3 May 1995

Doc. 7303

REPORT

expressing an opinion on the

programme budget for the Assembly's 1996

operational expenditure

(Rapporteur: Mr SCHREINER,

France, European Democratic Group


Summary

      Each year, the Assembly submits an opinion to the Committee of Ministers setting out properly justified proposals for budget estimates for the Assembly's operational expenditure in the following year.

      This opinion lists the Assembly's priorities for 1996, namely carrying out and stepping-up its co-operation with the parliaments of central and east European countries, boosting the political groups' role, matching the staffing of the Office of the Clerk to the need arising from enlargement and modernising its computer and office equipement.

      The Assembly's budgetary proposals are aimed at giving it the necessary funds to be able to act in conformity with its priorities.

I. Draft opinion

1.       While the 1995 budget was a transitional one, full account will have to be taken in the financial year 1996 of the enlargement of the Council of Europe. As the Parliamentary Assembly stated in Recommendation 1250 (1994) on the enlargement of the Council of Europe and the budgetary prospects, the zero growth imposed on the 1995 budget totally contradicted the political will expressed at the Vienna Summit concerning the Council's pan-European role.

2.       The Assembly has consistently championed this pan-European role since it introduced special guest status for central and east European parliaments in 1989. It will continue to do so in 1995 and in the years ahead until the area of democracy embodied by the Council of Europe extends to the entire continent.

3.       Accordingly, the recent accessions of Andorra and Latvia could be followed by others in 1995.

4.       In this connection, the Assembly continues to pursue and intensify its co-operation with the parliaments of the new member states and of the applicant countries, which will involve wide-ranging activities going far beyond visits by legal experts or rapporteurs.

5.       With regard to Russia, whose application procedure has just been suspended by the Assembly, contacts will, in fact, be stepped up, as the aim is to re-open the procedure on a new footing as soon as possible.

6.       At the same time, the recent decision by the Bureau of the Assembly to proceed with the examination of the applications for special guest status submitted by the parliaments of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia should lead to the arrival of three new parliamentary delegations in the course of the year.

7.       Accordingly, the current total of 478 parliamentarians who take part in the Assembly's work (members and substitutes) - alongside 6 observers and 60 special guests - could well rise in the course of 1995, and the forecasts for the years ahead put the total at over 600 members.

8.       In order to deal with this increase and pave the way for more active participation by the parliamentarians, the Assembly has begun reviewing its committee structures and should fix its position before the end of the year. The current total of 13 committees could be increased to 16 or even 17 in 1996.

9.       The increases in the level of activity, the number of parliamentarians and the number of committees will inevitably have an impact in terms of Assembly's staff.

10.       The political groups will have to be given the resources needed to enable them to fulfil their role in consolidating democracy and conducting exchanges with the political parties in the new democracies. Moreover, it is essential that they be provided with computer equipment connected to the Council of Europe's network and that provision be made for additional staffing of their secretariats.

11.       The Assembly wishes to set up an electronic document and information distribution network. In this respect, it needs the necessary credits for the modernisation of its computer equipment.

12.       As in previous years, the Assembly's opinion is in two parts:

      i. table of 1995 appropriations and 1996 estimates;

      ii. detailed explanation of the changes requested.

A.       TABLE OF REQUESTED INCREASES IN REAL TERMS IN 1996 COMPARED WITH INITIAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR 1995 /

TABLEAU RECAPITULATIF DES DEMANDES D'AUGMENTATION DE CREDITS EN TERMES REELS POUR 1996 PAR RAPPORT AUX CREDITS INITIAUX OUVERTS POUR 1995

VOTE III of the ordinary budget ─ Expenditure of the Assembly

TITRE III du budget ordinaire ─ Dépenses relatives à l'Assemblée

Appropriations for 1995

Crédits ouverts au budget de 1995

FF

Changes in real terms proposed for 1996

Modifications en termes réels proposées pour 1996

FF

HEAD 3.1 ─ Staff

CHAPITRE 3.1 ─ Dépenses de personnel

Sub-heads/Articles

3101 ─       Salary, allowances and social charges of the Clerk of the Assembly

    Rémunération, indemnités et charges sociales du Greffier

3102 ─       Remuneration of staff recruited on established posts

    Rémunération du personnel recruté sur le cadre des emplois permanents

3102 bis ─ Staffing changes requested in the Office of the Clerk

    Modifications demandées pour le cadre des emplois du Greffe

3103 ─       Recruitment, arrival and departure expenses ─ Home leave

    Frais de recrutement à l'arrivée et au départ ─ congé dans le pays d'origine

3104 ─       Overtime ─ statutory and other allowances

    Heures supplémentaires ─ indemnités statutaires et autres

3105 ─       Remuneration and accessory charges of temporary Conference staff

    Rémunération et charges accessoires du personnel temporaire de conférence

3106 ─       Provision for adjustments to remuneration

    Provision pour ajustements de la rémunération

    TOTAL HEAD 3.1

    TOTAL DU CHAPITRE 3.1

1 152 000

34 885 000

440 000

100 000

16 641 000

p.m.

