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Procedure : 2019/2003(BUD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0182/2019

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Debates :

PV 27/03/2019 - 22
CRE 27/03/2019 - 22

Votes :

PV 28/03/2019 - 8.8

Texts adopted :


Texts adopted
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Thursday, 28 March 2019 - Strasbourg
Estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2020 – Section I – European Parliament

European Parliament resolution of 28 March 2019 on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2020 (2019/2003(BUD))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU, and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (1),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3) (IIA of 2 December 2013),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1023/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 amending the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Union(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2017 on combatting sexual harassment and abuse in the EU(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 April 2018 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2019(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2018 on measures to prevent and combat mobbing and sexual harassment at the workplace, in public spaces, and in political life in the EU(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 October 2018 on the Council position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2019(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2018 on the Council position on the second draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2019(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2019 on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament(10),

–  having regard to the Secretary-General's report to the Bureau on drawing up Parliament's preliminary draft estimates for the financial year 2020,

–  having regard to the preliminary draft estimates drawn up by the Bureau on 25 March 2019 pursuant to Rules 25(7) and 96(1) of Parliament's Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the draft estimates drawn up by the Committee on Budgets pursuant to Rule 96(2) of Parliament's Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to Rule 96 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0182/2019),

A.  whereas this procedure is the fifth full budgetary procedure conducted in the new legislature and the seventh year of the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework;

B.  whereas the 2020 budget, as proposed in the Secretary-General’s report, is being prepared against the backdrop of a yearly increase (inflation and real increase) in the ceiling for heading V, allowing more room for growth and investment as well as continuing to implement policies of achieving savings and seeking to improve efficiency;

C.  whereas among the priority objectives that have been proposed by the Secretary-General for the 2020 budget there are: providing the necessary resources for the first full year after the election of a new Parliament and Commission and providing the resources for priority projects on engaging with citizens, multiannual building projects, security and IT developments;

D.  whereas a budget of EUR 2 068 530 000 has been proposed by the Secretary-General for Parliament's preliminary draft estimates for 2020, representing an overall increase of 3,58 % on the 2019 budget and a share of 18,38 % of heading V of the 2014-2020 MFF;

E.  whereas almost two thirds of the budget is index-bound expenditure, which relates mainly to remunerations, pensions, medical expenses and allowances for serving and retired Members (21 %) and staff (35 %), as well as to buildings (13 %), and which is adjusted according to the Staff Regulations and Statute for Members, to sector-specific indexation, or to the inflation rate;

F.  whereas Parliament already stressed in its resolution of 29 April 2015 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2016(11) that its budget should be set on a realistic basis and should be in line with the principles of budgetary discipline and sound financial management; notes that lump sums are a useful and widely recognised tool to add flexibility and transparency;

G.  whereas Parliament’s budget should guarantee its full legislative competence and allow its proper functioning;

H.  whereas the credibility of Parliament as one arm of the budgetary authority depends to an extent on its ability to manage its own spending and on its ability to develop democracy at the Union level;

I.  whereas 2020 will be the first full year after the elections and there will therefore be a return to the normal pace of core political and support activities;

J.  whereas the voluntary pension fund was established in 1990 by the Bureau's Rules governing the additional (voluntary) pension scheme(12);

K.  whereas the Court of Auditors issued an opinion No 5/99 on 16 June 1999 entitled “Pension Fund and Scheme for Members of the European Parliament”;

General framework

1.  Stresses that the share of Parliament’s budget in 2020 should be maintained under 20 % of the heading V ceiling; notes that the level of estimates for 2020 corresponds to 18,22 %, which is lower than that achieved in 2019 (18,51 %) and the lowest part of heading V in more than 15 years;

2.  Emphasises that the largest part of Parliament's budget is fixed by statutory or contractual obligations and is subject to annual indexation;

3.  Demands that the Secretary General and the Bureau, as a matter of principle, present to the BUDG committee the next EP estimates closer to, if not at the level of, the inflation rate as forecasted by the European Commission;

