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Procedure : 2007/2019(BUD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0397/2007

Texts tabled :

A6-0397/2007

Debates :

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

Votes :

PV 25/10/2007 - 7.2
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2007)0473

Texts adopted
WORD 76k
Thursday, 25 October 2007 - Strasbourg Final edition
Draft general budget 2008 (Section III)
P6_TA(2007)0473A6-0397/2007
Resolution
 Annex

European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2007 on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008, Section III - Commission (C6-0287/2007 – 2007/2019(BUD)) and Letter of amendment No 1/2008 (13659/2007 - C6-0341/2007) to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to Article 272 of the EC Treaty and Article 177 of the Euratom 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 its resolution of 24 April 2007 on the Commission's annual policy strategy for the 2008 budget procedure(4) ,

–   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 2008, which the Council established on 13 July 2007 (C6-0287/2007),

–   having regard to the decision of its Committee on Budgets of 9 July 2007 on the mandate for the 2008 budget conciliation procedure given before the Council's first reading(5) ,

–   having regard to Letter of amendment No 1/2008 (13659/2007 - C6-0341/2007) to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2008,

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

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A6-0397/2007),

Key issues - Overall figures, MFF revision proposal, Letter of amendment No 1

1.  Recalls that its political priorities for the 2008 budget were set out in its abovementioned APS resolution of 24 April 2007, building on the approaches taken in the preparation of budget 2007 and the negotiations leading to the Interinstitutional Agreement (IIA) of 17 May 2006; underlines that the "budget for results" approach endorsed in that resolution is built upon the pillars of transparent presentation, clear objectives and accurate implementation, such that the Commission is judged not on the basis of bureaucratic process but on the results it delivers towards politically agreed objectives; will continue to emphasise these elements in its further work on the 2008 budget;

2.  On overall figures, deplores the fact that the Council reduced commitment appropriations in the Draft Budget (DB) 2008 by EUR 717 million relative to the preliminary draft budget (PDB), such that commitment appropriations were reduced to EUR 128 401 million; takes a strong position against Council's cuts to overall payments in the DB by EUR 2 123 million which left total payments at EUR 119 410 million, equivalent to 0,95% of EU GNI, thus leaving a margin of more than EUR 10 billion beneath the payments ceiling of the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2008;

3.  As regards commitment appropriations, is particularly critical of cuts made by the Council to appropriations for programmes with multi-annual envelopes that have only very recently been negotiated and agreed in co-decision with the European Parliament; proposes, in its first reading on the 2008 budget, to restore these cuts and considers it necessary to make a number of increases in commitment appropriations for certain political priorities; this has resulted in an aggregate level of EUR 129 688 116 518;

4.  As regards payment appropriations, considers 0,95 % of EU GNI to be an insufficient figure in the light of the policy challenges faced by the EU; expresses its astonishment that the Council should propose over EUR 1 billion of cuts to payments in headings 1a and 1b for programmes identified as priorities under the Lisbon Strategy for improving European competitiveness and cohesion - a long-standing priority of the Council and Parliament; therefore proposes increases in the overall level of payments to 0,99 % of EU GNI; in line with the emphasis on accurate implementation in the "budget for results" approach, has focused these increases on Lisbon priorities and on programmes where levels of unpaid commitments ("reste à liquider " (RALs)) are persistently high;

5.  Welcomes the Commission's proposal of 19 September 2007 requesting a revision of the MFF to provide adequate financing for Galileo and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) over the 2007 - 2013 period; on Galileo, recalls its resolution of 20 June 2007(6) in favour of a Community solution for Galileo; on EIT, considers that the appropriations ought to be budgeted under the policy area "08 research", with the governing structure having its own line ("European Institute of Innovation and Technology - governing structure") under Heading 5 (Administration) and the KICs a separate one ("European Institute of Innovation and Technology - Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs)"); recalls that the appropriations for Galileo and for the EIT were placed in the reserve but were not reduced by the Council in the DB; has proposed amendments for Galileo and EIT in its first reading such that the final appropriations in budget 2008 are contingent upon a satisfactory agreement on the proposed revision of the MFF;

