Budget of the European Union

Commission proposes a public loan facility to support green investments together with the EIB

Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 4:11pm

The facility will be accessible to all Member States, initially based on national envelopes, through calls for proposals that meet the following criteria:projects benefit territories identified in an approved territorial just transition plan;projects receive an EIB loan under the facility; andprojects do not generate sufficient market revenue streams. Today, the European Commission presents its proposal for a public sector loan facility under the Just Transition Mechanism.

Key Points: 
  • The facility will be accessible to all Member States, initially based on national envelopes, through calls for proposals that meet the following criteria:
    • projects benefit territories identified in an approved territorial just transition plan;
    • projects receive an EIB loan under the facility; and
    • projects do not generate sufficient market revenue streams.
    • Today, the European Commission presents its proposal for a public sector loan facility under the Just Transition Mechanism.
    • The facility will be implemented with the involvement of the European Investment Bank and will encourage investments that support the transition towards a climate-neutral economy by public sector authorities to the benefit of coal- and carbon-intensive regions.
    • The facility will include 1.5 billion in grants from the EU budget and up to 10 billion in loans from the European Investment Banks own sources.
    • The territorial just transition plans are currently being prepared by the Member States and will be approved by the European Commission.
    • The Commission is providing technical support for the development of their territorial just transition plans to all 18 Member States that requested it.
    • This loan facility will focus on boosting public investments that can contribute to the green transition in parts of Europe that are more carbon-intensive and grappling with greater socio-economic challenges - investments that would otherwise not happen.
    • The three pillars are expected to mobilise at least 150 billion of investments in the EU economy over the period 2021 - 2027.
  • President Tzitzikostas: EU budget and Recovery plans protect and empower regions, cities and villages as asked by the European Committee of the Regions

    Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 12:09am

    EU

    Key Points: 
    • EU
      Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-27 and Recovery Plan respond to CoR's
      requests to support the recovery of regional and local communities.
    • Commenting on the EU MFF
      and Recovery plan proposed by the European Commission, the President of the
      European Committee of the Regions, Apostolos Tzitzikostas said:"The EU
      budget worth 1.100bn and the 750bn Recovery Plan focus on the safety,
      recovery and resilience of regions, cities and villages across Europe and
      include the key elements demanded by the European Committee of Regions.
    • They
      also provide a clear answer to populists and euro-sceptics, proving the added
      value of the European Union during these difficult times.
    • I call on EU's
      MemberStates and on the European Parliament to assess and adopt swiftly the
      proposals presented today by President Ursula von der Leyen.
    • ''As asked by the European Committee of the Regions, the new draft EU budget includes an EU Recovery Fund of at least EUR 500bn in grants.
    • In line with our demands, the Commission's plans also provideimportantanswers for vital sectors as tourism, culture and SMEs'', added President Tzitzikostas.
    • This is a crucial aspect not only for cohesion policy which is needed now more than ever - but for the whole recovery plan and EU budget.

    COVID-19: Council adopts temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency (SURE)

    Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 4:09pm

    The Council today adopted SURE, a temporary scheme which can provide up to 100 billion of loans under favourable terms to member states.

    Key Points: 
    • The Council today adopted SURE, a temporary scheme which can provide up to 100 billion of loans under favourable terms to member states.
    • EU leaders endorsed the report on 23 April and called for the package to be operational by 1 June 2020.
    • SURE loans will be backed by the EU budget and guarantees provided by member states according to their share in the EU's GNI.
    • Formally, the financial assistance will be granted by a decision adopted by the Council on a proposal from the Commission.

    CoR COTER Bulletin No. 2: Updates on the COVID-19 crisis

    Saturday, May 16, 2020 - 12:10am

    The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected our world and our way of living with dire loses and substantial consequences on every aspect of our daily existence.

    Key Points: 
    • The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected our world and our way of living with dire loses and substantial consequences on every aspect of our daily existence.
    • The Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and the EU Budget (COTER) at the European Committee of the Regions will prepare regular bulletins on the policy fields within its remits reflecting recent research, articles and discussions on the socio-economic impact of the pandemic in Europe and on the different actions and response measures planned and implemented at EU, national, regional and local level.

    Press release - MEPs want ambitious, future-oriented budget with the recovery fund as part of it

    Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 8:03am

    The next long-term EU budget must be ambitious and future-oriented, and the recovery fund must be a part of it, members underlined.

    Key Points: 
    • The next long-term EU budget must be ambitious and future-oriented, and the recovery fund must be a part of it, members underlined.
    • Some MEPs warned of a dominant China, and emphasised the need to protect EU jobs and companies, for example from hostile takeovers.
    • She also pledged that the EP will play a full role in the entire recovery package and the budget.
    • Background

      The European Commission is expected to submit soon a proposal for a revamped MFF and recovery fund to take account of the health crisis and its consequences.