4.  Endorses the agreement reached in the conciliation between the Bureau and the Committee on Budgets on 19 March 2019 to set the increase over the budget 2019 at 2,68 %, corresponding to the overall level of its estimates for 2020 to EUR 2 050 430 000, to decrease the level of expenditure of the preliminary draft estimates approved by the Bureau on 11 March 2019 by EUR 18,1 million and to reduce accordingly the appropriations proposed on the following budget lines: 1004 - Ordinary travel expenses; 1200 - Remuneration and allowances ; 1402 Other staff - Drivers in the Secretariat; 2007 - Construction of buildings and fitting-out of premises; 2022 - Building maintenance, upkeep, operation and cleaning; 2024 – Energy consumption; 2101 - Computing and telecommunications - business-as-usual operations - infrastructure; 212 - Furniture; 214 - Technical equipment and installations; 300 - Expenses for staff missions and duty travel between the three places of work; 302 - Reception and representation expenses; 3040 - Miscellaneous expenditure on internal meetings; 3042 - Meetings, congresses, conferences and delegations; 422 - Expenditure relating to parliamentary assistance ;decides to provide Item 1650 - Medical service with EUR 140 000, Item 320 - Acquisition of expertise with EUR 160 000 and Item 3211 – Science media hub with appropriations amounting to EUR 400 000; welcomes that those changes have been adopted by the Bureau on 25 March 2019;

5.  Recommends that Parliament’s services put in place the modification of the remarks in Item 1650 - “Medical service”, since the additional appropriations of EUR 140 000 are intended to cover expenses related to mediator and psychologist for prevention and fight against psychological and sexual harassment, and in Item 320 - “Acquisition of expertise”, since the additional appropriations of EUR 160 000 are intended to cover expenses related to expertise and experts in the field of prevention, investigation, and fight against psychological and sexual harassment;

6.  Notes that the situation regarding the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union is based on an orderly withdrawal with a deal, on the endorsement of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, and on the approval of the political declaration by the European Council of 25 November 2018, according to which the UK would contribute to the Union budget until 2020; notes that most of the savings resulting from the withdrawal have already been incorporated into the 2019 budget and that for 2020 there would be only a slight decrease in certain expenditure due to having 46 less Members;

7.  Notes that, in the event that the United Kingdom does not withdraw from the Union or withdraws without a deal, the proposed appropriations can be adjusted throughout the budgetary procedure, by the Bureau, the Committee on Budgets or the Plenary;

8.  Underlines that Parliament’s key functions are to co-legislate with Council and to decide on the Union budget, represent citizens and scrutinise the work of other Union institutions;

9.  Highlights Parliament's role in building European political awareness and promoting Union values;

10.  Stresses that savings as compared to the proposal of the Secretary-General are required to bring closer the rise of this proposal to the expected general inflation rate for 2020 and that all efforts to strive for a more efficient and transparent use of public money are strongly encouraged;

Transparency and accuracy

11.  Notes the increased transparency in the preparation of the Secretary-General’s report, such as the provision of additional information on medium- and long-term planning, investments, statutory obligations, administrative expenditure and methodology, as requested by Parliament and the Council;

12.  Demands Parliament’s 2020 budget to be realistic and accurate regarding the matching of needs and their costs, to avoid over-budgeting;

13.  Emphasises that maximum care should be taken to ensure that the overall budgetary and staffing resources at Parliament's disposal are used in the most cost-efficient way possible to enable the institution and its Members to fulfil their ultimate mission on legislation successfully; reiterates that this implies careful planning and organisation of its working methods and, whenever possible, the pooling of functions and structures to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy, functional overlaps and duplication of effort and resources;

Engaging with citizens

14.  Welcomes the inauguration of the Europa Experience centres, that is exhibition spaces, reproducing the successful concept of the Brussels Parlamentarium on a smaller scale; observes that the installation of five new Europa Experience centres is planned in Liaison Offices by 2020;

