Procedure : 2007/2019B(BUD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0394/2007

Texts tabled :

A6-0394/2007

Debates :

PV 23/10/2007 - 13
CRE 23/10/2007 - 13

Votes :

PV 25/10/2007 - 7.3
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2007)0474

REPORT     
PDF 276kWORD 300k
16 October 2007
PE 394.141v03-00 A6-0394/2007(Par1)

on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008

(C6-0288/2007 – 2007/2019B(BUD))

Section I                       –  European Parliament

Section II                      –  Council

Section IV                     –  Court of Justice

Section V                      –  Court of Auditors

Section VI                     –  European Economic and Social Committee

Section VII                   –  Committee of the Regions

Section VIII                  –  European Ombudsman

Section IX                     –  European Data Protection Supervisor

Part 1: Motion for a resolution

Committee on Budgets

Rapporteur: Ville Itälä

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on International Trade
 OPINION of the Committee on Petitions
 PROCEDURE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008 - Section I - European Parliament, Section II - Council, Section IV - Court of Justice, Section V - Court of Auditors, Section VI - European Economic and Social Committee, Section VII - Committee of the Regions, Section VIII - European Ombudsman, Section IX - European Data Protection Supervisor

(C6-0288/2007 - 2007/2019B(BUD))

The European Parliament,

- having regard to Article 272 of the EC Treaty,

- having regard to Council Decision 2000/597/EC, Euratom of 29 September 2000 on the system of the European Communities' own resources(1),

- having regard to Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 of 25 June 2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities(2),

- having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management(3),

- having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 6 May 1999 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and improvement of the budgetary procedure(4), and in particular point 26 thereof,

- having regard to its resolution of 29 March 2007 on the guidelines for the 2008 budget procedure - Sections II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX and on the European Parliament's preliminary draft estimates (Section I) for the 2008 budget procedure(5),

- having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2007 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2008(6),

- having regard to the preliminary draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008, which the Commission presented on 2 May 2007 (SEC(2007)0500),

- having regard to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2007, which the Council established on 13 July 2007 (C6-0288/2007),

- having regard to Rule 69 of and Annex IV to its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Petitions (A6-0394/2007),

A.  whereas 2008 is the second year of the new financial framework (2007-2013), for which the ceiling of heading 5 (Administrative expenditure) has been set at EUR 7 457 million at current prices,

B.  whereas the Preliminary Draft Budget (PDB) of all the institutions left a margin of EUR 121 285 164 below the ceiling of heading 5 of the financial framework for the financial year 2008,

C.  whereas after Council's decision the draft budget (DB) has a margin of EUR 266 755 254 below the ceiling of heading 5 for 2008,

General framework

1.  Recognises that the institutions, after the Council's first reading, have made the effort to reduce some of their usual expenditures in order to balance their absolute needs; considers that this exercise has contributed to setting-up a budget for the EU tax-payer as requested in the guidelines resolution; encourages warmly the institutions to pursue in this direction in order to strengthen citizens’ confidence in the European institutions and in Europe;

2. Notes that most of the increase beyond the inflation rate is due to buildings’ expenditure; expresses its concern for the coming years regarding the weight of buildings related expenditure if not closely managed by the institutions; invites the institutions to keep the Budgetary Authority regularly informed of the evolution of their different projects with a medium term perspective and to control accordingly their expansion; requests that, in view of the entry into force in 2009 of the Members' Statute, an updated property investment plan for the coming 3 years including refurbishing costs should be submitted to the Budgetary Authority not later than 31 March 2008;

3.    Has therefore decided to limit the budget increase of 2008 to 6,92 %; decides to leave a margin under the ceiling of heading 5; recommends restoring EUR 8 180 945 out of the EUR 22 127 359 reduction made by Council on the budget of the other institutions (excluding the Commission), that is restoring 37% following the examination of the specific requests and needs of each institution; considers that this approach responds to the institutions' needs for efficiency and safeguards the sustainability of their budgets;

4.  Invites, in the context of a general concern vis-à-vis the environment, all institutions, including the Commission, to exploit the various possibilities, together with the host Member States, for achieving a more efficient public transport plan, including in-house mobility information points, intranet information on timetables and other incentives, in order to encourage the staff of the European institutions to use public transport or bicycles under safe conditions;

5.  Acknowledges the efforts made by Parliament in the past 2 years to implement a redeployment exercise; regrets that many other institutions are not implementing an effective redeployment policy; expects these institutions to make redeployment an integral part of their budgetary exercise in the coming years;

6.  Notes that in 2006 Parliament had requested from the other institutions more precise information on the performance and costs of their core tasks in order to justify in a more transparent manner the effectiveness or otherwise of additional funds; notes that very few institutions are providing this informative activity-related reporting; requests all the institutions in question to provide this information by the first week of September of each year;

Section I - European Parliament

General comments

7.  Recalls that 2008 is the last full year of this legislature and the last year before the entrance into force of the new Members’ Statute; considers that this should be taken into account in view of the forthcoming financing requirements;

8.  Welcomes the fact that the Bureau has, for the first time, made new requests in its amending letter which are below the self-imposed ceiling of 20% of heading 5 (ie. at 19,87%) but include an increase of the estimates by EUR 45,6 million; takes note of the fact that the Bureau intends to launch a number of new projects which are not directly linked to Parliament’s core activities; considers that in view of the lack of flexibility which exists in the administrative budget, the development of new projects should be undertaken in a prudent way taking into account the limited availability of financial resources and the perspectives from 2009 onwards; encourages the administration and the Bureau to reflect on the real needs and on the institution in administrative and political terms and to seek means to reduce the current costs of the tasks undertaken; reiterates that the above does not constitute any limitation on Parliament's right to make full use of the 20% ceiling in 2008 and subsequent years, should it be deemed necessary and justifiable to do so;

