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Procedure : 2019/2090(DEC)
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Document selected : A9-0060/2020

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A9-0060/2020

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P9_TA(2020)0108

Texts adopted
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Thursday, 14 May 2020 - Brussels Provisional edition
Discharge 2018: European Banking Authority
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0108A9-0060/2020
Decision
 Decision
 Resolution

1. European Parliament decision of 13 May 2020 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Banking Authority for the financial year 2018 (2019/2090(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Banking Authority for the financial year 2018,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ annual report on EU agencies for the financial year 2018, together with the agencies’ replies(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 Authority in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2018 (05761/2020 – C9‑0057/2020),

–  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 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 70 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority), amending Decision No 716/2009/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2009/78/EC(5), and in particular Article 64 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(6), and in particular Article 108 thereof,

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/715 of 18 December 2018 on the framework financial regulation for the bodies set up under the TFEU and Euratom Treaty and referred to in Article 70 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council(7), and in particular Article 105 thereof,

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0060/2020),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Banking Authority discharge in respect of the implementation of the Authority’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 European Banking 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).

(1) OJ C 417, 11.12.2019, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 417, 11.12.2019, p. 34.
(3) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 12.
(6) OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.
(7) OJ L 122, 10.5.2019, p. 1.


2. European Parliament decision of 13 May 2020 on the closure of the accounts of the European Banking Authority for the financial year 2018 (2019/2090(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Banking Authority for the financial year 2018,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ annual report on EU agencies for the financial year 2018, together with the agencies’ replies(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 Authority in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2018 (05761/2020 – C9‑0057/2020),

–  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 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 70 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority), amending Decision No 716/2009/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2009/78/EC(5), and in particular Article 64 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(6), and in particular Article 108 thereof,

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/715 of 18 December 2018 on the framework financial regulation for the bodies set up under the TFEU and Euratom Treaty and referred to in Article 70 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council(7), and in particular Article 105 thereof,

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0060/2020),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Banking Authority for the financial year 2018;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Executive Director of the European Banking 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).

(1) OJ C 417, 11.12.2019, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 417, 11.12.2019, p. 34.
(3) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 12.
(6) OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.
(7) OJ L 122, 10.5.2019, p. 1.


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 of the European Banking Authority for the financial year 2018 (2019/2090(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Banking Authority for the financial year 2018,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2020 on institutions and bodies of the Economic and Monetary Union: preventing post-public employment conflicts of interest(1),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0060/2020),

A.  whereas, according to its statement of revenue and expenditure(2), the final budget of the European Banking Authority (the ‘Authority’) for the financial year 2018 was EUR 42 584 409, representing an increase of 10,84 % compared to 2017; whereas the increase was related to the relocation process of the Authority to Paris; whereas the Authority is financed by a contribution from the Union (EUR 16 142 578, representing 37,91 %), and contributions from national supervisory authorities of the Member States and observers (EUR 26 441 831, representing 62,09 %)(3);

B.  whereas the Court of Auditors (the ‘Court’), in its report on the annual accounts of the European Banking Authority for the financial year 2018 (the ‘Court’s report’), states that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the Authority’s annual accounts are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular;

Budget and financial management

1.  Notes with satisfaction that the budget monitoring efforts during the financial year 2018 resulted in a budget implementation rate of 99,85 %, representing an increase of 3,94 % compared to 2017; notes that the rate of execution of payment appropriations was 88,23 %, representing a slight increase of 0,96 % compared to the previous year;

Performance

2.  Notes that the Authority uses fourteen key performance indicators to assess, to the extent that results are within the control of the Authority, the results of its activities, and to improve its budget management;

3.  Notes with satisfaction that the Authority delivered the bulk of its regulatory products in line with its work programme and achieved all the targets stated in the applications of the Authority’s service level agreements;

4.  Welcomes the fact that the Authority shares practices, initiatives and templates with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, with which the Authority holds regular meetings; strongly encourages the Authority to actively seek further and broader cooperation with all Union agencies;

5.  Recalls the Authority’s new role, tasks and resources in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing; believes that the effective performance of that role and those tasks depends on the support of the Board of Supervisors; regrets in that context the rejection of a proposal to investigate the Danske Bank money-laundering case;

