2008/537/EC: Decision of the European Parliament of 24 April 2007 on the discharge for the implementation of the budget of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2005


Published: 2008-04-24

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15.7.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 187/182


DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

of 24 April 2007

on the discharge for the implementation of the budget of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2005

(2008/537/EC)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,

having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2005 (1),

having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the final annual accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2005, together with the Agency'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 (EC) No 2667/2000 of 5 December 2000 on the European Agency for Reconstruction (4), and in particular Article 8 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 (A6-0116/2007),

1.

Grants the director of the European Agency for Reconstruction discharge for the implementation of the Agency'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 Agency for Reconstruction, 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. 7.

(2)  OJ C 312, 19.12.2006, p. 18.

(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 306, 7.12.2000, p. 7. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1756/2006 (OJ L 332, 30.11.2006, p. 18).

(5)  OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.



15.7.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 187/183


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 Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2005

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,

having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2005 (1),

having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the final annual accounts of the European Agency for Reconstruction for the financial year 2005, together with the Agency'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 (EC) No 2667/2000 of 5 December 2000 on the European Agency for Reconstruction (4), and in particular Article 8 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 (A6-0116/2007),

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 Agency's budget for the 2004 financial year (6) and in the Resolution accompanying the discharge Decision Parliament, inter alia,

urged the Agency to seek guidance to improve its Treasury Management Policy in order to make best use of the often considerable sums maintained in current bank accounts,

noted that the transactions relating to counterpart funds, credit line schemes and special funds had been completely recorded in the absence of effective internal control procedures for long-term receivables; insisted that all transactions be capable of verification by the Court of Auditors,

in order to address the serious problems of unreliability (and accusations of corrupt practices) then surrounding the conditions under which public procurement contracts and concessions were awarded for highly sensitive projects (e.g. mobile telephony operators), urged the Commission and the Agency, in close cooperation with UNMIK (United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) and the FIU (Financial Investigation Unit), to lay down clear and transparent procurement rules, to establish internal and supreme audit institutions, and to keep Parliament informed as to progress made;

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.

Underlines its high appraisal of the results achieved by the Agency and the considerable improvements the Agencies could put in place in order to respond positively to the recommendations of the Court of Auditors and the Parliament;

22.

Congratulates the Director and its staff for the work done in a very difficult environment improving considerably the image of the EU and its visibility;

23.

Insists that the Commission prolong the Agency's activity, which is scheduled to end in 2008; is of the opinion that the Agency should be transformed into an Agency for implementation of certain EU external actions, which transformation should be based on a prior cost-benefit analysis, in particular with a view to managing post-conflict situations, while being careful to avoid any overlap with the activities of other European or international organisations, in order to prevent acquired expertise being lost;

24.

Calls on the Commission to inform Parliament which reasons, other than its intention to close the Agency in 2008, led to the fact that the Agency was not given the task of implementing the Union's special programme for the northern part of Cyprus and aid to the Palestinian population;

25.

Considers that the Agency has not only the systems (logistics, IT systems, and others) to implement swiftly large amounts of support in post-conflict areas, but that it has especially also proven high levels of expertise and know how in post-war reconstruction;

26.

Is convinced that at a point where the Commission wants to take over the management of the new Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance in view of the acquis-related tasks related to the Balkans, the Agency should take over the tasks required by a ‘RELEX external actions Agency’;

27.

Considers that a new mandate of this successful agency would be the most efficient way to implement the new tasks in external actions, which cannot be implemented by Commission services in Brussels or by delegations of the Commission;

28.

Considers that the Agency could play a most efficient role in areas where traditional development assistance cannot be implemented; considers also that this would significantly increase the EU's visibility;

29.

Welcomes the measures taken by the Agency to improve contract award procedures following the Court of Auditors' observations raised in its 2003 and 2004 annual reports, which resulted in increased transparency in various areas: for instance, important decisions made during the evaluation process which affect the contract award are better documented and furthermore the overall discipline of the evaluation and contract award procedures is improved;

30.

Invites the Agency to further develop selection criteria in order to make them more realistic as they sometimes are ill-suited to the circumstances in which the Agency is operating;

31.

Welcomes the progress made in the area of tendering and encourages the Agency to further intensify its efforts in order to ensure that contracts awarded fully comply with all regulatory provisions;

32.

Notes that in its 2004 report the Court of Auditors stated in a review of operations entrusted to UNMIK an absence of adequate financial control when making payments and serious difficulties in closing operations, mainly due to an absence of adequate accounts for the projects and of sufficient justification for the expenditure; welcomes the significant efforts made by the Agency in 2005 to resolve this situation, but notes however that some problems for closing operations remained.


(1)  OJ C 266, 31.10.2006, p. 7.

(2)  OJ C 312, 19.12.2006, p. 18.

(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 306, 7.12.2000, p. 7. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1756/2006 (OJ L 332, 30.11.2006, p. 18).

(5)  OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(6)  OJ L 340, 6.12.2006, p. 74.