9.  Suggests that a broad discussion on the history of Europe and its interpretation take place at expert level before creating the House of European History;

10. Welcomes the new redeployment plan proposed by the Secretary General which concerns 58 posts; considers that it constitutes a step in the right direction in fulfilling the new needs and at the same time in keeping the establishment plan stable in the future; encourages the Secretary-General to pursue this action and to proceed to further analysis in order to better rationalise the tasks and at the same time keep the costs of externalisation under control;

11. Decides, in line with its abovementioned resolution of 7 June 2007 on Parliament's estimates for 2008, to reduce a number of budget lines, especially those that proved to be inflated in 2006; notes that chapters 10 and 12 and title 4 are not affected by these reductions;

12.  Acknowledges that new projects have been presented at a late stage and have impeded plenary's decision to remain at inflation rate except when new initiatives were duly substantiated; has decided to set the final level of the Parliament’s budget at EUR XX corresponding to a XX% increase over the 2007 budget and XX% of heading 5;

13. Confirms its commitment to better law making as a priority for Parliament's core activities and supports the decisions undertaken in this direction; encourages the Secretary General to continue his efforts in order to strengthen Parliament's expertise in better law making;

Enhancing Members’ assistance

14.  Considers that preserving the linguistic diversity of Members of the European Parliament is one of the most important challenges for the administration; welcomes, in that context, the pilot project scheduled to be launched in 2008 to respond to Members’ recurrent demands for linguistic assistance both at an individual level and during non-official meetings linked to the legislative work;

15.  Decides therefore to limit the global allocation for the pilot project to EUR 4 million and, at the same time, to place EUR 2 million in the reserve in order to induce the administration to give priority to more efficient linguistic support for Members during official meetings; this reserve of EUR 2 million does not affect the pilot project;

16.  Reiterates that the most efficient use should be made of the interpretation service and the expenses related to meetings; considers that equipping all meeting rooms with the electronic voting system constitutes a way to improve the use the interpretation facilities;

17. Calls on the Bureau to consult the political groups on the fitting out and the re-organisation of meeting rooms WIC 100 and WIC 200 in Strasbourg before it takes any further decision on these matters;

18.  Recalls that the purpose of the code of conduct on multilingualism is to provide the best quality service to Members within the ceiling of the current appropriations; urges the administration to enforce more actively the code of conduct on multilingualism in order to prevent any shortcomings, irresponsible use or misuse of the linguistic services; regrets, however, the lack of flexibility when translating major documents in a particularly difficult period; calls on the administration to make every effort, in order to guarantee a high quality translation service which is in line with Parliament's specific requirements in terms of quality, deadlines and confidentiality, to provide the appropriate means and ensure an adequate organisation of the translation service so as to prevent any shortcomings and the consequent increase of costs, in particular when deadlines for decisions are fixed by the Treaty;

19.  Takes note of the proposal to create a new article 323 for the "relations with Parliaments of third countries and support for parliamentary democracy" with an amount of EUR 360 000 to differentiate, by geographical area, the Parliament's activities; expresses its concern regarding the number of delegations and assemblies in the Parliament's budget in particular due to the fact that their financial impact is not clearly identified in the budget as it includes not only the appropriation under the existing items but also the related costs for interpretation and technical and logistical support; asks the administration to make a proposal to improve the transparency of this type of activity;

20.  Considers that the Presidencies of the Parliament and the Council should take into account EU citizens' opinion as regards the geographical dispersion of the Parliament amongst the three places of work and the related costs and environmental consequences; invites the two Presidencies to negotiate while retaining the important symbolic value of Strasbourg, to bring up a proposal to hold plenary sittings there twice a year in order to respond to citizens' concerns in terms of savings and environment;

21. As regards parliamentary assistance, calls on the administration to strengthen the internal control system in order to ensure that recruitment of Members' assistants is clear and transparent, guaranteeing that tax and social regulations (salary and social security rights, etc.) are respected;

22. Calls on the Commission to present a new proposal for an assistants' statute that guarantees the necessary freedom of choice and flexibility for Members in terms of duration of contracts and salaries on the one hand and uniformity and security in terms of the tax regime, social security provisions and medical insurance for assistants on the other hand;

European Political Foundations

23. Has decided at this stage of the budgetary procedure, pending the adoption of the legal basis for the financing of the European Political Foundations, to create a new heading (403, "Contributions to European political foundations") with an EUR 5 million allocation in the reserve and a token entry ("p.m.");

European Parliament Apprenticeship Programme

24. Welcomes the work of the Secretariat aimed at evaluating the introduction of an EP Apprenticeship Programme and calls on the Bureau to proceed with the necessary preparatory work with the available five posts; calls on the administration to include in its procurement procedures as one award criterion the employment of apprentices in tendering companies;

For an Environmentally friendly Parliament

25. Regrets that, more than five years after the start of the EMAS process in the budget procedure, EMAS registration is still pending and the impact on the environment as well as the savings and the investments in relation to its implementation are still not known; invites the administration to provide the above information as previously requested in paragraph 37 of its abovementioned resolution of 29 March 2007 and paragraph 31 of its abovementioned resolution of 7 June 2007 and present it to its relevant committees and other bodies; moreover requests the administration to report on the reduction of energy consumption that should have resulted from the decrease in air-conditioning during the summer period, and to present an action plan for reducing and off-setting CO2 emissions caused by the Parliament's activities, especially as regards travel and buildings, and for reducing the use of water, paper and other resources; in this connection calls on the administration to present an expert report on the possible employment of photovoltaic or solar panels for energy generation on the roofs and the walls of Parliament's buildings;

26.  Asks the administration to renew its car fleet as soon as possible by purchasing or renting vehicles which pollute less than the current ones, such as hybrid cars, and to present the relevant action plan;