53 218 000

+ 2 103 000

+ 500 000

+ 2 603 000

HEAD 3.2 ─ Allocation to the Assembly's political groups

CHAPITRE 3.2 ─ Dotation des groupes politiques de l'Assemblée

3201 ─       Allocation to the Assembly's political groups

    Dotation des groupes politiques de l'Assemblée

    TOTAL HEAD 3.2

    TOTAL CHAPITRE 3.2

3 281 000

3 281 000

+ 1 000 000

+ 1 000 000

HEAD 3.3 - Supplies, services and other operational expenditure

CHAPITRE 3.3 - Dépenses de matériel et autres dépenses de fonctionnement

Sub-heads/Articles

3301 - Publishing and printing

Publications et impressions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3302 - Official expenses of the President of the Assembly

Frais de fonction du Président de l'Assemblée . . . . . . . . . . .

3303 - Expenditure pertaining to the Private Office of the President of the Assembly

Dépenses du Cabinet du Président de l'Assemblée . . . .. . . . .

3304 - Représentational expenditure, other official expenditure and

travelling expenses of members of the Assembly

Dépenses de représentation, frais de fonction et de déplacement des membres de l'Assemblée . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3305 - Official journeys

Frais de missions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3306 - Expenses for inviting parliamentary delegations of non-member

states

Dépenses d'accueil de délégations parlementaires d'Etats

non membres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3307 - Consultation of experts

Consultation d'experts. . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3308 - Organisation of ad hoc conferences

Organisation de conférences ad hoc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3309 - Strasbourg Conference

Conférence de Strasbourg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3310 - Other expenditure not specifically provided for in this vote

Autres dépenses non spécialement prévues au présent titre . . .

3311 - Modernisation of the Assembly's equipment (computerisation

and office automation)

Modernisation de l'équipement de l'Assemblée (informatisation

et bureautique) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3312 - Europe prizes

Prix européens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .

TOTAL HEAD 3.3

TOTAL DU CHAPITRE 3.3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Head 3.4 - Parliamentary activities

Chapitre 3.4 - Activités parlementaires

3401 - Assembly's co-operation programme

Programme de coopération de l'Assemblée . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

TOTAL VOTE III

TOTAL DU TITRE III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3 408 000

535 000

328 000

1 000 0000

1 700 000

2 160 000

521 000

1 140 000

250 000

295 000

p.m.

300 000

11 637 000

3 500 000

70 636 000

+ 1 000 000

+ 200 000

+ 1 000 000

+ 2 200 000

+ 1 000 000

+ 6 803 000

B.       DETAILED JUSTIFICATION OF THE CHANGES REQUESTED IN REAL TERMS

Analysis of the various estimates by budgetary item

VOTE III - EXPENDITURE OF THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY

HEAD 3.1 -       Staff

Sub-head 3101 -       Salary, allowances and social charges of the Clerk of the Assembly

Sub-head 3102 -       Remuneration of staff recruited on established posts

      This appropriation covers the basic salaries, allowances (both non-recurring and periodic) and social insurance of the staff of the Office of the Clerk, which comprises the following sixty-nine posts:

- one A7 post,

- two A6 posts,

- five A5 posts,

- fourteen A4 posts,

- fifteen A2/A3 posts,

- six B5 posts,

- five B4 posts,

- nineteen B3 posts,

- two B2 posts.

Sub-head 3102 bis -       Staffing changes requested in the Office of the Clerk Estimates for 1996: 2.103.000 (F)

- creation of one A4 post       590.000 F

- creation of two A2/A3 posts       843.750 F

- creation of two B2 posts       440.500 F

- upgrading of three A4 posts to A5       58.500 F

- upgrading of one B5 post to B6       14.250 F

- upgrading of one B3 post to B4       12.000 F

- upgrading of 12 B3 committee assistant posts to B4       144.000 F

      a.       For the Table Office

i.       One A4 post of assistant to the Head of Table Office. The latter performs specialist duties, including ensuring that the Assembly sessions run smoothly. In recent years, the workload involved has increased and the tasks have become more complex. It is now essential for the Head of Table Office to have an assistant who is a specialist in the field, capable of providing the necessary assistance and of standing in for him if need be.

