Nedzhmi Ali on the 2016 Discharge: Agencies
Dear Mme Chair, Mr. Staes, Mr. Tarand, dear colleagues,
First of all, let me to express appreciation for the job done preparing the reports on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the EU’s decentralised agencies for the financial year 2016. The horizontal report covering the areas of performance, financial management and control has its merits as well.
Concerning the latter I would like to share some observations, remarks and proposals for additions.
Firstly, the scope and structure of the report are suitable for the purpose of presenting the overall activities of EU’s agencies in 2016. It includes the most important aspects of their performance. While there are specific chapters covering the budget and financial management as well as cooperation among agencies and with other institutions, a specific emphasize on the inclusion of principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness in Agencies´ daily operations, annual planning and controls would give us a clearer picture of the activities in 2016.
Secondly, EU agencies with the efforts of their 10 364 employees and budget of almost 3.4 bill. Euros are highly visible in the Member States and have significant influence on policy and decision making and programme implementation in areas of vital importance to European citizens. To the areas presented in the report, I would propose additions as research and industrial development, economic and monetary affairs, and related to them employment and social progress.
While in 2016 there was an increase of both budget and number of employees in most of the agencies, we should stress on the new tasks arising from the challenges faced by the EU within the year under review.
Regarding the number of agencies, there is one general observation. If you look at the table in Annex 1 of the “ECA’s audit of EU agencies and other bodies for the financial year 2016” there are presented 41 structures of which 32 are decentralized agencies, 6 are executive agencies and 3 are other bodies. The numbers for the budget and personnel presented in the horizontal report cover all of these 41 structures, while our task is to propose discharge just to the decentralized agencies. I think that we need to unify the methodology with ECA.
Concerning the principle of annuality of the budget and financial management, there is a high level of carry-overs affecting the majority of the agencies. Sometimes due to the multiannual nature of the agencies’ operational programmes it is unavoidable. While in most of the cases these carry-overs are not as a consequence of bad planning or implementation, indeed they should be communicated to ECA in a suitable form.
One of the main observations is that the procurement remains an error prone area for many agencies. It is true, but at the same time is important to distinguish between really poor performance in this area and some irregularities due to the extraordinary situations, for example related to substantial external or internal threats to the order and security of the Union.
Finally, welcoming establishment of the Anti-Fraud Working Group of the Inter-Agency Legal Network, the report on the activities of the Working group should not only be presented to the Parliament but also a deadline for this should be established. Moreover, a significant value of this report would be a quantitative assessment of the outcomes of preventing fraud and corruption within the agencies.