27.  Asks the administration to reduce the number of staff missions and to encourage the staff, while travelling between the three places of work, to use the most environmentally friendly means; ;

Information policy

28.  Reiterates its willingness to have a strong information policy involving the political groups and close to the European citizens; considers that this can be achieved through the strengthening of the local and regional media, the quick opening of the Visitors' Centre in Brussels and the increased flexibility of the use of the visitors' groups; regarding the latter, recalls that reimbursement based on real costs, within a ceiling to be defined, will ensure the complete transparency of the programme; invites, to that end, the Quaestors to re-examine the current rules;

29. Calls on the Bureau to decide on a programme for the forthcoming election campaign that takes into account the need for close contact between Members and EU citizens; reiterates in this respect the role of the Information Offices as well as the local and regional media, as regards increasing EU citizens' awareness of Parliament's activities; asks the administration to strengthen actions in favour of local and regional media in the external offices, including the involvement of Members; looks forward in this connection to receiving their annual work programme for 2008 by December 2007 in order to release the reserve in January;

30. Calls on the Bureau to use the appropriations earmarked for information to provide diverse information which, inter alia, caters for the public information needs of parliamentary minorities;

31. Regrets the lack of information being submitted to the Budgetary Authority on the progress registered to date on the WebTV prototype, especially since information policy, including WebTV, is considered a priority for 2008; decides to keep EUR 9 million in the reserve for information and communication until the prototype is presented for approval to the Budgetary Authority;

32. Awaits the WebTV prototype; recalls that the conditions already agreed in the previous budgetary procedure and its resolution of 26 October 2006 on the 2007 Budget (Other sections)(7) for the financing of this project are the approval of the prototype;

Security

33.  Shares, with the administration, the concern that security is a major issue; notes, however, that the administration is not able to indicate the exact number of persons that are in the Parliament's buildings as some of them do not use their badges to open the gate; consequently invites the administration to make sure that staff respect the rules and invites the Quaestors to reconsider the use of electronic badges by Members, which will enable the implementation of different new facilities, such as electronic signatures;

34.  Highlights the fact that the security around Parliament’s premises in Brussels is not well assured after normal working hours for its Members and staff; invites the administration to press the Belgian authorities to improve the situation;

Establishment plan

35.  Supports the setting-up of two new Directorates General for Interpretation and Technological Innovation Support; considers this will improve the service provided for Members and the different units of the administration;

36.  Considers that the proposal on staff, presented by the Secretary General, including the creation of new posts, posts to be redeployed and a number of conversions and transformations, reflects the concern of the Parliament to limit the increase of its establishment plan strictly to new projects or specific competences; notes that the number of posts redeployed attain the annual target of 1% fixed in the estimates resolution; asks to be regularly informed on the implementation of the redeployment policy plan; furthermore, acknowledges that the proposal presented has a marginal financial impact on the 2008 budget;

37.  Has therefore decided to approve the modifications of the establishment plan measures proposed by the Secretary General as a package as follows:

- release from the reserve for the creation of 16 new posts requested in the estimates and their corresponding appropriations; this concerns nine AD5 and seven AST3 posts including one temporary post for the sixth Quaestor,

- make the necessary appropriations available for the creation of five AD5 posts for the analytical service within the Library and two AD16 posts for the creation of the new Directorates General,

- the conversion of 35 AST posts (10 AST1, 10 AST2, 5 AST3, 5 AST4 and 5 AST5) into AD5 posts which were placed in reserve,

- one ad personam promotion (AD14 into AD15),

- the conversions of 25 AST6 into AD5 and 1 AST1 into AD5,

- the regrading measures of 23 permanent posts (2 AD12 into AD15, 11 AD12 into AD7, 4 AST11 into AST3, 3 AST11 into AST1 and 3 AST6 into AST1);

38.  Has decided to release from the reserve the 448 upgradings for Parliament’s secretariat requested by the administration in the context of Article 6 of the Staff Regulations for permanent and temporary staff and their corresponding appropriations; regarding permanent staff, this concerns 2 AD13 to AD14, 45 AD12 to AD13, 25 AD11 to AD12; 10 AD7 to AD8, 3 AD6 to AD7, 165 AD5 to AD6, 50 AST7 to AST8, 65 AST4 to AST5, 65 AST1 to AST2 and, regarding temporary staff, 1 AD12 to AD13, 2 AD10 to AD11, 1 AST2 to AST3, 2 AST1 to AST2, 12 AST1 to AST3;

39.  Has likewise decided to confirm the 74 upgradings requested by the political groups: 1 AD12 to AD13, 6 AD11 to AD12, 4 AD10 to AD11, 2 AD9 to AD10, 4 AD8 to AD9, 3 AD7 to AD8, 7 AD6 to AD7, 8 AD5 to AD6, 3 AST10 to AST11, 9 AST8 to AST9, 9 AST7 to AST8, 3 AST6 to AST7, 2 AST5 to AST6, 2 AST4 to AST5, 1 AST3 to AST4, 2 AST2 to AST3, 8 AST1 to AST2;

40. Points out that exercising democratic scrutiny over the Commission is a core task of Parliament and requests the Bureau and the administration to allocate the necessary comitology posts for this task, taking into account the new responsibilities of Parliament in the field of foreign affairs and development policy programmes; moreover, emphasises the importance of strengthening Parliament's administrative capacities with regard to its new powers of democratic scrutiny over the external assistance instruments; invites the administration to submit by March 2008 an evaluation report on the political and administrative experience acquired in the implementation of these powers;

41. Welcomes the initiative taken by the Bureau to establish guidelines for recruitment which take into account persons with disabilities including stagiaires and interim and/or temporary contract staff as stated in the Code of Good practice for Employment of People with Disabilities; welcomes also the initiative taken by the administration regarding the training programme in favour of disabled persons; is of the opinion that, in order to ease their insertion in Parliament's administration, the administration should consider appointing a "coordinator for disabled persons";