    Press release - Long-term EU budget: Parliament wants safety net for beneficiaries

    Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 8:03am

    On 17 April, the EP called for a massive recovery and reconstruction package that involves increasing the MFF.

    Key Points: 
    • On 17 April, the EP called for a massive recovery and reconstruction package that involves increasing the MFF.
    • In times of crises and instability, beneficiaries of the EU budget should have a clear vision of the next year.
    • Members of the European Parliament are searching for all possible solutions to secure the stability of the EU budget.
    • This plan must be effective and provide a safety net for beneficiaries of EU programmes.

    Press release - MEPs want ambitious, future-oriented budget with the recovery fund as part of it

    Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 8:00pm

    The next long-term EU budget must be ambitious and future-oriented, and the recovery fund must be a part of it, members underlined.

    Key Points: 
    • The next long-term EU budget must be ambitious and future-oriented, and the recovery fund must be a part of it, members underlined.
    • Some MEPs warned of a dominant China, and emphasised the need to protect EU jobs and companies, for example from hostile takeovers.
    • She also pledged that the EP will play a full role in the entire recovery package and the budget.
    • Background

      The European Commission is expected to submit soon a proposal for a revamped MFF and recovery fund to take account of the health crisis and its consequences.

    Press release - Long-term EU budget: Parliament wants safety net for beneficiaries

    Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 8:00pm

    On 17 April, the EP called for a massive recovery and reconstruction package that involves increasing the MFF.

    Key Points: 
    • On 17 April, the EP called for a massive recovery and reconstruction package that involves increasing the MFF.
    • In times of crises and instability, beneficiaries of the EU budget should have a clear vision of the next year.
    • Members of the European Parliament are searching for all possible solutions to secure the stability of the EU budget.
    • This plan must be effective and provide a safety net for beneficiaries of EU programmes.

    REPORT on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2021 - A9-0102/2020

    Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 8:01pm

    on Parliaments estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2021 The European Parliament, having regard to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012[1], and in particular Article 39 thereof, having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020[2], having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management[3], having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1023/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 amending the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Union[4], having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2017 on combatting sexual harassment and abuse in the EU[5], having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2018 on measures to prevent and combat mobbing and sexual harassment at the workplace, in public spaces, and in political life in the EU[6], having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2019 on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament[7], having regard to its resolution of 28 March 2019 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2020[8], having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2019 on the Council position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020[9], having regard to its resolution of 27 November 2019 on the joint text on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020 approved by the Conciliation Committee under the budgetary procedure[10], having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the European Green Deal (COM(2019/)0640) - paragraph 2.1.4 on Building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way; having regard to the Secretary-General's report to the Bureau on drawing up Parliament's preliminary draft estimates for the financial year 2021, having regard to the preliminary draft estimates drawn up by the Bureau on 9 March 2020 pursuant to Rules 25(7) and 102(1) of Parliament's Rules of Procedure, having regard to the draft estimates drawn up by the Committee on Budgets pursuant to Rule 102(2) of Parliament's Rules of Procedure, having regard to Rule 102 of its Rules of Procedure, having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A9-0102/2020), A.whereas this procedure is the first full budgetary procedure conducted in the new legislature and concerns the first year of the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework; B.whereas among the priority objectives that have been proposed by the Secretary-General for the 2021 budget are: providing the necessary resources for the second full year after the election of the new Parliament even in view of the incoming Commissions ambitions and providing the resources for priority projects on engaging with citizens, multiannual building projects, green Parliament, security and IT development; C.whereas the Covid-19 outbreak is having humanitarian, social, financial and economic consequences; whereas the IMF predicts a global contraction of 3% in 2020 and a fall of 7,4 % of the GDP of the euro zone for the year 2020; whereas the measures taken by Parliament in 2020, such as 100 % air filtering, reinforced cleaning arrangements, adapting and putting in place of new computing and telecommunications solutions, will have consequences on Parliaments budget for 2021;whereas the 2021 budget will need to address the consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak; whereas Parliaments budget shall guarantee its ability to exercise its full legislative competences and allow for its proper functioning; D.whereas a budget of EUR 2 110 467 628 has been proposed by the Secretary-General for Parliament's preliminary draft estimates for 2021, representing an overall increase of 3,52 % on the 2020 budget; whereas the estimates adopted by Parliament represented an increase of 2,3 % (EUR 1.