15.  Notes that the amount budgeted for the installation of five new Europa Experience centres in Liaison Offices covers the exhibition infrastructure itself, managed by DG COMM, but not the exhibition areas; asks for further details on an order of magnitude of the entire expected costs before Parliament's reading of the budget in autumn 2019;

16.  Notes the creation of a series of mobile installations, which would tour Member States to bring the Union closer to citizens;

17.  Demands from the Secretary General a detailed, factual and in-depth report on the added-value of the 51 posts in DG COMM; demands that such report be presented publically in the BUDG committee before the end of July 2019;

Building and Transport policy

18.  Reiterates its call for a transparent decision-making process in the field of buildings policy based on early information, having due regard to Article 266 of the Financial Regulation;

19.  Disagrees with the ongoing practice of the year-end ‘mopping up transfer’ to contribute to current building projects; highlights that such ‘mopping up transfer’ takes place systematically on the same chapters, titles and, often, exactly on the same budgetary lines and wonders whether there is a programmed over-evaluation of these, in order to generate funds for the financing of Parliament’s building policy; considers that the building policy should be financed in a transparent manner from the budgetary lines dedicated to it;

20.  Recommends that the annual budget planning for all buildings earmark an allocation for maintenance and renovation costs corresponding to 3 % of the total new building costs, as part of a regular and anticipatory building policy; underlines the need for a building strategy that ensures cost-effectiveness and highlights potential benefits resulting from the proximity of buildings such as synergies through the sharing of back office functions, office space and room allocations;

21.  Observes that the reception and the occupation of the entire Konrad Adenauer East wing of the new building is foreseen for 2020 and notes that works will commence on the new West wing directly thereafter; notes that expenditure is to be foreseen for the project management in the final stages of the construction, such as significant removal operations, the first furnishing and the security surveillance of the construction site;

22.  Takes note that the rent and maintenance of all existing Luxembourg buildings are still budgeted for the entire year, considering that the removal from existing buildings can only be made gradually; asks the Secretary-General to provide details concerning the gradual removal and to explain why no savings are possible already in 2020;

23.  Asks for further details on preparatory technical works including the relocation of functionalities, such as for those situated in the PHS building, to other buildings; requests to provide the Committee on Budgets with detailed estimations and cost breakdown in this regard before Parliament’s reading of the budget in autumn 2019;

24.  Questions the very high costs of certain proposed developments, namely: the installation of the visitors' seminar rooms in the Atrium building (EUR 8,720 million), the multifunctional space in the Esplanade area (EUR 2,610 million), the creation of a self-service canteen in the SDM building in Strasbourg (EUR 1,9 million); calls on the Secretary-General to provide the Committee on Budgets with any information relating to these decisions before Parliament's reading of the budget in autumn 2019;

25.  Considers that further savings should be achieved as regards the expenditure on furniture for the offices of Members and their assistants, given the complete refurbishment of those offices at the start of the mandate in 2019;

26.  Is concerned by Parliament’s intention to expand its activity and diplomatic presence in Indonesia (Jakarta), Ethiopia(Addis Ababa) and the United States (New York); regrets that despite the absence of a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis and further elaboration on the underlying arguments for the choice of these specific locations, the Bureau agreed with the proposal, as well as with the appointment of the current head of Parliament’s office in Washington D.C. as the new head of office in Jakarta; urges, therefore, the Secretary-General to identify the affected budget lines and to clarify this non-transparent state of affairs through the explanation of the decision-making process regarding these different locations and the appointment of the new head of office in Jakarta; considers, meanwhile, that this decision must be suspended;

27.  Considers that potential savings to Parliament’s budget can be achieved with a single seat; recalls the 2014 ECA analysis which estimated the costs of the geographic dispersion of Parliament to be EUR 114 million per year; recalls furthermore that due to that geographic dispersion results in 78 % of all missions by Parliament staff and that the environmental impact is between 11 000 and 19 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions; calls therefore for a roadmap to a single seat;


