2008/507/EC: Decision of the European Parliament of 24 April 2007 on the discharge for the implementation of the budget of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2005


Published: 2008-04-24

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15.7.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 187/78


DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

of 24 April 2007

on the discharge for the implementation of the budget of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2005

(2008/507/EC)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,

having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2005 (1),

having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the final annual accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2005, together with the Centre's replies (2),

having regard to the Council's Recommendation of 27 February 2007 (5711/2007 — C6-0080/2007),

having regard to the EC Treaty, and in particular Article 276 thereof,

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 (3), and in particular Article 185 thereof,

having regard to Council Regulation (EEC) No 337/75 of 10 February 1975 establishing a European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (4), and in particular Article 12a thereof,

having regard to Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 (5), and in particular, Article 94 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 and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A6-0097/2007),

 

1.

Grants to the director of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training discharge for the implementation of the Centre's 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 director of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

The President

Hans-Gert PÖTTERING

The Secretary-General

Harald RØMER


(1)  OJ C 266, 31.10.2006, p. 28.

(2)  OJ C 312, 19.12.2006, p. 60.

(3)  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).

(4)  OJ L 39, 13.2.1975, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 2051/2004 (OJ L 355, 1.12.2004, p. 1).

(5)  OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.



15.7.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 187/79


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 budget of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2005

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,

having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2005 (1),

having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the final annual accounts of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training for the financial year 2005, together with the Centre's replies (2),

having regard to the Council's Recommendation of 27 February 2007 (5711/2007 — C6-0080/2007),

having regard to the EC Treaty, and in particular Article 276 thereof,

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 (3) and in particular Article 185 thereof,

having regard to Council Regulation (EEC) No 337/75 of 10 February 1975 establishing a European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (4), and in particular Article 12a thereof,

having regard to the Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 19 November 2002 on the framework Financial Regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 185 of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 (5), and in particular, Article 94 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 and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A6-0097/2007),

A.

whereas the Court of Auditors stated that it obtained reasonable assurance that the annual accounts for the financial year ended 31 December 2005 were reliable, and the underlying transactions, subject to the reservation, were legal and regular,

B.

whereas on 27 April 2006 Parliament gave discharge to the director in respect of the implementation of the Centre's budget for the 2004 financial year (6) and in the resolution accompanying the discharge decision Parliament, inter alia,

urged the Centre to ensure that the accounts were complete and that all activities including the staff canteen's purchases and sales were properly controlled,

was concerned by the irregularities noted by the Court of Auditors in the contract award procedure; noted the steps taken by the Centre to ensure that such irregularities would not be repeated; called on the Centre to ensure that tendering specifications and competition rules would be strictly applied,

stressed the need for fairness, openness and transparency in recruitment;

General points concerning the majority of EU Agencies requiring individual discharge

1.

Considers that the ever-growing number of Community Agencies and the activities of certain of them do not seem to form part of an overall policy framework, and that the remits of some Agencies do not always reflect the real needs of the Union or the expectations of its citizens, and notes that in general terms the Agencies do not always have a good image or a good press;

2.

Invites the Commission therefore to define an overall policy framework for the setting up of new Community Agencies and to present a cost-benefit study before the setting up of any new agency, while being careful to avoid any overlap of activities between Agencies or with the remits of other European organisations;

3.

Calls on the Court of Auditors to give its opinion on the cost-benefit study before Parliament takes its decision;

4.

Invites the Commission to present every five years a study on the added value of every existing Agency; invites all relevant institutions in the case of a negative evaluation of the added value of an Agency to take the necessary steps by reformulating the mandate of that Agency or by closing it;

5.

Considers it regrettable, given the growing number of regulatory agencies, that the negotiations on the draft interinstitutional agreement on the operating framework for the European regulatory agencies have not yet been concluded, and calls on the relevant departments of the Commission, in consultation with the Court of Auditors, to do their utmost to ensure that the agreement is brought to a rapid conclusion;

6.

Notes that the Commission's budgetary responsibility calls for closer linking of the Agencies to the Commission; calls on the Commission and the Council to take all necessary steps to give the Commission a blocking minority in the supervisory bodies of the regulatory Agencies by 31 December 2007 and to provide for such a minority from the outset when new Agencies are set up;

7.

Invites the Court of Auditors to create an additional chapter in its Annual Report, devoted to all Agencies to be discharged under the Commission's accounts in order to have a much clearer picture of the use of EU funds by Agencies;

8.

Recalls the principle according to which all Community Agencies, whether subsidised or not, are subject to discharge by Parliament, even where a discharge authority exists by virtue of their constitutive texts;

9.

Calls on the Court of Auditors to perform performance audits for all Agencies and to report back to the relevant committees of Parliament, including the Committee on Budgetary Control;

10.