    Key Points: 
    • on Parliaments estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2021 The European Parliament, having regard to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012[1], and in particular Article 39 thereof, having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020[2], having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management[3], having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1023/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 amending the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Union[4], having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2017 on combatting sexual harassment and abuse in the EU[5], having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2018 on measures to prevent and combat mobbing and sexual harassment at the workplace, in public spaces, and in political life in the EU[6], having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2019 on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament[7], having regard to its resolution of 28 March 2019 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2020[8], having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2019 on the Council position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020[9], having regard to its resolution of 27 November 2019 on the joint text on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020 approved by the Conciliation Committee under the budgetary procedure[10], having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the European Green Deal (COM(2019/)0640) - paragraph 2.1.4 on Building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way; having regard to the Secretary-General's report to the Bureau on drawing up Parliament's preliminary draft estimates for the financial year 2021, having regard to the preliminary draft estimates drawn up by the Bureau on 9 March 2020 pursuant to Rules 25(7) and 102(1) of Parliament's Rules of Procedure, having regard to the draft estimates drawn up by the Committee on Budgets pursuant to Rule 102(2) of Parliament's Rules of Procedure, having regard to Rule 102 of its Rules of Procedure, having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A9-0102/2020), A.whereas this procedure is the first full budgetary procedure conducted in the new legislature and concerns the first year of the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework; B.whereas among the priority objectives that have been proposed by the Secretary-General for the 2021 budget are: providing the necessary resources for the second full year after the election of the new Parliament even in view of the incoming Commissions ambitions and providing the resources for priority projects on engaging with citizens, multiannual building projects, green Parliament, security and IT development; C.whereas the Covid-19 outbreak is having humanitarian, social, financial and economic consequences; whereas the IMF predicts a global contraction of 3% in 2020 and a fall of 7,4 % of the GDP of the euro zone for the year 2020; whereas the measures taken by Parliament in 2020, such as 100 % air filtering, reinforced cleaning arrangements, adapting and putting in place of new computing and telecommunications solutions, will have consequences on Parliaments budget for 2021;whereas the 2021 budget will need to address the consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak; whereas Parliaments budget shall guarantee its ability to exercise its full legislative competences and allow for its proper functioning; D.whereas a budget of EUR 2 110 467 628 has been proposed by the Secretary-General for Parliament's preliminary draft estimates for 2021, representing an overall increase of 3,52 % on the 2020 budget; whereas the estimates adopted by Parliament represented an increase of 2,3 % (EUR 1.
    • 953 million) for 2018, an increase of 2,48 % (EUR 1 999 million) for 2019 and an increase of 2,68 % (EUR 2 050 million) for 2020; E.whereas almost two thirds of Parliaments budget is index-bound expenditure, which relates mainly to remunerations, pensions, medical expenses and allowances for serving and retired Members (20 %) and staff (34 %), as well as to buildings (12 %), and which is adjusted according to the Staff Regulations and Statute for Members, to sector-specific indexation, or to the inflation rate; F.whereas Parliament already stressed in its resolution of 29 April 2015 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2016[11] that Parliaments budget should be set on a realistic basis and should be in line with the principles of budgetary discipline and sound financial management; G.whereas the credibility of Parliament as one arm of the budgetary authority depends to an extent on its ability to manage its own spending and on its ability to promote democracy at Union level; H.whereas the voluntary pension fund was established in 1990 by the Bureau's Rules governing the additional (voluntary) pension scheme[12]; whereas, at its meeting of December 10, 2018, the Bureau decided to modify the rules applicable to the pension fund by raising the retirement age from 63 to 65 and by introducing a 5 % levy on pension payments for future retirees to improve the viability of such payments; whereas it is estimated those changes to the rules reduced the actuarial deficit by EUR 13,3 million; I.whereas Members legislative workload has been extended and strongly complemented by communication activities as citizens are more interested in European affairs than ever before and now expect to be in touch with their representatives through traditional and new social media platforms; whereas, as a result, the implementation rate of the parliamentary assistance allowance has increased in recent years; J.whereas the Court of Auditors issued an opinion No 5/99 on 16 June 1999 entitled Pension Fund and Scheme for Members of the European Parliament.
