the following financial corrections have been made for the 2000-2006 programming period: Spain EUR 1 535,07 million; Greece EUR 881,24 million; Italy EUR 693,90 million; France EUR 248,48 million; United Kingdom EUR 155,94 million; Portugal EUR 128,24 million; Poland EUR 88,99 million; Hungary EUR 40,62 million; Slovak Republic EUR 39,16 million; Ireland EUR 25,55 million; Germany EUR 19,33 million; Sweden EUR 11,30 million;

118.  Notes with concern the difficulties encountered by Member States‘ authorities as regards both the transposition of the 2007-2013 regulatory requirements (such as incompatibility issues between EU and national levels, delays in the establishment of the rules, unclear rules) and the establishment of the new management and control systems (allocation of tasks for the new institutions, i.e. the managing, certifying and audit authorities);

119.  Deplores the fact that the system of sanctions for Member States returning high error rates and receiving large shares of funds is inefficient since they only repay between 3 % and 5 % of the overall appropriations in recoveries; is concerned that the cost of maintaining proper control systems manifestly exceeds this amount, so that this is a negative incentive;

120.  Reiterates its call for further simplification of the rules proposed by the Commission and, at the same time, for the introduction of more efficient controls at national and EU level, with a view to effective implementation of the Structural and Cohesion Funds; takes the view that an objective assessment of the effects of the simplification measures introduced in 2008-2009 is essential, and calls on the Commission to carry out this assessment by the end of 2010;

121.  Takes note of the concern expressed by the Court of Auditors at the difficulties of taking a definitive and unchangeable snapshot, solely in the annual report, of the changing and progressive reality that is the Cohesion Policy budget, subject to a multiannual and dynamic schedule in which the final percentages of errors and irregularities with consequences, and the real amounts subject to recovery, can be verified only at a much later stage (the Commission has just closed the accounts for the 1994-1999 period); to that end calls on the Commission to present, in addition to the current Action Plan, a proposal in cooperation with the Court of Auditors for solving these phasing difficulties between the multiannual budgetary framework and the annual auditing system; considers that such a proposal would also be useful to ensure there is more efficient control of major European projects such as Galileo;

122.  Notes that the action plan to strengthen the Commission's supervisory role under shared management of structural actions, presented in 2008, was not fully implemented in 2008 and would not have remedied the main problem, namely that of over-complex rules combined with implementation requirements which differ from one Member State to another and sometimes even between different regions; asks the Commission to provide for translation in due course of the guidelines for public authorities in the Member States; stresses moreover that its impact cannot be assessed as errors committed in previous years are still affecting the expenditure reimbursed by the Commission, as the Court has rightly pointed out in its Annual Report (point 6.34);

123.  Considers that, despite the marked improvement in the management and control systems introduced by the 2008 action plan, which strengthened the Commission's supervisory role in structural actions, the fact that, as observed by the Commission, only 31 % of systems work well and that more than 60 % require improvement is unsatisfactory; therefore calls on the responsible Member States, regional authorities and managing authorities to collaborate strongly with the Commission in an effort to reverse these statistics;

124.  Notes the result of the audit showing a preliminary error rate of 5 % which reflects the positive result of the simplification introduced for the 2007-2013 programming period;

125.  Observes that the Commission's action plan has enabled it to take action along all the lines recommended by the Court of Auditors; welcomes the Commission's actions providing training and guidance for programmes authorities with a view to improving the functioning of the shared management system applied in relation to cohesion policy spending; encourages the Commission to further increase its efforts by providing guidance to Member States and encouraging them to strengthen recovery procedures and reporting;

126.  Notes the observation of the Court of Auditors that the proportion of projects in the representative statistical sample affected by errors was 43  % and that a large number of these were over-reimbursed; considers, however, that this observation must be tempered by the Commission's assertion that it was aware of the existence of deficiencies in five of the six programmes concerned and had taken remedial action; notes the Commission's second assertion, supported by the observation of the Court of Auditors at point 6.20 of its Annual Report, that 58 % of errors concern compliance errors and would have had no effect on the reimbursement of expenditure;

127.  Notes that infringement of public procurement rules is one of the most frequent reasons underlying irregularities; calls on the Commission to verify the origin of this lack of compliance with those rules; welcomes in this context the findings of the Court of Auditors and the initiatives taken by the Commission to simplify the management of the Structural Funds, and takes the view that these initiatives will contribute to a reduction in the incidence of errors;

