Parliament should postpone granting discharges (approval) for the financial 2009 accounts of the European Police College (CEPOL) and the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), recommended the Budgetary Control Committee on Monday. Committee MEPs shared the grave concerns of Georgios Stavrakakis (S&D, GR), who drafted reports on the management practices of both agencies.
European Police College
The Committee was unanimous that Parliament should postpone granting a budget discharge to the Director of CEPOL (Bramshill, UK), due to its "persistent lack of compliance with the Financial Regulation". The multi-annual action plan requested by Parliament after previous managerial problems "lacks clarity on some items", the report says. Besides, CEPOL's progress reporting is considered "insufficient to allow a clear understanding of implementation of concrete actions". CEPOL was the only agency for which a discharge was refused in 2008.
European Medicines Agency
Committee members also say Parliament should postpone granting a budget discharge to the London-based EMEA, because they feel there is no proper guarantee of the independence of experts hired to carry out scientific evaluations of human medicines. The independence question arose because some MEPs believe some experts had conflicting interests to do with the anorectic Benfluorex. The report also criticizes the EMEA's management of procurement procedures and its lack of criteria for recruiting staff. The vote to recommend postponing the discharge was 21 in favour, and 3 against.
Euratom, Food Safety Agency and Frontex: discharge granted
MEPs also voted that Parliament should grant discharges for 2009 to Euratom, the Food Safety Agency and Frontex.
The European Parliament is the EU budget discharge authority. Once annual accounts are audited and finalised, Parliament decides – on a recommendation by the Council of Ministers – whether or not to grant a discharge to the Commission and other EU bodies for their spending in 2009.
The discharge for budget implementation is the decision by which the European Parliament "releases" the Commission or – in the case of agencies – the directors from their responsibility for managing a given budget by marking the end of that budget's existence.
Parliament as a whole will vote on the discharge for the Commission, the other institutions and the agencies at its plenary session in Strasbourg.