Notes that the number of Agencies is constantly increasing and that, in accordance with the Commission's political responsibility for the operation of the Agencies, which goes far beyond mere logistical support, there is an even higher need for the Directorates-General of the Commission charged with the setting up and monitoring of Agencies to develop a common approach to the Agencies; considers that a structure similar to the one created by the Agencies for coordination among the DGs concerned would be a pragmatic way forward towards a common approach by the Commission on all matters relating to the Agencies;

11.

Invites the Commission to improve administrative and technical support to the Agencies, taking into account the growing complexity of the Community's administrative rules and technical problems;

12.

Notes the lack of a disciplinary body in any of the Community Agencies, and calls on the Commission to take the necessary steps to ensure that such a mechanism is rapidly put in place;

13.

Welcomes the considerable improvements in the coordination among the Agencies, which allows them to tackle recurring problems and makes cooperation with the Commission and Parliament more efficient;

14.

Takes the view that the establishment by a number of Agencies of a shared support service aimed at making their computerised financial management systems consistent with those of the Commission is a measure that should be taken further and extended;

15.

Calls upon the Agencies to improve their cooperation and benchmarking with actors in the field; urges the Commission to adopt any measures it considers necessary to help the Agencies enhance their image and raise the profile of their activities;

16.

Calls upon the Commission to come up with a proposal to harmonise the format of the annual reporting by the Agencies and to develop performance indicators which would allow a comparison of their efficiency;

17.

Invites the Agencies to present at the beginning of every year performance indicators against which they could be measured;

18.

Invites all Agencies to increasingly use SMART objectives which should lead to more realistic planning and implementation of goals;

19.

Agrees with the Court of Auditors that the Commission also bears responsibility for the (financial) management of the Agencies; therefore, urges the Commission to monitor and where necessary direct and help the management of the different Agencies, especially in relation to the proper application of tender procedures, transparency of recruitment procedures, sound financial management (underspending and overbudgeting) and most importantly the proper application of the rules concerning the internal control framework;

20.

Considers that the Agencies' work programmes should express their contributions in operational and measurable terms and that due consideration should be given to the Commission's Internal Control Standards;

Specific points

21.

Invites the Centre to avoid a similar situation as for the financial year 2005 where it had an utilisation rate of 90 % of commitment appropriations and approximately 85 % of payment appropriations; recalls that, however, the appropriations for operating activities were under-utilised (cancellations of 15 % of commitment appropriations, 20 % of payment appropriations and 15 % of appropriations carried over), in particular after the reorganisation of the procedures for awarding contracts;

22.

Invites the Centre to fine-tune its programming and improve the monitoring exercise throughout the year; recalls that, in this connection, the Court of Auditors notes that activity-based management has not been introduced, even though the Centre's financial regulation provides for this form of management with a view to improved performance monitoring;

23.

Invites the Centre to remedy the shortcomings in the accounting software (FIBUS) used by it, which does not allow expired commitments to be blocked, where the procedure for the electronic signing of payment orders does not comply with the provisions currently in force and where operations cannot easily be traced within the system;

24.

Demands the full application of the principle of the segregation of the duties of authorising officer and accounting officer to avoid situations as in 2005 where some of the accounting officer's duties were performed by departments for which the authorising officer is responsible;

25.

Notes that the Centre refers in its reply to the fact that the measures adopted now ensure the regularity of procedures and is therefore confident that the Centre is implementing the recommendations of the Court of Auditors, particularly since in the autumn of 2006 the Internal Audit Service could not find any further irregularities and certified that the measures taken by the Centre have produced the desired outcome;

26.

Invites the Centre to urgently carry out a risk analysis, to define the nature and frequency of ex post checks, and to describe the management procedures and internal control systems;

27.

Invites the Centre to urgently formulate the exact mandate of the committee to deal with staff complaints, which should in no case act beyond its powers;

28.

Insists that the Centre should apply standard recruitment procedures in order to avoid a situation as in 2005 where an important management post was filled via an internal selection procedure when an external procedure would have provided a wider range of candidates;

29.

Is worried about the very high rate of irregularities found by the Court of Auditors in the examined contracts where out of six all but one were affected by irregularities (7); insists that the Centre should remedy the weaknesses found in its organisation and tender procedures;

30.

Is of the opinion that the Centre should harmonise its approach to IT questions, in particular when setting up internet and intranet sites, and that the current fragmentation engenders technical risks and excessive costs;

31.

Encourages the Centre to continue its efforts to improve further its communications in order to ensure that the public is better informed about its activities.


(1)  OJ C 266, 31.10.2006, p. 28.

(2)  OJ C 312, 19.12.2006, p. 60.

(3)  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).

(4)  OJ L 39, 13.2.1975, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 2051/2004 (OJ L 355, 1.12.2004, p. 1).

(5)  OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(6)  OJ L 340, 6.12.2006, p. 63.

(7)  Failure to justify the chosen procedure or say why the tenderers invited to submit tenders were selected, plus inadequate documentation thereof.