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28.12.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 406/1

I
(Information)

COURT OF AUDITORS

REPORT
on the financial statements and management of the European Centre for the Development of
Vocational Training (CEDEFOP — Salonica) for the financial year ended 31 December 1997,
together with the reply of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training

(98/C 406/01)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Paragraph Page
reference

THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF THE EUROPEAN CENTRE FOR THE


DEVELOPMENT OF VOCATIONAL TRAINING FOR THE FINANCIAL
YEAR 1997 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1—4 2

MAIN OBSERVATIONS ACCOMPANYING THE AUDIT OPINION . . . . . . . 5 — 41 2


Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5—8 2
Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5—6 2
Scope of the audit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 2
Financial data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 2
Main observations on the budgetary execution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 — 14 3
Separation of duties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 3
Imprest account . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 — 11 3
Transfers of appropriations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 — 13 3
Carry-overs and cancellations of appropriations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 3
Main observations on the revenue and expenditure account and the balance
sheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 — 22 3
Revenue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 — 16 3
Expenditure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 — 19 3
Balance sheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 — 22 4
Audit of the Centre’s premises and staff situation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 — 37 4
Temporary premises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 — 25 4
Permanent premises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 — 35 4
Staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 — 37 5
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 — 41 5

Tables 1 to 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Reply of the CEDEFOP MANAGEMENT BOARD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10


C 406/2 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 28.12.98

THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF THE EUROPEAN MAIN OBSERVATIONS ACCOMPANYING THE AUDIT
CENTRE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF VOCATIONAL OPINION
TRAINING FOR THE FINANCIAL YEAR 1997

Introduction

1. This report is addressed to the Council and the


European Parliament in accordance with Article 12 of Background
Council Regulation (EEC) No 337/75 (1), as amended by
Regulation (EEC) No 1946/93 (2).
5. The European Centre for the Development of
Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) was established by
Council Regulation (EEC) No 337/75 as a satellite body
2. The Court has examined the financial statements of of the European Community with the task of promoting
the European Centre for the Development of Vocational vocational training at Community level. Cedefop
Training for the financial year ended 31 December 1997. commenced operations in Berlin in 1976 and moved to
In accordance with Article 18(1) of Council Regulation Salonica in 1995.
(EEC) No 1416/76 (3), as amended by Regulation (EEC)
No 1948/93 (4), the budget was implemented under the
responsibility of the Management Board. This 6. The same Regulation defines its role as that of
responsibility included the drawing up and presentation assisting ‘the Commission in encouraging, at Community
of the financial statements (5) in accordance with the level, the promotion and development of vocational and
internal financial provisions provided for under Articles in-service training’, of contributing ‘to the
65, 67 and 68 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1948/93 implementation of a common vocational training policy’
amending Regulation (EEC) No 1416/76. The Court of and, especially, encouraging ‘the exchange of information
Auditors is required under Article 188c of the Treaty and the comparison of expertise’. Its main tasks in the
establishing the European Community to examine these field of vocational training are ‘to compile
accounts. documentation, to contribute to the development and
coordination of research, to disseminate useful
documentation and information, to encourage and
support initiatives likely to facilitate a coordinated
approach (specifically in respect of the approximation of
3. The Court undertook its audit in accordance with its standards and the mutual recognition of certificates) and
audit policies and standards. These have been adapted to provide a forum for all those concerned’.
from generally accepted international auditing standards
to reflect the specific characteristics of the Community
context. Accordingly, the Court carried out such tests of
the accounting records and other procedures as it deemed
necessary in the circumstances. Through the audit, the Scope of the Audit
Court obtained sufficient basis for the opinion expressed
below.
7. The Court carried out a financial audit of the 1997
accounts and has reviewed the Centre’s decisions
concerning its temporary and permanent premises and
staff situation.
4. This examination has allowed the Court to obtain
reasonable assurance that the accounts for the financial
year ended 31 December 1997 are reliable and that the
underlying transactions are, on the whole, legal and
regular. Financial data