    • General framework 1.Emphasises that the largest part of Parliament's budget is fixed by statutory or contractual obligations and is subject to annual indexation and for 2021 those obligations are estimated at EUR 32 million; 2.Underlines that 2020 is the last year covered by the current multiannual financial framework; recalls that Parliament has largely remained within the 20 % to 22 % share under Heading 5 - Administration and that over the past years the rate of increase has been lower than the rate of increase laid down in Heading 5; 3.Endorses the agreement reached in the Conciliation between the Bureau and the Committee on Budgets on 28 April 2020 to set the increase over the 2020 budget at 2,54 %, corresponding to an overall level of estimates of EUR 2 090 467 628 for 2021, to decrease the level of expenditure of the preliminary draft estimates approved by the Bureau on 9 March 2020 by EUR 20 million and to reduce accordingly the appropriations proposed on the following budget lines: 1004 - Ordinary travel expenses; 1005 - Other travel expenses; 1200 - Remuneration and allowances; 2007 - Construction of buildings and fitting-out of premises; 2024 Energy consumption; 300 - Expenses for staff missions and duty travel between the three places of work; 302 - Reception and representation expenses; 3042 - Meetings, congresses, conferences and delegations; 3242 - Expenditure on publication, information and participation in public events; 325 - Expenditure relating to liaison offices; 422 - Expenditure relating to parliamentary assistance; 10 1 - Contingency Reserve; 4.Notes the ongoing negotiations on the new multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 and the uncertainty regarding the funding level of the new Heading 7 - European Public Administration; stresses that Parliament has fulfilled the 5% staff reduction objective and actually saw an overall cut of 6 %; highlights the fact that, since the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament has had to cope with an increased amount of tasks and specialised committees, which has resulted in a significant increase in legislative and coordination work; notes that synergies and re-prioritisation were achieved in the last legislative term; stresses that the functioning of Parliament depends on the fulfilment of its administrative tasks, which require adequate staffing levels; notes the fact that inter-institutional pensions covered in that heading are projected to significantly increase in the coming years; 5.Notes that the Secretary-Generals preliminary draft estimates report presupposes an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union; understands from that report that most of the savings resulting from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union have already been incorporated into the 2020 budget, which takes into account that Parliament will only have 705 Members as from 1 February 2020; is surprised, nevertheless, that the estimates for 2021 do not follow the logical savings trend on the budgetary lines directly impacted by the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union; questions the reasons behind the increase in costs relating to travel (line 1004) and to parliamentary assistance (line 4220) from 2018 to 2021 despite the reduction in the number of Members and accredited parliamentary assistants (APAs) following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union;requests a detailed analysis and justification of the costs and savings relating to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union before the Autumn reading; 6.Notes the explanation given in Parliaments Committee on Budgets that an increasing number of Members have decided to hire a fourth assistant to cope with the increasing level of parliamentary work; notes that, following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union, fewer Members have to handle the same level of legislative work; notes that the decision to provide a second office at Parliament's workplace in Strasbourg has led Members to take more assistants on missions; notes the explanation given in Parliaments Committee on Budgets that Members have undertaken more travel in recent years and will most likely continue to do so in 2021; 7.Underlines that Parliaments key functions are to co-legislate with Council, to decide on the Union budget, to represent citizens and to scrutinise the work of other Union institutions; also considers that newly-formed special committees or sub-committees should not lead to a decrease in staff in the other committees; 8.Highlights Parliament's role in building European political awareness and promoting Union values; 9.Stresses that significant savings as compared to the proposal of the Bureau are required to bring that proposal closer to the expected general inflation rate for 2021 and that significant steps need to be implemented to ensure the most efficient and transparent use of public money; recommends that adequate attention should be paid to the cost of projects, not only by Parliaments Committee on Budgets members at the time of deciding the annual budget with the Bureau, but also, at the latest, by the time of deciding on the launch of projects; 10.Draws attention to the high amount of extraordinary committee meetings in Strasbourg and the growing number of staff missions between the three places of work; urges Parliament to reduce those extraordinary meetings to a minimum so that Members can concentrate on the plenary agenda, tax payers money is saved and the CO2 footprint reduced by lowering the number of staff missions; 11.Highlights in this respect that requests voted by Parliament should be implemented without delay as a matter of principle; Transparency and accuracy 12.Welcomes the new approach that has been taken in the preparation of the Secretary-Generals report during the past years, such as the provision of additional information on medium- and long-term planning, investments, statutory obligations, operational expenditure and methodology, as requested by the budgetary authority; 13.Stresses that Parliaments 2021 budget must be realistic and accurate regarding the matching of needs and their costs, to avoid over-budgeting; 14.Emphasises that maximum care should be taken to ensure that the overall budgetary and staffing resources at Parliament's disposal are used in the most cost-efficient way possible to enable Parliament and Members to legislate successfully; reiterates that this implies careful planning and organisation of its working methods and, whenever possible, the pooling of functions and structures to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy, functional overlaps and duplication of effort; 15.Considers that Parliament should ensure high quality and socially responsible procurement so that contracts are