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Procedure : 2019/2101(DEC)
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A9-0032/2020

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P9_TA(2020)0071

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Thursday, 14 May 2020 - Brussels Provisional edition
Discharge 2018: Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0071A9-0032/2020
Decision
 Decision
 Resolution

1. European Parliament decision of 13 May 2020 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2018 (2019/2101(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the final annual accounts of the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2018,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ annual report on the EU Joint Undertakings for the financial year 2018, together with the Joint Undertakings' 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 2018, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 18 February 2020 on discharge to be given to the Joint Undertaking in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2018 (05763/2019 – C9‑0067/2019),

–  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 209 thereof,

–  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(4), and in particular Article 71 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 558/2014 of 6 May 2014 establishing the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking(5), and in particular Article 12 thereof,

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 110/2014 of 30 September 2013 on the model financial regulation for public-private partnership bodies referred to in Article 209 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(6),

–  having regard to Rule 100 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0032/2020),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking discharge in respect of the implementation of the Joint Undertaking’s budget for the financial year 2018;

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 Clean Sky 2 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 426, 18.12.2019, p.1.
(2) OJ C 426, 18.12.2019, p. 32.
(3) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 169, 7.6.2014, p. 77.
(6) OJ L 38, 7.2.2014, p. 2.


2. European Parliament decision of 13 May 2020 on the closure of the accounts of the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2018 (2019/2101(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the final annual accounts of the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2018,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ annual report on the EU Joint Undertakings for the financial year 2018, together with the Joint Undertakings' 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 2018, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 18 February 2020 on discharge to be given to the Joint Undertaking in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2018 (05763/2019 – C9‑0067/2019),

–  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 209 thereof,

–  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(4), and in particular Article 71 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 558/2014 of 6 May 2014 establishing the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking(5), and in particular Article 12 thereof,

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 110/2014 of 30 September 2013 on the model financial regulation for public-private partnership bodies referred to in Article 209 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(6),

–  having regard to Rule 100 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0032/2020),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2018;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Executive Director of the Clean Sky 2 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 426, 18.12.2019, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 426, 18.12.2019, p.32.
(3) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 169, 7.6.2014, p. 77.
(6) OJ L 38, 7.2.2014, p. 2.


3. European Parliament resolution of 14 May 2020 with observations forming an integral part of the decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget for the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2018 (2019/2101(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking for the financial year 2018,

–  having regard to Rule 100 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0032/2020),

A.  whereas the Joint Undertaking started to work autonomously on 16 November 2009;

B.  whereas the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking (the “Joint Undertaking”) established by Council Regulation No 558/2014(1) replaced, with effect from 27 June 2014, the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking under Horizon 2020;

C.  whereas the main objectives of the Joint Undertaking are to improve significantly the environmental impact of aeronautical technologies and to enhance the competitiveness of European aviation; whereas the lifetime of the Joint Undertaking has been extended until 31 December 2024;

D.  whereas the founding members of the Joint Undertaking are the Union, represented by the Commission, the leaders of the Integrated Technology Demonstrators (ITDs), innovative aircraft development platforms (IADPs) and the transversal areas (TAs) together with the associate members of the ITDs;

E.  whereas the maximum contribution from the Union to the Joint Undertaking second phase of activities is EUR 1 755 000 000 to be paid from the budget of Horizon 2020;

Budgetary and financial management

1.  Notes that the Court of Auditors (the “Court”) stated that the 2018 annual accounts of the Joint Undertaking for the year ended 31 December 2018 present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Joint Undertaking at 31 December 2018, the results of its operations, its cash flows, and the changes in net assets for the year then ended, in accordance with its Financial Regulation and with the accounting rules adopted by the Commission’s accounting officer;

2.  Notes that the Court, in its report on the Clean Sky 2 (the “Court's report”), indicated the transactions underlying the annual accounts as legal and regular in all material aspects;

3.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking’s final budget for 2018 included commitment appropriations of EUR 371 100 000 and payment appropriations of EUR 343 786 573; notes that 98,7 % of commitment appropriations and 98,6 % of payment appropriations consist of Commission subsidies and carry over from previous years;

4.  Notes that the commitment appropriations utilisation rate was 99,2 % (compared to 99,6 % in 2017) and the rate of payment appropriations was 97,3 % (compared to 98,5 % in 2017); notes the decrease in the execution rate of payment appropriations for administrative expenditures to 79,23 % (from 93,13 % in 2017);

5.  Notes with satisfaction that the Joint Undertaking has implemented various tools to monitor the execution of the programme in terms of productivity, achievements, planning and risks of the operations;

Multiannual budget implementation under Seventh Framework Programme

6.  Notes that the Union contribution is EUR 800 000 000 from the Seventh Framework Programme and the members from the Industry and Research Groupings are contributing resources of EUR 608 300 000, comprising EUR 594 100 000 in-kind contributions in the Seventh Framework Programme projects funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 (FCH2), and EUR 14 900 000in cash-contributions to administrative costs;