6.  Recalls that the Authority has to date not opened an inquiry into dividend arbitrage trading schemes such as cum-ex or cum-cum as called for by Parliament; encourages the Authority to inquire, together with ESMA, into dividend arbitrage schemes in order to stop ongoing and prevent future practices that threaten the integrity of Union financial markets;

7.  Regrets that cooperation between the Authority and ESMA for the preparation of a joint procurement procedure for the renting of office space in Paris was stopped and that the Authority and ESMA carried out separate procurement procedures, not only for office space but also for other related services; calls on the Authority to report to the discharge authority on the reasons behind that missed opportunity for economies of scale and efficiency gains; urges the Authority to consider the idea of joint procurement procedures and the sharing of resources on overlapping tasks among other agencies with similar activities or situated in the proximity of the Authority's headquarters;

8.  Calls on the Authority to improve and intensify its communication with Member States; urges the Authority to improve and intensify its cooperation with Member States and Member States' national banks and commercial banking bodies; stresses the importance of such smooth collaboration to the Authority's goal of creating a single banking rulebook;

9.  Emphasises that the Authority’s role in promoting a common supervisory regime across the European financial system is essential in order to ensure financial stability, a better integrated, more efficient and safer financial market, as well as a high degree of consumer protection in the Union by promoting fairness and transparency on the product and financial services market;

10.  Recalls the importance of supervising the financial sector, which is a necessary and truly effective instrument in combating tax fraud and money laundering;

11.  Notes that the Authority will see its role, powers and resources in the field of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) reinforced in the context of the new legislative proposals on which political agreement was reached in March 2019(4); stresses that the Authority should take a leading role in the prevention of money laundering, taking advantage of the new competences and the creation of a new internal AML/CFT committee, and should therefore be provided with increased capacity in human and material resources to contribute effectively to the consistent and efficient prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering and the financing of terrorism;

12.  Underlines that the Authority, when carrying out its activities, needs to pay particular attention to ensuring compatibility with Union law, to respecting the principle of proportionality and to complying with the fundamental principles of the internal market;

13.  Urges the Authority to deliver its proposals for reducing the supervisory reporting burden for small and non-complex institutions within the timeframe set by Parliament and the Council in order to achieve more proportionality(5); asks the Authority to ensure the consistent use of definitions in all regulatory and non-regulatory documents(6);

14.  Notes that the Authority’s workload is constantly evolving and includes both regulatory tasks and the enforcement and application of Union law; notes that in order to facilitate that evolution, budgetary and personnel resources have been reallocated internally; stresses that the Authority must never attempt to go beyond its mandate; points out that focussing on the mandate assigned by Parliament and the Council will lead to a more effective and efficient use of resources;

15.  Requests that the Authority conduct an inquiry into dividend arbitrage trading schemes such as cum-ex in order to assess potential threats to the integrity of financial markets and to national budgets, to establish the nature and magnitude of actors in such schemes, to assess whether there were breaches of either Union or national law, to assess the actions taken by financial supervisors in Member States, and to make appropriate recommendations for reform and for action to the competent authorities concerned;

Staff policy

16.  Notes that, on 31 December 2018, the establishment plan was 97,93 % executed, with 145 temporary agents authorised under the Union budget (compared with 134 authorised posts in 2017); notes that, in addition, 42 contract agents and 16 seconded national experts worked for the Authority in 2018;

17.  Notes that the Authority publishes vacancy notices on its website and on the website of the European Personnel Selection Office and through other related channels in order to increase publicity;

18.  Notes with concern that in 2018, according to the Court’s report, the Authority, in addition to its own staff, used 42 interim workers of which 27 were for IT-related functions, with only 13 of the Authority’s own staff working in IT, causing a critical dependency on the interim agency in an area that is key for the Authority’s operations; urges the Authority to address that considerable risk to business continuity with Parliament and the Council when discussing allocation of staff for the Authority;

19.  Notes with concern that an uneven gender balance is reported for 2018 with regard to the senior managers (five men and one woman) and that there is no female member of the management board (five men).