awarded to companies that respect environmental and core labour standards; calls for more robust scrutiny of the working conditions of Parliament's external staff; Engaging with citizens 16.Underlines that Parliament is the only Union institution that is subject to universal suffrage, whose decisions have a real impact on Union citizens; considers it of the utmost importance to provide citizens with a better understanding of Parliaments activities; 17.Welcomes the new mission statement for the European Parliament Liaison Offices (EPLOs) and the emphasis on a pro-active engagement in two-way communication with citizens and stakeholders at the local and regional level through more dynamic communication, also involving stakeholders and engaging more with citizens; notes the mainstreaming of Europa Experience centres in all Members States; considers it of outermost importance for Parliament to continuously engage with the European citizens through various communicative channels, in the spirit of a multifaceted political dialogue, not only during the electoral year but throughout the entire legislature; 18.Notes that Europa Experience centres shall inform the European public, particularly the youth, on the key powers of Parliament; notes that Europa Experience centres have already been inaugurated in Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Ljubljana, and Strasbourg and in 2020 in Tallinn and that, in 2021, it is planned to set up Europa Experience centres in the new Konrad Adenauer building in Luxembourg, in Rome, Paris, Warsaw, Stockholm and Prague; calls for a continuous evaluation of the results achieved; calls for a detailed breakdown of expenditure for the establishment of the new Europa Experience centres for 2021 before Parliaments reading of budget in Autumn 2020, as well as a detailed multi-annual budgetary planning, that factors in the running cost of each of the centres already opened; 19.Requests more information on the arrangements for and cost of the creation of a series of mobile versions of the Parlamentarium, which would tour Member States to provide citizens with information on Parliament and the Union; stresses that this type of initiative must be decentralised and be carried out from the Europa Experience centres to make savings and to be rational; takes note that the project includes a mobile application which contains the best of existing Parlamentarium content; 20.Notes Parliament's intention and the Bureaus decision to expand its activity and its diplomatic presence beyond the borders of the Union in Indonesia (Jakarta), Ethiopia (Addis Ababa) and the United States (New York) and questions the value added of it; requests that a detailed and thorough analysis of the representation costs and costs inherent in such expansion, namely accommodation, secretariats, staff, residence, transport, be carried out and shared with Parliaments Committee on Budgets; calls for collaboration between the European External Action Service and Parliament regarding the nature of the work and the status of Parliaments employees during their external mission; requests that an analysis be provided on the added value of the current representation of Parliament in Washington; 21.Welcomes the fact that Parliament invests considerable efforts in the services it offers to visitors, especially for young people who will remain a key target group; calls on theresponsible services to provide information about sustainable travel choices and evaluate the possibility of introducing a financial incentive to opt for such a mode of transport whenever circumstances allow; asks the Bureau to examine the feasibility of establishing a cluster for seniors highlighting Unionprogrammes and policies that benefit active ageing; requests more information on the new visitors strategy and the four-year information campaign before Parliaments reading of budget in Autumn 2020; calls for a thorough evaluation of the communication campaign undertaken before and during the European elections 2019; is of the opinion that any new communication measures should be based on an objective and factual analysis of that evaluation; 22.Welcomes the proposal to transform the biennial European Youth Event (EYE) into a coherent process so that the period before and after the EYE are turned into a series of meaningful interactions between Parliament and young people; considers, however, that Parliament should reimburse the travel and accommodation expenses of young people participating at the event in Strasbourg for reasons of equity and social justice; requests that the arrangements for reimbursement are clearly set out on Parliaments website; invites Parliament to develop similar meetings between Members and young people at local level through its EPLOs; Multiannual Building projects 23.Reiterates its call for a transparent decision-making process in the field of buildings policy based on early information, having due regard to Article 266 of the Financial Regulation; 24.Recommends that the annual budget planning take into account regular renovation of all buildings and that an amount corresponding to 3 % of the total surface area of all buildings be allocated for that purpose, as already reflected in the "Building strategy beyond 2019" adopted by the Bureau on April 16, 2018[13]; considers such allocation to be part of a regular and anticipatory building policy which should also focus on deep-retrofitting and should ensure that Parliament strives for a maximum improvement in energy efficiency and hence savings in the energy consumption and cost of Parliaments facilities; 25.Takes note that after completion of the works on the east wing of the new Konrad Adenauer building in Luxembourg in 2020 and the gradual move of staff into the new building, the works on the west wing should get underway in 2021; asks for further details regarding the expenditure for the project management of the construction of the west wing and the security surveillance of the construction site; reiterates its wish for the Secretary-General to obtain details of the gradual staff move; calls furthermore for a review of the spaces needed by Parliament in light of the expected increase in teleworking; 26.Welcomes the reduction of EUR 11,5 million relating to rent, maintenance and energy costs in 2021 compared to 2020 resulting from the move into the new Konrad