42. Has decided to enter 2 posts for the Library in reserve, in order to motivate the administration to create a comprehensible, in-house Knowledge Management System;

Miscellaneous

43. Takes note of the proposal made by the Bureau to allocate an amount of EUR 100 000 to the Sakharov Foundation as a subsidy towards human rights activities; acknowledges that the decision taken by the Bureau on 10 October 2007 to award a grant to the Sakharov Foundation in Moscow is in compliance with the provisions of the Financial Regulation, in particular the possibility for Parliament to award grants to cover information activities (Article 108(4) of the Financial Regulation);

Section IV - Court of Justice

44.Highlights the fact that the increase of the budget is mainly due to the handover of the New Palais; considers that its financial impact is particularly substantial in the 2008 budget and should remain exceptional; stresses that according to the Financial Multiannual Framework the margin under heading 5 in 2009 will be limited; consequently invites the Court of Justice to proceed to a detailed and scrutinised exercise in order to limit its growth in 2009;

45.  Agrees with the Court of Justice to reduce its contribution to the lease-purchase for the New Palais by EUR 4 million, thanks to the frontloading of this amount from the 2007 budget;

46.  Has decided in agreement with the Court of Justice to restore the standard abatement to a level of 3,7%; has therefore restored the corresponding appropriations;

47.  Has decided on the following establishment plan measures:

- the creation of nine temporary AD10 posts to reinforce the Cabinets of the Advocates General and of the President of the Civil Service Tribunal,

- the creation of one AD5 for the recruitment of a lawyer to cope with the increasing “data protection” requirements and one AST3 for the implementation of the interinstitutional SAP software project;

48. Has increased the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 3 102 000 which represents a 8.03% increase over the 2007 budget;

Section V - Court of Auditors

49.  Has decided in agreement with the Court of Auditors to restore the standard abatement to a level of 4,82%; has therefore restored the corresponding appropriations;

50.  Has decided on the following establishment plan measures:

- the creation of 2 AST1 for the human resources division following the decision to reinforce it in two years' time,

- the creation of one AD5 for the implementation of the new SAP software project and one AD5 for the plan on documenting and simplifying measures,

- to downgrade one temporary AD12T post to AD11T in order to limit the financial impact of the establishment plan measures,

- to transform one temporary AD12T post to AD14T and three permanent AST3 posts to AD5 in the IT division;

51.  Has restored the appropriation linked to fitting-out work required by the health and security law of the Luxembourg State and the renovation of the Court’s meeting room; considers that these expenditures have an exceptional character and cannot be renewed in the 2009 budget;

52.  Has increased the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 3 261 204 which represents a 9.65 % increase over the 2007 budget;

European Economic and Social Committee and Committee of the Regions

53.  Regrets that at this stage of the budgetary procedure the two committees have not been able to present their new cooperation agreement; recalls the decision taken in its resolution of 14 December 2006 on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2007 as modified by the Council (all sections)(8) that this agreement was expected to be received by July 2007; has consequently decided to enter in Chapter 10 0 (“Provisional appropriation”) 10% of the 2007 budget of the Joint Service cost; is ready to release the appropriations from the reserve as soon as the new cooperation agreement is concluded;

54.  Reaffirms its will to preserve this cooperation agreement, which constitutes an example of good interinstitutional cooperation and increases the efficiency of both entities thanks to enhanced expertise in logistical and technical tasks and the possibility for the core business services to be relieved of day-to-day management tasks;

Section VI - European Economic and Social Committee

55.  Has decided in agreement with the European Economic and Social Committee to leave the standard abatement at a level of 4%;

56.  Agrees with the Council on the request for upgradings for career development following Article 6 of the Staff Regulations and Articles 6, 9 and 10 of Annex XIII thereto; recalls that Article 47(1) of the Financial Regulation offers a 10% flexibility of the establishment plan in case of unforeseen events and should not be used as a main tool to upgrade staff;

57.  Has decided on the creation of five new permanent posts (4 AD5 and 1 AST3);

58.  Has increased the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 546 178 which represents a 1.82 % increase over the 2007 budget;

Section VII - Committee of the Regions

59.  Has decided in agreement with the Committee of the Regions to restore the standard abatement to a level of 4%; has therefore restored the corresponding appropriations;

60.  Has decided on the following establishment plan measures:

- the confirmation of the 15 AD posts related to the enlargement to Bulgaria and Romania as agreed by the Council in its draft budget (1 AD9 and 14 AD5),

- the creation of 10 AST additional permanent posts related to the enlargement to Romania and Bulgaria (5 AST3 and 5 AST1); is ready to examine the possibility of creating seven further AST posts related to this enlargement in the future,

- the creation of a new Director's post through the upgrading of an available AD14 post to AD15 for the unit on Communication, Press and Protocol;

61.  Has increased the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 1 054 962 which represents a 6.12 % increase, including the costs related to enlargement, over the 2007 budget;

Section VIII - Ombudsman

62.  Has increased, following the priorities defined by the Ombudsman, the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 142 230 which represents a 4.36% increase over the 2007 budget;

Section IX - European Data Protection Supervisor

63.   Agrees with the Council not to apply a standard abatement;

64.  Has decided on the creation of the four posts requested funded for six months as follows:

-      the confirmation of the three AD posts agreed by the Council in its draft budget (2 AD7 and 1 AD9),

-      the creation of one additional post at AST3 level instead of AST9;

65.  Has increased the appropriations made available by the Council in the draft budget by EUR 83 058 to maintain its level of development, which represents an increase of 7.10% over the 2007 budget;

0

0 0

66.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution together with the amendments to Sections I, II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX of the draft general budget to the Council, the Commission and the other institutions and bodies concerned.