ii.       It will be necessary in the near future to take account of the changes in the duties assigned to the staff member holding the post of principal administrative assistant in Table Office. The latter is currently responsible for the publication of all the official documents, and the on-going computerisation of the department is set to increase the responsibilities involved.

      b.       Creation of two A2/A3 and two B2 posts

      These posts will need to be created to provide secretariat services for the new committees arising from the restructuring exercise. The current total of 13 committees could be increased to 16 or even to 17 in 1996.

      c.       Upgrading of three A4 posts to A5

      The upgrading of one A4 post to A5 concerns the new division which is due to be set up under the restructuring exercise. The remaining two upgradings concern committee secretaries with particular responsibilities whose posts should be upgraded - particularly in the case of staff members already very far advanced in their careers - so that their grade takes due account of the experience they have acquired and respect they have earned in the course of their work for the Assembly.

      d.       For the management of the Assembly's budget

      Provision should be made here to upgrade one B5 post to B6 and one B3 post to B4. Management of the budget now involves a heavier workload of more complex tasks as a result of the administrative decentralisation introduced in the Council Secretariat and of certain constraints specific to the Assembly. In particular, these involve the expenses for parliamentary delegations from non-member states, which are paid directly during the sessions; the management of the appropriations made for the co-operation programmes (whose financial situation has to be updated by computer) and the management of official journeys by parliamentarians, experts and staff members. Most of the budgetary and accounting work is done by these grade B staff members, whose tasks and responsibilities have increased significantly. The new responsibilities involved fully justify the upgrading of the two posts.

      e.       Upgrading of committee assistant posts

      The nature of the tasks assigned to the committee assistants has changed greatly in recent years and the staff members concerned now work more independently than in the past (preparing dossiers, gathering information, attending to correspondence, replying to information requests, technical organisation of meetings, etc) and perform duties of the type required of administrative assistants. Twelve B3 posts should therefore be upgraded to B4.

*

* *

      The Assembly wishes to stress that it has deliberately limited the number of requests for new posts and given preference to upgrading existing posts, which has a modest impact in budgetary terms and, given the current financial situation, also enables us to improve the career prospects of Council of Europe staff members, as advocated in its Recommendation 1226 (1993).

Sub-head 3103 -       Recruitment, arrival and departure expenses - Home leave

Sub-head 3104 -       Overtime - Statutory and other allowances

      The Assembly proposes that the 1996 appropriations for sub-heads 3103 and 3104 be kept at the same level in real terms as in 1995.

Sub-head 3105 -       Remuneration and accessory charges of temporary conference staff

Increase requested       500 000 FF

      The enlargement of the Council of Europe and the increase in the number of sessions have resulted in a need to employ larger numbers of temporary conference staff. In addition, the introduction of the electronic voting system will mean that temporary maintenance staff will have to be employed during the Assembly sessions. It should be noted that this sub-head also covers the costs pertaining to committee and sub-committee meetings and other activities such as colloquies, conferences and round tables, etc. The Assembly requests an increase in the appropriations for this sub-head, estimated at this stage at 500 000 FF.

Sub-head 3106 -       Provision for adjustments to remuneration

      The Assembly proposes that the 1996 appropriations for sub-head 3106 be kept at the same level in real terms as in 1995.

HEAD 3.2

Sub-head 3201 -       Allocation to the Assembly's political groups

      Increase requested       1 000 000 FF

      The allocation made to the political groups is not sufficient to enable them to cope with the many demands arising from the enlargement of the Council of Europe, in particular as regards the participation of the new members and special guests in their activities and the training work and political contacts for which they are responsible. In view of the above, they should be provided with the computer equipment they need to access the information networks accessed by the Office of the Clerk, and their secretariat staffing should be increased. In this respect, it should be noted that the Assembly was only granted an increase of 200 000 FF in real terms in 1995. The Assembly therefore requests an increase of 1 000 000 FF in real terms.

HEAD 3.3 -        Supplies, services and other operational expenditure

      Since 1975, the appropriations under the sub-heads of Head 3.3 have been voted in a lump sum (budgetary package). The various amounts in this package may subsequently be altered under Article 31 of the Financial Regulations.

Sub-head 3301 -       Publishing and printing

Increase requested       1 000 000 FF

      The enlargement of the Council of Europe and the increase in the number of sessions have led to an increase in the number of pages to be produced. If documents for sittings and verbatim reports of the Assembly debates are to appear on time, additional temporary staff will be needed (for document production). Translation from and into non-official languages also involves further costs. The appropriations made under this sub-head in 1995 have proved distinctly inadequate, as they have had to cover the costs of SEDDOC's temporary document production staff in full. The Assembly therefore requests an increase of 1 000 000 FF to cover the costs of printing the official records of its proceedings.

