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Procedure : 2021/2107(DEC)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A9-0044/2022

Texts tabled :

A9-0044/2022

Debates :

PV 04/05/2022 - 6
CRE 04/05/2022 - 6

Votes :

PV 04/05/2022 - 8.5

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2022)0145

Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 4 May 2022 - Strasbourg
Discharge 2020: EU general budget - European Parliament
P9_TA(2022)0145A9-0044/2022
Decision
 Resolution

1. European Parliament decision of 4 May 2022 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020, Section I – European Parliament (2021/2107(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020(1),

–  having regard to the consolidated annual accounts of the European Union for the financial year 2020 (COM(2021)0381 – C9 0259/2021)(2),

–  having regard to the report on budgetary and financial management for the financial year 2020, Section I – European Parliament(3),

–  having regard to the Internal Auditor’s annual report for the financial year 2020,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ annual report on the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2020, together with the institutions’ replies(4),

–  having regard to the statement of assurance(5) 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 2020, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 314(10) and Article 318 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(6), and in particular Articles 260, 261 and 262 thereof,

–  having regard to the Bureau decision of 10 December 2018 on the Internal Rules on the implementation of the European Parliament’s budget, and in particular Article 34 thereof,

–  having regard to Rule 100 and Rule 104(3) of, and Annex V to, its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0044/2022),

A.  whereas the President adopted Parliament’s accounts for the financial year 2020 on 9 June 2021;

B.  whereas the Secretary-General, as the principal authorising officer by delegation, certified, on 25 June 2021, his reasonable assurance that the resources assigned for Parliament’s budget have been used for their intended purpose, in accordance with the principles of sound financial management and that control procedures established give the necessary guarantees concerning the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions;

C.  whereas the Court of Auditors stated in its audit that, in its specific assessment of administrative and other expenditure in 2020, it did not identify any serious weaknesses in the annual activity reports of the institutions and bodies it examined as required by Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046;

D.  whereas Article 262(1) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 requires each Union institution to take all appropriate steps to act on the observations accompanying Parliament’s discharge decision;

1.  Grants its President discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Parliament for the financial year 2020;

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 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 L 57, 27.2.2020.
(2) OJ C 436, 28.10.2021, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 281, 13.7.2021, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 430, 25.10.2021, p. 7.
(5) OJ C 436, 28.10.2021, p. 207.
(6) OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.


2. European Parliament resolution of 4 May 2022 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 2020, Section I – European Parliament (2021/2107(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 2020, Section I – European Parliament,

–  having regard to Rule 100 and Rule 104(3) of, and Annex V to, its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0044/2022),

A.  whereas, in his certification of the final accounts, the European Parliament’s (the ‘Parliament’) accounting officer stated his reasonable assurance that the accounts, in all material aspects, present fairly the financial position, the results of the operations and the cash-flow of Parliament;

B.  whereas, in accordance with the usual procedure, 191 questions were sent to Parliament’s administration and written replies were received and discussed publicly by Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control, in the presence of the vice-president responsible for the budget, the Secretary-General, the director of the Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations (the ‘Authority’) and the internal auditor;

C.  whereas there is always scope for improvement in terms of quality, efficiency and effectiveness in the management of public finances, scrutiny is necessary to ensure that political leadership and Parliament’s administration are held accountable to Union citizens;

Parliament’s budgetary and financial management

1.  Notes that Parliament’s final appropriations for 2020 totalled EUR 2 038 745 000, or 18,1  % of heading V of the Multiannual Financial Framework(1) set aside for the 2020 administrative expenditure of the Union institutions as a whole, representing a 2,1  % increase over the 2019 budget (EUR  1  996  978  262), but at the same time a 0,4  % decrease in its relative share in the overall budget;

2.  Notes that total revenue entered in the accounts as of 31 December 2020 was EUR 203 449 523 (compared to EUR 207 521 070 in 2019), including EUR 33 567 305 in assigned revenue (compared to EUR 36 566 236 in 2019);

3.  Emphasises that four chapters accounted for 67,6  % of total commitments: Chapter 10 (Members of the institution), Chapter 12 (Officials and temporary members of staff), Chapter 20 (Buildings and associated costs) and Chapter 42 (Expenditure relating to parliamentary assistance), indicating a high level of rigidity for the major part of Parliament’s expenditure;

4.  Notes the figures on the basis of which Parliament’s accounts for the financial year 2020 were closed, namely:

(a)  Available appropriations (EUR)

appropriations for 2020:

2 038 745 000

non-automatic carry-overs from financial year 2019:

---

automatic carry-overs from financial year 2019:

274 260 660

appropriations corresponding to assigned revenue for 2020:

33 567 305

carry-overs corresponding to assigned revenue from 2019:

32 413 449

Total:

2 378 986 414

(b)  Utilisation of appropriations in the financial year 2020 (EUR)

commitments:

2 258 910 984

payments made:

1 862 291 046

appropriations carried forward automatically including those arising from assigned revenue:

395 843 062

appropriations carried forward non-automatically:

74 900 000

appropriations cancelled:

44 577 406

(c)  Budgetary receipts (EUR)

received in 2020:

203 449 523

(d)  Total balance sheet at 31 December 2020 (EUR)

1 690 096 152

5.  Points out that 95,7  % of the appropriations entered in Parliament’s budget, amounting to EUR  1 950 750 955, were committed, with a cancellation rate of 0,8  %; notes with satisfaction that, as in previous years, a very high level of budget implementation was achieved; notes that payments totalled EUR 1 590 035 012, resulting in a payment appropriation execution rate of 81,5  %;

6.  Underlines the fact that the cancelled appropriations for the year 2020 amounting to EUR 17 292 007, mainly related to expenditure related to buildings, production and dissemination, as well as to remuneration, computing and telecommunications;

7.  Notes that twelve transfers were approved, in accordance with Articles 31 and 49 of the Financial Regulation, in the financial year 2020, amounting to EUR 183 933 785 or 9  % of final appropriations; observes that 76,4  % of the funds transferred related to Parliament’s buildings policy and for the most part, to fund the purchase of the Wiertz building and the annual payments for the Adenauer II building project;

The Court of Auditor’s opinions on the reliability of the 2020 accounts and on the legality and regularity of the transactions underlying those accounts

8.  Recalls that the Court of Auditors (the ‘Court’) performs a specific assessment of administrative and other expenditure as a single policy group for all Union institutions; highlights that administrative and related expenditure includes expenditure on human resources (salaries, allowances and pensions), accounting for 60 % of the total, and on buildings, equipment, energy, communications and information technology;

9.  Notes that the overall audit evidence indicates that spending on administration is not affected by a material level of error;

10.  Notes with concern the specific finding by the Court, in its annual report on the implementation of the budget concerning the financial year 2020, of errors in two payments: (i) an over-payment for IT services caused by an incorrect application of contract terms and (ii) an incorrect payment of a subsistence allowance to a Member, following a mistake in an attendance list; regrets that the control system in place did not prevent nor detect those mistakes; calls on Parliament to explain how those mistakes arose and measures taken to correct them and to ensure that they cannot happen again in the future and to ensure that it only pays daily allowances to Members who qualify for them by the end of 2022;

11.  Notes the response given by Parliament in the adversarial procedure which accepted the Court’s recommendation; notes that in 2019 Parliament launched a project to automate the registration of attendance with biometric technology in the central attendance register and signed a contract for this project at the end of 2020; stresses that the large-scale processing of biometric data should be avoided; asks the Bureau to develop an alternative solution that does not involve the processing of biometric data and ensures that only Members entitled to the daily subsistence allowance actually receive it; regrets the fact that this project was pursued despite the European Data Protection Supervisor’s adverse opinion at the end of March 2021 and reiterated in its Annual Report 2021, where it was stated that Parliament should consider less intrusive alternatives with regard to data protection;

12.  Emphasises that the Court examined more in particular the Union institutions’ public procurement procedures for the purchase of personal protective equipment for their members of staff in 2020; notes that the Court checked three procurement procedures organised by Parliament to purchase protective masks, temperature detectors and COVID-19 tests; regrets the cost caused by successive decisions to purchase and use different models of temperature detectors until the most suitable one for the current needs was found; underlines that the urgent procurement of equipment in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging due to surging demand and competition between contracting authorities and countries; notes that the Court, in one case related to the purchase of fabric masks, found that the requirements set by Parliament in the tender specifications were too broad to allow assessment of compliance, and that the successful bidders did not include full evidence in their offer that all minimum quality requirements were met at the time of contracting, such as evidence related to compliance with technical specifications or to the durability of masks;

The internal auditor’s annual report

13.  Notes that, at the meeting between the committee responsible and the internal auditor held on 30 November 2021, the internal auditor presented his annual report and described the assurance audits he performed and reported on, which in 2020 covered the following topics:

   audit of visitor groups (Directorate-General for Communication (DG COMM));
   audit of financing of European political parties and European political foundations (Directorate-General for Finance (DG FINS));
   second report on information systems audit: identity and access management (DG IPOL, DG FINS, DG LINC, DG TRAD and DG ITEC);
   preliminary review of Parliament’s data protection framework;
   follow-up of open actions from internal audit reports - phases 1 and 2 of 2020;