7.  Notes that the Seventh Framework Programme was formally closed in 2017 with an implementation level of around 100 %; observes that in 2018 the Joint Undertaking still made recoveries of around EUR 850 000 stemming from outstanding pre-financings and ex-post audit results;

Multiannual budget implementation under Horizon 2020

8.  Notes that by the end of 2018, out of the total amount of EUR 2 064 000 000, for the activities to be funded under Horizon 2020, EUR 816 700 000 is the Union cash contribution and EUR 14 100 000 cash contribution from private members; notes that at the end of 2018, the governing board had validated in-kind contributions of EUR 273 900 000 and a further EUR 157 600 000 had been reported, but not yet validated, as well as EUR 801 700 000 of industry members' in-kind contributions to additional activities;

Calls for proposals

9.  Notes that in 2018 the Joint Undertaking launched two calls for proposals, received 417 eligible proposals (out of the total of 420) and selected 131 proposals to be funded;

10.  Notes the successful closure of the four Core Partners calls in 2017; takes note that the activity in 2018 concerned the implementation into the new Grant Agreement for Members (GAMs) of all selected core partners, a small number of which became an active member in 2018; observes that the results from all four calls and the accession of the winning entities as members resulted in 183 core partners of which 49 are affiliates or linked third parties;

11.  Notes that, by the end of 2018, nine calls for proposals were launched, of which eight have been evaluated and fully implemented or in the final stage, notes that these eight calls are engaging more than 560 partners from 27 different countries; observes that the seventh call for proposals was implemented in October 2018 with 198 participants; furthermore, the eighth call for proposals started in November 2018 with 182 participants; in addition, the ninth call for proposals was launched in November 2018 with an evaluation taking place in March 2019;

Performance

12.  Notes that information on some of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is not yet available due to nature of the projects; welcomes that most of the specific KPIs are either achieved or on track; takes note that the experts call for further monitoring activity and analysis, making a clear distinction between the actually achieved KPIs at the end of each year and the projected KPIs;

13.  Observes that the management cost ratio (administrative and operational budget) remains below the 5 %, thus pointing to rather lean and efficient organisational structure of the Joint Undertaking;

14.  Notes the fact, that the Joint Undertaking’s turnover rates were high for temporary agents and contracts agents in 2017 and 2018; notes that for temporary staff the turnover rate increased almost 17 %; furthermore, the use of interim staff services almost doubled in 2018;

15.  Notes that, in the 2018 annual activity report of the Joint Undertaking, the key performance indicators regarding gender balance in 2017 and 2018 show that the level of participation by women, while stable, is nevertheless quite low: women account for 22 % of those involved in the programme, 13 % of programme coordinators and 18 %-25 % of advisers and experts carrying out evaluations and analyses and working on the Scientific Committee; recommends that constant efforts be made to increase the participation level of women in the programme;

16.  Welcomes the fact that the Joint Undertaking engages the best talents and resources in Europe; notes that it utilises the key skills and knowledge of the leading European aeronautic research establishments and academic faculties;

Key controls and supervisory systems

17.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking has set up ex ante control procedures based on financial and operational desk reviews, ex post audits at beneficiaries of grants for Seventh Framework Programme interim and final payments and for Horizon 2020 project cost claims, it is the Commission’s Common Audit Service the responsible of the ex posts audits;

18.  Notes that the residual error rates for the ex post audits reported by the Joint Undertaking were 1,21 % for Seventh Framework Programme projects and 1,11 % for Horizon 2020 projects, both of which are below the materiality threshold of 2 %;

Anti-fraud strategy

19.  Observes that the Joint Undertaking pays particular attention to fraud prevention and detection; as a result, DG RTD implements the 2020 Anti-Fraud Strategy with stakeholders in order to detect and prevent double funding; however, notes with concern that, during 2018, three cases of alleged fraudulent activities were detected in connection with receiving funding from the Joint Undertaking and were notified to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF);

Internal audit

20.  Notes that, in 2018, the Internal Audit Service (IAS) carried out an audit on the Coordination with the Common Support Centre (CSC) in order to assess the adequacy of the design of the Joint Undertaking governance, risk management and internal processes; notes with satisfaction that the IAS identified as a strength the active role of the Joint Undertaking in exchanging information with the CSC; moreover, notes that the auditors took note of the joint approaches of the Directors, setting out their needs in respect of important subjects, such as confidentiality; furthermore, several recommendations have been issued to the IAS to further adapt the IT systems of the Commission to remove the remaining constraints to the data transfer; calls on the Joint Undertaking to finalise the development of criteria and procedures for handling confidential data of the Joint Undertaking’s beneficiaries;

Other comments

21.  Notes the extension of the Joint Undertaking's bilateral contacts with a number of Member States and regions based on the research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3) priorities mapping drawn up by the Joint Undertaking, which indicates over 60 regions that have indicated to the Joint Undertaking that aeronautics or correlated areas are among their R&I priorities; furthermore, notes with satisfaction that a further Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in 2018 with a region in Germany, which brought the number of MoUs in force by 31 December 2018 to 17; notes that this was followed by the signing of a MoU with the French region of Nouvelle Aquitaine in June 2019;

22.  Notes that effective communication is an essential component of successful EU-financed projects. Considers it to be important to increase the visibility of the achievements of the Joint Undertaking, and the dissemination of information concerning the value added. Calls upon the Joint Undertaking to pursue a proactive communications policy, disseminating the results of its research to the general public, e.g. via social media or other media outlets, thereby aiming to raise public awareness of the impact of Union support, with particular regard to market uptake.

