Ministers’ Deputies
CM Documents

CM(2008)132 18 September 20081
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1042 Meeting, 25-27 October 2008
11 Administration and Logistics


11.2 Meeting report of the Budget Committee – September 2008 session

Item to be considered by the GR-PBA at its meeting on 9 October 2008

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1. The Budget Committee met in Strasbourg on 8-10 September 2008.

2. The agenda of the meeting appears at Appendix I and the list of participants at Appendix II.

I. OPENING OF THE MEETING

      Report of the May 2008 meeting

3. The Committee took note of the report of the May 2008 meeting.

      Minutes of the May 2008 meeting

4. The Committee examined and approved the minutes of its meeting held in May 2008 and added few changes.

II. PRESENTATION OF THE BUDGETARY CONTEXT FOR 2009

5. The Director General of Administration and Logistics provided the Committee with the latest information in relation to the Budgetary Context for 2009. In particular he informed the Committee of the following:

GENERAL POINTS

6. A new rapporteur group had been set up by the Committee of Ministers; the Rapporteur Group on Programme, Budget and Administration (GR-PBA) which combined the responsibilities that had been previously the remit of the Rapporteur Group on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (GRAB) and the Thematic co-ordinator on the Programme of Activities (TC-PROG).

7. Following recent events in the South Caucasus, the Secretary General was reviewing the draft Programme of Activities for 2009 and could make proposals for amendments to the document which had been published recently.

8. The Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights had submitted to the Ministers Deputies a note setting out why the Court considered it necessary to launch a new three-year programme of enhancement of the resources of the Court for 2010-2012. The Committee of Ministers had not yet started discussion on the subject which would have implications as regards office space requirements.

9. The Director General of Administration and Logistics also informed the Committee that the European Parliament had again contacted the Organisation with a view to possibly renting some office space which could be available within the B building if it were to be renovated. Any response to such a proposal would have to be taken in the light of any decisions the Committee of Ministers might take in respect of the Court’s proposal.

10. The Committee of Ministers had examined further the priorities of the Secretary General for 2009 with some delegations making specific remarks about certain programmes. The Committee of Ministers would resume discussion of the priorities in the light of the detailed draft Programme of Activities. The Committee of Ministers had also invited the Secretary General to continue his efforts at making efficiency gains in all sectors of the organisation.

11. The Committee of Ministers had also discussed alternatives for the financing of the increase in contributions by member states to the Pension Reserve Fund and had requested that the Secretariat prepare a document for the GR-PBA which outlined possible solutions. The Secretariat had prepared such a document (GR-PBA(2008)9) which had been distributed to members of the Budget Committee at the beginning of the present meeting; it would be discussed by GR-PBA on 23 September 2008.

PARTIAL AGREEMENTS

12. The Committee of Ministers had decided in July that the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field will be dissolved as of 31 December 2008, with certain activities being stopped and certain activities (related to cosmetics and food packaging) being carried on within the framework of the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Health Care (EDQM) without any effect on the contributions of member States to the Partial Agreement EDQM.

13. The Secretary General was in the process of reviewing the budget proposals of the EDQM, and consequently its draft budget for 2009 was not yet available for discussion by the Committee. The Committee would be able to discuss the draft budget of the EDQM at its October meeting.

14. The Secretary General had requested that each Partial Agreement should respect the principle of zero real growth and that efficiency gains should be implemented. In 2009 the total increase proposed in the expenditure budgets of the Partial Agreements (excluding EDQM) amounted to 0.83%.

15. Some Partial Agreements (Greco, Venice Commission and the Development Bank) were increasing their budgets in excess of inflation due for example to new accessions or changes in the actual situation of staff within the Partial Agreement, which affected contractual staff costs.

III. PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS FROM THE BUDGET COMMITTEE

16. Financial Statements for 2007, dated 29th of August 2008, had been distributed to the Committee at the start of its meeting. Furthermore the draft budget of the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Health Care (EDQM) for 2009 had not yet been published.

The Committee regretted that the Committee had therefore not been able to make recommendations in respect of the draft Resolutions in respect of the financial statements (in particular in respect of the financial statements of the EDQM); therefore any such recommendations would not be available for the Rapporteur Group on Programme Budget and Administration (GR-PBA) when discussing the Financial Statements on 23 September 2008. The Budget Committee would only be able to present its observations and recommendations in respect of this matter as well as the Pension Fund following its October meeting.

17. The Committee regretted that the External Auditor had not responded positively to the invitation to attend the present meeting in order to discuss his report on the financial statements for 2007.

The Committee considered its traditional annual exchange of views with the External Auditor to be an important element of its programme of work and therefore insisted that the Secretariat repeat this invitation for the External Auditor to attend its next meeting in October 2008.