6.  Supports the letter of amendment to the preliminary draft budget 2008 adopted by the Commission on 17 September 2007 and in particular the increases in commitment appropriations proposed for Kosovo (EUR 120 million) and Palestine (EUR 142 million) totalling EUR 262 million over the PDB figures; notes that the Council also proposed increased commitment appropriations for Kosovo and Palestine totalling EUR 260 million in the DB; considers that the Commission and Council should provide a clear explanation of the strategy underlying the proposed increases and the division of appropriations between EC and CFSP categories for Kosovo in advance of Parliament's second reading on the 2008 budget;

7.  Takes note of the Commission's communication of 12 September 2007 on "reforming the budget, changing Europe" (SEC(2007)1188); highlights the fact that the standing rapporteur for the 2007 - 2013 MFF has already prepared a document on this issue and will continue to lead Parliament's further reflections and work on the future of EU budgetary arrangements;

Delivering a budget for results - building on the first reading conciliation

8.  Welcomes the agreement of five joint statements, annexed to this resolution, between the European Parliament and Council at the first reading conciliation on the 2008 budget of 13 July 2007; has reinforced the political importance of these statements by taking them into account in the preparation of amendments to the draft budget in line with the "budget for results" approach;

9.  In line with the joint statement agreed with the Council on 13 July 2007, wishes to see more rapid approval of operational programmes by the Commission in structural funds, cohesion fund and rural development so that operational money can be spent; demands rapid progress in this area from the Commission; in order to accelerate progress, places certain administrative costs of the Commission in reserve; underlines that no operational funds are placed in reserve; will release the reserves on administrative costs in line with an improved rate of approval of operational programmes;

10.  On recruitment and redeployment, has placed EUR 49 million in reserve pending the commitment of the Commission to carry out a study on ABM implementation before 30 April 2008 with the following information for the budgetary authority:

   How the different components of the SPP-ABM cycle (APS, CLWP, AMP ...) can be better integrated with each other?
   How the integration of the SPP-ABM cycle with other cycles (HR cycle, risk management, evaluation ...) can be improved, possibly via an integrated IT system?
   The communication of a list of clear pre-determined performance indicators to be used throughout the whole cycle in order to improve performance management;
and:
   The commitment of the Commission to present a follow-up to its report "on planning and optimising Commission human resources to serve EU priorities" by 30 April 2008 which will highlight in particular a detailed breakdown of staff per category, and by Directorate General, and the evolution foreseen for the coming years;
   A communication by the Commission on the current situation and the state of play concerning the implementation of Point 44 of the IIA of 17 May 2006;

11.  On assigned revenues, insists on improved transparency in this area; proposes changes to the assigned revenues instrument for decentralised agencies with a view to a closer matching of assigned revenues to specific agencies; expresses its concern that the use of assigned revenue within the sugar restructuring fund has created a de facto "budget within a budget" that is difficult to reconcile with the budgetary principle of universality enshrined in the Financial Regulation; expresses its openness to revise the Financial Regulation as regards assigned revenue;

12.  On decentralised agencies, restores PDB levels with the exception of FRONTEX for which an increase of EUR 30 million is adopted under Title 3 and with the exception of the European Environment Agency with a slight increase under Title 3; welcomes the progress made by the newest agencies in expanding their activities in an effective and efficient manner; requests greater clarity in the future regarding work-plans and medium-term staffing needs;

13.  Stresses that in order to establish the Joint Undertakings, as well as the announced new decentralised Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, the procedure provided for in Point 47 of the IIA of 17 May 2006 must be opened;

14.  On executive agencies, recalls the obligations of the Commission set by the "Code of Conduct on the setting up of an Executive Agency"(7) ; considers that executive agencies must not, either now or in the future, lead to an increase in the share of administrative cost; underlines that any proposal for the creation of a new executive agency, and the expansion of existing executive agencies, must be based on a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis and that lines of accountability and responsibility should be clearly set out in the proposal;

15.  Welcomes the fact that the activity statements provided with the PDB 2008 delivered an improved focus on objectives and indicators of results rather than long descriptions of administrative process; notes, however, that there remains a significant gap between Commission Directorates-General as regards the quality of Activity Statements; expects further improvements in future years;

16.  Considers that performance indicators are now being used by the Commission as an integral part of ex ante budgetary planning but requests that performance indicators should play a stronger role in ex post performance evaluation; is of the opinion that the data provided in activity statements should be better integrated with the annual activity reports of each Directorate-General; considers that this would assist the Budgetary Authority in monitoring the extent to which additional resources requested lead to the delivery of results and not simply to the creation of additional bureaucracy;