14.  Welcomes and supports the following actions that the internal auditor has agreed with the directorates-general responsible, as a result of the assurance assignments:

   with regard to the audit of visitor groups, increasing the assurance of the regularity of payments and efficiency of implementation of the rules on financial contributions, including better definitions of eligible costs and conditions for their payment and of the eligibility period for each visit; increasing the alignment between the contribution and the real costs directly linked to the visit; finalising ex post controls for 2017 and initiating an annual control programme for all subsequent years to date, and reinforcing ex ante controls over reimbursements; ratifying the contractual obligations of travel agencies to Parliament when they act as heads of groups; clarifying the rules governing the visitor groups to mitigate the risk of assimilating the financial contribution to activities not directly linked to the visitor group’s programme;
   with regard to the first phase of the audit of financing of European political parties and European political foundations, acknowledging that the Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations (the ‘Authority’) had very limited resources at its inception for setting up new management and control procedures; considering that there are still areas of joint or overlapping responsibilities between the Authority and DG FINS that provide scope for further enhancement of the cooperation foreseen by the main legislation governing the registration process, i.e. Regulation (EU) 1141/2014(2), and in particular Article 28 thereof; identifying a number of provisions governing the registration process in the Regulation for which there may be scope to enhance the clarity, comprehensiveness and ease of application;
   concerning the second report on information systems audit: identity and access management, reducing to an absolute minimum the provision of privileged access rights to the application database in the production environment; strengthening access controls to the applications’ databases and application-to-application accounts; strengthening the management of the individual access rights in order to define access control rules and better monitor individual access rights;
   with regard to the preliminary review of Parliament’s data protection framework, which was adopted on 17 February 2021, reinforcing data controllers’ capacity to comply with Regulation (EU) 2018/1725(3), and increasing awareness among members of staff processing personal data; ensuring that the data protection service is adequately staffed; ensuring an urgent update of Parliament’s central register of processing activities dealing with personal data; enhancing the security level of IT systems that process personal data; improving the management of the removal of access;

15.  Notes that the 2020 follow-up process resulted in the closure of 61 of the 108 open actions analysed and for which the agreed due dates for implementation had expired; notes that among the remaining 47 open actions from audit reports concerned,15 of those actions address significant risk; regrets that some of the actions mentioned above were recommended several years ago but remain unimplemented; expects the different directorates-general to ensure that the overdue actions are closed without any further delay and that the agreed actions will be implemented in accordance with the due dates set in the internal auditor’s annual report; calls on the Secretary-General to report back to the discharge authority on the closure of the remaining actions in the course of his hearings in Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control in September and November 2022;

16.  Notes that pursuant to Article 118(9) of the Financial Regulation, Parliament’s internal audit reports are not available to the public once the internal auditor has finalised them; notes that in practice they are only published once all recommendations have been implemented; regrets that this results in a de facto delay of publication for several years; also regrets that Members may only read them in the secure reading room for as long as recommended measures have not been implemented; calls on the Bureau to allow Members to have immediate and full access to the internal audit reports; further calls on the Bureau to make each internal audit report available to the public one year after its finalisation, once the internal auditor has validated the actions taken to implement the previous year’s recommendations; recalls that a validation of recommendations does not require all recommendations to be fully implemented;

Follow-up by Parliament’s administration and the Bureau to previous discharge resolutions

17.  Takes note of the written answers to the 2019 discharge resolution provided to Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control on 17 September 2021, and of the Secretary-General’s presentation addressing the various questions and requests raised in Parliament’s resolution on discharge for 2019 and the exchange of views with Members that followed;

18.  Notes that once the Plenary calls for different rules or measures to be implemented by Parliament, such proposed rules or measures are discussed and voted on by the Bureau, pursuant to Rule 25 of and Annex V to the Rules of Procedure and Articles 6 and 166 of the Financial Regulation, as well as by Parliament’s administration; notes that the Bureau has been mandated by the Plenary to decide all administrative, staff and organisational matters concerning Members; stresses the importance of the discharge procedure and asks that all discharge decisions passed by the Plenary should be thoroughly followed up;

19.  Asks the Secretary-General to forward this resolution to the Bureau, highlighting all requests for action or decisions by the Bureau; calls on the Secretary-General to establish a plan of action and a timetable enabling the Bureau to follow-up and/or to respond to the demands and recommendations contained in Parliament’s discharge resolutions and to include the actions taken and implemented in the annual monitoring document; asks the Secretary-General and the vice-president responsible for budget to hold regular discussions with Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control on issues concerning the implementation of the said action plan;

20.  Reiterates its request to the Bureau to ensure greater visibility in its decision-making process, particularly with regard to the timely publication of relevant documents and information on its website;

21.  Asks the administration to consider approving Bureau minutes in written procedure to prevent a de facto delay of publication of at least one month until the Bureau reconvenes to approve the minutes, and once adopted for the minutes to be made accessible without delay on both Parliament’s intranet and internet site;

22.  Notes that the presence of Parliament’s officials in Union delegations or other bodies aims to strengthen Parliament’s relations with regional organisation; reiterates, however, the concern about the Bureau decision of 11 February 2019 regarding parliamentary support to the European Union Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta, the Delegation of the European Union to the African Union in Addis Ababa and the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations in New York; calls for a thorough cost-benefit analysis to justify any new decision, measurable indicators to assess annual performance, and that Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control be kept informed;

COVID-19

23.  Recalls that the year 2020 was marked by the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in fundamental changes to Parliament’s way of working; welcomes the fact that from the onset of and throughout the pandemic crisis, Parliament has taken often unprecedented decisions aimed at minimising the risk for Members and members of staff, while ensuring that Parliament remains in a position to continue its core activities, while also showing practical solidarity with the host communities;

24.  Welcomes the fact that in 2020 a COVID-19 testing centre was set up in Brussels in Parliament’s premises, and that testing facilities were also created in Luxembourg and Strasbourg;

25.  Welcomes the fact that Parliament has been able to ensure the above through its organisational resilience and ability to apply new working methods, in particular teleworking and remote participation;

26.  Appreciates the remarkable efforts of Parliament and its IT services during 2020 to immediately provide members, staff, accredited parliamentary assistants (APAs) and trainees with electronic devices to work remotely; asks, however, to know the buying criteria for the devices and which practical considerations influenced the decision to buy the currently used surface devices; underlines with concern the amount of technical issues with the devices among Members and APAs, such as abrupt disconnections, lost documents, overheating, short battery capacity, and poor connectivity during video calls;

27.  Regrets the situation of the Schuman trainees with a traineeship from March to July 2020, who were teleworking from the second week of their traineeship; notes that the Commission and the Council had given their trainees the option to come back in October to restart a full 5-month traineeship; regrets the decision of the Directorate-General for Personnel (DG PERS) to only give the Schuman trainees that option if they interrupted their current internship; calls on the DG PERS to ensure equal treatment of its trainees in similar situations;

28.  Welcomes the fact that digitalised processes included the organisation of remote meetings and remote voting systems in plenary and parliamentary committees, allowed Parliament to continue its work, including during the Strasbourg part-sessions which were suspended for most of 2020; notes that the suspension of Strasbourg part-sessions contributed to total savings of EUR  26  260  608 according to Parliament’s Secretariat while also significantly reducing Parliament’s carbon footprint; acknowledges the temporary nature of these extraordinary circumstances; calls on the President to allow for the option of remote participation of Members until the COVID-19 pandemic is brought to safe levels;

29.  Welcomes, in terms of remote participation, the fact that the deployment of a complex, multilingual solution, which would normally require months, if not years, was implemented in a few weeks; highlights that a remote voting system was created in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act and the Members’ Statute, and that that system, which has been in place since March 2020, has been constantly upgraded and improved; commends the fact that from March until October 2020 that voting system has allowed for 143 voting sessions and nearly 10  000 voting operations;

30.  Stresses the serious risks of hearing problems as a result of the switch to remote meetings for Parliament’s interpreters having to rely on often very poor sound quality from remote-mode interventions; underlines the efforts made by the interpreters in that regard and calls on the Bureau to remind participants to use adequate speaking equipment in order to minimise the disturbances and sometimes poor quality of connection; recalls that interpreters have in the past rightly refused to interpret if the sound quality did not allow for it;

31.  Underlines that interpretation is vital for the functioning of committees and parliamentary life; recognises that due to the sudden and disruptive changes caused by the pandemic and consequent sanitary restrictions, the administration had to quickly find feasible solutions to provide interpretation services; stresses that some committee sessions did not have all required languages, thus complicating participation of some members and diminishing their options to interact; understands that the three working languages are English, French and German but strongly highlights that any of the 24 official languages should be provided upon request of Members;

32.  Calls on the Secretary-General, in the general context of the COVID-19 pandemic, to require all external companies providing their services in Parliament to guarantee the employment rights and working conditions of their staff and to strictly comply with the measures adopted by the government in the context of the pandemic;

33.  Draws attention to the fact that certain sanitary measures, although necessary, have significantly worsened the working conditions in certain services, with the prominent example of the staff employed in the copy shop working still in isolation from the public after months; calls for the applicable measures in similar future situations to take into account the protection of workers' mental health;

34.  Regrets that voting remotely is currently not provided for under Parliament’s Rules of Procedure unless the President establishes the existence of extraordinary circumstances;

35.  Notes the fact that there is no system in place to ensure that Members, who are temporarily absent for a justified reason such as maternity and paternity leave, can continue to carry out their core duties; deems this problematic as it can negatively impact citizens’ representation in Parliament; underlines that there is a risk of discrimination against Members and their voters when such arrangements are not provided for; emphasises that a vote for a female member of Parliament should not lead to a lack of representation, which is of concern given that younger, particularly female Members and their voters are disproportionally affected by the lack of maternity and parental leave arrangements in Parliament; recalls that the situation for national members of parliament in these same situations differs between Member States; calls on Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs to provide for feasible, temporarily limited solutions for Members who are absent for justified reasons to speak in debates and vote or be temporarily substituted by revising Parliament’s Rules of Procedure and the European Electoral Law; recalls that daily allowances remain linked to physical presence at Parliament’s places of work;