128.  Encourages the Commission to present by 2011 at the latest a proposal on tolerable risk of error in the Cohesion policy area, which has been the most error-prone area;

129.  Calls on the Commission to make an initial analysis, as a matter of urgency, of the cost-benefit ratio existing between the resources dedicated to control activities in DG REGIO and DG EMPL and the results obtained by these controls;

130.  Notes that the first positive effects of the reinforced control and legal framework, as well as the Commission's action plan, on the error rate for the 2007-2013 programming period are likely to be visible only from the end of 2010;

131.  Is concerned that, with the 2000-2006 programming period coming to an end, national authorities, under pressure to absorb all committed funds, may have submitted an increasing number of unforeseen projects; stresses the need to ensure that this situation will not be repeated in the current programming period and calls on the Commission to strictly apply corrective and dissuasive measures (suspensions of payments and financial corrections) against Member States where appropriate;

132.  Deplores in this context the slow start-up of programmes related to the 2007-2013 programming period due to the late submission by Member States of compliance assessment reports and audit strategies; shares the Court's views and is worried that this delay might increase the probability that the control systems fail to prevent and detect errors during the start-up phase; again calls on the Commission to perform its supervisory role with the utmost rigour;

133.  Requests the Commission to identify and spread best practices amongst Member States in order to allow an increased absorption of funds and improved beneficiary cash-flow by amending and simplifying the Structural Funds implementing regulations at national level;

134.  Notes the observation of the Court of Auditors that, for the 2007-2013 programming period, control provisions are strengthened and the respective responsibilities of the Commission and Member States clarified; in this context, appreciates the added value of the audit authority set up for each programme and shares the Commission's expectation that the annual control report and opinion submitted by the audit authority should enhance the assurance provided by national control systems;

135.  Requests the Commission to provide it, in its forthcoming synthesis report and its DGs‘ annual activity reports, with clear information identifying those Member States the control systems of which are the least effective and producing an annual grading of Member States for each fund; moreover, invites the Court to draw up the same list on the basis of its audits;

136.  Draws attention to the Court's observation, similar to that for the year 2007, that the scope and scale of the reservations in the annual activity reports understate the gravity of the problems of irregularity and ineffective control systems; takes the view, therefore, that the DGs‘ approach should be more prudent and the scope of the reservations consequentially greater;

137.  Draws attention to the specific character of the cohesion policy spending resulting from the multiannual management system and stresses that the financial corrections are made in subsequent years and also at the closure of the programming period, which, overall, allows the Commission to detect and correct a large number of irregularities;

138.  Welcomes the quarterly reports which the Commission is providing on financial corrections and the intensification of financial corrections by the Commission in 2008 and 2009; regrets, however, that the system of financial corrections has little dissuasive effect on Member States since any ineligible expenditure identified by the Commission or the Court can be substituted for eligible expenditure by a Member State; takes the view that the Commission should make sure that, in future, only irregularities identified by Member States themselves can be substituted for other expenditure without any loss of funding for the Member State concerned;

139.  Deplores the poor quality of reporting by some Members States to the Commission on recoveries and financial corrections, which limits the usefulness and completeness of the Commission's quarterly reports to Parliament; calls on the Commission to take further steps to ensure that Member States fulfil their obligations by rigorously verifying and assessing the reliability and completeness of the reported data, and looks forward to receiving the new guidance note to certifying authorities, including the Commission's recommendations for improving reporting procedures; requests the Commission to identify in its forthcoming synthesis report those Member States that are not fully complying with the reporting requirements;

140.  Notes that the number of irregularities reported by the Member States to OLAF for the year 2008 varies widely: Italy 802, Spain 488, United Kingdom 483, Portugal 403, Germany 372, Poland 329, the Netherlands 262, Sweden 146, France 98, Greece 96, Czech Republic 80, Slovak Republic 62, Hungary 39, Austria 37, Belgium 35, Estonia 28, Finland 28, Lithuania 26, Latvia 22, Slovenia 13, Cyprus 4, Bulgaria 4, Ireland 2, Malta 1, Romania 0; is concerned that this does not point towards a coherent reporting system;

141.  Notes that no case of fraud was communicated to the Commission in respect of projects audited and stresses that the level of errors outlined in the report of the Court of Auditors does not necessarily refer to fraud;

142.  Asks the Commission to constantly monitor the plausibility of the reported numbers and to verify on the basis of its own investigations the efficiency of reporting systems where the reported number of irregularities appears to be excessively low;