Procurement

20.  Notes that the Authority has participated in several inter-institutional procurement procedures with Commission directorates-general and with other agencies;

21.  Welcomes the fact that, according to the Court’s report, the Authority made significant efforts in the preparation of tender documents and in tender evaluation methodology; notes, however, that there is still scope to apply more meaningful award criteria and that for the procurement procedure for the Authority’s future premises, tenderers received extra evaluation points if they declared that they could also offer space sufficient to host ESMA in the same building and that the winning tenderer had received those points, but finally did not take part in the procurement procedure for ESMA’s premises;

Prevention and management of conflicts of interests and transparency

22.  Acknowledges the measures the Authority already has in place and its ongoing efforts to secure transparency, to prevent and manage conflicts of interests, and to protect whistleblowers; notes that further steps are needed in order to prevent and manage conflicts of interest, and to enhance the transparency of the Authority’s activities by reporting on the meetings that the Authority’s staff have with external stakeholders and making such reports available on the Authority’s website;

23.  Recalls that in its resolution of 16 January 2020 on Institutions and bodies of the Economic and Monetary Union: preventing post-public employment conflicts of interest, Parliament noted its concern about the conflict of interest that has arisen as a consequence of the appointment of the Authority’s executive director as chief executive of the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) from 1 February 2020, which was insufficiently addressed by the restrictions imposed by the Board of Supervisors; expresses its concern that the Authority’s Board of Supervisors have also nominated a candidate for the position of executive director who was formerly employed as managing director for advocacy at the AFME; underlines that post-public employment and ‘revolving door’ conflict-of-interest situations are a problem common to many bodies and agencies across the Union which affects their reputations; encourages the Authority to enhance its policy regarding conflict of interest;

24.  Notes that following the development of the Authority’s anti-fraud strategy for the period 2015–2017, the anti-fraud team has continued to coordinate and implement that strategy;

Internal controls

25.  Notes that, according to the Court’s report, one of the main obligations resulting from Directive 2008/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(7) and UK labour law is that interim workers work under the same working conditions as workers employed directly by the user undertaking; notes, however, that the contracts did not require the temporary work agencies to explicitly respect those conditions and that there is no evidence that the Authority itself carried out any comparison between the working conditions of its own staff and of interim staff, which caused litigation and reputational risks; calls on the Authority to analyse the working conditions of its interim workers and to ensure they are in line with Union and national labour law;

26.  Notes that, following the Commission’s Internal Audit Service audit report in 2018 on The Single Rulebook - Questions & Answers in the European Banking Authority, the Authority prepared an action plan to address some potential areas for improvement; calls on the Authority to report to the discharge authority on the developments in that regard;

Other Comments

27.  Notes that due to the United Kingdom`s decision to withdraw from the Union, the seat of the Authority has gradually been moved to Paris, France, as of March 2019; notes that the Authority’s accounts include provisions for related costs amounting to EUR 4,7 million and disclose that EUR 10,4 million remains in future contractual payments for the offices in London;

28.  Underlines the responsibility of the financial system to meet sustainability challenges and ensure that the Union meets the obligations undertaken in the framework of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; highlights the crucial role of the Authority in integrating environmental, social and governance related factors into the regulatory and supervisory framework and in mobilising and guiding private capital flows towards sustainable investments; therefore stresses the need for sufficient resources to monitor the implementation of that framework by financial institutions and national competent authorities;

29.  Is of the opinion that the Court should carry out an audit on the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Authority's relocation once all the costs of the move are clear, in order to identify best practices and address areas for improvement;

30.  Calls on the Authority to focus on disseminating the results of its research to the public, and to reach out to the public via social media and other media outlets;

o
o   o

31.  Refers, for other observations of a cross-cutting nature accompanying its decision on discharge, to its resolution of 14 May 2020(8) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

(1) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0017.
(2) OJ C 419, 19.11.2018, p. 3.
(3) OJ C 419, 19.11.2018, p. 2.
(4) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_19_1655
(5) Based on input provided by IHK München and Genossenschaftsverband Bayern.
(6) Based on input provided by Michael Ikrath, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee.
(7) Directive 2008/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on temporary agency work (OJ L 327, 5.12.2008, p. 9).
(8) Texts adopted, P9_TA-PROV(2020)0121.

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