European Parliament Beefs Up EEAS Budget Rules

Members of the European Parliament during a plenary session. Photo by: EU

The European Parliament has introduced new provisions to the budgeting rules of the European External Action Service in a bid to ensure financial accountability and transparency.

The Budgets and Budgetary Control committees of the European Parliament has inserted amendments to EEAS’ financial regulations, including stringent provisions that seek traceability as well as financial and budgetary accountability, according to a news release from the European Parliament. 

The amendments were drafted by Ingeborg Grässle of Germany and Crescenzio Rivellini of Italy, who explained that they want Parliament to have its say in ensuring democratic scrutiny of how the EEAS budget is implemented.

The new provisions require the European Commission to provide Parliament and the European Council a working document that outlines all operational and administrative expenses related to the EEAS. The document will be submitted alongside the draft EU budget, members of Parliament explained.

In addition, MEPs insisted that heads of EEAS delegations should complete budget training courses before fully assuming their duties. They also want all annual activity reports and other related documents prepared by the heads of delegations to be transmitted to the European Parliament.

The European Parliament’s legal affairs committee is set to vote on the changes to the regulations Oct. 6. Legislative changes to EEAS’ budgeting and staffing rules are necessary before the service can fully function.

Right personnel mix

Elmar Brok, a German member of Parliament, has reiterated a call for the right mix of personnel within the EEAS.

“Brok made plain that the European Parliament would insist on the need for ‘quality and fair distribution between the institutions,’ stressing that, according to inter-institutional agreements that had already reached, 60 percent of the EEAS staff should be ‘community personnel,’ meaning officials from the Commission and the Council secretariat,” EurActiv reports.

Brok added that the European Parliament can delay its decision on necessary budget and staff rules if the body is not satisfied with the mix of personnel appointed by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton. Members of the European Parliament have previously criticized Ashton for the alleged underrepresentation of female Eastern European nationals in the EEAS.

>> European Parliament Members Slam Catherine Ashton for Diplomatic AppointmentsEarlier this month, Ashton named her first batch of appointees for the external action service.

>> Ashton Names First Batch of Diplomatic Appointments

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.