143.  Calls on the Commission to provide detailed information on the implementation figures and distribution schemes for payments made out of the European Union Solidarity Fund by the Greek authorities following the devastating forest fires; calls on the Commission to provide information on the ex-post controls carried out and the results thereof;

144.  Welcomes the decision of the Court of Auditors to include in the 2010 Annual Work Programme the audits on the ESF and the ERDF in the field of tourism, vocational training for women and public drinking water supply, which are of particular importance for the development of local communities;

145.  Invites the Court of Auditors to assess how the external evaluations in respect of the Structural and Cohesion Funds are performed by the managing authorities, and to pay particular attention to the independence of the evaluation when it is paid for by the evaluation beneficiary;

146.  Invites the Court of Auditors to assess, in terms of human resources, the capacity of Member States‘ audit authorities to perform audits and their independence when carrying out the compliance assessment of the management control system;

Employment and social affairs

147.  Welcomes the fact that, in the context of the resources allocated to the European Social Fund (ESF), the utilisation rate for commitment appropriations was 100 % (EUR 10.6 billion) and for payment appropriations 97.1 % (EUR 8.8 billion); acknowledges the Commission's efforts to improve financial management;

148.  Has evidence of a lower error rate in the ESF than the 11 % reported for Structural Funds in general; encourages the Commission to put its own figure on the ESF error rate and to examine the possibility of greater autonomy for the ESF in the forthcoming financing period;

149.  Recalls that it is for the Directorate-General for Employment, which administers the funds, to adopt appropriate measures to prevent fraud and corruption; welcomes the close cooperation with OLAF; calls for assurances that national judicial authorities will also continue to investigate and punish instances of fraud in the ESF;

150.  Notes that the error rate does not necessarily refer solely to fraud, and calls, therefore, for a clear distinction to be made between instances of fraud and error rates in the future;

151.  Welcomes the Commission's efforts to hold all Member States fully to account through annual audit control reports and summary annual reports; calls for an appraisal of the reporting requirements, with a view to ensuring that information is not sought twice; considers the failure to provide accountability reports, or the provision of incomplete reports, by national administrative and control bodies, as well as any contravention of the minimum requirements laid down in the financial regulations, to be unacceptable and punishable; calls on the Commission, therefore, to develop proposals to improve and expand the existing reporting requirements, incorporating a sanctions mechanism;

152.  Notes the scope for conflicts of interest between those responsible for managing funding and beneficiaries of funding in the allocation process; calls on the Commission to take steps to enforce the rules on the prevention of conflicts of interest in the allocation process by providing national administrations with adequate resources;

153.  Underlines the specific needs of target groups and project leaders in the ESF; suggests that the co-financing of projects should also include voluntary activities in non-profit-making organisations and contributions in kind; calls on project leaders to furnish an updated survey by Member State and by project on the administrative costs of the ESF;

154.  Recalls the latest amendments made to the Structural Fund Regulations (Regulation (EC) No 1341/2008(65), Regulation (EC) No 284/2009(66), Regulation (EC) No 396/2009(67), Regulation (EC) No 397/2009(68) and Regulation (EC) No 846/2009(69)) with the aim of simplifying administrative procedures; calls for a report on the effects of these amendments;

155.  Notes that such simplification procedures are key to reducing administrative burdens at national, regional and local levels; stresses the importance of ensuring that such procedures do not lead to a higher error rate in the future;

Internal policies
Research, Energy and Transport

156.  Welcomes the slight reduction in errors compared to previous years for this policy group as well as the improvement concerning late payments, the Court having found that the Commission considerably improved its performance in 2008 in making timely payments to beneficiaries;

157.  Urges the Commission to do its utmost to maintain the positive 2008 trend in this area, which is under the Commission's direct financial management;

158.  Nevertheless, notes with concern that, in general, as regards research, energy and transport the Court's audit once again reveals a material level of error in payments to beneficiaries and in the Commission's supervisory and control systems, which do not sufficiently mitigate the inherent risk of reimbursement of overstated costs;

159.  Is especially concerned by the outstanding reservation made by the four Research family services due to the rate of residual errors affecting cost claims in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6);

160.  Notes also the systemic disparity in the treatment of the EU's funds‘ recipients in different sectors, programmes and management modes;

161.  Is concerned that the EU's public image may suffer as a result of the stakeholders‘ realisation that stricter control systems are applied to the agricultural domain than to research implementation;

162.  Notes that some legal provisions regarding research funding (e.g. concerning sanctions) were not applied previously, and calls on the Commission to end this state of affairs and to ensure the full and consistent application of the existing legal provisions;

