2008/498/EC: Decision of the European Parliament of 24 April 2007 on the discharge for implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2005, Section II - Council


Published: 2008-04-24

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15.7.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 187/20


DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

of 24 April 2007

on the discharge for implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2005, Section II — Council

(2008/498/EC)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,

having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2005 (1),

having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2005 — Volume I (C6-0466/2006) (2),

having regard to the Council's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2005,

having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on implementation of the budget for the financial year 2005 and the Court of Auditors' special reports, together with the audited institutions' replies (3),

having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty (4),

having regard to Articles 272(10), 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty,

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 (5), and in particular Articles 50, 86, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

having regard to Rule 71 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A6-0108/2007),

1.

Grants the Council's Secretary-General discharge for implementation of the Council budget for the financial year 2005;

2.

Sets out its observations in the Resolution below;

3.

Instructs its President to forward this Decision and the Resolution that forms an integral part of it to the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors and the European Investment Bank, and to the national and regional audit institutions of the Member States, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

The President

Hans-Gert PÖTTERING

The Secretary-General

Harald RØMER


(1)  OJ L 60, 8.5.2005.

(2)  OJ C 264, 31.10.2006, p. 1.

(3)  OJ C 263, 31.10.2006, p. 1.

(4)  OJ C 263, 31.10.2006, p. 10.

(5)  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).



15.7.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 187/21


RESOLUTION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

of 24 April 2007

with observations forming an integral part of the Decision on the discharge for the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2005, Section II — Council

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,

having regard to the European Union general budget for the financial year 2005 (1),

having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Communities for the financial year 2005 — Volume I (C6-0466/2006) (2),

having regard to the Council's annual report to the discharge authority on internal audits carried out in 2005,

having regard to the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors on implementation of the budget for the financial year 2005 and the Court of Auditors' special reports, together with the audited institutions' replies (3),

having regard to the statement of assurance as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors pursuant to Article 248 of the EC Treaty (4),

having regard to Articles 272(10), 274, 275 and 276 of the EC Treaty,

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 (5), and in particular Articles 50, 86, 145, 146 and 147 thereof,

having regard to Rule 71 of and Annex V to its Rules of Procedure,

having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A6-0108/2007),

1.

Notes that in 2005 the Council had available commitment appropriations amounting to a total of EUR 588 182 640,52 with a utilisation rate of 96,69 %;

2.

Notes that following the introduction of accrual accounting with effect from 1 January 2005 the Council's financial statements disclose a positive economic out-turn of EUR 19 386 891,40 and identical amounts (EUR 398 520 004,03) of assets and liabilities;

3.

Regrets that unlike other institutions the Council does not submit an annual activity report to the European Parliament, citing the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1970 (Resolution recorded in the minutes of the Council meeting of 22 April 1970) and the absence of any corresponding requirement in the Financial Regulation; calls on the Council to reconsider the decision not to publish an activity report in order to be more accountable to the general public and taxpayers;

4.

Points to the European Court of Auditors' (ECA) finding (paragraph 10.11) that, while the Council's reformed system for reimbursing the travel expenses of delegates of Council Members has greatly reduced the administrative burden, there were insufficient checks on the validity of Member States' statements before payment of the July 2005 instalment;

5.

Notes from the annual report of the internal auditor that, regarding Council delegates' mission expenses, the internal auditor stresses the need for more transparency as to the eligibility of meetings and refundable expenses and recommends the setting-up of a working group to look at such matters;

6.

Takes note of the Council's reply to the ECA that on the basis of a report of the Council's Internal Audit Service on the functioning of the new system of travel expenses of delegates of Council Members one year after its introduction in 2004, the Council Secretariat is currently reviewing the system; notes that each delegation now receives from the Council Secretariat a limited budget with a ceiling;

7.

Recalls that the Council Secretariat was unwilling to reply officially to a questionnaire to all the institutions (including the European Parliament) concerning the use of official cars having regard to the terms of the abovementioned Gentlemen's Agreement;

8.

Points out that the abovementioned Gentlemen's Agreement provides, as regards the section of the budget concerning the European Parliament, that:

‘[t]he Council undertakes to make no amendments to the estimate of expenditure of the European Parliament. This undertaking shall only be binding in so far as this estimate of expenditure does not conflict with Community provisions, in particular with regard to the Staff Regulations of Officials and Conditions of Employment of Other Servants, and to the seat of the institutions’;

9.

Considers that in view of its age and the substantial shortfall between words used and the meaning or interpretation which is attributed to them, the Gentlemen's Agreement may be in need of revision;

10.

Believes that the current compromise consisting in an informal dialogue between the Council and the competent committee's chairman and rapporteur should be widened so as to include a Member from each political group; instructs its competent committee to begin negotiations with the Council with a view to putting revised arrangements for informal dialogue in place in time for the next discharge procedure;

11.

Observes that in its special report No 9/2006 the ECA found that in 2005 the cost per page of translation at the Council was EUR 276 (as against EUR 194 at the Commission and EUR 119 at the European Parliament); notes that this difference is partly explained by the Council Secretariat's success in reducing the number and length of documents sent for translation and establishing a list of core documents and that in due course the Council plans to reduce the number of translation staff substantially;

12.

Calls for maximum transparency in the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP); requests the Council to make sure that, in accordance with point 42 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline and sound financial management (6), no operating CFSP expenditure appears in the Council's budget; reserves the right to take the necessary steps, where appropriate, if the agreement is infringed.


(1)  OJ L 60, 8.3.2005, p. 1.

(2)  OJ C 264, 31.10.2006, p. 1.

(3)  OJ C 263, 31.10.2006, p. 1.

(4)  OJ C 263, 31.10.2006, p. 10.

(5)  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).

(6)  OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.