17.  Welcomes the monitoring group exercise conducted by its Committee on Budgets in the course of 2007; hopes that this exercise can continue to contribute to an enhanced level of budgetary monitoring; continues to support the Budget Forecast Alert (BFA) system as a contribution to improving budget implementation; requests that the second BFA document be presented in September, and not October, 2008 so that Parliament may take this document into account in preparing its first reading on the 2009 draft budget;

18.  Recalls that, in accordance with Article 53b of the Financial Regulation and Point 44 of the IIA of 17 May 2006, which aim at ensuring effective and integrated internal control of Community funds and national management declarations as a final goal, the Member States have committed themselves to "produce an annual summary at the appropriate national level of the available audits and declarations"; notes that, according to information received from the Commission, only a limited number of Member States have complied with the provisions of the IIA so far; regrets that none of the concrete proposals on national (management) declarations put forward by the European Parliament in its 2003, 2004 and 2005 discharge resolutions are incorporated in the Commission's Audit Strategy and requests the Commission to keep the Parliament informed; reminds the Member States of their obligation to comply with the provisions of the revised Financial Regulation, to which they only recently agreed; reiterates that Member States are further obliged to fulfil the conditions set out in Point 44 of the IIA as well as being obliged under Article 274 TEC to cooperate fully with the Commission according to the principles of sound financial management;

19.  Reiterates the importance of improving budget implementation in line with the declaration adopted at the November 2006 budget conciliation; requests the Commission to provide information on the actions undertaken or foreseen in order to apply this declaration; recalls that this information should be presented regularly at the trialogue meetings;

20.  Urges the Commission to apply in full Council Regulation No 1 of 15 April 1958 determining the languages to be used by the European Economic Community and dismisses financial grounds for derogations as invalid, since they have not been advanced during the budgetary procedure;

Specific issues - main elements by budget heading, pilot projects, preparatory actions

21.  On heading 1a, "Competitiveness for growth and employment", rejects the cuts in commitment and payment appropriations made by the Council in its first reading, especially where these cover multi-annual programmes recently co-decided with Parliament that aim to deliver on the Lisbon Strategy; restores these cuts and proposes increases on a number of lines that are political priorities for Parliament; proposes a number of pilot projects and preparatory actions in line with its budgetary prerogatives; underlines the importance of reducing the stigma of business failure in the context of the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP);

22.  On heading 1b, "Cohesion for growth and employment", deplores the cuts in payment appropriations made in the Council's first reading; restores these cuts and proposes increases totalling EUR 2 000 000 000 in payments on lines where RALs have been consistently high in recent years; demands more streamlined administrative procedures in order to improve implementation of operational programmes for structural and cohesion funds also in terms of qualitative aspects which have the strongest impact of the Union on its citizens' lives;

23.  Recalls the decision to establish the EU Long Range Identification and Tracking Data Centre (LRIT) operated by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) by 31 December 2008 (EP Position of 25 April 2007(8) and Council resolution of 2 October 2007); acknowledges the need for additional financing in 2008 for EMSA in order to cover this new function;

24.  Welcomes the documentation and explanations provided by the Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) concerning the Risk Sharing Finance Facilities (RSFF); is of the opinion that the reserve on these lines can be taken out of the budget; asks however to be informed and for the relevant documents to be forwarded to it when the guidelines are adopted for the second component of CIP, the venture capital instruments, and asks to be informed on the outcome of the negotiations between EIB and Commission on the joint cooperation for the Loan guarantee instrument for TEN-Transport (LGTT);

25.  On heading 2, "Preservation of natural resources", is strongly opposed to the indiscriminate cuts proposed by Council to many lines under this heading of the budget; restores the PDB for many such lines but notes that the Council will have the final say on those lines which concern compulsory expenditure; demands clearer presentation of the figures for market measures and direct aids in future budgetary procedures; is concerned by the slow rate of adoption of operational programmes as regards the rural development pillar of the CAP, a long-standing priority of Parliament; expects to see rapid improvements in this regard;

26.  Emphasises the need to speed up the procedure regarding the drawing-up of special national programmes for the recovery of crops and animal production in the areas affected by fires and other forms of natural disasters; stresses that those programmes should be financed from the EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) by internal transfers or subsidies within a Member State;