Sub-head 3302 -       Official expenses of the President of the Assembly

Sub-head 3303 -       Expenditure pertaining to the Private Office of the President of the Assembly

      The Assembly proposes that the 1996 appropriations for sub-heads 3302 and 3303 be kept at the same level in real terms as in 1995.

Sub-head 3304 -       Representational expenditure, other official expenditure and travelling expenses of members of the Assembly

Increase requested       200 000 FF

      The enlargement of the Council of Europe has led to an increase in the number of journeys made by parliamentarians on Parliamentary Assembly business. The Assembly therefore requests an increase of 200 000 FF in real terms.

Sub-head 3305 -       Official journeys

Sub-head 3306 -       Expenses for inviting parliamentary delegations of non-member states

Sub-head 3307 -       Consultation of experts

Sub-head 3308 -       Organisation of ad hoc conferences

Sub-head 3309 -       Strasbourg Conference

Sub-head 3310 -       Other expenditure not specifically provided for in this vote

      The Assembly proposes that the 1996 appropriations for sub-heads 3305 to 3310 be kept at the same level in real terms as in 1995.

Sub-head 3311 -       Modernisation of the Assembly's equipment (computerisation and office automation)

Appropriation requested       1 000 000 FF

      One of the Assembly's priorities is the modernisation of its computer equipment. This is essential because most national parliaments and parliamentarians themselves have computer equipment at their disposal. Upgrading of the Parliamentary Assembly's computer system would thus make it possible to set up an electronic document and information distribution network, which should ultimately help to limit publishing, printing and telecommunication costs. As the appropriations under Vote I of the 1995 Council of Europe budget for computer development were inadequate to cope with the Assembly's needs, an appropriation of 1 000 000 FF should be made here.

Sub-head 3312 -       Europe Prizes

      The Assembly proposes that the 1996 appropriations for sub-head 3312 be kept at the same level in real terms as in 1995.

HEAD 3.4 -       Parliamentary activities

Sub-head 3401 -       Co-operation programme of the Assembly

      Increase requested       1 000 000 FF

      The needs for co-operation and the associated requests are set to grow in the next few years. In addition to the examination of the applications for membership and the intensification of contacts with Russia, the Parliamentary Assembly will probably have three more special guests. It would therefore be desirable for the Assembly to have an additional 1 000 000 FF for this programme, which is currently very modestly funded.

II. Explanatory memorandum

by M. SCHREINER

1.       The Committee on the Budget and the Intergovernmental Work Programme has done me the honour of appointing me Rapporteur on the programme budget for the Assembly's operational expenditure1. The draft opinion for 1996 is consistent with the political will expressed at the Vienna Summit as regards the Council of Europe's pan-European role, the emphasis being placed on:

-       consolidating and increasing the resources the Assembly needs to make a more effective contribution, through dialogue, information for parliamentarians, training of parliamentary administrative staff and co-operation in the legislative field, to fostering pluralist democracy in Central and East European countries;

-       boosting the political groups' human and other resources.

-       matching the staffing and administrative structure of the Clerk's Office to the full range of the Assembly's responsibilities;

      -        modernising its equipment (computerisation and office automation);

2.       The enlargement of the Council of Europe is in full swing. Similarly, the Parliamentary Assembly's co-operation with Central and East European countries has expanded significantly through the projects carried out under the pan-European programme of interparliamentary co-operation.

3.       The increases concern the following sub-heads:

- Sub-head 3102bis (staffing changes requested in the Office of the Clerk). The Assembly must be in a position to meet its new responsibilities. An increase in staffing must be given priority, particularly since the Assembly is in the midst of a restructuring exercise and is probably going to set up several new committees. The creation of five new posts will cover the secretariat requirements for the new committees involved. A preference has been however given to the upgrading of posts, which has a modest impact in budgetary terms but improves staff members' career prospects (it represents an increase of 6 % on the whole, 3,7 % for the new posts resulting from the restructuration).

- Sub-head 3301 (publishing and printing). The enlargement of the Council of Europe and the increase in the number of sessions have led to an increase in the number of documents produced for the sittings. The appropriations made in the 1995 budget have proved distinctly inadequate. I have therefore attempted to assess the requirements for 1996. I have considered it necessary to request an increase of 1 000 000 FF in real terms in the appropriation for sub-head 3301 of the budget (it represents an increase of 29,3 % of this sub-head).