(1) OJ L 39, 13.2.1975, p. 1. 8. Tables 1 and 2 summarise the Centre’s financial


(2) OJ L 181, 23.7.1993, p. 11. statements. Table 3 of this report gives an analysis of the
(3) OJ L 164, 24.6.1976, p. 1. utilisation of the appropriations for 1997, as well as of
(4) OJ L 181, 23.7.1993, p. 15. those carried over from 1996. Available appropriations
(5) As required under Article 67 of Regulation (EEC) No for the financial year 1997 amounted to ECU 14,5
1948/93 amending Regulation (EEC) No 1416/76, the million. Commitments entered into gave rise to ECU 9,1
accounts for all the Centre’s revenue and expenditure in million in payments and ECU 4,8 million in carry-overs
respect of the financial year 1997 were drawn up and
approved by the Management Board on 13 March 1998 and
to the financial year 1998, the balance of ECU 0,6
forwarded to the Commission and the Court of Auditors. million having been cancelled. Appropriations carried
These accounts were received by the Court on 3 April 1998. over from the previous financial year gave rise to ECU
A summarised version of these financial statements is 1,9 million in payments and ECU 0,2 million in
presented in the tables attached to this report. cancellations.
28.12.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 406/3

Main observations on the budgetary execution the number of staff entering and leaving the service
during the financial year.

Separation of duties
Carry-overs and cancellations of appropriations

9. The Centre has introduced satisfactory procedures for


the separation of the duties of authorising officer, 14. The volume of appropriations carried over increased
accounting officer and imprest holder. In addition, the substantially in 1997. Nearly 63 % of the final
Centre intends to install an EDP accounting system appropriations for 1997 were paid out in 1997 as
specifically adapted to its needs. The Centre considers compared with 77 % in 1996. The percentage of
that this EDP system will be compatible with SINCOM commitments entered into and carried over to 1998 was
2, but also more flexible. It claims that SINCOM 2 on its 33 % (14 % in 1996). The percentage of cancellations
own is unsuitable for satellite bodies, and would give rise was 4 %, compared with 9 % in 1996. Table 4 shows
to additional labour costs were it to be run at local the carry-overs from the 1997 initial budget by Title, and
level. their subsequent use. The increase is due mainly to an
amount of ECU 1,7 million which constituted the third
payment for the construction of the permanent premises,
which, although foreseen for 1997, was not actually
made.
Imprest account

Main observations on the revenue and expenditure


10. The proportion of payments made through the account and the balance sheet
imprest account, prior to approval by the Financial
Controller, fell from 74 % in 1996 to 60 % in 1997.
This is due to the efforts made by the Centre in response Revenue
to the Court’s remarks of last year (6).

15. The EU subsidy set aside for the Centre for 1997
was ECU 14,3 million. The Centre actually requested and
11. Payments concerning six budget headings were made received ECU 9,5 in 1997 and ECU 4 million in 1998.
through the imprest account even though these headings
had not been included in the Management Board’s
related decision. As these budget headings do not relate 16. In 1997, Norway, the only non-Member State, paid
to urgent, ongoing or small expenses, where the risk of the Centre a contribution of ECU 126 282 million in
irregularities is comparatively low, it is recommended respect of its participation in the work programme.
that these payments should not be made through the
imprest account.
Expenditure

Transfers of appropriations 17. The audit of payment transactions revealed certain


areas of weaknesses, the most important of which are:

(a) as the Court observed last year (7), the requirement to


12. The value of transfers of appropriations made carry out tendering procedures or to obtain other
between different budget headings in 1997 was ECU offers was not always respected
758 200 (5 % of the initial budget), down from ECU
891 600 in 1996. (b) in the case of certain types of administrative
expenditure, the local tax rules regarding the type of
document to be furnished by suppliers (eg. an invoice
13. The transfers were made within Title 1 ‘Staff authenticated by the tax authorities) were not always
expenditure’, the most notable being the transfer of ECU respected
239 500 from budget heading 1100 ‘Basic salaries’ which
was allocated mainly to the budget headings under (c) there is no clear short- and medium-term plan
Article 118 ‘Allowances and expenses on entering and regarding capital expenditure and the external services
leaving the service and on transfer’, which accounted for provided to the Electronic Data Processing (EDP)
ECU 214 000. This reflects the considerable turnover in department

