2008/531/EC: Decision of the European Parliament of 24 April 2007 on the discharge for the implementation of the budget of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2005


Published: 2008-04-24

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15.7.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 187/163
DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
of 24 April 2007
on the discharge for the implementation of the budget of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2005
(2008/531/EC)
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,
having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2005 (1),
having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the final annual accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2005, together with the Authority'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 (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety (4), and in particular Article 44 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 the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A6-0112/2007),

1.

Grants the executive director of the European Food Safety Authority discharge for the implementation of the Authority'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 executive director of the European Food Safety Authority, 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. 22.

(2)  OJ C 312, 19.12.2006, p. 42.

(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 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 575/2006 (OJ L 100, 8.4.2006, p. 3).

(5)  OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.


15.7.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 187/164
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 Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2005
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,
having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2005 (1),
having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the final annual accounts of the European Food Safety Authority for the financial year 2005, together with the Authority's replies (2),
having regard to 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 Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety (4), and in particular Article 44 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 the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A6-0112/2007),

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 reservation, were legal and regular;

B.

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



was disappointed to note that the Court of Auditors again discovered anomalies in the application of the rules concerning staff recruitment, and urged the Authority to apply with more transparency the rules regarding selection procedures,



was concerned by the irregularities noted by the Court of Auditors in contract award procedures;
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 the 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.

Notes that the financial year 2005 was marked by a significant under-implementation of the budget, with only 80 % of commitment and payment appropriations being used; considers that the Authority should make a serious effort to improve the use it makes of the appropriations with which it is entrusted to achieve its objectives;

22.

Strongly deplores the fact that the changes it made to the establishment plan were not respected and that it restored the grades initially provided for in the draft budget in respect of 19 posts without informing Parliament;

23.

Notes the failure to introduce activity-based management although this is laid down by the Authority's financial regulation, along the lines of what was applied to the general budget with a view to improving performance monitoring;

24.

Regrets the fact that the Authority did not carry out a risk analysis or formally lay down the internal control systems and procedures it follows and invites the Authority to do so as quickly as possible;

25.

Notes with regard to recruitment that the Authority rejected candidates on the basis of criteria other than those provided for in the vacancy notices and, in addition, did not observe the regulatory provisions concerning the grades of selection board members in relation to the posts to be filled; insists on the strict application of the relevant criteria and on an effective check as to whether the documents submitted by candidates in support of their applications actually offer genuine proof;

26.

Notes that the Authority had difficulties in recruiting highly skilled scientific staff in Parma;

27.

Regrets that a considerable number of anomalies were revealed during the audits carried out on the award and conclusion of contracts; invites the Authority to urgently tighten up its internal control system;

28.

Notes that buildings intended to house the Authority permanently are still not available and that the Authority was thus obliged to rent and fit out temporary premises (cost in 2005: approximately EUR 3 500 000); invites the Authority, together with the Commission, to clarify this situation with the national authorities, in particular with a view to any financial compensation.

(1)  OJ C 266, 31.10.2006, p. 22.

(2)  OJ C 312, 19.12.2006, p. 42.

(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 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 575/2006 (OJ L 100, 8.4.2006, p. 3).

(5)  OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(6)  OJ L 340, 6.12.2006, p. 134.