27.  On heading 3a, "Freedom, security and justice", places appropriations for the Return Fund in reserve pending the adoption of the legal base; also places appropriations in reserve pending the provision of improved information to Parliament regarding the fight against crime; underlines the importance of the work of the Frontex agency; considers that the Frontex agency must play a more effective role in strengthening the EU's external borders, notably in alleviating the burden currently faced by Member States in connection with illegal immigration; calls on the Agency to present regularly to its competent committee the state of play and the scheduled forthcoming operations; urges the Member States to deliver on their promises and support the Agency's missions so that the Agency can perform its tasks more effectively;

28.  On heading 3b, "Citizenship", deplores the cuts made by the Council under this heading, which would affect programmes such as Culture 2007, Media 2007 and Youth in action; restores the PDB and proposes appropriations for a number of new and ongoing pilot projects and preparatory actions in this regard; draws attention to the fact that funding for the information and prevention campaign HELP comes to an end in the budget for 2008 and expects the Commission to submit a follow-up initiative; supports, additionally, within the Civil Protection Financial Instrument, the provision of a complementary capability in the form of a stand-by force for handling natural or man-made disasters as well as in cases of acts of terrorism or environmental accidents;

29.  Calls on the Commission to give repeated backing for investment in infrastructure to improve accommodation for refugees;

30.  Seeks to encourage a stronger voice for less well represented groups in civil society, combating all forms of discrimination and strengthening the rights of women, children, disabled and older persons;

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

32.  On heading 4, "EU as a global partner", supports the increases, including for Kosovo and Palestine, in the Commission's letter of amendment to the PDB of 17 September 2007; proposes an additional EUR 10 million each for Kosovo (line 22 02 02) and Palestine (line 19 08 01 02) and further increases for its priorities up to the MFF ceiling, including the restoration of the PDB for the Emergency Aid Reserve; cuts CFSP spending by EUR 40 million to the level of budget 2007; requests the use of the flexibility instrument to a total of EUR 87 million for CFSP spending and other priorities, including Kosovo and Palestine; considers that this reflects the chronic under-funding of heading 4 in the 2007 - 2013 MFF;

33.  Is of the opinion that respect for human rights and democratic values should be one of the conditions of allocation of EU funds to neighbouring and developing countries;

34.  Reminds the Council that the regular joint committee meetings on CFSP should promote a real, ex ante political dialogue, instead of being used merely to inform Parliament in an ex post manner;

35.  Believes that the EU should better coordinate its various and laudable initiatives to fight and eradicate poverty-related diseases in neighbouring and developing countries; proposes to allocate adequate budget resources to provide these countries with the necessary technical assistance instruments; has decided to create a separate budget line for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in order to improve transparency and guarantee the necessary funding for both the Global Fund and the other health priorities;

36.  On heading 5, "Administration", considers that clear lines of responsibility and accountability are an essential component of continuing the process of modernising the EU's administration; recalls that clear political objectives and individual responsibility for carrying them out against indicators to be laid down when the data from the various studies requested by its Committee on Budgets on the subject are submitted should be the direction of future reforms of the system;

37.  In this context, deplores the inefficiencies inherent in a competition system that can leave "approved candidates" languishing on a reserve list for years with no guarantee of being offered a position; considers that maintaining this approach would contribute to lowering the average standard of new EU officials as the best candidates will seek employment in more dynamic sectors of the EU economy; requests a serious commitment from the Commission to look again at this issue in the context of follow-up work to the screening exercise and provide further information with a more detailed breakdown of staff per category and by Directorate General and the evolution foreseen for the coming years;

38.  Restores the PDB for the cuts made by Council to appropriations and establishment plans in heading 5; places EUR 49 million in reserve pending the provision of the abovementioned data and studies; wishes to maintain and develop a constructive inter-institutional dialogue regarding ongoing efforts to improve administrative practices in the EU institutions; underlines the importance of adequate recruitment from "EU 12" Member States; takes the view that, in connection with enlargement, documents of relevance to discussions and decisions, such as, for example, impact assessments, should be made available in all languages necessary, since those documents are tools for better lawmaking; recalls in this connection that its Committee on Budgets has launched, via two studies, a process to analyse the objectives of the administrative reform of the Commission, focusing on the introduction of activity-based budgeting (ABB) and activity-based management (ABM), the introduction of the strategic planning cycle and allocation of the related administrative expenditure;

39.  Calls on the Commission to present a report on benchmarks with staff in other international organisations as a follow-up to its report on planning and optimising human resources; further calls on the Commission to present guidelines to facilitate the financing of public infrastructure under public-private partnerships (PPP);