23.  Asks the Court to assess the soundness and reliability of the methodology for calculating and valuing in-kind contributions. The assessment should evaluate the design and the robustness of the guidance for the implementation of the in-kind contribution procedure in order to assist in the planning, reporting and certification process of the in-kind contributions.

Transport and Tourism

24.  Emphasises that the objectives of the Joint Undertaking should be adjusted to take account of the need for progressive decarbonisation and that the necessary financial and human resources should be automatically provided in order to ensure that the Joint Undertaking has sufficient capacity for any adjustments made;

25.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking is a public-private partnership between the Union and the aeronautic industry the goal of which is to develop breakthrough technologies to significantly increase the environmental performance of aeroplanes and air transport; notes that it was set up as the “Clean Sky Joint Undertaking” in 2007 under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (“FP7”) and became the “Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking” in 2014 under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation;

26.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking’s programmes are jointly funded under Horizon 2020 (for the period 2014-2020) through subsidies of the Union up to EUR 1 755 million and in-kind contributions from the private members of at least EUR 2 193,75 million; notes that the Union and the private members equally share the administrative costs that shall not exceed EUR 78 million over that period;

27.  Welcomes the major contribution made by the Joint Undertaking to the increased efficiency of the aviation sector; highlights the very good results and the essential role played by the Joint Undertaking in Europe in ensuring net accelerations in green technologies that aim to reduce CO2, gas emissions and noise levels produced by aircrafts; highlights the strategic importance that this Joint Undertaking should play under the future Horizon Europe programme towards contributing to the new 2050 "climate neutrality" goals and to the planned CO2 reductions due to technological progress;

28.  Points out that global use of the technologies created and promoted by the Joint Undertaking could eliminate the equivalent of total CO2 emissions by the Netherlands;

29.  Stresses that Clean Sky I technologies have reduced CO2 emissions per passenger by 19 % on long-haul and 40 % on medium-haul flights; calls for the Joint Undertaking to be given all necessary human and financial resources to build on this successful approach;

30.  Notes that up to 40 % of the Joint Undertaking funding is allocated to its 16 Leaders and their affiliates, i.e. to the industrials committed to deliver the full Clean Sky 2 programme throughout its duration; notes that 30 % of the Joint Undertaking funding are to be awarded via calls for proposals and calls for tenders to its Core partners (selected for long-term commitments to the programme); further notes that the remaining 30 % of the funding are to be awarded via calls for proposals and calls for tenders to other partners (participating in specific topics and projects in the context of a well-defined, limited commitment);

31.  Notes that, from the cut-off date of the provisional accounts 2018 (end of February 2019), the private members of the Joint Undertaking have reported a cumulative sum of EUR 399 million as in-kind contributions for Operational activities (IKOP), and that the Joint Undertaking has validated certified contribution to the value of EUR 279,9 million; notes similarly that the private members have reported a cumulative EUR 827,9 million in in kind contributions for Additional Activities (IKAA), of which EUR 620 million were validated by the Joint Undertaking;

32.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking now counts 16 Leaders, 193 Core partners (including 50 SMEs) and that nine calls for proposals were launched (to allocate the remaining of funds to other partners); notes that eight of these calls have been evaluated, leading to the selection of 560 partners (including 31 % of SMEs that account for 25 % of funding) from 27 countries;

33.  Notes that the Joint Undertaking is planning to revise its Financial Rules in order to align them to the new financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union in accordance with Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council(2);

34.  Notes that the Internal Audit Service issued a very important recommendation to the Joint Undertaking calling for the elaboration of a consolidated risk register, to cover risk affecting the programme and the Joint Undertaking as a stand-alone entity; notes that the Internal Audit Officer (IAO) declared to the management of the Joint Undertaking that there was a lack of objectivity due to their repeated involvement in management tasks and due to the quality management processes; urges the Joint Undertaking to immediately resolve this issue and fully implement the recommendation of the IAO;

35.  Notes with concern that the IAO identified several risk areas, which require actions of the Joint Undertaking’s management; expects the Joint Undertaking’s management to take all necessary measures to mitigate those risks;

36.  Notes that during the year 2018, three cases of alleged fraudulent activities were detected in connection with beneficiaries receiving funds from the Joint Undertaking and were notified to OLAF; calls on the Joint Undertaking to take all necessary measures to prevent cases of fraud in the future;

(1) Council Regulation (EU) No 558/2014 of 6 May 2014 establishing the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking (OJ L 169, 7.6.2014, p. 77).
(2) 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 (OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1).

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