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Procedure : 2016/2195(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0096/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0096/2017

Debates :

PV 26/04/2017 - 19
CRE 26/04/2017 - 19

Votes :

PV 27/04/2017 - 5.63

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0194

Texts adopted
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Thursday, 27 April 2017 - Brussels
Discharge 2015: SESAR Joint Undertaking
P8_TA(2017)0194A8-0096/2017
Decision
 Decision
 Resolution

1. European Parliament decision of 27 April 2017 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2015 (2016/2195(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the final annual accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2015,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2015, together with the Joint Undertaking’s reply(1),

–  having regard to the statement of assurance(2) 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 2015, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 21 February 2017 on discharge to be given to the Joint Undertaking in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2015 (05875/2017 – C8-0086/2017),

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

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(3), and in particular Article 208 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)(4), and in particular Article 4b thereof,

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1271/2013 of 30 September 2013 on the framework financial regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 208 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(5),

–  having regard to Rule 94 of and Annex IV 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 (A8-0096/2017).

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 2015;

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 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).

(1) OJ C 473, 16.12.2016, p. 66.
(2) OJ C 473, 16.12.2016, p. 68.
(3) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 64, 2.3.2007, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.


2. European Parliament decision of 27 April 2017 on the closure of the accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2015 (2016/2195(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the final annual accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2015,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2015, together with the Joint Undertaking’s reply(1),

–  having regard to the statement of assurance(2) 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 2015, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 21 February 2017 on discharge to be given to the Joint Undertaking in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2015 (05875/2017 – C8-0086/2017),

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

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(3), and in particular Article 208 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)(4), and in particular Article 4b thereof,

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1271/2013 of 30 September 2013 on the framework financial regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 208 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(5),

–  having regard to Rule 94 of and Annex IV 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 (A8-0096/2017).

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2015;

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).

(1) OJ C 473, 16.12.2016, p. 66.
(2) OJ C 473, 16.12.2016, p. 68.
(3) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 64, 2.3.2007, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.


3. European Parliament resolution of 27 April 2017 with observations forming an integral part of the decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget for the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2015 (2016/2195(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the SESAR Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2015,

–  having regard to Rule 94 of and Annex IV 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 (A8-0096/2017),

A.  whereas the SESAR Joint Undertaking ("the Joint Undertaking") was set up in February 2007 to run the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) programme, which aims to modernise traffic management in Europe;

B.  whereas, following the adoption of Council Regulation (EU) No 721/2014, the SESAR 2 programme extended the lifetime of the Joint Undertaking for the period to 31 December 2024;

C.  whereas the SESAR projects are divided into a "definition phase" (2004-2007) held by Eurocontrol, a first "development phase" (2008-2016), funded by the 2008-2013 programming period managed by the Joint Undertaking and a "deployment phase" (2014-2020) running in parallel to the "development phase"; whereas the deployment phase is expected to be led by industry and stakeholders for the large-scale production and implementation of the new air traffic management infrastructure;

D.  whereas the Joint Undertaking started to work autonomously in 2007;

E.  whereas the Joint Undertaking was designed as a public-private partnership, with the Union and Eurocontrol as founding members;

F.  whereas the budget for 2008-2015 developed phase of the SESAR project is EUR 2 100 000 000, which is to be provided in equal parts by the Union, Eurocontrol and the participating public and private partners, and moreover the Union budget for the deployment phase of the SESAR 2 Programme 2014-2024 funded from “Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation”(“Horizon 2020”) is EUR 585 000 000; whereas under the new Horizon 2020 Membership Agreements, the contribution from Eurocontrol is expected to be approximately EUR 500 000 000, and the contribution from the other partners from the aviation industry is expected to be approximately EUR 720 700 000;

G.  whereas the Joint Undertaking is required to hold separate accounts for the first Programme (2007-2016 under the Seventh Framework Programme/TEN-T funding (SESAR 1)) and the second Programme (2014-2024 under Horizon 2020 funding (SESAR 2)) (together “SESAR 2020”);

General

1.  Notes that, according to the Court of Auditors report (the “Court’s report”), the Joint Undertaking’s annual accounts presented fairly, in all material respects, its financial position as at 31 December 2015 and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the year then ended, in accordance with the provisions of its financial rules and the accounting rules adopted by the Commission’s accounting officer;

2.  Notes that the transition of the Joint Undertaking and the SESAR development programme as the closure of SESAR 1 was scheduled to be completed within 2015, but research and innovation in the field of Air Traffic Management (ATM) continued beyond the initial 2007-2013 financial framework into the 2014-2020 financial framework under Horizon 2020; notes the transition to the SESAR 2 Programme and the launch and execution of exploratory research & industrial research and innovation projects within the framework of SESAR 2020;

Budget and financial management

3.  Recognises that the year 2015 was the first year of real transition from SESAR 1 (funded from the Seventh Framework Programme and TEN-T) to SESAR 2 (funded from Horizon 2020), since the Horizon 2020 grant agreements and the bilateral agreements with Eurocontrol and the aviation industry were not concluded at the end of 2015;

4.  Notes that according to the Report on budgetary and financial management, the final budget for SESAR 1 for the financial year 2015 included commitment appropriations of EUR 30 229 774 and payment appropriations of EUR 126 733 842 and further notes that the final budget for SESAR 2020 for the financial year 2015 included commitment appropriations of EUR 51 470 000 and payment appropriations of EUR 10 300 000;