163.  Recalls at the same time its demands raised in its above-mentioned resolution of 23 April 2009 (paragraph 117 et al), in particular its request for abstention from any retroactive changes and for beneficiaries‘ legitimate expectations to be honoured, as well as speeding up the acceptance of certificates concerning the methodology applied in relation to average personnel costs, where no visible progress has been achieved; calls on the Commission, for the purposes of good law-making, to submit realistic proposals in terms of both targets and procedures in the future;

164.  In that regard, notes with deep concern that only one certificate concerning the methodology applied in relation to average personnel costs has been approved;

165.  Regrets also the lack of clear information concerning Galileo assets; asks the Commission to obtain the information needed in order to draw up an inventory, to verify the recognition criteria and to assess the valuation of the Galileo assets held by the European Space Agency; requests the Commission to send this information to Parliament before the end of 2010;

166.  Is concerned that the current regulation of the existing Framework Programme does not correspond to the needs of a modern research environment and believes that further modernisation and simplification are essential for a new Framework Programme;

167.  Considers that simplification of the calculation rules for claimed costs is necessary in order to improve the situation, and invites the Commission to continue its efforts to devise the most easily applicable rules for beneficiaries of the programmes; asks for a clear definition of the necessary criteria for assessing whether beneficiaries‘ costing methodologies comply with the regulatory requirements;

168.  Stresses that the Commission must ensure rigorous application of the controls, in particular by improving the reliability of audit certificates and through effective implementation of its ex-post audit strategy, imposing penalties where appropriate and making timely recoveries or adjustments in cases of undue reimbursement of claimed costs, as recommended by the Court;

169.  Also requests the Commission to reflect on the distribution of activities between the research DGs, which, combined with the absence of an integrated management information system, according to the Court renders coordination more difficult, in particular for the follow-up of audit results;

Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

170.  Considers the overall implementation rates of the budgetary headings for the environment, public health and food safety satisfactory;

171.  Underlines the overall rate of 95,15 % of the budget execution in the field of the environment, the 99,75 % implementation of commitment credits in the field of public health and the 98 % execution of the food safety and animal health chapter, which represents a satisfactory result;

172.  Notes that under the 2008 budget six pilot projects and preparatory actions were implemented;

173.  Welcomes the achievement of 99,26 % of the implementation of the LIFE+ operational budget; notes that 196 projects were selected; notes that 52 % of funding granted was awarded to ‘nature and biodiversity’ projects; considers, however, that there is still room for improvement in the Commission's management so as to ensure the sustainability of co-financed projects;

174.  Notes in that regard that improvements could be achieved by ensuring that supporting measures are already in place when calls for proposals are launched, by further improving the dissemination of knowledge generated by LIFE projects and by strengthening the systematic follow-up of projects after their closure;

175.  Calls on the Commission to develop further assistance and specific training for applicants and user-friendly guidelines; stresses that immediate attention should be given to those programme parts where the level of implementation has become low and to act accordingly;

176.  Underlines the importance of providing further and focused assistance to applicants engaged in implementing projects under the public health programme, in order to avoid unreasonable cost claims and incomplete financial reports, which result in lengthy procedures; additionally, considers that calls for tenders must be clear and user-friendly, in order to avoid project applications which are clearly not eligible for funding due to their size and associated high costs or which are of poor quality;

177.  Notes with satisfaction the successful implementation of the Community Tobacco Fund, and is confident of the importance of that instrument;

178.  Reminds the Commission of its responsibility towards the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC); notes that the EAHC was managing 256 cost-shared projects, representing a total of EUR 119 million from the EU budget, and that it organised expert meetings as well as information days; regards the performance of the EAHC in 2008 as satisfactory;

Internal Market and Consumer Protection

179.  Regrets that the annual activity reports of the Commission Directorates-General and Services are available on-line in only one language; urges the Commission to improve the situation as regards the coming year's reports;

180.  Points out that, in many situations, errors made in the implementation of the budget are a consequence of the excessive complexity of expenditure rules and procedures; encourages the Commission, therefore, to make further efforts to simplify the legal framework, notably in order to solve remaining problems in some control systems;

181.  Deplores the fact that the frequency of physical checks done by Members States on imports remains very low, despite the frequent recommendations of the Court of Auditors and the fact that customs duties represent a considerable amount of the total revenue for the 2008 budget; consequently, calls on the Commission to ask Member States to find an appropriate balance between physical checks at import and the post-clear