(d) the selection procedures in respect of study contracts


6
( ) Report on the financial statements and management of the are not fully transparent and, coupled with the
European Centre for the Development of Vocational absence of adequate controls in the monitoring of this
Training for the financial year 1996 (OJ C 393, 29.12.1997, area of expenditure, there is an increased risk of
p. 1). error.
C 406/4 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 28.12.98

18. As far as the tendering procedures for administrative Centre is requested to submit the 1997 claim to the
expenditure are concerned, it was noted that a number of Greek tax authority and all other claims to the other
these procedures were conducted half-way through the Member States as soon as possible. In future such delays
financial year. The success of these procedures in the light in submitting claims for the reimbursement of VAT
of the response rates, was diminished by the failure to should be avoided.
advertise within the local market through regional
newspapers. Irrespective of this, the Centre decided to
proceed with the selection of contractors.
Audit of the Centre’s premises and staff situation

19. The lack of a clear plan regarding the EDP Temporary premises
department’s expenditure results in contracts being
awarded without the lowest price necessarily being
obtained. This is due primarily to contracts being
23. As the Court observed last year (7), the Centre had
awarded in a haphazard manner. One local supplier,
to invest an amount of GRD 44 million or approximately
obtained three contracts totalling approximately
ECU 125 000 to fit out its premises and to render the
ECU 75 600 in 1997 alone following a limited tender
temporary building functional and ‘ready for use’. The
procedure or no tender procedure at all.
Centre explained that ‘these costs were incurred to
improve the conditions for efficient functioning of the
Centre’.

Balance sheet
24. Owing mainly to the vagueness of the rental
agreement, it is unclear as to who will eventually be liable
for these costs.
20. The fixed assets of ECU 1 501 171 recorded in the
1997 balance sheet, and for which an up-to-date
inventory list existed, represent the historic cost of 25. The Centre’s management should ensure that all
furniture and equipment. movable assets in which investments have been made are
transferred to the new premises under construction and
that, wherever there is a strong case, all necessary
precautions are taken to ensure that expenditure incurred
21. As the Court observed last year (7), the Centre is in respect of specific types of immovable assets is
taking responsibility for managing large cash balances. recovered.
There has been a substantial improvement over the past
year, with bank interest received in 1997 amounting to
ECU 152 280, as compared with ECU 286 486 in 1996.
Nevertheless, the Court recommends that the Centre Permanent premises
should further improve the accuracy of amounts it draws
quarterly from the Commission and should request only
the funds required to cover its actual short-term cash 26. On 22 June 1995 the Centre and the Greek State
needs. In addition, a clear credit policy should be signed a basic agreement concerning the construction of
established regarding payments to suppliers. In some the permanent building.
cases payments were made without advantage having
been taken of the credit terms available.

Payments by the Centre to the Greek State


22. The balance sheet includes an amount of ECU
678 514 relating to ‘VAT to recover’, of which ECU
371 843 relates to Value Added Tax (VAT) due from the 27. According to the abovementioned agreement, the
German tax authority, ECU 290 887 due from the Greek Centre was to pay the Greek State ECU 6 879 750 in
tax authority and ECU 15 784 due from other Member four equal instalments of ECU 1 719 937. The first two
States. Officials of the German tax authority have stated were paid in December 1995 and in September 1996 and
that they intend to audit the claims made on the spot, the third payment was due on 1 September 1997. The
prior to making any reimbursement. The amounts due Budget Authority agreed that this third instalment could
from the Greek tax authority concerning financial years be paid in December 1997, but, owing primarily to the
1995 and 1996 were paid to the Centre in 1998. The current stage of progress reached in the construction
work and the failure of OEK (the national Workers
Housing Organisation), the organisation appointed by the
(7) Report on the financial statements and management of the Greek State to manage the project, to submit a financial
European Centre for the Development of Vocational report, the payment has not yet been made. The last
Training for the financial year 1996 (OJ C 393, 29.12.1997, instalment will be paid when the building has been
p. 1). handed over.
28.12.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 406/5

Current stage reached in the construction work of fixed-asset purchases should be financed and whether
the actual Centre or OEK should be purchasing them.