Adenauer building and the abandonment of Towers A and B in Luxembourg; requests an overview of all other currently rented buildings that will remain occupied in 2021 as well as a detailed projection of the growing energy costs; 27.Takes note of the ongoing practice of the year-end mopping-up transfer to contribute to current building projects; notes that such mopping-up transfer takes place systematically on the same chapters, titles and, often, exactly on the same budgetary lines; takes note of the explanation given to Parliaments Committee on Budgets by Parliaments services that Parliament has saved almost EUR 100 million in interest due to that practice over the last yearsand has thus been ableto keep its significant building projects financially under control; highlights that Parliament`s budget implementation rate is at almost 99 %;considers that such a legal practice risks being perceived as a programmed over-budgeting in certain areas in order to generate funds for the financing of Parliaments building policy; calls for a reflection on the financing of key investments in the building policy, based on more transparency and detailed planning; 28.
    • Asks the Bureau to make known its decision on the future of the Spaak building in Brussels as well as all the supporting documents available within the services; notes that the renovation could also present an opportunity to optimise the already available surfaces according to Parliaments current needs as described in the updated building strategy beyond 2019; takes note of the unavailability during renovation works of the Spaak building for a period of approximately five years; reiterates its request that Parliaments Committee on Budgets be provided with an estimate and a detailed breakdown of the costs once the Bureau has made the decision; reminds that the 2021 budget includes items for the preparation of the works in the Spaak building; 29.Calls upon the Secretary-General to consider an appropriate period to recover recyclable materials such as copper, cladding and others for re-use and repurposing through a specialised company; 30.
    • Recalls that a vast majority of Parliament expressed in various resolutions support for a single seat to ensure efficient spending of Union taxpayers money and to assume its institutional responsibility to reduce its carbon footprint; emphasizes that the geographical dispersion of Parliament's three seats amounts to 6% of the institutions overall budget, while its annual environmental impact is estimated to be between 11,000 to 19,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions; underlines the negative public perception caused by that dispersion; recalls the need to find solutions to optimise parliamentary institutional work, financial costs and the carbon footprint; 31.Welcomes the idea that Parliament is committed to undertaking the necessary adaptation and renovation of its buildings in order to create an environment accessible to all users in line with Union standards; stresses that works to improve the accessibility for persons with disabilities and those with reduced mobility already started in Strasbourg and that the projects will continue in 2021 in both Brussels and Strasbourg, but also in six EPLOs; asks to continue such renovations in all other buildings of Parliament by committing to the functional accessibility requirements for the built environment laid down in Annex III of the Directive (EU) 2019/882[14], and by referring to relevant international and European standards to fulfil those requirements in procurement procedures so Members, staff and visitors with disabilities and those with reduced mobility can access the buildings and make use of its facilities on an equal basis with others in line with the obligations set by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Security, IT and infrastructure development 32.Supports the investment made by Parliament to maintain a modern and efficient workplace; considers that the building security and the cyber-security are essential for the safety and functioning of Parliament; welcomes the fact that with the entrance of WEISS building, Parliament will have almost finished the work to secure all of its buildings; requests updated information on the overall costs of that project; reiterates that IT security shall remain a top priority as well as powerful and secure cloud services, fully respecting data protection; invites Parliament to study the possibility of usingopen source infrastructure; 33.Welcomes the Digital Workplace4MEP strategy which delivers solutions for mobility and efficiency; considers that the deployment of high-quality hybrid devices shall contribute to achieving the environmental management target of reducing paper consumption by 50 % by 2024; expects that in budgetary terms, that deployment will lead to significant cost savings due to the phasing out of other types of devices; 34.Notes that DG TRAD is aiming to develop a tool that is able to automatically transcribe and translate parliamentary multilingual debates in real time, so that all citizens have equal access to information in their language; highlights that the effectiveness and added value of such tools have to be ensured and proven in advance in all 24 official languages; asks that an analysis be carried out on the total cost of the whole project and the impact on human resources; asks for an estimation of the timeline when that technology would be available; considers that the means dedicated to multilingualism, namely translation and interpretation, should not be reduced, as long as there is no reduction in workload; 35.Calls for improvements in the current set up of tracking and tracing of IT-related issues between operating units of Parliament's services in order to increase efficiency and transparency; calls, in particular, for simplification of the reporting of Members' travel expenses to ensure efficient, speedy and user-friendly system and traceability of claims; 36.Calls for the further development of stable and secure teleworking facilities for all devices; Green Parliament and sustainable mobility 37.Underlines that since 2016, Parliament is the first Union institution to become carbon neutral, because after making all possible efforts to reduce its CO2 emissions, it offsets 100 % of its irreducible emissions; 38.Recalls that the carbon footprint scope of Parliament encompasses the following 7 main categories: energy consumption; leak of refrigerant gases, freight, transport of persons, supply of equipment and services, direct waste, and fixed assets; welcomes the Bureau decision that new and more ambitious environmental targets were set for the current legislative term, that should be achieved by 2024 in key areas such as carbon footprint reduction, reduction of carbon emissions from transport of persons, reduction of gas, heating oil and district heating consumption, reduction of electricity consumption, reduction of paper consumption, reduction of non recycled waste, reduction of water consumption and reduction of food waste; calls for a detailed roadmap on achieving those targets to be presented to Parliaments Committee on Budgets; calls for an annual review of results and the option to increase the ambition of those standards by mid-term in 2022; 39.