(1)

OJ L 253, 7.10.2000, p. 42.

(2)

OJ L 248, 16.9.2002, p. 1. Regulation as amended by Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1995/2006 (OJ L 390, 30.12.2006, p. 1).

(3)

OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p.1.

(4)

OJ C 172, 18.6.1999, p. 1. Agreement as last amended by Decision 2005/708/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 269, 14.10.2005, p. 24).

(5)

Texts adopted of that date, P6_TA(2007)0099.

(6)

Texts adopted of that date, P6_TA(2007)0237.

(7)

OJ C 313 E, 20.12.2006, p. 415.

(8)

Texts Adopted of that date, P6_TA(2006)0570.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Overview of Heading 5 (Administrative expenditure) other sections

European Union Budget for Year 2008

1. The multiannual framework fixes the ceiling of heading 5 in 2008 at EUR 7 457 000 000 which represents an increase of 4,8% over the 2007 budget. After the publication of the Preliminary Draft Budgets (PDB) of the institutions, heading 5 amounts to EUR 7 286 417 754 which leaves a margin of EUR 170.58 million as shown in the table below.

Institutions

Budget 2007

PDB 2008

Variation

2007/2008

Difference

2007/2008

Parliament

1 397 460 174

1 436 400 000

38.939.826

2.8%

Council

593 528 212

598 770 000

5.241.788

0.88%

Court of Justice

272 219 390

301 713 239

29 493 849

10.8%

Court of Auditors

121 080 000

134 510 000

13 430 000

11.1%

European Economic and Social Committee

112 694 342

117 073 473

4.379.131

 

3.9%

Committee of Regions

67 099 232

73 137 594

6.038.362

9.0%

Ombudsman

8.152.800

8.535.000

382.200

4.7%

European Data Protection Supervisor

4.955.726

5.579.612

623.886

 

12.6%

Subtotal other sections

2.577.189.876

2.675.718.918

98.529.042

3.8%

Commission (including pensions)

4.365.200.000

4.610.698.836

245.498.836

 

5.6%

Total Heading 5

6 942 363 000

7.286.417.754

344.027.878

5.0%

Margin

172 637 000

170.582.246

 

 

Ceiling Heading 5

7 115 000 000

7 457 000 000

342.000.000

4.8%

* including an amending budget of EUR 563 545

2. The purpose of this working document is to give an overview of the PDB of all institutions with the exception of the administrative expenditure of the Commission, which will be examined in a separate working document.

3. The average rate of increase of the budget of the other institutions is of 3.8% which is within the ceiling of the growth forecast foreseen in the 2007-2013 Multiannual Framework (MMF).

4. In the guidelines resolution for the 2008 budget, the Parliament called on the institutions to consider the 2007 budget as a reference year and to limit the increase of their budget to the inflation rate since no major events justifying an increase are foreseen in 2008. Only for specific reasons which are duly justified, shall the budgetary authority consider the allocation of additional funds.

5. Despite this recommendation, the rapporteur notes that the PDB presented by some institutions does not reflect this concern even though this is the way to boost the citizens' confidence in EU institutions. The rapporteur expects the institutions to contribute more actively to this aim and therefore strongly recommends them to prioritise their requests.

6. The guidelines resolution also highlights the need for reinforcement of interinstitutionnel cooperation. A report on this issue is expected by 1 July 2007.

7. Regarding staff, the rapporteur considers that the best use of redeployment should be made by the institutions to cover their needs. He points out that very few institutions use this possibility.

8. A standard abatement has been applied to appropriations in Chapter 11 (salaries for officials and members of the temporary staff) to take into account the estimated number of posts for which no payment will be made in 2008. It ranges from 0 to 7%.

European Parliament (Section I)

EP

 

PDB 2008

1.436.400.000

Budget 2007

1.397.460.174

Budget 2006

1.321.600.000

Total increase 2008/2006

+ 8.68 %

Total increase 2008/2007

+ 2.8 %

 

 

Establishment plan 2008

5933

Establishment plan 2007

5933

Standard abatement

7%

9. The Parliament set its estimates at EUR 1 436.4 million, this is a 2,8% increase over the 2007 budget which is in line with the guidelines resolution. It was EUR 55 million under the self-imposed ceiling of 20% of heading 5, which was initially foreseen by the Bureau, to be allocated to new projects under development. These will be examined when concrete proposals are presented in September, keeping in mind the decision of the plenary on the level of the budget. The needs in appropriations to be allocated to new posts will also be considered at this stage.

10. For more details, see the resolution of 7 June 2007 on Parliament’s estimates for 2008.

Council (Section II)

Council

 

Estimates 2008

598 770 000 Eur

Budget 2007

593 528 212 Eur

Outturn 2006

591 752 953 Eur

Total increase 2008/2006

+ 1.18%

Total increase 2008/2007

+ 0.88%

 

 

Establishment plan 2008

3497

Establishment plan 2007

3497

Standard abatement

7%

11. The estimates set by the Council would amount to EUR 598.7 million, which corresponds for the second year running to an increase inferior to 1%. This is made possible due to the absence of any request for new posts and a substantial reduction of the cost of buildings after the purchase of the LEX building (- EUR 11.94 million in Chapter 20 ("buildings and related cost")), which allows some increase in specific areas. In particular, an amount of EUR 15 million is entered in Chapter 10 0 ("provisional appropriations").

12. The Council’s share of heading 5 would therefore remain at a level of 8,03% which is comparable to the last 5 years.

13. The expenditure under title 3 ("expenditure arising out of the institutions performance of its specific missions") related to the ESDP/CFSP remains at a comparable level of recent years at EUR 38.52 million, this is a reduction of EUR 1.86 million compared to the 2007 Budget.