28. The building’s foundation stone was laid officially


34. It is recommended that a detailed list of the
on 6 September 1997 and, following a tendering
purchases that are to be financed out of the above
procedure, the contract was signed on 31 October 1997
amount and details of who will be responsible for these
for an amount of GRD 1 048 million (or approximately
purchases should be drawn up and agreed with the
ECU 3,1 million at the current exchange rate of ECU 1 =
European Parliament.
GRD 345). The final version of the construction plans
were approved in May 1998, following the incorporation
of certain necessary amendments, the estimated financial 35. In addition, following the recent realignement of the
effect of which brings the total cost to some GRD 1 720 drachma, the exchange rate that the Greek State is to use
million (or approximately ECU 5 million). when submitting its returns remains to be determined.

29. At present, the excavation work has almost been


completed and the foundations are being laid. The first Staff
account was submitted by the contractor to OEK for
payment at the end of March 1998 and amounted to 36. In 1997, the staff-complement table showed 81
GRD 73 360 000 (or approximately ECU 215 000). It permanent and temporary posts at the following grades:
should be noted that OEK will receive a 5 % commission 25 A, 11 LA, 15 B, 27 C and three D.
fee for the services it provides to the Centre.

37. There are 68 officials currently working for the


30. Taking the financial budget submitted by the Centre, 61 in Salonica, three in Brussels and four on
contractor as a basis, the actual costs at the end of 1998 special leave (CCP). A further 26 persons work in the
are not expected to exceed the total of the two advances capacity of national experts, local agents and auxiliary
paid in 1995 and 1996 by the Centre to the Greek State; staff.
they are expected to reach GRD 1 000 million (or
approximately ECU 2,9 million).
Conclusion

31. It is therefore recommended that the third


instalment be paid only when: 38. The Centre should, in all instances, respect the
requirement to carry out tendering procedures or to
(a) the actual costs reach an acceptable level in relation obtain other offers. Furthermore, it should always respect
to the previous advances paid, the local tax rules and should improve the transparency
of the selection procedures relating to study contracts (see
(b) a detailed financial report has been submitted by paragraphs 17 to 19).
OEK; this report should be based on the accounts
actually submitted by the contractor, and 39. Although substantial improvements were noted with
regard to the size of the cash and bank balances, the
(c) the Centre has carried out the necessary checks on the Centre should further improve the accuracy of the
abovementioned report. amounts of its quarterly drawings from the Commission
and should request funds to cover only its actual
short-term cash needs. It should also establish a clear
credit policy regarding payments to suppliers (see
Completion of the building paragraph 21).

40. The Centre is recommended to submit the 1997


32. Further expenditure will be required to render the
claim for the reimbursement of VAT to the Greek tax
building ‘usable’. The costs involved relate mainly to the
authority and to make all other claims on the other
purchase of furniture and fittings and to the installation
Member States as quickly as possible (see paragraph
of specialised equipment. The difference that is expected
22).
to arise between the total budget available for the
building of ECU 6,9 million and its estimated total cost
of ECU 5 million as stated above, whilst allowing for 41. The Centre is requested to monitor closely the
inflation, OEK’s fees, and so on, amounts to ECU 1,9 construction work on the permanent premises. In
million. addition, a detailed list of the fixed-asset purchases that
are to be financed from the amount of ECU 1,9 million
and details of who will be responsible for these purchases
33. With regard to the above amount of ECU 1,9 should be drawn up and agreed with the Budget
million, there is currently no agreement as to what type Authority (see paragraphs 26 to 35).
C 406/6 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 28.12.98

This report was adopted by the Court of Auditors in Luxembourg at its meeting of
26 November 1998.

For the Court of Auditors


Bernhard FRIEDMANN

President
28.12.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 406/7

Table 1

Balance sheet at 31 December 1997

(in ECU 1 000)

Assets 1997 1996 Liabilities 1997 1996

Fixed Assets Fixed Capital


1. Furniture and equipment 1 501 1 444 1. Own Capital 1 523 1 450
2. Balance for the financial year 0 1 623

Current Assets
1. Stocks 22 7 Current Liabilities
2. Sums to be recovered 26 66 1. Salary deductions 26 82
3. Advances 15 8 2. Other liabilities 755 654
4. VAT to recover 679 483
5. Expenditure to be charged 335 294
6. Amounts due from the 3 989 0 Sums to be reused 107 133
Commission

Appropriations carried over 4 829 2 151


Cash Accounts
1. Bank account 331 3 151
2. Imprest account 442 882 Payments in progress 100 242

Sums to be recovered 12 29 Sums to be recovered 12 29

7 352 6 364 7 352 6 364

Source: 1997 Annual Accounts of the Centre.


