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Procedure : 2014/2083(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0105/2015

Texts tabled :

A8-0105/2015

Debates :

PV 28/04/2015 - 16
CRE 28/04/2015 - 16

Votes :

PV 29/04/2015 - 10.18
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0127

Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 29 April 2015 - Strasbourg Final edition
Discharge 2013: EU general budget - Committee of the Regions
P8_TA(2015)0127A8-0105/2015
Decision
 Resolution

1.European Parliament decision of 29 April 2015 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013, Section VII – Committee of the Regions (2014/2083(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013(1),

–  having regard to the consolidated annual accounts of the European Union for the financial year 2013 (COM(2014)0510 – C8‑0152/2014)(2),

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ annual report on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2013, together with the institutions’ replies(3),

–  having regard to the statement of assurance(4) as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors for the financial year 2013, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to 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),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(6), and in particular Articles 55, 99, 164, 165 and 166 thereof,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0105/2015),

1.  Grants the Secretary-General of the Committee of the Regions discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Committee of the Regions for the financial year 2013;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this decision and the resolution forming an integral part of it to the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Court of Auditors, the European External Action Service, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, 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).

(1) OJ L 66, 8.3.2013.
(2) OJ C 403, 13.11.2014, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 398, 12.11.2014, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 403, 13.11.2014, p. 128.
(5) OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.


2.European Parliament resolution of 29 April 2015 with observations forming an integral part of the decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013, Section VII – Committee of the Regions (2014/2083(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013, Section VII – Committee of the Regions,

–  having regard to the Decision of the European Ombudsman of 26 February 2015 closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/1/2014/PMC concerning whistle-blowing,

–  having regard to the new rules on the protection of whistle-blowers,

–  having regard to the judgment of the European Union Civil Service Tribunal dated 7 May 2013,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0105/2015),

1.  Notes with satisfaction that in its 2013 annual report, the Court of Auditors observed that no significant weaknesses had been identified in respect of the audited topics relating to human resources and procurement for the Committee of the Regions ('the Committee');

2.  Welcomes the fact that on the basis of its audit work, the Court of Auditors concluded that the payments as a whole for the year ended on 31 December 2013 for administrative and other expenditure of the institutions and bodies were free from material error;

3.  Notes that in 2013, the Committee had an approved budget of EUR 87 373 000 (EUR 86 503 000 in 2012), of which EUR 84 800 000 were commitment appropriations with a utilisation rate of 97 %; regrets the decrease of the utilisation rate in 2013 when compared to that of 98,2 % in 2012;

4.  Stresses, however, that the Committee's budget is purely administrative, with a large amount being used for expenditure relating to persons working within the institution and the remaining amount relating to buildings, furniture, equipment and miscellaneous running costs; takes note of the Committee's explanation for the decrease in the utilisation rate;

5.  Points out that the reasons behind the unexpected ruling on salary adjustment are no longer applicable following the agreement on the new Staff Regulation in 2014;

6.  Welcomes the Annual Subsidiarity Report 2013 which presents an overview of the Committee's subsidiarity monitoring activities throughout the year; considers the report to be a valuable tool for Parliament's legislative work; asks for the launch of such reports to be properly advertised and for the reports to be circulated to the co-legislators;

7.  Takes note of the creation of a new political group (ECR) in the Committee and of the limited financial impact of its creation in 2013; welcomes the information provided in the annual activity report on the Committee's political activities and asks to continue to be updated on the projects and informed about the budgetary consequences of the measures taken;

8.  Takes note of the cooperation between the Committee and Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control, in particular in relation to the discharge exercise;

9.  Notes with satisfaction that the recommendations and requirements made by Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control are recorded by the budget service of the Committee in a central database and that the progress of implementation is regularly monitored; welcomes the fact that a committee, consisting of five members and an external expert, has been set up for internal audit purposes and that the Court of Auditors' and Parliament's recommendations are so far being taken into account;

10.  Welcomes the new activity-based budgeting system that the Committee has put into operation as it is better suited to the specific features of smaller institutions and can thus give a more complete picture of costs and projected activities; calls on the Committee to assess the advantages that it has ascertained when implementing the new system;