5.  Notes that, according to the Court’s report, the utilisation rates for commitment and payment appropriations were 100 % and 82,3 %, respectively; highlights from the Joint Undertaking’s reply that the payment appropriations rate of 82,3 % was due to delay of two months for the first Horizon 2020 and it was beyond the Joint Undertaking’s control; notes that related unused 2015 payment appropriations were fully reintroduced into the 2016 budget;

6.  Notes that, of the total operational commitments made in 2015 (EUR 74 500 000), 29 % were individual commitments based on completed award procedures for grants and contracts and that the remaining 71 % were global commitments for which the award procedure was not completed; observes that the high level of global commitments in 2015 is due to the fact that the first Horizon 2020 calls for proposals, in respect of grants totalling EUR 51 470 000, were launched in the second half of 2015, and the related agreements were signed in 2016;

7.  Notes that 257 cost statements were audited as part of the 2015 audit, representing all 15 Members and amounting to EUR 61 000 000 or 11 % out of the total costs claimed of EUR 560 800 000, with a residual error rate of 0,70 %;

Transfer

8.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking made two budget transfers, totalling EUR 79 500 during 2015; acknowledges that the level and nature of transfers in 2015 remained within the limits of the financial rules defined in Article 26(1) of the Joint Undertaking’s Financial Rules;

Procurement and recruitment procedures

9.  Notes that, according to the Court’s report, the 2015 operating budget provided for an establishment plan of 39 temporary staff and three seconded national experts, a total of 42 posts, of which 41 were occupied at year-end 2015;

10.  Points out that the Joint Undertaking undertook 13 procurement procedures with an approximate value of EUR 76 700 000 in compliance with the Joint Undertaking’s Financial Rules to ensure fair competition amongst suppliers and the most efficient use of the Joint Undertaking’s funds; further notes that the Joint Undertaking signed 28 contracts, of which 20 specific contracts under framework contracts and 8 contracts as a result of procurement procedures launched in 2014 or in 2015;

Prevention and management of conflicts of interests and transparency

11.  Notes that during the course of 2015, the Anti-Fraud Strategy of the Joint Undertaking was adopted by the administrative board, which takes into account the priorities set by the Commission within the framework of the Common Approach on Union’s decentralised agencies, sets out the approach of the Joint Undertaking in this area and fixes the objectives of the executive director and the administrative board in the fight against fraud over the next two to three year period;

12.  Welcomes the fact that the Joint Undertaking adopted in 2015 a multi-faceted approach to effectively review, manage and mitigate risks and that it has verification mechanisms in place in order to enable proper prevention and management of conflict of interest, and expects that Parliament, the Council and the public will be informed annually of the results of those measures, and any follow up to them;

13.  Notes that, according to the Court’s report, in July 2015, the Commission issued guidelines to the Joint Undertakings related to rules on conflicts of interest, including a common template for the declaration of absence of a conflict of interest; urges the Joint Undertaking to reflect those guidelines in its procedures and to report to the discharge authority on the completion of the aforementioned declarations;

Internal Control

14.  Observes that the launch of SESAR 2020 had an impact on the internal control system, necessitating a different approach and the introduction of new processes continue to need to be implemented under Horizon 2020; notes that during 2015, the programme and funding management of SESAR 2020 became subject to the regulations and principles governing Horizon 2020, requiring a number of changes to the administrative and operational structure and environment of the Joint Undertaking;

Internal audits

15.  Notes that the Commission’s Internal Audit Service (IAS) performed an audit on operational governance and an update of the Master Plan in October 2015; observes that the IAS issued 9 recommendations, of which one was marked “Very Important” and six marked “Important”; notes with satisfaction that one very important recommendation and five of the six important recommendations have been implemented; invites the Joint Undertaking to report to the discharge authority on the implementation regarding the remaining open recommendations;

16.  Acknowledges that the IAS audit on the Master Plan made three major recommendations which the Joint Undertaking set up a detailed action plan to address; calls on the Joint Undertaking to report to the discharge authority as regards the progress made with its action plan;

Calls for Proposals

17.  Notes that, under Horizon 2020 funding, three calls for proposals were launched in 2015 covering two types of action; those actions were, primarily, Research and Innovation Actions, but also included Innovation Actions; acknowledges that 28 topics were presented within the calls and that the proposals that were received were evaluated on the basis of excellence, impact and the quality and efficiency of implementation; the third call concerned Final Membership Applications;

18.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking adopted the SESAR 2020 Multi-annual Work Programme, in accordance with the priorities of the updated European ATM Master Plan, which serves as the “Global work programme of the Joint Undertaking” and details the various operational, technical and transversal activities required to deliver SESAR 2020;

Other issues

19.  Notes that the administrative board adopted in December 2015 the ATM Master Plan (2015 Edition) covering both SESAR development and deployment; welcomes the development of a SESAR vision 2035+, setting aspirational performance ambitions and preliminary business views;

20.  Welcomes the successful delivery of the work mandated by the Commission concerning the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Definition phase; underlines the importance of a preliminary agreement with the wider aviation industry on the safe integration of drones into civilian air space; notes also that a “Drones outlook study”, intended to form the basis for the proper coverage of RPAS activities in the ATM Master Plan was launched in December 2015;

21.  Notes the results of the 2015 Human Resources bench marking exercise: 54 % operational posts, 44 % administrative and 2 % of neutral posts;

22.  Highlights the vital role of the Joint Undertaking in coordinating and implementing research into the SESAR project, which is a pillar project of the Single European Sky.

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