40.  On pilot projects, proposes a range of innovative projects that respond to current policy challenges in the EU;

41.  On preparatory actions, proposes a range of initiatives that should pave the way for future actions that enhance the European Union's capacity to deal with the real needs of its citizens;

o
o   o

42.  Takes note of the opinions voted by the specialised committees as contained in report A6-0397/2007;

43.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution and its annexes, together with the amendments and proposed modifications to Section III of the draft general budget, to the Council and Commission, and to 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) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0131.
(5) PE 391.970.
(6) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0272.
(7) "Code of Conduct on the setting up of an Executive Agency" as agreed by the Commission in its letter of 20 April 2004 (Annex to the European Parliament resolution of 22 April 2004 on Draft amending budget No 6 of the European Union for the financial year 2004 (OJ C 104 E, 30.4.2004, p. 951)).
(8) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0146.


ANNEX

Joint Statements agreed at the conciliation of 13 July 2007

1.   Structural and Cohesion Funds and Rural Development 2007-2013 programmes

"The European Parliament and the Council attach the greatest importance to a rapid approval by the Commission of the operational programmes and projects presented by Member States in relation with the new Structural and Cohesion Funds programmes for the 2007-2013 period, as well as for programmes financed under rural development.

In order to avoid the past experience during the beginning of the 2000-2006 programming period, the European Parliament and the Council will monitor rigorously and on a regular basis the process of approval of operational programmes and projects in view of more efficiency and good administration. To this end, the Commission is requested to continue to provide regularly specific monitoring tools, including a flow chart, during the budgetary procedure."

2.   Recruitment in relation with the 2004 and 2007 enlargement

"The European Parliament and the Council note with concern the low occupancy of posts at Middle Management level, the rather high ratio of permanent posts occupied by temporary agents and the lack of a sufficient number of appropriate competitions.

The European Parliament and the Council insist that all efforts should be made by the institutions and specifically by EPSO to ensure that the necessary action is taken to rectify the situation and to speed up the whole process of filling up the posts granted by the budgetary authority with officials. The criteria should be as stipulated in Article 27 of the Staff Regulation and to arrive at the broadest possible geographical proportional basis as soon as possible.

The European Parliament and the Council intend to continue to monitor closely the ongoing recruitment process. To this effect, they request each institution and EPSO to provide twice a year an information to the budgetary authority on the state of affairs regarding recruitments in relation with the 2004 and 2007 enlargement.

The European Parliament and the Council invite the Secretaries-general of the institutions to present a report on the progress made in the field as follows:

   - concerning the filling of the posts granted in 2004-07 budgets by the end of January 2008;
   - concerning the filling of the posts granted in 2008 by 15 June 2008 and by 31 October 2008."

3.   Assigned revenues

"The European Parliament and the Council believe that increasing transparency in the budgetary field is part of a sound financial management of the EU funds.

In this context, they ask the Commission and the other institutions to provide appropriate, timely and detailed documentation on assigned revenues, covering actual implementation and forecasts as far as possible, to accompany the Preliminary Draft Budget. The Commission will provide appropriate information on assigned revenues in relation to carry-overs and when available transfers of appropriations; this will entail changes to the format and content of the current documentation and will not prejudge the decisions to be taken by the budgetary authority.

They attach a great importance to the monitoring of the assigned revenues, especially to those related to the Community agencies, and ask the Commission to report regularly on their implementation, in particular on the basis of a specific document before the first reading of the budget. They invite the Commission to present appropriate proposals allowing an effective monitoring and control of the assigned revenues in the context of the upcoming revision of the Framework Financial Regulation (EC, Euratom) No. 2343/2002 for Community agencies.

The Commission is invited to report about the improvements made no later than the beginning of the following budgetary procedure. The European Parliament and the Council will continue to closely pay attention to the management of the assigned revenues expecting rapid improvements in this field."

4.   Decentralised agencies

Concerning the creation or the modification of the scope of a body falling under Article 185 of the Financial Regulation, the two arms of the budgetary authority ask the Commission to inform them timely on the ongoing legislative procedure in order to enable them to exert their prerogatives in accordance with Point 47 of the IIA.

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission demand greater transparency in relation to the decentralised agencies, with a view to better monitoring their development. The Commission will identify for each heading the expenditure for agencies, including its evolution over the 2007-2013 period.