28.  Notes that the 2020 budget will include final instalments of substantial investments started back in 2016 with a view to significantly improve Parliament's security; points out that those projects covered various domains, mainly relating to buildings, equipment and staff, but also improvements in the field of cyber-security and communication security;

29.  Underlines that the iPACS project will provide Parliament with modern and integrated security technology in order to remove remaining weaknesses in buildings' security, and in 2020 will be in the fifth and final year of implementation; invites the Secretary-General to summarise in detail all expenses linked to the buildings security from 2016;

30.  Considers that IT tools are important instruments for Members and staff to carry out their work, but may be vulnerable to cyber-attacks; welcomes, therefore, the upgrading in the last two years of the team for cyber-security activities and in particular the fact that, having reached the cruising speed stage and continuing the implementation of its Cyber-security Action Plan, the relevant budget will only increase to cover inflation;

31.  Welcomes the efforts to improve services for Members by investing continuously into the development of IT applications, continuing the e-Parliament program, the research and development on Machine Learning with translation memories program and the multiannual project on technical management for conference rooms; asks for more information on the total amount spent in the last years on those programs; notes the long term gradual implementation of those projects in order to split the costs in different financial years;

Issues related to Members and Accredited Parliamentary Assistants

32.  Asks the Bureau to work on a technical solution to allow Members to exercise their right to vote while benefitting from their maternity, paternity or sickness leave;

33.  Considers that the social and pension rights of Accredited Parliamentary Assistants (APAs) should be respected; in this regard, reiterates its call to find a workable solution for those APAs who, having worked for two parliamentary terms without interruption in the end of the current term, will not be entitled to access the European pension rights scheme when they reach pension age, since they will be lacking some time out of ten years' service needed as set out in the Staff Regulations, due to early elections in 2014 and the delays in the validation of the APAs new contracts because of heavy workload during the period after the elections of 2009; calls, therefore, on the Secretary-General to submit new practical and credible proposals aimed at resolving this problem definitively;

34.  Notes the revision of allowance rates for APAs incurred in respect of their duty travel between Parliament’s three places of work; recalls however its repeatedly adopted request to the Bureau to take action for the full alignment of the allowances rates incurred in respect of duty travel between Parliament's three places of work between officials, others servants and APAs as from the next legislative term;

35.  Welcomes the decision on Members’ trainees taken by the Bureau on 10 December 2018 which will enter into force on 2 July 2019; stresses that a binding minimum remuneration of trainees should guarantee them a decent revenue as is the case for trainees within the EU institutions’ administrations;

36.  Expects Parliament´s translation services to live up to their core function of supporting Union legislation and Members in performing their duties by providing high quality translated documents within the framework of a sustainable strategy for the future;

37.  Reiterates its concern about the additional expenditure on interpretation of the oral explanation of votes during plenary sessions; urges the Secretary-General to present a detailed cost breakdown related to the oral explanation of votes; recalls that alternatives, such as a written explanation of votes as well as various public communication facilities, are available to Members wishing to explain their voting positions or raise issues pertinent to the concerns of their electorate; in that context, considers that in order to achieve significant savings, the oral explanation of votes could be abolished;

38.  Recalls Article 27(1) and (2) of the Statute for Members which states that “the voluntary pension fund set up by Parliament shall be maintained after the entry into force of this Statute for Members or former Members who have already acquired rights or future entitlements in that fund” and that “acquired rights and future entitlements shall be maintained in full”; calls upon the Secretary-General and the Bureau to fully respect the Statute for Members and to urgently establish with the pension fund a clear plan for Parliament assuming and taking over its obligations and responsibilities for its Members’ voluntary pension scheme; reiterates its request for an examination of the voluntary Members´ Pension Fund by the European Court of Auditors and asks to investigate the ways to ensure a sustainable financing of the Voluntary Pension Fund in accordance with the provisions of the Statute for Members while ensuring full transparency;