C 406/8 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 28.12.98

Table 2

Revenue and expenditure account for the year ended 31 December 1997

(in ECU 1 000)

1997 1996

Revenue
1. Subsidy received from the Commission 13 522 14 410
2. Miscellaneous revenue 152 286
3. Revenue from services rendered against payment 134 144

Total (a) 13 808 14 840

Expenditure
Staff expenditure
1. Payments for the year 5 579 6 225
2. Appropriations carried over 541 510
Administrative expenditure
1. Payments for the year 981 2 667
2. Appropriations carried over 2 067 258
Operating expenditure
1. Payments for the year 2 544 2 492
2. Appropriations carried over 2 204 1 383
Appropriations carried over (Article 6(3) and Article 3(2)) 15 0

Total Expenditure (b) 13 931 13 535

Out-turn for the year (a) − (b) − 123 1 305


Balance carried over from previous year 1 623 2 013
Amount refunded to the Commission − 1 623 − 2 013
Appropriations carried over from the previous year which lapse 199 616
Appropriations carried over (Article 6(3) and Article 3(2)) −1 0
Exchange differences for the year − 61 − 298
Cancellation of established entitlements − 14 0

Balance for the year 0 1 623

Source: 1997 Annual Accounts of the Centre.


28.12.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 406/9

Table 3

Financial year 1997 — Utilisation of available appropriations

(in ECU 1 000)

1997 Budget Carry-overs from 1996


Title
Definitive Payments Carry-overs Cancelled Available Payments Cancelled

1. Staff expenditure 6 543 5 579 541 423 510 465 45


(85,3) (8,3) (6,4) (91,2) (8,8)

2. Administrative expenditure 3 092 981 2 067 44 258 225 33


(31,7) (66,8) (1,5) (87,2) (12,8)

3. Operational expenditure 4 891 2 544 2 204 143 1 383 1 261 122


(52,0) (45,1) (2,9) (91,2) (8,8)

Total 14 526 9 104 4 812 610 2 151 (*) 1 951 200


(62,7) (33,1) (4,2) (90,7) (9,3)

The figures in brackets indicate the percentage of definitive or available appropriations.


(*) All automatic carry-overs.
Source: 1997 Annual Accounts of the Centre.

Table 4

Financial year 1997 — Carry-overs from the 1997 initial budget


(in ECU)

Carry-overs
Carry-over as % of 1997
Carry-over paid out
% of initial carry-over used
from 1997 1.1. —
budget by 31.3.1998
31.3.1998

Staff expenditure 541 469 8,3 92 984 17,2


Administrative expenditure 2 066 951 66,8 184 268 8,9
Operational expenditure 2 203 864 45,1 927 981 42,1

Total 4 812 284 33,1 1 205 233 25,0

Source: 1997 Annual Accounts of the Centre.


C 406/10 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 28.12.98

REPLY OF THE CEDEFOP MANAGEMENT BOARD

The nature of the observations of the Court of Auditors the month of January 1998. It is from this perspective
makes it possible for the Management Board of the that the Centre did not request the first instalment of the
Centre to react in a direct manner. The Board will follow 1998 subsidy.
the structure of the Court’s observations and conclusions.
The numbering of the annotated paragraphs corresponds
to that used in the Court’s report.

17a. The Centre reaffirms its adherence to the principles


of competition, although it has not always been possible
11. The Centre understands the remarks but adds the to respect them in the past owing to the delays inherent
following reflections. On account of the modification to in carrying out tendering procedures and the need of the
the decision setting up an imprest account and the items Centre to establish itself quickly in Thessaloniki. It
covered by it, there was confusion over the items should be noted however that CEDEFOP attained more
previously covered in the former regulation. In the or less full operational activity in 1997, and issued the
meantime the Centre has adopted the necessary measures majority of calls for tender for administrative expenditure
to ensure that this no longer reoccurs and has made and a call for an expression of interest for office
provision that the new accounting system has sufficient furniture.
internal checking mechanisms.