36.  Welcomes Parliament’s efforts, and particularly the personal engagement of former President Sassoli in this issue, to provide daily solidarity meals and shelters for vulnerable women in the three places of work, as decided by the Bureau; further welcomes the fact that around 65 drivers volunteered to drive doctors, nurses and other medical staff to their night shifts in hospital in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic;

37.  Welcomes the fact that Parliament distributed reusable facial fabric masks to members of staff at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; notes that medical face masks EN14683 or FFP2 respiratory protective devices have been required to be worn while in Parliament’s buildings in order to reinforce the protection of Members and staff as well as to further reduce the release of infectious respiratory particles;

38.  Commends Parliament’s services on their decision to continue facilitating hybrid press conferences after the pandemic since this can facilitate the reporting on European affairs for journalists who are not present in Strasbourg or Brussels; recommends that audio-visual and other facilities in Brussels, Strasbourg and the European Parliament liaison offices be developed further, including by increasing VoxBox capacity and modernising the press conference rooms in Strasbourg and Brussels to make them more suitable for hybrid press conferences;

Environmental footprint of Parliament’s operations

39.  Stresses that Parliament needs to be at the forefront of adopting more digital, flexible and energy-efficient working methods and meeting practices, learning from the experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and capitalising on the investments in technology already implemented; notes that on the initiative of former President Sassoli, focus groups on “Rethinking Parliamentary Democracy - A stronger European Parliament after Covid-19” discussed the future of work within Parliament between April and July 2021 pertaining to each of their fields of action: plenary, parliamentary prerogatives, communication, external diplomacy and internal organisation; notes that the focus groups delivered a final report including recommendations, the implementation of which will be discussed by the Bureau;

40.  Calls on Parliament to re-evaluate its Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) targets for 2023 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic; reiterates its call to amend its current CO2 reduction plan for reaching carbon neutrality using an internationally recognised method when it has been validated as, for example, an internal carbon pricing (ICP) mechanism by which companies voluntarily price their carbon footprint and thereby put a value on their greenhouse gas emissions;

41.  Notes that three of Parliament’s buildings in Brussels (Martens, Campoamor and Wayenberg nursery) have recently been awarded an internationally recognised environmental certification on sustainability, a BREEAM Excellence, confirming the long-standing policy and actions by Parliament to gradually transform its buildings portfolio into an environmentally exemplary one; notes that presently, on Parliament’s Brussels site, four buildings (a quarter of the total number of buildings - Spinelli, Campoamor, Arendt, Montoyer-Science) are equipped with photovoltaic panels, and that these installations represent a cumulative surface area of less than 2  % of the total roof surface of Parliament’s buildings in Brussels; notes that three new photovoltaic installations (100  m² on the Montoyer 70 building, 200 m² on the Spinelli building and 52 m² of replacement of the current solar panels by photovoltaic ones on the Brandt building) will be completed by the end of 2022 (and this represents an increase of 64  %, in 2022, of the total surface equipped with photovoltaic panels);

42.  Notes that there are currently no photovoltaic panels on any of Parliament’s buildings in Strasbourg as the emphasis has been placed on more efficient means of saving energy, i.e. by installing new highly efficient heat pumps; notes that the feasibility studies based on which it was decided not to install solar panels on the roofs in Strasbourg date back to 2011 and reiterates that prices for solar panels have decreased by more than 80  % since 2010; invites the Bureau to evaluate the installation of photovoltaic panels by 2023, taking into account technical feasibility and cost effectiveness;

43.  Welcomes the installation of heat pumps and cogeneration in the buildings in Strasbourg and Brussels to produce renewable electricity and heat; further welcomes that the new Adenauer building in Luxembourg was built using the most modern environmental techniques available, including geothermal and solar energy and full use of daylight; calls on Parliament to further increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix and, in particular, energy production, and to phase out fossil fuels as soon as possible; calls on Parliament to publish the energy certificates of all Parliament’s buildings;

44.  Recalls that efficient lighting solutions are an essential factor for the sustainability of buildings; welcomes that the replacement of existing lighting with low-energy LED lights is evaluated whenever possible and feasible in Parliament’s buildings; regrets that not all offices in Parliament’s three places of work are equipped with motion detectors and that it appears that the motion detectors in several offices in the Spinelli building do not work; calls on Parliament to ensure that fully functioning motion detectors are installed wherever feasible to reduce energy consumption;

45.  Welcomes the fact that the extension of the Wayenberg nursery in Brussels, completed in September 2020, is the first passive building of Parliament; invites the Bureau to initiate in 2022 technical studies to identify additional possibilities to further reduce energy consumption and increase the production of renewable energy and to implement them as soon as possible;

46.  Recalls that nearly two thirds of Parliament’s carbon footprint originates from the transport of people; calls for a reflection on the expansion of voluntary teleworking to more days and functions, whenever relevant and provided it does not disturb parliamentary work; keeping in mind the importance of physical presence, recalls that Parliament introduced working groups on Parliament’s future work; calls on Parliament to take the focus groups’ conclusions into account; calls to prioritise low-carbon transport modes for missions, where appropriate;

47.  Welcomes the gradual shift to zero-emission vehicles in Parliament’s car service fleet; calls for the service fleet to be fully electric by 2024 at the latest;

48.  Calls for an appropriate increase in the number of electric vehicle chargers in line with present and near future demand; calls for additional bicycle parking spaces; calls for the creation of adequate cargo bike parking spaces to ensure that regular bike parking spaces are accessible for regular bike riders;

49.  Notes that Parliament’s food waste amounted to 0,055 - 0,068 kg per meal served between 2018 and 2020; welcomes Parliament’s efforts to reduce food waste by gathering and delivering leftover food to ‘front line’ organisations who deliver it to people in need; calls on Parliament to continue to explore ways of reducing food waste even further;

50.  Welcomes the introduction of a wider and more sustainable food choice, including the introduction of a greater variety of vegetarian and vegan products, in Parliament’s canteens; suggests an increase in the variety of vegetarian and vegan meals served in Parliament’s canteens; further requests that at least one fresh gluten-free meal option is available each day and that allergy and diet information is displayed visibly on the food cards next to the counters;

51.  Recalls that according to the Treaty on European Union, and in particular Protocol No 6 annexed to the Treaties, Parliament shall have its seat in Strasbourg, where the 12 periods of monthly plenary sessions, including the budget session, shall be held; recalls the support by the vast majority of Parliament for a single seat to ensure efficient spending of Union taxpayers’ money and to assume its institutional responsibility to reduce its carbon footprint; notes that permanent changes would require a Treaty change; recalls that Parliament’s plenary has previously requested a debate on its right to determine its own working arrangements and committed itself to initiating an ordinary Treaty revision procedure under Article 48 of the Treaty on the European Union with a view to proposing changes necessary to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Protocol 6 to allow it to decide on the location of its seat and its internal organisation(4);

52.  Reiterates its call on Parliament to introduce a user-friendly online booking system for the use of Parliament’s car services to travel to Strasbourg to be operational once regular sessions in Strasbourg resume; further calls on Parliament to widen the user group to also include members of staff, group staff and APAs without the requirement for Members to accompany them;

Transparency and ethics

53.  Welcomes the fact that ethical and transparency standards applicable to Parliament are in many respects ahead of those applicable in the Member State equivalents; considers that Parliament should strive to lead by example with regard to setting Europe-wide ethics and transparency standards; supports the strengthening of the existing ethical rules by providing Members with guidance and support;

54.  Notes with satisfaction that, since the start of the 9th parliamentary term, the necessary infrastructure to enable Members to publicise scheduled meetings with interest representatives has been available on Parliament’s website with a view to improving transparency; calls on Parliament’s services to expand the infrastructure to allow APAs and policy advisers to voluntarily publish their meetings with interest representatives; recalls that Rule 11 of the Rules of Procedure obliges rapporteurs, shadows and committee chairs to publish their meetings with interest representatives; notes with concern that as of 30 April 2021, only 380 out of the 705 current Members had publicised at least one meeting with an interest representative on Parliament’s website; further notes that 10 out of the 24 committee chairs have published none or just a single meeting with an interest representative since the start of the 9th parliamentary term; recalls that the information, reminder notices and emails on the obligation to publish meetings should be sent to all Members at more regular intervals;

55.  Recalls the President’s written reply dated of April 2020 to the joint letter from Parliament’s Anti-Corruption Intergroup, which, in particular, agreed to implement a number of changes to the tool for publishing Members’ meetings with interest representatives to improve its user-friendliness, first and foremost by linking it to the transparency register and to the legislative observatory; regrets that these practical improvements have not yet been implemented; asks Parliament’s administration to effectively establish this link as soon as it is feasible without undue practical obstacles;

56.  Welcomes the fact that, with effect from July 2021, the 2011 interinstitutional agreement on a common transparency register has been replaced by a new tripartite agreement, in which the Council participates; notes that the quality of entries regarding the activities of interest representatives in the transparency register has improved over recent years and commends, despite limited resources, the role of the joint secretariat in that improvement; regrets, however, that the overall quality of entries remains unsatisfactory, with the Secretariat’s check of around 40  % of entries over the course of 2020 finding that only 43  % of checked entries provided satisfactory data quality, a number similar to 2019; welcomes the allocation of an additional 1,5 full-time equivalent (FTE) posts for the Secretariat; urges the Secretariat to use these for further reducing the number of registrations with sub-optimal data;

57.  Recalls that according to Rule 176(2) of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, once a penalty that was imposed by the President upon a Member becomes final, it is to be published prominently on Parliament’s website and shall remain there for the rest of the term, in line with the legal principles of sound conduct of investigation, presumption of innocence, and protection of personal rights; calls for reflection on whether penalties are currently published prominently enough;

