Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
GR-PBA
Rapporteur Group on Programme, Budget and Administration

GR-PBA(2008)1 6 June 20081
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Annotated Agenda
Meeting of 17 June 2008
2

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1. Priorities for 2009 – Budgetary Implications
Proposals by the Secretary General
(CM(2008)61, GR-PBA(2008)2 and DD(2008)283)

1.1. The group is invited to resume consideration of the Secretary General’s proposals for Priorities for 2009 – budgetary implications, in the light of comments made by delegations at the Deputies’ 1026th meeting (14-15 May 2008, item 1.6) and at the GR-AB meeting on 15 May 2008 (cf. GR-AB(2008)CB3), and document GR-PBA(2008)2 which sets out the Secretariat’s written response to questions and requests for clarifications made by delegations on those occasions.

1.2. The Budget Committee examined the Secretary General’s proposals at its meeting on 19-21 May 2008; its comments are set out in document CM(2008)88.

1.3. The Parliamentary Assembly has adopted its opinions concerning the 2009 Budgets at the Standing Committee on 29 May 2008: Opinion No. 268 (2008) on the “Budgets of the Council of Europe for the financial year 2009” and Opinion No. 269 (2008) on the “Expenditure of the Parliamentary Assembly for the financial year 2009”.

1.4. The group is invited to examine this item with a view to recommending the following draft decisions for the approval by the Deputies of the priorities and of the total of member states’ contributions for 2009, before the summer break, in line with the budgetary calendar:

    The Deputies

    1. noted that the decisions as regards the follow up to be given to the recommendations of the High Level Task Force on Social Cohesion would be taken in the light of a recommendation to be made by the GR-SOC;

    2. approved in general the priorities for 2009 and their budgetary implications, as set out in document CM(2008)61, based on the principle of zero-real growth of member states’ contributions to the Ordinary budget, in the light of observations made by delegations and subject to decision no. 1 above;

    3. accordingly, decided that the level of member states' total contributions to the Ordinary Budget for the 2009 financial year shall be €205 002 000;

    4. agreed that the financial result of the 2007 Ordinary Budget would be used to offset expenditure in the financial year 2009, resulting in particular from the programme of reinforcement of the resources of the European Court of Human Rights, stressing that such a case should not be considered as a precedent and should be without prejudice to the general principle that any unspent balance of the budget is to be reimbursed to the contributing states;

    5. invited the Secretary General to prepare the draft budget for 2009 on this basis.

“Political dimension of the Council of Europe budget” –
Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1812 (2007)
(CM/AS(2008)Rec1812 prov2 and REC_1812 (2007))

1.5. At their 1009th meeting (24 October 2007, item 3.1a), the Deputies decided to bring the Recommendation to the attention of their governments and of the organs of the Council of Europe Development Bank and, in the light of possible comments, invited their Rapporteur Group on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (GR-AB) and their Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation (GR-J) to prepare a draft reply for adoption at one of their forthcoming meetings. The comments received from the Council of Europe Development Bank are appended to the draft reply

1.6. Following the GR-AB meeting on 15 May 2008, the Secretariat has distributed a revised draft reply - CM/AS(2008)Rec1812 prov2 – incorporating all the amendments received from delegations.

1.7. The group is invited to resume examination of the draft reply with a view to recommending, subject to its examination by the GR-J, its adoption by the Deputies at a forthcoming meeting.

2 Budget Committee Report – Meeting of 19-21 May 2008
(CM(2008)88)

2.1. At its May 2008 meeting, the Budget Committee examined, inter alia, the Secretary General’s proposals for priorities for 2009 – budgetary implications (item 1 above), as well as the results of the actuarial study of Pension Reserve Fund (item 3 below), the situation of the Organisation’s buildings (the Secretariat will come back to this question at a future meeting, as appropriate) and administrative charges on voluntary contributions (cf para. 2.2 below). The report of the May 2008 meeting has been distributed in document CM(2008)88.

2.2. As regards the question of administrative charges on voluntary contributions, it is recalled that at their 915th meeting (Item 11.4.), the Deputies approved a levy of 1% on voluntary contributions, to be used to cover the processing cost of financial transactions engendered by the voluntary contributions, in particular the joint programmes with the European Commission. The group is invited to approve the proposal to increase the percentage levy in relation to the additional costs incurred within the Finance Directorate for the processing of payments in respect of joint programmes and voluntary contributions from the current 1.0% to 1.5% and to invite the Secretariat to carry out a detailed study of the way in which voluntary contributions and joint programmes are managed by the Organisation, including use of special accounts, for the reasons outlined in document CM(2008).. and section VIII of the Budget Committee’s meeting report.

2.3. The GR-PBA is invited to consider this report with a view to recommending the following draft decision to the Deputies, for adoption without further debate:

      "The Deputies

      1. approved the proposal to increase the percentage levy in relation to the additional costs incurred within the Finance Directorate for the processing of payments in respect of joint programmes and voluntary contributions from the current 1.0% to 1.5%;

      2. invited the Secretariat to carry out a detailed study of the way in which voluntary contributions and joint programmes are managed by the Organisation, including use of special accounts;

      3. took note of the meeting report of the May 2008 session of the Budget Committee as set out in document CM(2008)88."

