2008/515/EC: Decision of the European Parliament of 24 April 2007 on the discharge for the implementation of the budget of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2005


Published: 2008-04-24

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15.7.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 187/106
DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
of 24 April 2007
on the discharge for the implementation of the budget of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2005
(2008/515/EC)
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,
having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2005 (1),
having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the final annual accounts of the European Environment Agency 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 (EEC) No 1210/90 of 7 May 1990 on the establishment of the European Environment Agency and the European Environment Information and Observation network (4), and in particular Article 13 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 (A6-0103/2007),

1.

Grants the executive director of the European Environment Agency 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 executive director of the European Environment Agency, 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. 1.

(2)  OJ C 312, 19.12.2006, p. 36.

(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 120, 11.5.1990, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1641/2003 (OJ L 245, 29.9.2003, p. 1).

(5)  OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.


15.7.2008   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

L 187/107
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 Environment Agency for the financial year 2005
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT,
having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Environment Agency for the financial year 2005 (1),
having regard to the Court of Auditors' report on the final annual accounts of the European Environment Agency 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 (EEC) No 1210/90 of 7 May 1990 on the establishment of the European Environment Agency and the European Environment Information and Observation network (4), and in particular Article 13 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 (A6-0103/2007),

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 that the underlying transactions, taken as a whole, 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,



noted that surplus appropriations in 2004 had been committed for operations to be carried out in 2005, and that appropriations relating to staff expenditure were carried over; insisted that the Agency respect the principle of budget annuality as defined in the Financial Regulation and the rule prohibiting carry over of appropriations relating to staff expenditure, in order to allow a correct and transparent implementation of the budgets as set by the Budgetary Authority,



noted the weaknesses in checking and omissions found by the Court of Auditors in its audit of the inventory;
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 Agency committed nearly all the appropriations in its budget for the financial year 2005; notes nevertheless that the carry-over rate (over 30 %) for commitments for its operating activities (Title III) is high; invites the Agency to ensure a reduction in carry-overs, whose volume hampers the management of the following year's appropriations, which subsequently creates delays in implementation or even increases them;

22.

Notes that there is no description of the internal control systems and that the authorising officers have not provided a formal description of the systems that they use for supplying and substantiating accounts information and the accounting officer has therefore still not been able to validate them; invites the Agency to remedy this;

23.

Notes that there are still shortcomings in the authorising officer's annual activity report which does not supply adequate information on the results of the year's activities in relation to the objectives established, the associated risks, the use of resources and the functioning of the internal control systems; asks the Agency to solve this problem;

24.

Notes that during the audit of the procedures for the recruitment of temporary staff, it was observed that certain internal provisions concerning the joint nature of the selection committees and the inalterability of the selection criteria adopted beforehand did not comply with the provisions of the conditions of employment of other servants of the Communities; demands that in future the procedures for recruitment should be fully respected;

25.

Invites the Agency to respect evaluation criteria in procurement procedures;

26.

Considers the Agency to be a source of important environmental information for all EU institutions and policy-making; notes with satisfaction that the Agency has been able to transform some complicated data into clear conclusions and to communicate them to the public; acknowledges, in particular, the importance of the report The European environment — State and outlook 2005 in providing user-friendly information on the environment and pinpointing the key challenges facing the EU and Member States;

27.

Encourages the Agency to continue its efforts to further develop its communication methods in order to attract more media coverage for its findings and thus feed public debate on important environmental issues, such as climate change, biodiversity and the management of natural resources;

28.

Points out that the impact of environmental programmes is often hampered by the lack of assessment of environmental impacts of other Community policies; invites the Agency to further develop its work in the field of environmental impact assessment;

29.

Requests that, before 1 January 2010 and every five years thereafter, the Agency commission an independent external evaluation of its achievements on the basis of its founding Regulation and the work programmes decided by the Management Board; requests that the evaluation assess the working practices and the impact of the Agency and take into account the views of the stakeholders, at both Community and national level; requests further that the Management Board of the Agency examine the conclusions of the evaluation and draft such recommendations to the Commission and Parliament as may be necessary regarding changes in the Agency, its working practices and programmes, that the evaluation and the recommendations to the Commission and Parliament be made public, for example on their websites, and that the funds needed to carry out the external evaluation shall be allocated through the budget of the corresponding DG;

30.

Emphasises the role of the Agency in the evaluation of the implementation of EU environmental legislation.

(1)  OJ C 266, 31.10.2006, p. 1.

(2)  OJ C 312, 19.12.2006, p. 36.

(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 120, 11.5.1990, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1641/2003 (OJ L 245, 29.9.2003, p. 1).

(5)  OJ L 357, 31.12.2002, p. 72.

(6)  OJ L 340, 6.12.2006, p. 90.