58.  Deplores the fact that Members are participating in unofficial election observation missions, as well as the expenditure incurred on these missions, believes such missions jeopardise Parliament’s reputation; notes eight such instances in 2020 were linked to Crimea and Venezuela; calls on the Bureau and democracy support and election coordination group to extend the duration of barring the Members concerned from undertaking official election observation missions from one year to the entire mandate, where this is not already the case;

59.  Calls on Parliament to publish a list of all friendship groups in Parliament on its website;

60.  Reiterates that Article 4 of the Code of Conduct provides, with respect to financial interests and conflicts of interest, that the Members’ declarations of financial interests shall be provided in a detailed manner; repeats its call on the Bureau to review the format of the declarations to require more detail and thus clarity; asks the President to instruct the services to systematically carry out thorough checks of the declarations to ensure that the information provided therein is sufficiently detailed to allow for an assessment of any potential conflict of interest;

61.  Recalls that according to Article 5 of Annex I to the Rules of Procedure relating to the Implementing Measures for the Code of Conduct, Members shall refrain from accepting, in the performance of their duties, any gifts or similar benefits, other than those with an approximate value of less than EUR 150, and that any gifts presented to Members when they are representing Parliament in an official capacity shall be handed over to the President; notes that the Members’ Administration Unit should frequently remind Members of the obligation to notify the President of the receipt of a gift received in an official capacity; calls on the Bureau to introduce a standard form to be filled in at the end of delegation visits by all participating Members, declaring whether they received any personal or delegation gifts and their value;

62.  Is concerned that out of the 459 Members of the 8th parliamentary term that were not re-elected in 2019, Parliament received only one notification on post-mandate employment pursuant to Article 6 of the Code of Conduct; points out that notifications could help to prevent conflicts of interest, while also preventing former Members who engage in professional lobbying or representational activities directly linked to the Union’s decision-making process from benefiting from facilities granted to former Members; calls therefore on Parliament to improve the implementation of the Code of Conduct, in this regard also draws attention to the resolution to the 2019 European Parliament discharge, in which the discharge authority calls for an independent assessment on whether or not post-mandate activities of Members create conflicts of interest; once again calls on Parliament’s services to conduct such an assessment;

63.  Welcomes Parliament’s services’ ongoing project to make plenary voting records available on a dedicated space where users will have access to clear and reader-friendly documents, and notes the new layout for the roll-call votes in which the individual voting record of each Member will be published, giving the option of visualising the distribution of votes according to, inter alia, political group affiliation and/or nationality; regrets that it is not yet technically possible for Parliament’s services to allow for the display of the text of each amendment along with the voting record as it is offered by several private providers; calls on Parliament’s services to make available all amendments and roll-call voting records; also calls on the services to extend the information available to include up-to-date timetables and voting lists, including the final compromises agreed on by the rapporteur and shadows, as per the recommendations from the focus group on strengthening parliamentary prerogatives; further asks Parliament’s services to provide the possibility to Members to test a beta version of the new tool and provide feedback to be taken into account during the development of the tool;

64.  Takes note of 18 investigations carried out by Parliament’s services in 2020 into the misuse of allowances in which the offices of 12 Members were involved (compared to 6 Members previously), with total amounts at risk amounting to EUR 1 318 000 (compared to EUR 560 000 in 2019); commends Parliament’s services for their investigations in this regard, while also pointing to the need to continue monitoring the development of the number and types of cases involved;

65.  Takes note of the fact that there were again no cases of whistleblowing recorded by Parliament in 2020; recalls that the most recent cases of whistleblowing date back to 2016 and that each of the three APAs concerned were subsequently dismissed; recalls that, among others, APAs are in a vulnerable position due to their special employment situation; calls on Parliament to fully adapt its own internal rules contained in the Staff Regulations to Directive (EU) 2019/1937(5), including by setting up secure channels for reporting; further notes that whistleblowers deserve proper protection, similar to that of victims of harassment, and that this should also include the establishment of an advisory committee to deal with the protection of whistleblowers; regrets that there is little awareness among staff of the existence of a contact point for whistleblowers in the Secretary General’s cabinet and is of the opinion that this contact point cannot replace a fully-fledged advisory committee; calls on the Bureau to require training for contact points receiving whistleblower disclosures and to adopt clear and legally certain standards regarding which cases require protection to be granted to the whistleblower, including for APAs, and to publish those standards; requests Parliament to raise awareness, where possible, among parliamentary staff of their whistleblower protections;

66.  Notes with concern the unclear rules and obligations pertaining to retention periods of documents for Members, in particular those concerning personal and financial information as well as staff information; calls on the Bureau to establish clear, comprehensible and binding rules that duly take into account the number of documents to be stored and their retention method; strongly stresses that rules must be proportionate, do not increase bureaucracy, and are cost adequate; notes that archive activities are to be financed under the general expenditure allowance expenses;

67.  Recalls that pursuant to Rule 11(4) of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, Parliament already provides Members with the possibility of publishing a voluntary audit or confirmation of their general expenditure allowance expenses; notes that five voluntary declarations on the use of the general expenditure allowance were submitted during the calendar year 2020; calls on Parliament’s services to send an annual reminder to Members in relation to this possibility; calls on the Bureau to regularly inform the discharge authority of the number of Members who have followed these recommendations;

68.  Highlights the fact that the 2018 Bureau decision on the general expenditure allowance stipulates that the Bureau will maintain this decision until the end of 2022 and will evaluate it on the basis of the experience gained during the 9th parliamentary term;

69.  Expresses its regret over the fact that the Bureau has not fully implemented the will of the Plenary expressed on several occasions to reform the General Expenditure Allowance (GEA), thereby preventing Union taxpayers' money, which amounts to 40 million Euro per year, from being spent in a more transparent and accountable manner; repeats its call for a reform of the GEA that would establish sample checks by Parliament’s services on 5% of Members’ GEA expenditure, and that would oblige Members to keep all receipts pertaining to the GEA, to annually publish an overview of expenditure by category as well as an independent auditor’s opinion on Parliament’s website, and to return the unspent share of the GEA at the end of the mandate; notes that the requested sample checks would pertain to checking 36 randomly selected Members per year and, based on a calculation by DG FINS, would require a maximum of 4 to 6 FTE posts;

70.  Recalls that the European Ombudsman, in her recommendation of 29 April 2019, in case 1651/2018/THH, found that Parliament’s refusal to grant public access to documents related to the revision of the list of expenses that might be covered by the GEA, constituted maladministration and recommended granting public access to a proposal from the Parliament Bureau’s ad hoc Working Group, including the options listed in that proposal; regrets that Parliament rejected the Ombudsman’s recommendation and urges Parliament’s administration to reconsider granting public access to the documents in question;

Staff, accredited parliamentary assistants and local assistants

71.  Welcomes the fact that the Bureau, at its meeting of 5 July 2021, approved an amendment to Article 40 of its decision of 14 April 2014 on implementing measures for Title VII of the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Union to enable APAs, at their request, to be paid in euros in any bank within the Union;

72.  Recalls that current rules on the termination of contract for APAs do not foresee the possibility of a termination by ‘mutual consent’, which would be a way to recognise the special political relation between Members and APAs, where both parties can acknowledge the mutual trust no longer exists, and can benefit from a common solution without undermining the APAs’ social rights; regrets that this request has been included in several Parliament discharge resolutions without receiving a satisfactory response, and expects action to be taken as soon as possible;

73.  Reiterates its demand for APAs to receive the same subsistence allowance as the statutory personnel for their missions to attend the part-sessions in Strasbourg; acknowledges that any change to the legal framework, namely the Bureau decision on 2 October 2017, would require a revision of the applicable rules and thus, instructs the Secretary-General to submit this request for decision to the Bureau;

74.  Draws attention to the fact that the allowances for APAs on missions outside the three places of work of the Parliament have not been updated by the Commission since Commission Decision C(2002)98 of 24 January 2002, with a consequent increase in the gap between these allowances and current prices; calls on the Secretary-General to report to the Bureau so that Parliament formally requests the Commission to review the allowances;

75.  Regrets that no follow-up is given to the long-standing request to reconsider the possibility for APAs, under certain conditions to be determined, to accompany Members on official Parliament delegations and missions, as already requested by several discharge resolutions; calls on the Secretary-General to investigate the budgetary consequences, and the organisation and logistics of these missions;

76.  Rejects the compulsory appointment of APAs as representatives to deal with the Belgian authorities for the processing of the residence permit of third country trainees in Members’ offices; calls for an immediate revision of the applicable rules so that the administration takes over this function;

77.  Commends the exceptional work accomplished by the APA Front Office during 2020 in dealing with the professional difficulties encountered by APAs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in Parliament's places of work and in the countries of origin;

78.  Reiterates that APAs should not be compelled to be appointed as heads of visitors' groups and therefore assimilate the responsibility attached to the financial contribution offered by the Parliament to sponsored groups; insists on its demand that APAs be eliminated from the possibilities, leaving only a member of the sponsored group or a professional such as paying agents or travel agencies as heads of groups;

79.  Highlights that, as from mid-March 2020, Parliament’s administration went from an occasional teleworking scheme to teleworking being implemented between 70  % and 100  %, depending on the lockdown measure in force and on the need for physical presence;

80.  Takes note of the efforts of both Parliament and the Commission to ensure former APAs from the British delegations can transfer acquired pension rights to pension funds in the United Kingdom; calls on Parliament to ensure a solution is found;

81.  Calls on the Bureau to establish a system to allow APAs to take unpaid leave under similar rules as those applied to temporary or contract staff, who can take up to twelve months unpaid leave during their career;