They recall their joint statement on Community agencies adopted on 18 April 2007, especially its point 4, and invites the Commission to provide a list of the agencies that it is going to assess including a detailed timetable for this procedure and a detailed explanation of the criteria used for the selection of the agencies and to present the results each year at the October trilogue at the latest.

To allow the budgetary authority to get a clear and comprehensive picture of evaluations already made, the Commission should give the list of the agencies that have already been evaluated and a short summary of the major findings of these analysis.

They also recall that the abovementioned joint statement of 18 April 2007, the Commission has been invited to provide, simultaneously with each PDB, a working document covering all Community agencies.

To achieve this, decentralised agencies are requested to provide detailed information, on an annual basis, to accompany their draft estimates for the coming budget year. This should include an update of their staff policy plan, with information on the number of permanent and temporary agents covered by the establishment plans and on external staff (contractual agents) for the years n-1 , n and n+1 ; the work programme of the agency and information on the content of their budget, detailing titles 1 and 2.

They shall also make available estimates and indicators such as rents or estimated value of buildings, statute of staff and any privileges granted to the agencies by the host Member States.

Moreover, the agencies should provide, by the end of March each year n at the latest, an estimate of the operating surplus from the year n-1 , which is to be returned to the Community budget later in year n , in order to complete the information already available concerning the surplus of n-2 .

The European Parliament and the Council invite the Commission to proceed to the collection of all information mentioned above, in due time for each PDB, and to collect missing information for this year."

5.   Executive agencies

"The European Parliament and the Council welcomes all efforts to improve the efficiency of the methods used by the European Commission to implement EU policies and programmes.

The creation of executive agencies can constitute a contribution to such efficiency, but only if this method fully respects the principle of sound financial management and total transparency. This means that such agencies must not, either now or in the future, lead to an increase in the share of administrative cost. Therefore, the principle of freezing of posts as defined in Council Regulation (EC) No. 58/2003 of 19 December 2002, as a result of such a reorganisation of tasks, must be adhered to rigorously. Any proposal for the creation of a new executive agency should be based on a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. Lines of accountability and responsibility should be clearly set out in the proposal.

The budgetary authority must be in possession of all the requisite information enabling it to monitor closely the implementation of this principle both currently and in the future. The information in the specific financial statement for the executive agency should therefore cover:

   a. the resources in terms of appropriations and staff required to run the executive agency, showing a breakdown of staff expenditure (permanent and temporary officials and contractual agents) and other administrative expenditure;
   b. the planned secondments of officials from the Commission to the executive agency;
   c. administrative resources freed by transferring tasks from the Commission departments to the executive agency, and the re-allocation of the human resources; in particular the number of staff (including external staff) assigned to each relevant task within the Commission, the number of this staff to be transferred to a proposed new or enlarged agency, the number of Commission posts to be frozen as a consequence and the number of Commission staff to be proposed to be redeployed to other tasks;
   d. consecutive redeployment within the Commission's establishment plan;
   e. the advantages of delegating implementing tasks to an executive agency versus direct management by the Commission services: any comparison of a "Direct management by the Commission services"-scenario to an "executive agency"-scenario shall be based on the resources used to implement the existing programme(s) and its (their) current form in order to have a sound and factual basis for comparison; for new and expanding programmes the evolution of the related financial envelope to be managed by the agency will also be taken into consideration;
   f. a draft establishment plan per grade and per category as well as a well-founded estimate of the number of contractual agents planned and provisionally budgeted;
   g. a clear breakdown of all actors involved in the implementation programme including the remaining share of the operational programme envelope for the implementation of which they are responsible (Commission, executive agencies, remaining Technical Assistance Offices, Member States, national agencies, etc.)

The European Parliament and the Council call on the Commission, before deciding to create a new agency or to extend the remit of an existing agency, to supply complete and detailed information on staffing levels and utilisation enabling the budgetary authority to assess whether the administrative expenditure of implementing a programme has indeed not been increased.

It is recalled that the final decision on staffing remains a matter for the budgetary authority."

Commission declaration on assigned revenue

"The Commission recalls that recovery of amounts wrongly paid is a vital tool for sound financial management; these amounts should be considered in the perspective of a full implementation of the programmes decided under the multi-annual financial framework.

Moreover, the Commission considers that it is not possible to provide the Budgetary Authority with forecasts of assigned revenue other than those that are already included in the Preliminary Draft Budget."

Last updated: 15 August 2008Legal notice