    • Welcomes the new parking policy developed in Parliaments car parks aimed at promoting the use of electric vehicles, namely bicycles, cargo-bikes, scooters and cars, through the installation of electric charging stations; calls for that policy to be extended to all other Parliament car parks; supports all future measures to encourage Members and staff to reduce the use of passenger cars and to prioritise the use of public transport and bicycles, including also financial incentives; 40.
    • Encourages Members to use transport possibilities that respect the environment objectives envisioned by Parliament; asks the Bureau to revise the Implementing measures of the Statute for Members of the European Parliament[15] so that Members are reimbursed for flexible economy airline tickets when traveling within the Union, with exceptions accepted for flights longer than four hours of duration or flights with a stopover; takes note that travels of many Members from their constituencies to the places of work of Parliament require long journeys and can only be undertaken by plane; 41.Calls for the protection of the environment and the saving of resources; is concerned, in this regard, by the fact that Members do not use their free Belgian railway travel pass; calls on the Bureau to find a solution for optimising the use of that pass and provide the financial details of the agreement with the SNCB/NMBS; recalls its request to make greater use of videoconferencing, including with external participants through the use of widespread software and other technologies; 42.Welcomes the notice of the Questors of 18 February 2020 to encourage Members and political group secretariats to apply the voluntary trunk-sharing policy with the aim of decreasing the number of lorries needed for Strasbourg missions thereby helping to reduce Parliaments carbon footprint; calls for an analysis of alternatives to the trunks in line with the EMAS target for a paperless Parliament as soon as possible; Members and accredited parliamentary assistants related issues 43.Reiterates its concern about the additional expenditure on interpretation of the oral explanations of votes during plenary sessions;stresses that the cost of translating and interpreting the oral explanation of votes is estimated at EUR 21,431 per voting day or EUR 900,102 per year; recalls that alternatives, such as a written explanation of votes as well as various public communication facilities, are available to Members wishing to explain their voting positions; in that context, calls for a reasonable use of Parliament resources and considers that in order to achieve significant savings, the oral explanation of votes could be abolished; 44.Recalls Article 27(1) and (2) of the Statute for Members of the European Parliament[16] which states that the voluntary pension fund set up by Parliament shall be maintained after the entry into force of this Statute for Members or former Members who have already acquired rights or future entitlements in that fund and that acquired rights and future entitlements shall be maintained in full; further notes that at the end of 2018, the amount of net assets to be taken into account and the actuarial commitment amount to EUR 112,3 million and EUR 398,4 million, respectively, leading to an estimated actuarial deficit of EUR 286,1 million; points out that this raises concerns about the possible exhaustion of the Voluntary Pension Fund; calls upon the Secretary-General and the Bureau to fully respect the Statute for Members and to establish with the pension fund a clear plan for Parliament assuming and taking over its obligations and responsibilities for its Members voluntary pension scheme; supports the request from the Bureau to the Secretary-General to investigate ways to ensure a sustainable financing of the Voluntary Pension Fund in accordance with the provisions of the Statute for Members while ensuring full transparency; considers that all possible avenues should be exhausted to find a fair solution to the problem, while keeping Parliaments liability to a minimum; appeals the Bureau and the members of the Voluntary Pension Fund to support measures aiming at limiting the deficit of the Voluntary Pension Fund; 45.Reiterates its appeal for transparency regarding the General Expenditure Allowance for Members, in line with the renewed calls from Parliaments plenary; urges the Bureau to immediately resume discussions about the General Expenditure Allowance and to come up with an agreement as soon as possible; believes that such agreement should include common rules for greater transparency and financial accountability; stresses that any new measures increasing transparency should not create unnecessary bureaucracy for Members and their offices to extent possible; 46.