82.  Notes that, in June and November 2020, Parliament conducted two institution-wide surveys among its members of staff on the future use of teleworking; recognises that the results of both surveys showed a high level of staff satisfaction with teleworking and that members of staff embrace a broader use of teleworking in the post-pandemic period; requests that as long as risks of infection with COVID-19 remain reasonably high even for vaccinated individuals, members of staff belonging to high risk groups should, upon providing proof of their condition, retain the possibility of teleworking full-time;

83.  Commends Parliament’s introduction of a range of measures to support the work-life balance of staff during the business-continuity teleworking, especially for those with more challenging personal circumstances; notes that the measures included flexibility (in terms of working time and output) for members of staff with demanding family situations, the possibility to work part-time outside the place of employment for members of staff that needed to take care of direct relatives, allowing carers of children with a disability to work 50  % with no corresponding loss of income during the period when schools and facilities for children with a disability were closed, and a temporary derogation from Staff Regulations to allow vulnerable members of staff to telework 100  % from their country of origin; calls on Parliament to ensure that the application procedure for such special schemes is well-communicated and clear and to avoid delays in granting the schemes;

84.  Welcomes the possibility offered by the Secretary-General’s decision of 31 March 2021 to work away from the place of employment; regrets, however, that this was only possible on a part-time basis with a corresponding reduction of salary; regrets that such decision forced staff and APAs out of Belgium at that time to choose between loss of earnings or returning to Parliament’s places of work, at a time when traveling was strongly discouraged; notes with satisfaction that the Bureau, on 17 April 2021, acknowledged the unsound nature of this decision and established a series of criteria under which APAs would be able to telework full time (including medical conditions, travel restrictions and border closures); notes with great concern that the obligation to telework from the place of employment during periods of near-complete lockdown has increased feelings of isolation and fuelled mental health problems among members of staff; calls on the administration to lift the obligation for all categories of staff, including trainees, in the future to telework from their place of employment in such exceptional and time-limited periods such as periods of near-complete lockdowns in place during parts of 2020;

85.  Notes that creating the permanent possibility for members of staff to telework from anywhere, under conditions to be specified, entails a great number of advantages for both members of staff and institutions including the improvement of staff well-being and increasing Parliament’s attractiveness as an employer, financial savings made through, inter alia, a reduced need for office space, a reduced environmental impact from staff commutes and a closer link between the Union institutions and citizens in Member States other than Belgium, France and Luxembourg; calls on Parliament to enter into an inter-institutional discussion with a view to reviewing the decision obliging staff to telework exclusively from their place of employment in exceptional circumstances, e.g. under the condition of temporarily forfeiting their expat allowance;

86.  Commends, at the level of the General Secretariat, Parliament’s support to members of staff through reinforcing existing resources and putting in place new measures, such as two helplines, psychological consultations and group sessions, social assistance, confidential counselling, and a network of mental health first aiders; welcomes the fact that a diverse set of awareness-raising initiatives and psychosocial support resources were offered to members of staff, including free online mindfulness classes for all members of staff from October 2020;

87.  Notes that two directorates-general put in place specific policies framing the right to disconnect while five others raised awareness among managers of the right to disconnect; calls upon Parliament to adopt guidelines on the right to disconnect including every category of staff for every directorate-general and make sure all directorates-general put such guidelines in place;

88.  Welcomes the achievements made so far as a result Parliament’s gender mainstreaming policy, in reaching gender parity at the level of directors, and 41,9  % of heads of unit posts being occupied by women; notes that there is still significant room for improvement at the level of directors-general with currently only 23,1  % of these posts being occupied by women; welcomes the fact that the Bureau approved on 13 January 2020 new and more ambitious targets for gender balance in senior and middle management posts in Parliament’s secretariat to be achieved by 2024: 50 % female heads of unit, 50  % female directors and 40  % female directors-general; reiterates that it is essential for staff representatives to be heard when the Bureau discusses general matters affecting its staff policy, and repeats its request to the Secretary-General to take the appropriate measures to implement this key approach; reiterates its request to the Secretary-General to take further steps to ensure transparency and fairness during senior management appointment procedures, in particular in light of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (Court of Justice) of 14 July 2021 in case T-670/19, Carbajo Ferrero v Parliament(6); notes the limitations through Article 3, fourth paragraph, of Annex III of the Staff Regulations concerning the participation of staff representatives in senior management selection panels; requests, furthermore, to ensure consistency when it comes to external publications of senior management posts and diligence in the publication of these posts as and when they fall vacant;

89.  Reiterates its call to the Secretary-General to insist on the importance of all recruitment being based on competency, while also respecting the need for geographical balance of all Member States at all levels of staff; is concerned by the difficulties encountered in recruiting certain nationalities and bringing certain job profiles in-house; requests further efforts to ensure that employment at Parliament is equally attractive to all Union nationalities; calls on Parliament to build its own outreach capacity, with the goal of attracting quality candidates, that Parliament needs, to competitions, in terms of profile, age, gender and nationality and in particular candidates under-represented countries;

90.  Recalls the staff committee’s resolution of 18 October 2021 on a new scheme put in place to offer contract agent posts to trainees; is of the opinion that recruitment procedures must be merit-based, competitive, fair and transparent while there must be no privileged access to contract agent posts or discrimination against staff and APAs; asks the administration to reconsider the new scheme involving the staff representatives in the process;

91.  Proposes that, in line with the fact that promoting equal opportunities remains a key component of Parliament’s human resource management policy, a greater focus is placed on equal opportunities for all, in particular increasing the number of people with disabilities working in Parliament’s administration; notes that within the Bureau a high-level group on gender equality and diversity already exists and requests that it conduct a study of effective measures taken in Member States and internationally to increase the participation of people with disabilities in the work place, including legislative measures; requests that the high-level group reports back to the Bureau with concrete suggestions once the study has been undertaken and the results analysed; calls for ambitious targets to be urgently set and for them to be achieved over a short time frame;

92.  Notes with serious concern that 17 new harassment cases were opened in 2020; stresses that efforts still need to be made to ensure that the two advisory committees dealing with harassment complaints concerning Members and all members of staff gain more trust from victims of harassment, who may fear that their career or position in Parliament would be at stake if they go through the whole harassment procedure, gather evidence and build their case; urges the Bureau and Secretariat to implement the actions as repeatedly called for in the resolutions on harassment of 26 October 2017 (217/2897 (RSP))(7), 28 November 2019 (2019/2855 (RSP))(8) and 10 December 2021 (2021/2986 (RSP))(9), including, notably, publishing the results of an external audit on the current anti-harassment structure in place and making anti-harassment training mandatory for all Members and members of staff, including persons in managerial roles in the different directorates-general and political groups;

93.  Further calls on Parliament to ensure that reimbursement procedures for psychological treatment for any victim of harassment are not overly bureaucratic and are processed quickly;

94.  Recalls that Article 1.7 of the cleaning contract specifies that contractors must comply with social and labour law obligations as provided for by Union law, national law and collective agreements or by international obligations in social and labour law; recalls that where the responsible Parliament services detect or receive any information on possible breaches, and on the condition that the persons concerned have, to no avail, already raised the issue with their managers, the union representatives and the external service for prevention and well-being of the company, the relevant authorities need to be contacted; notes that neither an inspection of the national service 'Contrôle des lois sociales/Direction de Bruxelles' (2020) nor an analysis by the psychosocial department of the external service for prevention and protection at work in Brussels (2020) found any legal breaches related to social laws and working conditions for cleaning staff; calls for an immediate launch of a survey, conducted by an external company to guarantee confidentiality and anonymity for the respondents, that aims to reflect the actual state of the company’s employee satisfaction levels, engagement, commitment, loyalty, motivation, etc. and to identify weaknesses, problems or opportunities for improvement within the current cleaning company; calls on Parliament to take all necessary precautions to ensure that the highest standards of labour law for cleaning staff, are being upheld by external contractors, in particular with regard to psychological pressure and working conditions;

95.  Calls on Parliament to ensure that working plans for members of staff in shift work, including in particular members of staff in the Directorate-General for Security, are communicated well in advance and avoid modifications at short notice wherever possible;

96.  Welcomes the completion of the new wing at the Wayenberg crèche; regrets the successive changes and prolonged closures of sections due to the internal COVID-19 protocol which were communicated with minimal notice and without time to react; calls for a review of the COVID-19 health protocols to bring them in line with national protocols and to ensure that this important service continues to be provided as much as possible; calls on the DG PERS to make sure that changes in the crèche’s working time arrangements are introduced and communicated to parents in due time to allow them to perform their working obligations with minimum interruptions; reiterates its call to DG PERS to conduct a satisfaction survey among both the crèche’s employees and children’s parents to regularly get relevant feedback on the provider; takes note that a new call for tender in relation to the management of the Wayenberg crèche was launched in 2021 and that the new service provider took over on 1 February 2022; calls on DG PERS to closely follow the quality of services of the new provider, which retained existing workers in accordance with Belgian labour law; calls for a constant monitoring to ensure that the new provider offers good working conditions that help retain quality personnel;

97.  Calls for the timetables of Parliament’s staff and APAs to be taken into account in order to adapt the opening hours of the services provided within the Parliament, particularly the Sport Club, to provide service beyond peak working hours and thus allow a greater number of users to access them;

98.  Welcomes Parliament’s efforts to provide daily solidarity meals which have helped to reduce the financial, economic and social impact on its caterers and their employees; notes that Parliament is seeking to save as many jobs as possible that are reasonable from an employment point of view but also justifiable in the context of proper use of Parliament’s budget;