14. Contrary to the other institutions, the Council does not submit its estimates to the Commission. After examination of the administration’s proposals, the appropriations are voted on at the Council’s first reading of the budget.

Court of Justice (Section IV)

15. The Court of Justice’s PDB is set at EUR 301,7 million which represents an increase of 10,83% mainly supported by Title 1 ("persons working with the institution") and Title 2 ("buildings, furniture, equipment and miscellaneous operating expenditure") ;

ECJ       

 

PDB 2008

301 713 239 Eur

Budget 2007

272 219 390 Eur

Budget 2006 (incl. AB 6/2005)

250 338 602 Eur

Total increase 2008/2006

20.52 %

Total increase 2008/2007

10.83%

 

 

Establishment Plan 2008

New post requested

1904

22

Establishment Plan 2007

1882

Upgradings requested

94

Standard abatement

3%

16. Under title 1, with the exception of the indexation of salaries and the upgradings provided for by the Staff regulations, the Court of Justice is asking for 22 new posts: 9 temporary posts for the cabinets of the General Advocates and the President of the Tribunal of Civil Service, and 13 permanent posts to reinforce the administration.

17. Moreover, following the agreement of the budgetary authority to recruit, as contract agents, 5 proof readers in the pivot languages, the Court of Justice is requesting the recruiting of a third proof reader in the 10 remaining languages. A reinforcement by EUR 370 000 of the corresponding item is therefore proposed.

18. Under title 2, an additional EUR 30.6 million are necessary, which is +7% over the 2007 budget. This will finance the second instalment of the New Palais (EUR 17,2 million) and the related costs for fitting-out, furniture and equipment (EUR 13,4 million) in order to move into the buildings during the second half of the year. From 2009 onwards, the Court of Justice would have to pay the same amount yearly (EUR 30 million) to the Luxembourg State in reimbursement of the long term lease (20 years) unless the Court is able to make anticipated payments.

Court of Auditors (Section V)

ECA

 

Estimates 2008

134 510 000

Budget 2007

121 080 000

Budget 2006

113 196 491

Total increase in %

11.09%

Establishment Plan 2008

New posts requested

858

22

Establishment Plan 2007

836

Standard abatement

4,07%

19. The Court of Auditor’s PDB is set at EUR 134,5 million, which corresponds to an increase of 11,09% over the 2007 budget. 4.96% of this increase is considered as "unavoidable expenditure".

20. Indeed the 2008 budget includes the renewal of mandates of seven members of the Court (EUR +1.1 million) and the creation of 22 new posts (18 auditors and 4 posts in the administrative unit) out of these posts, two follow the commitment taken last year by the Parliament “to create a further two posts in the 2008 financial year”. The others respond mainly to criticisms made in the discharge report.

21. Regarding the building, the Court has to face the modernisation of its K1 building in order to put it in line with the health and security rules of the Luxembourg State (EUR + 4.99 million).

Economic and Social Committee (ESC) and Committee of the Regions (CoR)

22. The PDB presented by the two committees includes the continuation of their joint service under the hospice of a new cooperation agreement which is still under negotiation. Last December the budgetary authority had asked to receive its renewal by July 2007 in order to have the time to take into account its consequences during the budgetary procedure. An absence of the agreement at an early stage of the procedure could be misunderstood especially when one of the committees asked for an increase of its part of the joint service of 2,7% (ESC) and the other of 8,38% (CoR). Therefore the Rapporteur strongly invites the two committees to conclude their negotiations quickly.

Economic and Social Committee (Section VI)

ESC

 

PDB 2008

117 073 473

Budget 2007

112 694 342

Budget 2006

107 984 805

Total increase in 2008/2006

+ 8.41%

Total increase in 2008/2007

+ 3.88 %

 

 

Establishment plan 2008

New posts requested

705

10

Establishment plan 2007

695

Standard abatement

3,5%

23.  The Economic and Social Committee’s PDB is set at EUR 117,07 million, which corresponds to an increase of 3,88% over the 2007 budget. As recommended in the guidelines resolution, the increase of the operational expenditures is close to the inflation rate. The rest of the increase is on buildings expenditures despite the frontloading of EUR 1.99 million from 2006 to 2007 to fit out the two new buildings (Remorqueur and Van Maerland) and the related technical and offices expenditures (EUR +1.3 million over B'2007).

24.  For the first time, the ESC proposed to cover part of its needs by the redeployment of 10 posts in order to limit the growth of its establishment plan. 10 new posts are however requested to reinforce the general secretariat and the register, two directorates on advisory works and the directorate on human and financial resources.

25.  At the same time the ESC has asked for the reinforcement of the appropriation allocated to the budget lines for contract agents and seconded national experts.

Committee of the Regions (Section VII)

CoR

 

PDB 2008

73 137 594

Budget 2007

67 099 232

Budget 2006

63 362 670

Total increase in 2008/2006

+ 15.42 %

Total increase in 2008/2007

+ 9%

 

 

Establishment Plan 2008

New posts requested

500

34

Establishment Plan 2007

466

Standard abatement

3%

26.  The Committee of the Regions’ PDB is set at EUR 73,1 million which corresponds to an increase of 9% over the 2007 budget. This is mainly due to the decision to defer the request for the creation of the 32 non-linguistic posts related to the enlargement to Bulgaria and Romania to the 2008 budget. The CoR also asks for the creation of two additional posts to reinforce its administration.

27.  In parallel, the CoR has decided to develop a new project the "Lisbon platform" (EUR +0.79 million) to find ways to contribute to the EU initiative of creating more growth and jobs in the EU economy and to reinforce its strategy in communication by "bringing the EU closer to citizens" (EUR +0.133 million).