    • Reminds its call to the Bureau to work on a technical solution to allow Members to exercise their right to vote while benefiting from their maternity or paternity leave, during a long-term illness or in cases of force majeure; asks the Bureau to clarify which legal, financial, and technical limits such a solution would entail; 47.Welcomes the measures taken by Parliament regarding the Covid-19 outbreak, including new temporary working methods and allowing the use of Parliament's facilities in the battle against the coronavirus; asks the Bureau to propose further measures to address consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak; asks the Secretary General to evaluate the financial consequences of those measures for Parliaments budgets for 2020 and 2021 and present it to Parliaments Commitee on Budgets before Parliaments reading of the budget in Autumn 2020; calls on the Secretary General to elaborate detailed guidelines to better prepare for any future force majeure events in order to ensure a continued fulfilment of Parliaments legislative functions if orderly functioning cannot be upheld; 48.Recalls its request regarding the amount of the allowances paid to the APAs for the missions they carry out between the three places of work of Parliament with a view to ensuring that the Bureau align it at the level of allowance systems for civil servants and other agents; considers that any rise in the Members envelope for parliamentary assistance in the course of the mandate should have that purpose as a primary justification; 49.Asks the Bureau to assess the possibility and financial impacts of an extension of the status of APAs to local assistants; asks for clarification on the criteria taken into account to establish the table of remuneration for local assistants and requests a thorough analysis of those criteria to assess their up-to-date character; recommends that attention be paid to ensuring commensurate tasks and salaries of the assistants in the Member States; 50.Calls again on the Conference of Presidents to revise the Implementing provisions governing the work of delegations and missions outside the European Union; underlines that such a revision should consider the possibility for APAs, subject to certain conditions, to accompany Members on official Parliament Delegations and Missions; 51.Calls on the Bureau to scrutinise the current system of budget allocation to the committees to assess its advantages and disadvantages and to increase the committees` flexibility and autonomy in the planning and allocation of funding for tasks and assignments; 52.Asks the Bureau to establish full flexibility of presence for Members during Green Weeks to facilitate their working arrangements; Other issues 53.Welcomes the existing cooperation agreements between Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, with a view to identifying other areas in which back-office functions could be shared; invites the Secretary-General to evaluate existing cooperation between Union institutions in order to identify further potential synergies and savings; 54.Deplores the recent price increases in Parliaments canteens, especially the self-service restaurant in the Altiero Spinelli building in Brussels; considers those increases have not been accompanied by food quality improvement; asks the Bureau to assess the possibility of relying on a new service provider for the Altiero Spinelli buildings self-service restaurant and to revise its subvention policy to make the meals more affordable; 55.Recalls the recommendations of Parliaments resolutions of 26 October 2017, 11 September 2018 and 15 January 2019 on combating sexual harassment and abuse in the Union as well as measures to prevent and combat mobbing and sexual harassment; demands that the Secretary-General provide all information on the work and that has been done in that regard and the programme for the near future; asks the Secretary-General to provide an assessment of the new harassment procedures before presenting the 2022 estimates to the Bureau; is of the opinion that staff as well as Members should be encouraged to participate in training courses to minimise the occurrence of such events inside Parliament; 56.Notes that Parliaments new travel agency started operating on 1 January 2019; notes that Members experienced difficulties reaching the travel services call centre during and outside working hours, calls for an improvement in availability; presses for a simple and user-friendly complaints mechanism, which allows for speedy resolution of any problems; deplores that tickets proposed by the agency are not always the most cost effective ones and that Members experience considerable delays in the reimbursement of their travel costs; calls on DG FINS to launch a satisfaction survey on the services of the travel agency, and requests an evaluation of their work during the ongoing contract; 57.Calls upon the Secretary-General and the Bureau to instil a culture of performance-based budgeting across Parliament's administration, and a lean management approach in order to enhance efficiency and environmental sustainability, reduce paperwork and diminish bureaucracy in the institution's internal work; stresses that the experience of lean management is the continuous improvement of the work procedure thanks to simplification and to the experience of the administrative staff; 58.Emphasises that Parliament should be a safe place to work in, both physically and psychologically; is concerned with the effect on workers of the new contracts for cleaning in Parliament; urges the Secretary-General to verify that the highest standards of labour law are being upheld by external contractors, in particular as regards psychological pressure and working conditions; 59.Adopts the estimates for the financial year 2021; 60.Instructs its President to forward this resolution and the estimates to the Council and the Commission.

    Highlights - BUDG to adopt guidelines for 2021 EU budget - Committee on Budgets

    Monday, May 11, 2020 - 8:00pm

    On 27 May 2020, BUDG Members will vote on the guidelines for the 2021 EU budget prepared by the general rapporteur for Section III of the EU budget, Pierre Larrouturou (S&D, FR).

    Key Points: 
    • On 27 May 2020, BUDG Members will vote on the guidelines for the 2021 EU budget prepared by the general rapporteur for Section III of the EU budget, Pierre Larrouturou (S&D, FR).
    • In the light of the unprecedented crisis facing the Union, the rapporteur believes that next year's EU budget should primarily focus on mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting Member States' recovery, building on the European Green Deal.
    • The rapporteur calls on the European Commission to present a draft budget that contributes importantly to a long-lasting Recovery Plan to face the COVID-19 crisis, including through a massive investment part financed by the Union as of 2021.
    • The report is scheduled to be adopted at the June plenary session.