Building policy

99.  Recalls that throughout 2020, the administration continued the implementation of Parliament’s “Building Strategy Beyond 2019” as endorsed by the Bureau in April 2018; observes that that building strategy endorses flexibility as a key principle for allocating offices to both Members and members of staff and allows the space available to be used in an adjustable manner while adapting to all possible situations in the post-COVID-19 period;

100.  Notes that the decision to discontinue the distribution of warm water in Members’ offices in Brussels and Strasbourg was taken by the Quaestors on 24 October 2017 in connection with the health risk posed by the presence of harmful Legionella bacteria within the ageing and deteriorating hydraulic systems of the buildings; stresses that the fight against Legionella bacteria is one of the most important tasks in the field of water treatment and disinfection; asks the Secretariat to call for an in-depth study in order to find adequate solutions to this long-standing issue;

101.  Supports a debate on the space needs of Parliament in light of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, current and future increase in teleworking and, if appropriate, for the adaptation of its long-term building strategy; encourages the review of the building policy to see if a dedicated office space for each member of staff remains necessary, as a change might result in office space savings; encourages the administration to pool workstations as much as possible in accordance with members of staff’s teleworking, while continuing to guarantee an office space for each member of staff who so requests; points out, in addition, that consideration should be given to the potentially negative effects on health and staff satisfaction of practices such as open spaces, collaborative spaces and ‘hot-desking’; recalls the work done by the focus groups and the working group on buildings and requests their involvement in this debate; invites the Bureau to take the appropriate steps for the implementation of the recommendations of focus group 5, notably concerning the creation of more informal meeting rooms, multi-functional and enhanced video-conferencing rooms in line with Parliament’s environmental policy;

102.  Highlights that the mopping-up practice has favoured savings of more than EUR 100 million in interest payments in recent years and thus constitutes best practice for the use of taxpayers’ money in public institutions; encourages the Bureau to identify additional budget lines that could benefit from this practice; notes that this practice has helped prevent the spending of remaining funds on unnecessary expenses at the end of the year; recalls that the mopping-up transfer supports the long-term building strategy of Parliament of owning buildings instead of renting them; recalls that the ramassage enabled Parliament to buy the strategically important Scholl building in 2020 and pay the full buying price in one transaction thus avoiding further financing costs;

103.  Notes that an important part of Parliament’s building strategy is the new Adenauer building project, which brings all Parliament services operating in Luxembourg under the same roof; observes that the first part of this project (East Wing) was completed in October 2020, and that works to construct the final part - the West Wing - are underway; underlines that as in previous years, Parliament’s Committee on Budgets authorised in 2020 a mopping-up transfer for the pre-financing of the project, and that the part of this transfer dedicated to the new Adenauer building amounted to approximately EUR 63,35 million;

104.  Recalls that, concerning the acquisition of the Scholl building, at its meeting of 5 October 2020, the Bureau approved the launch of a local property market prospection in Brussels and that Parliament’s Committee on Budgets held an exchange of views on this subject at its meeting of 15 October 2020 in the context of Early Information;

105.  Understands that, in Brussels, the decision to purchase the Scholl building in 2020 allowed the completion of another step of Parliament’s building strategy, and that it will further consolidate Parliament real estate, underpinning the interconnectivity of the central buildings and contribute to improved security; stresses that this purchase was also the subject of a mopping-up transfer, using the financial resources saved during 2020 through, inter alia, reduced travel expenses, amounting to EUR 74,9 million;

106.  Notes the purchase of the Scholl building at EUR 74,9 million, while the market price of the building was previously estimated to be between EUR 42 and 65 million; notes that the difference between purchase price and the estimation by the external expert should be analysed against the situation where Parliament would not have acquired the building and would have lost already realised investments; notes that the usufruct contract signed by Parliament in 2009 regretfully did not include an exit clause, which meant that Parliament would have in any case had to pay the full amount for the remaining contractual period (~ EUR 24 million), even if it had not acquired the building;

107.  Highlights that, in Brussels, some buildings either currently occupied by Parliament or of major strategic interest due to their location and the related security aspects, are not part of Parliament’s portfolio, as was the case with the Scholl building before its acquisition; notes that Parliament’s “Building Strategy Beyond 2019” underlines the importance of owning and interconnecting Parliament central buildings and mentions Trèves II as a building that is in Parliament’s interest to acquire; notes that while these criteria are important and should be carefully analysed when proposing the purchase of a new building, they should not be the only criteria considered;

108.  Underlines that staff of political groups have specific needs in term of flexible working arrangements which do not fit with the rules applied to the entry of buildings outside the main one (e.g. access not allowed after a certain time or during the weekend); regrets that after the entry into force of the temperature check requirement, the staff located in the Trèves I building have been obliged for some time to have the test done at the Altiero Spinelli building before being allowed to enter the Trèves I building;

109.  Express concerns about Trèves I building structural problems; underlines the urgent need for the building to be upgraded to the latest energy and environmental norms; underlines the need for urgent measures to fix the unstable heating system, the lack of air conditioning and toilets for persons with reduced mobility, the poor sound proofing, as well as the sewage problem;

110.  Notes that Parliament’s Committee on Budgets is responsible for opinions and decisions concerning building-related projects with significant financial implications according to Annex VI to the Rules of Procedure; notes the competences of the Committee on Budgets under Article 266 of the Financial Regulation in relation to buildings of all institutions, bodies and offices, including Parliament; underlines that this includes early information, information on transparent and detailed planning, scrutiny, and decision making as well as the authorisation of projects;

111.  Calls on the Bureau to take the new health and safety environment, as well as the increase in remote working, into account as criteria for the selection of proposals of renovation and reconstruction of the Paul-Henri Spaak building, given the change in working practices and potential future decrease in physical presence in Parliament;

112.  Expects more transparent and detailed planning and decision-making, including the provision of early information, having due regard to Article 266 of the Financial Regulation, in relation to Parliament’s building policy;

113.  Takes note of the unanimous decision of the Bureau of 23 October 2019 to approve the creation of an IDEA Lab in 2020 with the aim of testing new, innovative solutions in the context of offices and facility management; notes that the decision of the Bureau was not based on any specific cost estimate; further notes that as part of the IDEA Lab, one Member’s office, at a cost of EUR 486 012, and adjacent showroom, at a cost of at least EUR 203 978, were built and equipped over the course of 2020; considers prudent and expedient use of budget allocated to pilot projects of this nature to be important; reminds the Bureau that clear budget lines should be set prior to engaging in such projects and that expenditure should be accounted for transparently; considers the testing of innovative office and facility management solutions useful in general but considers that the costs need to remain reasonable and justifiable; notes that it is important that projects like this benefit from the assessment of a range of Members and APAs in order to guarantee the most valid test results;

114.  Recalls the recommendations of focus group 5 in evaluating the IDEA Lab IT tools, which included more and better equipped meeting rooms, offices with remote/web-streaming meeting facilities and improved videoconferencing with a broader range of features;

115.  Recalls that during the Bureau meetings of 16 December 2019, 22 July 2020, 24 September 2020, 16 December 2020, and 18 January 2021, the members of the Bureau suggested that the IDEA Lab test solutions in the area of environmental performance, energy efficiency, security(especially electronic locks), IT and teleworking as well as ICT innovation strategy;

116.  Notes that as part of the IDEA Lab, the area of and around one office on the 15th floor serves as test area and that this area was substantially adapted at a cost of EUR 629 259 over the course of 2020; recalls that the removal of modular bathrooms in Members’ offices has been tested in the IDEA Lab and is considered a potential space gain that could be achieved in all offices during the coming 5 - 10 years; recalls that only on the 15th floor is it possible to cut and isolate the existing water pipes and adjust the ventilation ducts without permanent water cuts for the other floors;

117.  Stresses that currently 20 % of the space is not properly used, such as the copy rooms or space initially intended as server rooms; further notes that the findings of the IDEA Lab will deliver data and experience for future renovation works not only in the Paul-Henri Spaak Building, but also in the Altiero Spinelli building which will be usable for another 20-25 years;

118.  Underlines that the Bureau in its constitutive meeting of 26 January 2022 renewed the support for the IDEA Lab; welcomes that the IDEA Lab is now entering a phase in which the reflections that have existed from the beginning can be implemented, namely to integrate the costs of testing and applications on one budget line for the project management of the IDEA Lab on the one hand, and on corresponding budget lines in the directorates-general in charge of the individual applications on the other;

119.  Welcomes the fact that the extension of the Wayenberg nursery in Brussels was completed in September 2020; regrets that the works have continued while children and their families have been attending school, in some cases having to pass very close to the works, considering the danger that this entailed; invites the Bureau to initiate in 2022 technical studies to identify additional possibilities to further reduce energy consumption and increase the production of renewable energy, and to implement them as soon as possible;

120.  Welcomes the fact that the strategic approach related to the implementation of Europa Experiences in all Member States by the end of 2024, as decided by the Bureau in November 2019, was reinforced in November 2020 with the adoption by the Bureau of a timeline for the deployment of the facilities in all Member States; strongly expresses the view that European Parliament liaison offices and Europa Experiences are some of the best soft tools the Union and Parliament have to promote the work of the institutions and benefits of the Union for citizens; encourages Parliament and the Commission to continue to establish new Europa Experiences in all capitals and locations of strategic importance in view of the next European elections 2024; supports a formalised contract to split the costs for all Europa Experience between the Commission and Parliament to ensure sound long-term financing of the venues;

Cybersecurity

121.  Recalls the added-value of free and open-source software in improving security since they make it possible for Parliament to identify and fix weaknesses, keep control over the data by hosting in its servers and designing solutions according to its own specifications, while being able to avoid vendor lock-in effects;

122.  Recalls its preference for free and open-source software solutions instead of proprietary ones when considering new internal applications; asks for situations to be reported to the ICT governing bodies when open-source solutions are not chosen;