Ombudsman (Section VIII)

 

 

PDB 2008

8.535.000 Eur

Budget 2007

8.152.800 Eur

Outturn 2006

6.770.255 Eur

Total increase 2008/2006

+26.06%

Total increase 2008/2007

+ 4.69%

 

 

Establishment plan 2008

57

Establishment plan 2007

57

Standard abatement

none

28.  The increase over the 2007 budget amounts to EUR 383 000 which is mostly absorbed by the indexation of salaries and the upgrading exercise (11 AST and 1 AD).

29.  Since 2006 the Ombudsman has reached its cruising speed which makes it able to cope with the volume of complaints received each year from citizens, raising around 3 800. In this context for the 2nd year the Ombudsman does not ask for any new posts. Therefore no standard abatement is attached to its budget.

European Data-Protection Supervisor (Section IX)

EDPS

 

PDB 2008

5.579.612 Eur

Budget 2007

4.955.726 Eur

Outturn 2006 *

3.807.087 Eur

Total increase 2008/2006

+ 46.56%

Total increase 2008/2007

+ 12.59%

 

 

Establishment plan 2008

Posts requested

33

(1AD9, 2AD7 and 1AST9)

Establishment plan 2007

29

Standard abatement

none

* included the supplementary budget adopted within the year

30.      As a recent institution, the EDPS pursues its expansion and presents a budget with an amount of EUR 5.57 million (+12,59%). With the exception of the indexation of salaries and two upgradings, it includes the creation of 4 new permanent posts funded for the full year. As in previous years the posts are foreseen at a higher grade than the basic grade recommended in the staff regulations, to benefit from the transfer of experienced staff from the other institutions.


OPINION of the Committee on International Trade (12.9.2007)

for the Committee on Budgets

on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008

(C6-0288/2006 – 2007/2019B(BUD))

Section I - European Parliament

Draftsperson: Peter Šťastný

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on International Trade calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Stresses that, since 2002, Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a Geneva-based international organisation, have been jointly organising and co-financing the "Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organization" (WTO), a permanent mechanism of parliamentary oversight of the WTO;

2.  Notes that the principal objective of the "Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organization" is to enhance the external transparency of the WTO and to make it accountable to legislators as elected representatives of the people; further notes that it is a forum in which members of parliaments from all over the world exchange opinions, information and experience on international trade issues and provide a parliamentary dimension to the WTO by: i) overseeing WTO activities and promoting their effectiveness and fairness; ii) promoting the transparency of WTO procedures and improving dialogue between governments, parliaments and civil society; and iii) building capacity in parliaments in matters of international trade and exerting influence on the direction of discussions within the WTO;

3.  Reiterates its declared aim to accompany WTO negotiations with a parliamentary process; stresses, therefore, that there will be a continual future need to finance this crucial activity; notes, in this regard, that in 2008 there will be at least an Annual Session of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO, either in parallel with the WTO Ministerial Conference - if it is organised - or otherwise in Brussels or Geneva and that there will be two sessions of its Steering Committee in Geneva.

PROCEDURE

Title

Draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008, Section I - European Parliament

Procedure number

C6-0288/2007 - 2007/2019B(BUD)

Committee responsible

BUDG

Opinion by
  Date announced in plenary

INTA
24.9.2007

Enhanced cooperation – date announced in plenary

 

Draftsman
  Date appointed

Peter Šťastný
28.2.2007

Previous drafts(wo)man

 

Discussed in committee

17.7.2007

11.9.2007

 

 

 

Date adopted

11.9.2007

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

23

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Graham Booth, Carlos Carnero González, Daniel Caspary, Ignasi Guardans Cambó, Glyn Ford, Béla Glattfelder, Eduard Raul Hellvig, Jacky Henin, Sajjad Karim, Caroline Lucas, Marusya Ivanova Lyubcheva, Erika Mann, Helmuth Markov, Vural Öger, Georgios Papastamkos, Tokia Saïfi, Peter Šťastný, Robert Sturdy, Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna, Corien Wortmann-Kool, Zbigniew Zaleski

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Bastiaan Belder, Małgorzata Handzlik, Pia Elda Locatelli, Carl Schlyter

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

Comments (available in one language only)

...


OPINION of the Committee on Petitions (3.10.2007)

for the Committee on Budgets

on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008

(C6-0288/2007) - 2007/2019B(BUD))

Section VIII(A) - European Ombudsman

Draftswoman: Luciana Sbarbati

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The Committee on Petitions has taken note of the European Ombudsman's estimates of his budgetary requirements for the year 2008, which he submitted to the President of the European Parliament by letter of 4 April 2007, in accordance with Article 31 of the Financial Regulation.

We all know that the Ombudsman has a range of different activities. In addition to the core activity of handling complaints and making enquiries, over time complementary activities have developed, such as that of cooperation within the European network of ombudsmen, and subsidiary activities, such as that of communication, which has recently crystallised into a threefold strategy of public relations, restructuring of the website and communication targeted at categories and groups of users. As well as these, there are administrative and management activities, both horizontal and those supporting the activities geared to the public who approach the Ombudsman.

The final figures for 2006 show that expenditure on staff and the cost of the activities which are closely related to the Ombudsman's mandate account for not more than 48% of the total, while those concerning communication and horizontal services account for 21% and 24%, respectively.

With regard to the workload attributable to complaints, the figures for the first quarter of 2007 appear to confirm that the level recorded in the two previous years remains stable. On this basis the projected expenditure for the Ombudsman's budget for 2008 should remain little changed.

The total appropriations requested amount to € 8 252 800, representing an increase of € 382 200 and equivalent to a 4.69% increase over the 2007 budget. For the same period the European Parliament is projecting expenditure amounting to € 1 491 400 000, which represents a 6.7% increase compared with last year. In this context the budget shows clearly that expenditure on staff, which is a fixed heading, accounts for 75.4% of the total. Although the stabilisation of the workload has curbed the growth in the establishment plan, which almost doubled between 2003 and 2006, from 31 posts to 57 now, the biggest increase in expenditure, equivalent to a 4.65% increase, is accounted for by the upgrading of 12 existing posts (11 ASTs and 1 AD), compared with a 3% increase in expenditure for that purpose in the European Parliament's budget.