11.  Takes note of the Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the Committee, and Parliament, which was eventually signed on 5 February 2014 and has led to the transfer of a large number of Committee staff to the new European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS); expects that the agreement will evolve in a balanced way, benefit all three institutions equally, and contribute positively to the further rationalisation of resources; calls on each of the institutions, at the end of the first year of the collaboration, to make an individual assessment of the impact that the agreement is having in terms of human resources, expenditure, synergies, added value, and substance;

12.  Notes that the translation demand fell by 19,1 % compared to that in 2012; notes, however, that the productivity of the internal translation service has also decreased;

13.  Takes note of the Committee’s intention to rationalise translation requests and to standardise some types of documents; supports this initiative and asks to be fully informed of its implementation; notes with concern that some of the Committee’s in-house translation staff have been transferred to the new European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), following the Cooperation Agreement; calls on the Committee to conduct a specific study gauging the impact of this cut on the quality and efficiency of its translation services;

14.  Notes that a common methodology with other institutions has been agreed to calculate and compare translation costs and other indicators; calls on the Committee to inform the discharge authority about the implementation of the common agreed methodology;

15.  Considers that at a time of crisis and budget cuts in general, the cost of staff ‘away days’ at the Union institutions has to be lowered and that these events should take place, wherever possible, on the institutions’ own premises, as the resulting added value does not justify such high spending;

16.  Notes with satisfaction that the Committee included information on unused interpretation services in the 2013 annual activity report; considers it positive that the unused rate of the interpretation services decreased from 3,23 % in 2012 to 2,51 % in 2013; believes that this rate can still be improved and calls on the Committee to plan its meetings better;

17.  Takes note of the continued limited use of videoconferencing tool; acknowledges that measures are being put in place to extend its use; asks to be informed about the progress achieved on this matter;

18.  Recommends that the Committee continues to develop the regular screening of the budgetary savings resulting from the implementation of the new administrative cooperation agreement with the EESC; requests detailed information on the results of this cooperation;

19.  Notes that the next mid-term review of that new cooperation agreement will be the appropriate moment to evaluate the agreement and correct any shortcomings identified;

20.  Requests detailed information on the results of the mid-term review and expects that this evaluation will also include a joint assessment of the budgetary savings resulting from the cooperation agreement;

21.  Points to the need to raise the Committee’s profile by stepping up the necessary information and communication policy;

22.  Expresses concern at the shortage of women holding senior Committee posts (67 % – 33 %); calls for an equal opportunities plan to be set in motion, particularly as regards management positions, with the aim of correcting this imbalance as quickly as possible;

23.  Calls on the Committee to include in its annual activity reports, in compliance with the existing rules on confidentiality and data protection, the results and consequences of closed OLAF cases, where the institution or any of the individuals working for it were the subject of the investigation;

24.  Demands that the Committee's building policy be attached to its annual activity report, especially given that it is important that the costs of such a policy are properly rationalised and that such costs are not excessive;

25.  Congratulates the Committee for the consistent quality of the annual activity report and for providing a comprehensive annual impact report that is an important tool for the assessment of its work; notes with satisfaction that an exhaustive table of all human resources at the Committee's disposal was provided in the annual activity report;

26.  Points out that the Committee members are democratically legitimated local and regional representatives performing political activities; believes that they should thus be subject to the same rules as other national or European politicians where it concerns their access to the Commission and its services;

27.  Is concerned by the delayed adoption of the internal whistle-blowing rules; calls on the Committee to implement these rules without further delay;

28.  Recalls that the Committee has been dealing with the same whistle-blowing case since 2003; emphasises the considerable cost to Union taxpayers and the harm done to the whistle-blower; demands that the Committee of the Regions urgently comply with the conclusions of the Civil Service Tribunal's judgment of 7 May 2013 and recognise the plaintiff's action as legitimate and finally close the case;

29.  Stresses that Parliament will not tolerate any mistreatment of whistle-blowers in its own ranks or in any other Union Institution and reiterates its total commitment to the spirit and the letter of the legislation on whistle-blower protection.

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