123.  In line with the previous Parliament discharge resolution and in order to significantly increase the confidentiality of its internal communication, asks the relevant services to test the integration and deployment of solutions for instant messaging and virtual meetings that are open source based, hosted in the Parliament’s servers, and which enable secure communication such as Matrix and Jitsi;

124.  Appreciates the fact that Parliament’s services are working to further improve the quality and accessibility of the publicly available data of the institution by adopting open data principles for re-use and redistribution, which were presented to the Bureau working group on ICT Innovation in April 2021; welcomes Parliament’s open data portal initiative, which aims to accommodate publicly available datasets in an easily accessible and user-friendly way, as well as provide data in an interoperable, machine-readable format and thus put into practice the open data principles on technical, legal, practical and social openness;

125.  Notes that the number of cybersecurity attacks is rising sharply and that those attacks can cause considerable damage to Parliament’s IT systems, to the extent that they affect the institution’s ability to function; welcomes the fact that the Security-General adopted an information security policy in June 2020, identifying the different categories of data and establishing the related conditions that must be observed for their handling and storage, based on a data protection impact assessment and security assessment; notes with concern the critical issues raised by the Secretary-General regarding cybersecurity, including understaffing; encourages Parliament to quickly take all appropriate measures to bolster both its IT structure and its cybersecurity staff;

126.  Notes that a number of Members and their assistants frequently encounter problems when connecting to the Member’s mail account on their mobile devices after changing the password of the Member’s mail account; calls on Parliament to take all necessary measures to ensure that such technical difficulties do not occur;

Voluntary pension scheme

127.  Recalls that as of 31 December 2020, the actuarial deficit of the voluntary pension fund amounted to EUR 371,3 million, compared to EUR 328,6 million as of 31 December 2019;

128.  Recalls that the fund was set up in 1990 to provide Members with an additional pension scheme on a voluntary basis; recalls that before the Members’ Statute was introduced in 2009, Members were already eligible for a pension equivalent to that of their colleagues in the national parliaments, with the exception of Italian, French and Luxembourgish Members, who could therefore contribute to special pension schemes of the European Parliament, which were created in 1981 solely for the needs of the aforementioned three nationalities; recalls therefore that the voluntary pension fund has always constituted a purely supplementary pension(10);

129.  Recalls that, at its meeting of 10 December 2018, the Bureau decided to modify the rules applicable to the pension scheme by increasing the retirement age from 63 to 65 years and introducing a levy of 5 % to pension payments for future pensioners with a view to improving its sustainability, to addressing the increasing liquidity problem and to reducing the actuarial deficit and the negative consequences for Union taxpayers; recalls that the Bureau decision of 10 December 2018 applies only to pensions established after 1 January 2019, and that as such, it does not affect beneficiaries who retired before that date;

130.  Points out that the Bureau’s decision was challenged before the Court of Justice by a number of members of the fund; stresses that in its judgements of 15 September 2021 in joined cases T-720/19 to T-725/19(11), Richard Ashworth and Others v Parliament, the Court of Justice concluded that already acquired rights were not impacted by the contested Bureau decision and that the Court of Justice further confirmed the Bureau’s competence to adopt decisions aiming to improve the sustainability of the fund; notes that the Court of Justice also concluded that the Bureau decision of 10 December 2018 respected the principle of proportionality; notes that the judgments were delivered on 15 September 2021, and that Parliament is in the process of examining their implications with a view to submitting additional proposals to improve the sustainability of the fund to the Bureau;

131.  Observes with concern that the Court of Justice estimates that the fund will be insolvent by 2024, while the fund’s last payouts are estimated to be made only by 2091; reiterates that the Bureau’s own commitment to guaranteeing the fund does not constitute a legal obligation to guarantee particular levels of payouts of the fund as no contract between the fund and Parliament exists; appeals to the Bureau, the board of directors and the members of the voluntary pension fund to support measures aiming at limiting the deficit of the voluntary pension fund, while considering any further measures in this light;

132.  Notes with interest that, according to Parliament’s Legal Service, it follows from the two judgments that the Court of Justice confirms that acquired rights as such, of Members who have already fulfilled all the necessary conditions for the acquisition of the right to the additional voluntary pension, are fully protected under the general principles of Union law; notes, however, that the judgments also confirm that this does not prevent the Bureau from modifying the conditions as well as modalities of this group of Members on the condition that the principle of proportionality is duly respected, as well as for those Members who have not yet fulfilled all the conditions for the acquisition of pension rights and who therefore only hold future entitlements under the pension scheme, a situation which is further confirmed by the judgement of the Court of Justice of 24 September 2020 in case C-223/19, YS v NK(12); asks the administration and the Bureau to guarantee that no taxpayer money is used for any future bail-out; considers that a review of the financial model of the fund would not be sufficient to prevent additional taxpayer money from being used for future payments; urges the Secretary-General therefore to also propose measures on adjusting the modalities of the fund, including a further increase of the retirement age and a reduction of pension benefits paid out;

133.  Notes that the Court’s audit work on the general budget and financial statements of the Union includes an examination of pension liabilities, including the voluntary pension scheme for Members; once again invites the Court to present a new opinion on the voluntary pension funds, investigating all possible options to limit its deficit, considering that this could help in further investigating measures to manage the funds;

134.  Recalls that the 2017 Parliament discharge resolution called for the Secretary-General to come forward with any findings in response to the investigation into the legal foundations of the scheme; underlines that this investigation should be carried out by an independent party;

135.  Stresses that Article 27(2) of the statute for Members states that Members who contributed to the fund acquired rights and future entitlements, which shall be maintained in full, and thus, do not cease if the fund terminates; recalls, moreover, that Parliament paid two thirds of the total contributions of the defined benefit pension scheme on a monthly basis, thus underlining its regular participation in the fund; stresses that Members who paid contributions to the voluntary pension fund and acquired rights and future entitlements did so in good faith, thus relying on Parliament to honour its financial obligations;

Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme

136.  Notes with concern the lack of understanding within the decision-making and approval forums of the joint sickness insurance scheme (JSIS) when it comes to new treatments, medical trends and not yet approved drugs particularly linked to novel appearances of nervous diseases, autoimmune disorders as well cancer diseases; requests that the relevant bodies within JSIS duly and regularly take into account recent medical developments and knowledge gains when updating the list of eligible treatments and drugs; requests JSIS to show more flexibility when assessing clinical pictures as well as subsequent treatment and therapies that might help a patient; recommends the introduction of expert groups, which can assess and approve not-yet approved treatments, pharmaceutical drugs, and medications to improve the treatment quality of applicants, decrease bureaucratic burden, and accommodate the most recent medical information when handling reimbursement claims;

137.  Calls on the Bureau to ensure that JSIS shall provide a coherent and individual explanation for declining a reimbursement request; regrets the culture of declining a reimbursement request in pdf format without the possibility to challenge the decision in person; calls on the Bureau to introduce the possibility for local doctors in charge of the treatment of an applicant to talk to the responsible JSIS unit or expert group to explain the treatment and medical benefits; further expresses its wish to improve the user-friendliness of the application enabling a quicker and more direct follow-up of individual requests;

Annual report on contracts awarded

138.  Recalls that the Financial Regulation specifies the information to be provided to the budgetary authority and to the public concerning the award of contracts by the institution; notes that the Financial Regulation requires publication of contracts awarded with a value greater than EUR 15 000, a value that corresponds to the threshold above which a competitive tendering procedure becomes compulsory;

139.  Notes that, of a total of 198 contracts awarded in 2020, 60 were based on open or restricted procedures, with a value of EUR 405,2 million, and 136 were based on negotiated procedures, with a value of EUR 179,1 million; notes that the total number of contracts awarded by negotiated procedures increased in terms of value as a percentage of the total value of contracts awarded from 26 % in 2019 to 31 % in 2020 but declined in terms of volume from EUR 208,53 million in 2019 to EUR 179,1 million in 2020;

140.  Notes the following breakdown of contracts by type awarded in 2019 and 2020, including building contracts:

Type of contract

2020

2019

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

Services

Supply

Works

Building

161

21

13

3

81 %

10 %

7 %

2 %

17733

13

2

78 %

15 %

6 %

1 %

Total

198

100 %

225

100 %

Type of contract

2020

2019

Value (EUR)

Percentage

Value (EUR)

Percentage

Services

Supply

Works

Building

457 940 293

14 143 825

28 291 234

86 812 000

77 %

3 %

5 %

15 %

581 610 182

85 741 237

135 211 526

4 260 000

72 %

10 %

17 %

1 %

Total

587 187 352

100 %

806 822 945

100 %

(Annual report on the contracts awarded by the European Parliament, 2020, p.6)

141.  Notes the following breakdown of contracts awarded in 2020 and 2019 by type of procedure used, in terms of number and value:

Type of procedure

2020

2019

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

Open

Restricted

Negotiated

CEI list

Exceptional

Innovation partnership

57

3

135

1

1

1

29 %

2 %

68 %

0 %

0 %

1 %

82

1

141

0

1

-

36.44 %

0.44 %

62.68 %

-

0.44 %

0 %

Total

198

100 %

225

100 %

Type of procedure

2020

2019

Value (EUR)

Percentage

Value (EUR)

Percentage

Open

Restricted

Negotiated

CEI list

Exception

Innovation Partnership

400 464 868

4 722 196

179 199 392

27 000

16 000

2 757 876

68 %

1 %

31 %

0 %

0 %

0 %

595 584 380

1 735 269

208 533 296

-

970 000

-

74 %

0 %

26 %

-

0 %

-

Total

407 987 960

100 %

806 822 945

100 %

(Annual report on the contracts awarded by the European Parliament, 2020, p.7-8)