The new policy on translation, involving cooperation with the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the EU, the streamlining of the main working documents, the selection of documents to be translated and the posting of some of these, in summary form, on the Internet does not yet seem to have borne fruit, particularly in terms of cost savings. A further source of expenditure for 2008 is apparently attributable to the increased unit cost (rising from € 42.50 to €59.60) per page translated for the Ombudsman by the European Parliament. This would entail a 13% increase for expenditure on this item, compared with 2007. The draftswoman not only does not underestimate the importance of interpreting and translation services as vehicles for a range of forms of dialogue with the public, but also supports their enhancement, so as to reduce the time needed by individual Members to access the documents, with a view to improving all the procedures; however, she also calls on the Ombudsman to diversify his sources of translation by opting for the most economical – such as the Translation Centre and freelance translators – and also to improve their contractual performance in terms of speed and the effectiveness of what is produced.

Finally, the draftswoman urges the Ombudsman to make full use of all the potential offered by the new cooperation agreement between the two Institutions, which was signed on 15 March 2006 and came into effect in April 2006. In this connection she calls on him to submit a report on and an up-to-date assessment of the results of the agreement, particularly in the key sectors of translation and information technology (Articles 7 and 12), where it is possible to achieved the greatest degree of synergy, in relation to the parallels between the Ombudsman's main activity and the more wide-ranging activity of the Committee on Petitions.

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Petitions calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Considers that the 4.69% increase in the budget can be approved, bearing in mind the impact of inflation and the increased cost of living as anticipated by the Commission, provided that it represents a reference threshold for the future if the stabilisation of the level of complaints continues;

2.  Is pleased that the Ombudsman has succeeded in generating savings on some budget lines, albeit on a smaller scale than in 2007, and encourages him to continue the policy of redeploying savings on expenditure in his budget;

3.  Asks the Ombudsman's Office to take a multiannual view of the costs of upgrading staff posts (12 in 2008, including 11 ASTs and 1 AD), and to give reasons case by case, in the annual report, for the use of the possibilities for career progression, indicating the various criteria used for promotions;

4.  Supports the Ombudsman's more elastic approach to translation policy, aimed at making the working documents produced more appropriate to the needs of users;

5.  Calls on the Ombudsman to rationalise translation costs and, to that end, to make use of services outside the European Parliament, using contractual means to increase the diversification of the sources used and, at the same time, to optimise the results achieved therefrom;

6.  Reminds the parties to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 15 March 2006 of the need for scrupulous compliance with Article 1(4) thereof concerning payment for cooperative services, on the basis of fair, transparent and reasonable estimates;

7.  Calls on the Ombudsman to report on the application of the new cooperation agreement with the European Parliament, which has been in force for over a year, indicating what have been its benefits and limitations or obstacles, and also signalling what opportunities can be exploited, in particular in the key sectors of interpreting, translation and information technology.

PROCEDURE

Title

Draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008

References

C6-0288/2007 - 2007/2019B(BUD)

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)
  Date announced in plenary

PETI
24.9.2007

Rapporteur
  Date appointed

Luciana Sbarbati
2.5.2007

 

Previous rapporteur(s)

 

 

Discussed in committee

17.7.2007

 

 

 

 

Date adopted

3.10.2007

Result of final vote

+ :

– :

0 :

19

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Simon Busuttil, Michael Cashman, Proinsias De Rossa, Alexandra Dobolyi, David Hammerstein, Marian Harkin, Carlos José Iturgaiz Angulo, Lasse Lehtinen, Marcin Libicki, Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Maria Matsouka, Manolis Mavrommatis, Mairead McGuinness, Gay Mitchell, Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou, Kathy Sinnott, Radu Ţîrle

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Carlos Carnero González, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

Date tabled

8.10.2007

Comments (available in one language only)

 


PROCEDURE

Title

Draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008, Section I – European Parliament, Section II – Council, Section IV – Court of Justice, Section V – Court of Auditors, Section VI – European Economic and Social Committee, Section VII – Committee of the Regions, Section VIII – European Ombudsman, Section IX – European Data Protection Supervisor

References

C6-0288/2007 – 2007/2019B(BUD)

Committee responsible
  Date announced in plenary

BUDG
24.9.2007

Referral for opinion – date announced in plenary

ALL

24.9.2007

Rapporteur(s)
  Date appointed

Ville Itälä
13.12.2006

Previous rapporteur(s)

Louis Grech

Date draft general budget established by the Council

13.7.2007

Date draft general budget forwarded by the Council

10.9.2007

Letter(s) of amendment

 

 

 

 

 

Discussed in committee

11.10.2007

 

 

 

 

Date adopted

11.10.2007

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

29

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Reimer Böge, Simon Busuttil, Paulo Casaca, Gérard Deprez, Brigitte Douay, James Elles, Göran Färm, Szabolcs Fazakas, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Louis Grech, Catherine Guy-Quint, Jutta Haug, Monica Maria Iacob-Ridzi, Ville Itälä, Anne E. Jensen, Janusz Lewandowski, Nils Lundgren, Vladimír Maňka, Jan Mulder, Gérard Onesta, Esko Seppänen, László Surján, Helga Trüpel, Kyösti Virrankoski, Ralf Walter

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Thijs Berman, Bárbara Dührkop Dührkop, Marusya Ivanova Lyubcheva, Paul Rübig

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2)
present for the final vote

 

Date tabled

16.10.2007

Comments
(available in one language only)

...

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