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What is budget discharge?

The discharge for budget implementation is the decision by which the European Parliament (EP) "releases" the Commission from its responsibility for managing a given budget, by marking the end of that budget's execution. It is granted by Parliament on a recommendation from the Council.

The decision is based mainly on the following:

  • The European Court of Auditors' (ECA) reports, in particular its annual report, in which the ECA provides a statement of assurance – known as the DAS , its French acronym – "déclaration d'assurance";
  • The accounts;
  • The legality and regularity of the transactions (payments and commitments);
  • The statement underlying the budget implementation;
  • The Commission's responses (answering specific questions and providing further information requested).

Other key documents are:

  • Synthesis of the Commission's management achievements by which the Commission takes the political responsibility for the implementation of the budget;
  • Article 318 Report which focuses on the evaluation of the Union's finances based on the results achieved.
  • As of 2016 both “Synthesis of the Commission's management achievements” and “Article 318 Report” are gathered in one single report, which is the Annual Management and Performance Report for the EU Budget.

    The procedure ends in either the granting, postponement or refusal of the discharge.

    Follow-up measures

    In accordance with Article 166 of the Financial Regulation, the Commission and the other institutions shall take all appropriate steps to act on the observations accompanying the European Parliament's discharge decision and on the comments accompanying the recommendation for discharge adopted by the Council.

    Each year, the Commission adopts a follow-up report which provides an overview of actions taken.

    Last discharge: 2013

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