142.  Notes the fact that 72  % of exceptional negotiated procedures launched in 2020 by Parliament for contracts with a value of more than EUR 15 000 use Point 11.1(b) of Annex I to the Financial Regulation as their legal basis, referring to the use of a single economic operator for technical or artistic reasons, or for reasons connected with the protection of exclusive rights, and that 20  % used Point 11.1(c) of Annex I to the Financial Regulation as their legal basis, which relates to cases of extreme urgency for reasons not attributable to the contracting authority and 2  % (one procedure) used Point 11.1(a) as their legal basis, which relates to services where no tenders or no suitable tenders were submitted; observes, for instance, that the 26 exceptional negotiated procedures used by Parliament’s Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services in 2020 are based on point 11.1(b) of Annex I to the Financial Regulation relating to a single economic operator and the protection of exclusive rights concerned subscriptions to online databases or press agencies;

143.  Welcomes Parliament’s intention to introduce sustainability reporting, which will include social aspects of procurement, calls on Parliament to monitor developments in the field of social and sustainable public procurement, such as the OECD work on public procurement and responsible business conduct, as well as the upcoming Union legislation on corporate due diligence; believes that by incorporating responsible business standards in its procurement and purchasing policies, Parliament can lead by example, safeguard public interest and ensure the accountability of public spending; commends the responsible Parliament services for extending Parliament’s environmental management system to cover other sustainability elements, as well as the setting up of a working group on socially responsible public procurement;

144.  Welcomes the complete removal of thermal cameras produced by Hikvision used on Parliament’s premises; calls on Parliament to prevent the purchase and use of products that may have been produced in violation of sustainability standards and human rights in future; is convinced this can be achieved primarily by incorporating human rights and environmental due diligence standards and practices in Parliament’s procurement procedures;

145.  Notes that there were 1  415 single bidder tenders in 2020, 89 of which concerned contracts above the threshold of EUR 15   000, compared to 1  369 single bidder tenders in 2019, 102 of which concerned contracts above the threshold of EUR 15 000; reiterates that single bidder tenders carry a significant risk to the principle of competition and achieving the best value for public money; reiterates its call on Parliament to investigate the reasons for the apparent lack of competition and to take the necessary measures to reduce the number of single bidder tenders in future procedures;

Political groups (budget item 400)

146.  Notes that, in 2020, the appropriations entered under budget item 400, attributed to the political groups and non-attached Members, were used as follows(13):

Group

2020

2019 (1)

Annual appropriations

Own resources and carried-over appropriations

Expenditure

Rate of use of annual appropriations

Amounts carried-over to next period

Annual appropriations

Own resources and carried-over appropriations

Expenditure

Rate of use of annual appropriations

Amounts carried-over to next period

European People's Party (EPP)

17.239

4.448

11.489

66,65

10.198

17.139

4.253

16.993

99,15

4.399

Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D)

13.609

5.734

9.533

70,05

9.809

14.611

4.807

13.705

93,80

5.710

Renew Europe (former Alliance of Liberal and Democrats for Europe (ALDE))

9.230

3.847

4.063

44,02

6.922

7.721

1.627

5.510

71,37

3.838

The Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA)

6.381

2.376

4.054

63,53

4.703

5.573

1.388

4.585

82,27

2.376

Identity and Democracy (ID) (3)

7.121

1.616

3.976

55,84

4.761

3.244

0

1.629

50,22

1.615

European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)

5.851

2.272

4.145

70,85

3.978

6.053

1.946

5.730

94,66

2.270

European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)

3.790

1.536

3.060

80,72

2.266

4.156

1.110

3.731

89,77

1.535

Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) (2)

0

0

0

0,00

0

1.851

1.915

1.508

81,45

0

Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) (2)

0

0

0

0,00

0

1.620

653

1.609

99,34

0

Non-attached Members

1.726

738

429

24,82

1041

2.019

367

481

23,84

738

Total

64.947

22.568

40.749

62,74

43.678

63.987

18.067

55.481

86,71

22.482

Notes to the above table:

(1) 2019 was an electoral year; accounts were submitted by political groups based on semesters. For political groups that continued their activity after the 2019 European elections, the figures for annual appropriations and expenditures refer to the sum of both semesters.

(2)For political groups dissolved after the 2019 European elections, figures are for the first semester only.

(3) For political groups that did not exist before the 2019 European elections, figures are for the second semester only.

147.  Welcomes the fact that independent external auditors for the political groups issued only unqualified opinions for the financial year 2020;

European political parties and European political foundations

148.  Observes that, pursuant to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014, in 2019 the Authority reviewed for the first time the accounts of European political parties and foundations relating to the financial year 2018; welcomes the fact that the second review of the financial accounts of European political parties and political foundations relating to the financial year 2019 showed that they increasingly rely on formats and templates provided by the Authority, which increases the comparability and accuracy of the information submitted;

149.  Notes that the vast majority of European political parties’ funding comes from public sources and, therefore, requires the highest level of transparency and accountability; underlines that the Authority should provide information covering the registration and financial situation of European political parties and foundations to the greatest extent possible; welcomes the efforts made by the Authority to make a wide array of information accessible to citizens on its website; calls on the Authority to make sure that the documents published in its website are user-friendly, complete and updated and recognises the announcement of the Authority during its hearing to complete a website accessibility benchmarking exercise;

150.  Points out that the Authority has limited powers with regard to verifying whether a registered party or foundation is in breach of the Union’s core values and has never triggered the complex values compliance procedure thus far; calls for the strengthening of the current administrative set-up of the Authority in order to better monitor its compliance with the relevant rules and the implementation of sanctions, as well as to ensure its complete independence and neutrality;

151.  Notes that, in 2020, the appropriations entered under budget item 402 were used as follows(14):

Party (2020)

Abbreviation

Own resources

EP final contribution (1)

Total revenue

EP contribution as % of reimbursable expenditure (max. 90 %)

Revenue surplus (transfer to reserve or loss)

European People's Party

EPP

1.229.780

6.603.847

7.833.627

90%

552.688

Party of European Socialists

PES

1.067.410

5.102.420

6.169.830

90%

555.149

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party

ALDE

568.429

3.069.202

3.637.631

90%

964.177

European Green Party

EGP

545.613

2.476.829

3.022.442

90%

536.571

Party of the European Left

EL

289.330

1.163.617

1.452.947

90%

98.874

European Democratic Party

PDE

102.152

289.080

391.232

90%

102.842

European Free Alliance

EFA

125.543

695.550

821.093

90%

91.784

European Conservatives and Reformists Party

ECR Party

335.408

1.632.616

1.968.024

82%

-

European Christian Political Movement

ECPM

84.026

557.375

641.401

90%

3.465

Identity and Democracy party

ID Party

154.160

604.526

758.686

90%

26.779

TOTAL

 

4.501.851

22.195.062

26.696.913

 

2.932.329

(1)  Composed of second part of 2019 final funding and first part of 2020 final funding according to the Bureau Decision of 14 February 2022.

152.  Notes that, in 2020, the appropriations entered under budget item 403 were used as follows(15):

Foundation (2020)

Abbreviation

Affiliated to party

Own resources

EP final grant

Total revenue

EP grant as % of eligible costs (max. 95 %)

Revenue surplus (transfer to reserve or loss)

Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies

WMCES

EPP

296.292

3.947.722

4.244.014

95%

23.529

Foundation for European Progressive Studies

FEPS

PES

328.973

4.555.512

4.884.485

95%

35.590

European Liberal Forum

ELF

ALDE

298.273

2.710.157

3.008.430

95%

136.821

Green European Foundation

GEF

EGP

116.727

1.965.047

2.081.774

95%

7.093

Transform Europe

TE

EL

69.685

1.102.913

1.172.598

95%

6.805

Institute of European Democrats

IED

PDE

25.517

448.110

473.627

95%

0

Coppieters Foundation

Coppieters

EFA

63.243

515.401

578.644

95%

19.056

New Direction - Foundation for European Reform

ND

ECR Party

183.131

1.678.350

1.861.481

95%

61.993

Sallux

SALLUX

ECPM

21.278

299.291

320.569

95%

3.307

Association pour l'Identite et Democratie Fondation

ID Foundation

ID Party

35.501

456.075

491.576

95%

-

TOTAL

1.438.620

17.678.578

19.117.198

 

294.193

153.  Recalls that, in accordance with Article 38 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014, Parliament adopted its report on the application of that regulation on 26 October 2021(16); welcomes the Commission legislative proposal of 25 November 2021 to amend the regulation(17);

154.  Believes that European political parties and foundations should make greater use of new technologies in order to improve the transparency and traceability of donations and expenditure.

(1) Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884).
(2) Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations (OJ L 317, 4.11.2014, p. 1).
(3) Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (OJ L 295, 21.11.2018, p. 39).
(4) Report A7-0350/2013 available at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-7-2013-0350_EN.pdf
(5) Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law (OJ L 305, 26.11.2019, p. 17).
(6) Judgment of the General Court of 14 July 2021, T-670/19, Fernando Carbajo Ferrero v European Parliament, ECLI:EU:T:2021:435.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0417.
(8) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0080.
(9) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0514.
(10) https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2021/659763/IPOL_STU(2021)659763_EN.pdf
(11) Judgment of the General Court of 15 September 2021, Richard Ashworth and Others v European Parliament, T-720/19 to T-725/19, ECLI:EU:T:2021:580.
(12) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 24 September 2020, YS v NK, C-223/19, ECLI:EU:C:2020:753.
(13) All amounts in thousands of EUR.
(14) All amounts in thousands of EUR.
(15) All amounts in thousands of EUR.
(16) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0454.
(17) COM(2021) 734.

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