39.  Reiterates its appeal for transparency regarding the General Expenditure Allowance (GEA) for Members; regrets that the Bureau has failed to introduce more transparency and accountability in this regard; calls for Members to be fully accountable for their spending under this allowance;

Staff-related issues

40.  Believes that, in a period in which the financial and personnel resources available to Union institutions are likely to be increasingly constrained, it is important to identify areas, including but not limited to IT services and security, interpretation and translation services or driver service, in which synergies between the back office functions could be increased using the experience of Parliament and the other Union institutions and taking fully into account the governance difficulties and the differences in terms of scale to build up fair cooperation agreements;

41.  Calls for the introduction of a requirement for Members to have their accounts in relation to the GEA checked by an external accountant at least at the end of a Member’s mandate; calls furthermore for the publication of the expenditure by placing a link to these data on the personal pages of the Members on the website of the European Parliament;

42.  Welcomes the existing cooperation agreements between Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, with a view to identifying other areas in which back office functions could be shared; invites the Secretary-General to evaluate existing cooperation among Union institutions in order to identify further potential synergies and savings;

43.  Upholds the principle of accessibility for all citizens; in line with the requests adopted by the Plenary for international sign language interpretation for all plenary debates, calls on the Secretary-General to analyse its feasibility;

44.  Recalls the recommendations of Parliament’s resolutions of 26 October 2017, 11 September 2018 and 15 January 2019 on combating sexual harassment and abuse in the Union as well as measures to prevent and combat mobbing and sexual harassment; demands support to cover the cost of the external expertise needed to widen the external audit to the “Staff advisory committee for Parliament staff” on harassment prevention; asks for appropriations to cover the full implementation of the reformatory steps for Parliament mentioned in the resolution on combatting harassment, including frequent mandatory anti-harassment trainings for all staff, APAs and Members; furthermore is of the opinion that appropriations are needed to cover the cost of mediators and other experts competent to prevent and manage the harassment cases within Parliament together with the network of confidential counsellors and current structures;

45.  Recommends the greater use of videoconferences and other technologies in order to protect the environment and save resources, in particular by reducing staff duty travel between the three places of work;

Other issues

46.  Considers that the procedure for the adoption of Parliament’s estimates should be revised, taking into account the work-in-progress document elaborated by the Working Group on Parliament’s internal budgetary procedure, respecting the wish of the political groups to simplify the current procedure, make it more efficient by reducing the workload for Members and staff, as well as to increase its transparency and clarify responsibilities between the actors involved; recalls that in the current procedure, the Committee on Budgets performs the same tasks twice, during the spring phase (conciliation with the Bureau for the adoption of Parliament’s estimates) and during the autumn phase (tabling of budgetary amendments), which leads to a higher number of meetings, production of documents and related expenses (translations, interpreters, etc.);

47.  Asks to maintain adequate funding of the European Science Media-Hub, for a cooperation with television stations, social media and further partners in order to establish training purposes for young journalists, especially in relation to new scientific and technological developments and to fact-based, peer-reviewed news;

48.  Calls upon the Secretary-General and the Bureau to instil a culture of performance-based budgeting and environmental sustainability across Parliament's administration, and a lean management approach in order to enhance efficiency, reduce paperwork and diminish bureaucracy in the institution's internal work; stresses that the experience of lean management is the continuous improvement of the work procedure thanks to simplification and to the experience of the administrative staff;

49.  Requests full transparency on the use and management of the funding made available to European political parties and European foundations; requests a thorough evaluation and control of the budget spending by European political parties and foundations; draws attention to the conflict of interest stemming from the sponsorship of European political parties’ activities by private companies; calls therefore for a ban on donations and sponsorships of any kind from private companies to European political parties and European foundations;

o   o

50.  Adopts the estimates for the financial year 2020;

51.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution and the estimates to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 287, 29.10.2013, p. 15.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0417.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0182.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0331.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0404.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0503.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0010.
(11) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0172.
(12) Texts adopted by the Bureau, PE 113.116/BUR./rev. XXVI/01-04-2009.

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