2008/504/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 VII - Committee of the Regions


Published: 2008-04-24

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15.7.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 187/67
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 VII — Committee of the Regions
(2008/504/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 (C6-0470/2006) (2),
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 (A6-0106/2007),

1.

Grants the Committee of the Regions' Secretary-General discharge for the implementation of the Committee of the Regions 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, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, the European Ombudsman and the European Data Protection Supervisor, 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, 8.3.2005.

(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 187/68
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 VII — Committee of the Regions
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 for the financial year 2005 — Volume I (C6-0470/2006) (2),
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 (A6-0104/2007),

1.

Notes that in 2005 the Committee of the Regions (CoR) had available commitment appropriations amounting to total of EUR 69 570 456,32 with a utilisation rate of 96,65 %;

2.

Notes that following the introduction of accrual accounting with effect from 1 January 2005 the CoR's financial statements disclose a positive economic out-turn for the year (EUR 4 050 062,65) and identical amounts of assets and liabilities (EUR 118 221 197,95);

3.

Notes the remark by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) in paragraph 10.18 of its 2005 Annual Report that following the ECA's 2004 DAS audit and two internal audits, the CoR's administration requested certain beneficiaries of weighted salary transfers to present additional evidence, and several transfers which had not been regularly carried out before May 2004 and/or for which the beneficiaries did not present sufficient evidence were discontinued; in 2005, according to the ECA's Report, the administration did not recover any overpayments, although, under Article 85 of the Staff Regulations, ‘any sum overpaid shall be recovered if the recipient was aware that there was no due reason for the payment or if the fact of the overpayment was patently such that he could not have been unaware of it’; notes the CoR's reply included in the ECA's Report that the internal audit on salaries transfer requested by the Secretary-General was completed in February 2006, and that the administration is now proceeding with the recovery of overpayments which concern a limited number of officials;

4.

Notes that the CoR's Internal Auditor in her report to the discharge authority of 18 May 2006 on audits carried out in 2005 (pursuant to Article 86(4) of the Financial Regulation) made the following points:


the salary transfers in question were executed on the basis of rules which could be interpreted differently according to the language version and depending on the law applicable in the relevant Member State,



weaknesses were detected concerning the separation of initiation and verification functions as well as potential conflicts of interest linked to the size of the Institution,



the standards governing the control environment were judged as being not sufficiently well developed to guarantee the regularity of these operations;

5.

Notes that the weaknesses detected in relation to weighted salary transfers were not such that the Authorising Officer by Delegation found it necessary to append a reservation or an observation to his declaration of assurance attached to the CoR's activity report;

6.

Notes that as soon as he heard of this problem the CoR's Secretary-General immediately asked the then Internal Auditor to continue his work on weighted salary transfers;

7.

Notes that the CoR's Secretary-General, on being informed of this matter, adopted a restrictive interpretation of the relevant rules of the recently amended Staff Regulations and ordered the recovery of any amounts considered to have been unduly paid; notes that some of the officials that have been obliged to repay dispute the CoR Secretary-General's reading of the relevant rules and have referred the matter to the Court of Justice;

8.

Supports the Secretary-General in his intention to set up an administrative inquiry and expects him to start disciplinary proceedings on the basis of the OLAF report regarding staff concerned; demands a strict prosecution of all cases where fraudulent behaviour can be proved;

9.

Notes with concern that it has not been possible to fill all vacant posts from the reserve lists drawn up after EPSO competitions; asks the CoR to analyse the reasons for the shortage of qualified candidates and to inform the competent committee;

10.

Notes in connection with paragraph 8 of its discharge Resolution of 27 April 2006 on the renovation of the Belliard I and II buildings (6) that, during 2006, two firms of external consultants each gave a positive certificate of conformity to the effect that the building work had been carried out in accordance with the specification; points out that the ECA will shortly publish a special report on the EU institutions' expenditure on buildings generally;

11.

Notes that the administrative cooperation between the CoR and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) should be beneficial to both and financially advantageous for EU taxpayers; insists that any new structures put in place for administrative cooperation between the two committees should result in financial and organisational benefits; demands that both committees find a suitable way to continue the administrative cooperation;

12.

Recalls that the CoR and the EESC, through their joint services, manage certain activities in common (translation, printing, buildings, security, library, procurement, catering, ushers, medical service, cars and drivers, IT, etc.) and that their cooperation agreement has recently been renewed for six months (with an option to extend it for a further six months) pending a decision on whether such cooperation should continue in future;

13.

Invites the CoR and the EESC, having regard to the substantial divergences between the findings of the reports of the joint services and the CoR's two external experts, to conduct a joint analysis based on appropriate bench marks — if necessary with the help of the ECA — of the precise costs, benefits and savings generated by cooperation and to submit the results of their examination to the competent committee by 31 October 2007.

(1)  OJ L 60, 8.3.2005.

(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).

(6)  OJ L 340, 6.12.2006, p. 44.