3. Pension Reserve Fund – Actuarial study
(CM(2008)59)

3.1. In line with the provisions of Resolution Res(2006)1 on the Statute of the Pension Reserve Fund of the Council of Europe3, an actuarial study has been undertaken to establish the basis for determining the level of member states’ total contributions to the Pension Reserve Fund over the next three years. Full background information and the results of the study are set out in document CM(2008)59.

3.2. A first exchange of views on this item was had at the GR-AB meeting on 15 May 2008 where it was agreed to resume consideration of this item at the present meeting in the light of comments to be received from the Budget Committee; it’s comments are set out in document CM(2008)88. It is also recalled that an informal information meeting on pensions will take place on 10 June 2008 (Room 8, 11 a.m.).

3.3. The group is invited to resume consideration of this study with a view to recommending the following draft decision to the Deputies, for adoption without further debate:

      The Deputies took note of the findings of the actuarial study (document CM(2008)59) and invited the Secretary General to prepare the budgetary resolution of the Pension Reserve Fund on the basis of the actuarial projections.

4. Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on Buildings (CAHB) –
Meeting report (Strasbourg, 16 and 17 April 2008)

(CM(2008)77)

4.1. The Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Buildings (CAHB) met in April 2008 mainly to review accommodation needs especially regarding the European Court of Human Rights (§4 and 5 of the meeting report), the two construction projects, namely the new general building (NBGEN/AGORA) (§7) and the new building for the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (NBDEQM) (§6), as well as progress on the fire safety compliancy work in the Palais de l’Europe and on the fire safety compliance and partial renovation of the European Youth Centre (EYC) in Strasbourg (§8 and 9). Its report is set out in document CM(2008)77.

4.2. The GR-PBA invited to examine this item with a view to recommending the following draft decision to the Deputies, for adoption without further debate:

      "The Deputies took note of the meeting report (16-17 April 2008) of the Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Buildings (CAHB), as it appears in document CM(2008)77."

5. Co-ordinating Committee on Remuneration (CCR) – Special adjustment of remuneration at 1st April 2008 for Hungary and Iceland – 186th Report
(CM(2008)84)

5.1. Application of the salary adjustment method (171st Report by the CCR - CM(2006)134) provides that the Chairman, on behalf of CCR, may submit to Councils a recommendation providing for a special adjustment of remuneration when the cost-of-living trend in a country shows an increase of at least 5% since the date of effect of the last adjustment for the period 1st July to 1st July of the following year.

5.2. Inflation having increased between the 1st July 2007 and 31 March 2008 by 5.4% in Hungary and by 6.6% in Iceland, the Chair of the CCR recommends to Councils on behalf of the CCR that remuneration for all categories of staff be adjusted in Hungary by 5.4% and in Iceland by 6.6% with effect from 1 April 2008.
The total budgetary cost for 2008 of these adjustments is estimated at € 9800 and will be covered by staff related appropriations already approved in the 2008 budget.

5.3. The GR-PBA is invited to examine this item with a view to recommending the following draft decisions to the Deputies, for adoption without further debate:

The Deputies

      1. took note of the 186th report of the Co-ordinating Committee on Remuneration (CCR), as it appears in document CM(2008)84;

      2. decided that, as a special adjustment, salary scales, as adjusted at 1 January 2008, be increased by 5.4% for Hungary and by 6.6% for Iceland with effect from 1 April 2008;

      3. noted that by application of the 150th report by the Co-ordinating Committee of Government Budget Experts (CCG), dated 4 April 1978 (CCG(78)4), pensions will be increased in the same proportion and on the same date as the remuneration of the staff to whom the CCR's 186th report applies;

      4. noted that, in accordance with the interpretation given to paragraph 3 of the 34th report by the CCG dated 25 October 1965 (CCG(65)5), the remuneration of auxiliary staff serving in the Co-ordinated Organisations will be adjusted in accordance with the provisions of the CCR's 186th report.

6. Exchange of views with the Internal Auditor (time permitting)
(CM(2008)87 and CM(2008)87 add - Annual Report 2007 of the Directorate of Internal Audit)

6.1. The Group is invited to hold an exchange of views with the Internal Auditor, in the light of his annual report for 2007, as set out in documents CM(2008)87 and CM(2008)87 add, with a view to recommending the following draft decision to the Deputies, for adoption without further debate:

      “The Deputies took note of the Annual Report 2007 of the Directorate of Internal Audit, as it appears in documents CM(2008)87 and CM(2008)87 add and agreed to transmit it to the Parliamentary Assembly for information.”

7. Any other business

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8. Dates of the next meeting

Tuesday, 23 September 2008 at 10 a.m.
Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 10 a.m.
Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 3 p.m.
Thursday, 6 November 2008 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.
Note 2 It is also recalled that an informal information meeting on pensions will take place on 10 June 2008 (Room 8, 11 a.m.).
Note 3 Article 3.1 - Financing of the Fund: “The Fund shall receive:
Note […]
Note b) annual contributions from member states as determined by the Committee of Ministers on the basis of actuarial studies to be carried out in 2005 and thereafter every three years;
Note […]


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