14. The Court is right in pointing out that the main 17b. After two years in Greece the Centre now has
reason for the increase in appropriations carried over to experience in this area and will be more vigilant in
1998 was the decision of the Centre not to allow for ensuring that the few errors which did occur are
payment of the third instalment for the new building to avoided.
the Greek authorities before certain key conditions
(agreed with the Commission and acknowledged by the
Greek government itself) had been fulfilled. The de facto
progress was not substantial enough to pay this
instalment. The payment of the third instalment of the 17d. Concerning the operational expenditure, the Centre
new building was made provisional to receipt from the made a call for an expression for interest (OJ S 107,
Greek authorities of: 5.6.1997 and OJ C 214, 16.7.1997). Since ascertaining
the results of the call, all the contracts signed have been
— definitive plans, based on a restricted procedure using the
abovementioned results. This ‘window opening’ exercise
has had a positive impact on the quality of our external
— detailed financial data ensuring transparency of costs contractors.
taking into consideration the improvements over the
original proposals,

— indications of payments already made on the basis of While awaiting the monitoring of the contracts via the
the progress achieved. new software currently being developed in CEDEFOP,
the administration, following the remarks of the Court of
Auditors during their visit, has drawn up a standard
check-list to accompany each contract and to ensure
The progress of the construction work was not delayed precise monitoring of progress in each contract.
or disrupted. The Centre was able to maintain its tough
line on the matter. In CEDEFOP’s progress report on the
new building of late June 1998, requested by the
European Parliament, the situation is clearly assessed.
18. It was only when urgent staffing and organisational
problems resulting from the move had been satisfactorily
overcome, that it became possible to review the situation
15. According to the Court’s statement, the Centre as regards contracts relating to administrative
requested throughout the year payments of the subsidy to expenditure and to prepare to launch the appropriate
cover spending needs. However, at the end of 1997 and calls for tenders. This explains why these procedures
on the advice of Financial Control, CEDEFOP asked for were implemented during the financial year and not
transfer of the subsidy to the amount required to cover before it started. Initially, publication in the special S
the commitments incurred. These were received during series of the OJ seemed to be the reasonable course to
28.12.98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 406/11

take, but in the light of the poor response to which the 22. On 8 October 1998 the Centre received the
Court points, the Centre drew the conclusion that it reimbursement of the VAT for the years 1995-1997 from
should proceed in a different way. Therefore, the the German tax authorities.
following call for tenders (OJ S 139, 19.7.1997),
pursuant to a decision of the Management Board, was
also published in the local press, and this procedure will
be followed in future.
Concerning the VAT claim to the Greek tax authorities,
the delay is mainly due to a lot of work, especially as a
consequence of the move from Berlin to Thessaloniki.
Moreover, the Greek tax authorities require lists annexed
with all the original invoices. This obviously entails a
19. The remarks of the Court, which are in fact valid heavier workload for the staff involved in preparing the
for 1997, reflect the fact that the Centre quickly files. The claim for financial year 1997 has been made on
equipped itself with IT capacities that could underpin its 11 June 1998, so the Centre expects to receive the money
renewed and expanding activity. The present success of back before the end of 1998. The Centre is currently
our electronic links with our clients and partners could considering taking the appropriate internal organisational
not have been achieved without this somewhat robust measures which would allow it to be able to make the
approach. The Centre has, however, drawn up in the claims on a more frequent basis.
meantime a short/medium term plan for the informatics
(hardware, software and training) and will soon finish
tendering procedures for equipping the new building.

28-30. The Centre follows very closely the progress of


the new building and reports every half year as asked by
the European Parliament. The last report (end June 1998)
21. The Centre will try to improve further the cash indicates that the building will be ready on schedule and
balance outstanding. The establishment of a clear credit with the budget originally foreseen. The de-facto progress
policy, however, is very laborious in view of the can be studied on our Internet page
underdeveloped banking and payment system in Greece. (http://www.cedefop.gr/documents/archives.html).