IV. BUDGETS OF THE PARTIAL AGREEMENTS FOR 2009

      General observation

18. The Committee noted that the draft budgets of the Partial Agreements were in line with the Secretary General's Priorities, as set out in document CM(2008)61, and that they complied, in most cases, with the zero real growth principle. It also noted that information provided in respect of “additional resources” or “voluntary Contributions” were not always presented in a consistent way from one Partial Agreement to another. The Committee recommended harmonising the presentation and clarifying it so that it was easier to see the total resources available.

      Logframes

19. The Committee noted that, further to its recommendations, the presentation of expected results had been rationalised by reducing the number of logframes. While welcoming these efforts, the Committee considered that, for some Partial Agreements, the expected results were still not sufficiently tangible and precise, and the performance indicators were not always appropriate or measurable. The Committee therefore wanted to see a continuation of the efforts to improve precision regarding both the indicators and the expected results.

      European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Health Care (EDQM)

20. As detailed above the Committee will examine the Draft Budget of the EDQM at its October meeting. (see part III).

      Partial Agreement on the Council of Europe Development Bank

21. The Committee noted that the €106 400 increase (7.72%) corresponded to statutory adjustments and the adjustment for inflation and was mainly the result of statutory changes relating to staff. The Committee recommended the estimates of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 3.

22. The Committee questioned whether certain costs relating to Secretarial services provided to the collegiate organs, in particular those detailed in the draft budget (page 10 under section b) should not be covered by the Development Bank. It also considered the total number of meetings to be very high.

      Partial Agreement on the Co-operation Group to combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking in drugs (Pompidou Group)

23. The Committee recommended that the Logframes for the Partial Agreement should be reviewed in order to make them more specific and measurable in terms of objectives and performance indicators.

24. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 3.

      Partial Agreement on the Co-operation Group for the prevention of, protection against, and organisation of relief in major natural and technological disasters

25. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 3.

      Partial Agreement on the European Support Fund for the co-production and distribution of creative cinematographic and audio-visual works "Eurimages"

26. The Committee took note of the information provided by the Partial Agreement's secretariat. It noted with interest the plans to entrust a specialist outside firm with the task of collecting receipts, so as to increase the reimbursement of advances. The Committee would follow the results of this new approach.

27. With regard to the draft budget for 2009, the Committee recommended the forecast of receipts proposed for 2009 and the corresponding expenditure as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 3.

28. The Committee noted, from the financial statements of Eurimages for 2007, that the present budgetary arrangements meant that the Partial Agreement carried significant cash balances on a continual basis (€32 M at 31 December 2007). It noted that these balances were invested and produced interest which was used to increase the resources of the Fund. The Committee questioned whether this interest income could be used instead to reduce the contributions of Members States. The Committee wished to review the present budgetary arrangements at its May 2009 meeting.

      Enlarged Agreement on the European Commission for Democracy through Law

29. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 3.

30. It recommended transforming two positions into permanent posts and upgrading one of them from B5 to A1/2.

31. The Committee noted that there was an increase of 55 500 € in appropriations for 2009 resulting from the organisation of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice in South Africa.

      Partial Agreement on the Youth Card

32. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 3.

      Partial Agreement on the European Centre for Modern Languages

33. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 3.

      Partial Agreement establishing the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity

34. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document NSC/EC(2008)9.

      Enlarged Partial Agreement on the “Group of States against Corruption – GRECO”

35. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document Greco(2008)14.

36. It recommended creating an A1/2 post, as proposed in the draft budget.

      Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS)

37. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document EPAS-SC(2008)1.

38. The Committee recommended that the Logframes for the Enlarged Partial Agreement should be reviewed in order to make them more specific and measurable in terms of objectives and performance indicators.

V. GENERAL BUDGET FOR 2009

    5.1 Services Budgets

    Translation Budget

39. The Committee recommended that the descriptions used in respect of certain subheads should be reviewed in order to clarify the exact nature of the expenditure for which the budgetary appropriations were intended.

    Interpretation Budget

40. The Committee noted that savings could be achieved if meetings as a whole were scheduled more evenly throughout the year and also more evenly over the days of each individual week. It urged the Secretariat and the Committees and other bodies to take fully into account this cost factor when planning meeting dates with the aim of reducing interpretation costs.

41. The Committee noted that a new Information management system for Interpretation was currently under development. The Committee hoped that this tool would provide the Secretariat with the means to analyse the timing and nature of the requirements for interpretation services and thus enhance planning in the future.

    Documents budget

42. The Committee stated that in future budgets better explanations should be provided by the Secretariat in respect of the split of staff resources between permanent staff and temporary staff and the final Budget for 2009 should reflect the forecast split between the two subheads.

43. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for the Service Budgets for 2009 as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 1

    5.2 Subsidiary Budget for Publications

44. The Committee noted that the budget for 2009 included appropriations in respect of balances to be carried forward to future years. In the interest of transparency the Committee recommended that the title of this sub-head (0000257) should be renamed: “Balance carried forward to the following year”.

45. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 1.

    5.3 Extraordinary Budget

46. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 1.

    5.4 Subsidiary Budget of the European Youth Centre

47. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 1.

    5.5 Budget of the European Youth Foundation

48. The Committee recommended the forecast of expenditure and receipts for 2009 as shown in document CM(2008)130 Vol. 1

49. The Committee wished to draw attention to the logframe for the European Youth Foundation, which did not show the actual results for year N-1. As already stated, it wanted expected results to be more precise and the previous year’s results to be mentioned as far as possible.

VI. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

    Committee meetings calendar and documents distribution

50. The Committee noted that it did not have all documents which were necessary for the examination of the first part of the budget due to the unavailability of certain data. (Financial Statements and External Audit Opinion, Pharmacopeia budget).

51. The Committee requested that in the future its meeting calendar should be reviewed and its September and October sessions be put back one week so that documents necessary for their work would be available on time.

    Next meeting

52. The Committee recalled that its next meeting would be held from 6 to 10 October.

Appendix I

BUDGET COMMITTEE

September session 2008

Monday 8 September at 9 a.m. – Wednesday 10 September 2008

Room 7, Palais de l’Europe

DRAFT AGENDA

Item 1 Opening of the meeting

      - report of the May 2008 meeting

      CM(2008)88: Meeting report of the Budget Committee – May 2008 session

      - minutes of the May 2008 meeting

      P-Bud(2008)CR1: Minutes of the May 2008 session

Item 2 Presentation of the budgetary context for 2009

Item 3 Budgets of the Partial Agreements for 2009

      CM(2008)130, Vol 3: Draft budget for 2009 – Budgets of the Partial Agreements (*)
      Greco (2008)14: Draft budget for 2009 of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on the ''Group of States against Corruption - GRECO''
      NSC/EC(2008)9: Draft budget for 2009 of the Partial Agreement establishing the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity
      EPAS-SC(2008)1 : Draft budget for 2009 of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport
      P-Bud(2008)1: Budgetary situation as of 30 august 2008
      P-Bud(2008)2: Detailed budget tables per accounting code

(*) This year volume 3 does not include the Draft Budget of the EDQM. The EDQM’s draft budget will be presented within a separate volume and examined during the next session of the Budget Committee, in October.

Item 4 General Budget for 2009

      4.1 - Services Budgets
      P-Bud(2008)3 - Services Budgets for 2009 : Translation, Interpretation and document Budgets (*)
      4.2 - Subsidiary Budget for Publications
      P-Bud(2008)4 - Publication Budget for 2009 (*)
      4.3 - Extraordinary Budget
      P-Bud(2008)5 - Extraordinary Budget for 2009 (*)
      4.4 - Subsidiary Budget of the European Youth Centres
      P-Bud(2008)6 - Subsidiary Budget of the European Youth Centres budget for 2009 (*)
      4.5 - Budget of the European Youth Foundation
      P-Bud(2008)7 - Budget of the European Youth Foundation for 2009 (*)

(*) All these documents represent extracts from the document CM(2008)130, Vol 1: Draft budget for 2009

Item 5 Any other business
Additional Information Documents:

Title of Document

GR-PBA(2008)8 Annotated agenda – Meeting of 23 September 2008

Working document of the Secretariat of the Partial Agreement “Eurimages” distributed 9 September

CM(2008)100 Consolidated Financial statements and Budgetary Management Accounts of the Council of Europe for the year ended 31 December 2007

CM(2008)111 Accounts of the Partial Agreement establishing the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity for the year ended 31 December 2007

CM(2008)112 Accounts of the Partial Agreement of the European Support Fund for the co-production and distribution of creative cinematographic and audio-visual works “Eurimages” for the year ended 31 December 2007

GR-PBA(2008)9 Financing of pensions

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Appendix II

BUDGET COMMITTEE

September session 2008

(8-11 September 2008)

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

STATES

MEMBERS

Austria

Mr Christoph JACKWERTH

Belgium

Ms Anne VAN NIEUWENBURG

France

Ms Marie-Chantal MUSSET (Chair)

Germany

Mr Michael LAUMANNS (Substitute)

Italy

Mr Claudio DE ROSE

Poland

APOLOGIES

Romania

Mr Stefan PETRESCU

Russian Federation

Mr Maxim N. GOLOVINOV (Substitute)

Sweden

Mr Åke HJALMARSSON (Vice Chair)

Turkey

Mr Fikret DEMIR (Substitute)

United Kingdom

Ms Joycelyn BUCHAN

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.


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