- Sub-head 3311 (modernisation of the Assembly's equipment -computerisation and office automation). The Parliamentary Assembly's computer system must be upgraded to enable it to set up the internal and external information distribution networks needed for its work. As no credit has been allocated in 1995, I have considered necessary to ask an amount of 1 000 000 FF for sub-head 3311 of the budget.

- Sub-head 3401 (co-operation programme of the Assembly). The success of the pan-European programme of interparliamentary co-operation and the growing number of requests from the beneficiary countries call for an increase of 1 000 000 FF in real terms in the appropriation for sub-head 3401 of the budget (it represents an increase of 18,6 %).

- Sub-head 3201 (allocation to the Assembly's political groups). The political groups need to be able to play their role to the full, in particular as regards co-operation with Central and East European countries. They must be able to implement training programmes and organise fruitful exchanges with the new political parties in these countries. They should therefore be provided with efficient computer systems and additional secretariat staffing. I have therefore considered it necessary to request an increase of 1 000 000 FF in real terms in the appropriation for sub-head 3201 of the budget (it represents an increase of 30,50 % in comparison with sub-head 3201 in 1995).

4.       With regard to the remaining budgetary package, I have limited my requests for increases to those sub-heads where the need for additional appropriations became apparent in the course of the previous financial year. This concerns, in particular, temporary conference staff (sub-head 3301) and the representational expenditure, other official expenditure and travelling expenses of the members of the Assembly (sub-head 3304).

5.       In conclusion, I should like to stress that, in formulating the requests outlined above, I have take account of the economic and budgetary situation of the vast majority of Council of Europe member countries. Although it is true that we are currently experiencing a period of austerity, it is nonetheless important to remember that consistency with the decisions taken at the Vienna Summit means that we must strive for greater efficiency in fulfilling the responsibilities assigned to the Parliamentary Assembly. I have therefore drafted this opinion in a spirit of realism and in the hope that the point of view it reflects will be shared both by the Secretary General and the Committee of Ministers.

APPENDIX

Procedure governing the preparation of the Assembly's Opinion

      Every year, the Assembly is called upon to give its opinion on Vote III of the ordinary budget of the Council of Europe, ie the part of the draft budget dealing with appropriations pertaining to its operations. The appropriations pertaining to facilities, supplies and equipment do not come under this head.

      The increases requested for 1996 should be regarded as increases in real terms over the Assembly's appropriations for 1995. As in previous years, the Assembly is leaving it to the Secretariat's administrative departments to assess in due course the adjustments that are being or will be made to 1995 appropriations as a result of changes in salary scales, the implications of such changes for 1996 and the provisions that need to be made for salary adjustments in 1996. Similarly, it will be up to the Secretary General to adjust the other appropriations for inflation.

      The amounts of the appropriations requested by the Assembly for 1996 will thus be determined by the total appropriations to the Assembly for 1995 (including any additional appropriations in the course of the year), plus:

-       the increases in real terms requested in the opinion;

-       the technical adjustments made by the Secretariat.

      Reporting committee: Committee on the Budget and the Intergovernmental Work Programme

      Budgetary implications for the Assembly: The Assembly requests from the Committee of Ministers an increase of its appropriations in real terms of 2,603,000 FF for staff expenses; 1,000,000 FF for allocation to political groups; 2,200,000 FF for equipment and other operational expenditure (budgetary package) and 1,000,000 FF for the Assembly's co-operation programme.

      Reference to committee: standing mandate.

      Draft opinion adopted unanimously by the committee on 27 April 1995.

      Members of the committee: Sir Keith Speed (Chairman), Mr Cox (Vice-Chairman) (Alternate: Mr Alexander), Ms Özver (Vice-Chairperson), MM Adamiak, Behrendt, Mrs Belohorska, MM Biefnot, Bokov, Boucheron, Bugli, Mrs Calner, Mr Eörsi, Mrs Fernandez Sanz, MM Gjellerod (Alternate: Mrs Severinsen), Gunnarsson, Elo (Alternate: Mr Paasilinna), Jagmetti, Kolar, Martins, Mattina, Maunter-Markhof, Mitchell, Motiu, Mrs van Nieuwenhoven, Pantelejevs, Pavlidis, Pukl, Ragno, Mrs Ringstad (Alternate: Mr Thoresen), MM Schreiner, Siebert, Theis.

      N.B. The names of members who took part in the meeting are printed in italics.

      Secretary a.i. to the committee: Ms Nollinger.


1 1       The appendix contains a note recalling the procedure governing the preparation of this Opinion.