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Document 52015TA1217(02)

Report on the annual accounts of the Artemis Joint Undertaking for the period 1 January to 26 June 2014, together with the Joint Undertaking’s reply

OJ C 422, 17.12.2015, p. 9–16 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

17.12.2015   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 422/9


REPORT

on the annual accounts of the Artemis Joint Undertaking for the period 1 January to 26 June 2014, together with the Joint Undertaking’s reply

(2015/C 422/02)

CONTENTS

 

Paragraph

Page

Introduction

1-4

10

Information in support of the statement of assurance

5

10

Statement of assurance

6-16

10

Opinion on the reliability of the accounts

11

11

Basis for a qualified opinion on the legality and regularity of the transactions underlying the accounts

12-14

12

Qualified opinion on the legality and regularity of the transactions underlying the accounts

15

12

Comments on budgetary and financial management

17-18

12

Implementation of the budget

17

12

Calls for proposals

18

12

Other matters

19-22

13

Follow-up of previous observations

19-22

13

INTRODUCTION

1.

The ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking, located in Brussels, was set up in December 2007 (1) for a period of 10 years and has worked autonomously since 2009. On 27 June 2014 ARTEMIS was merged with ENIAC Joint Undertaking (2) to create the Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership Joint Undertaking (ECSEL JU) (3). ECSEL JU started its activities on 27 June 2014 and will run for 10 years. As a consequence of the merger, this report covers the financial period of the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking from 1 January to 26 June 2014.

2.

The main objective of the Joint Undertaking was to define and implement a ‘research agenda’ for the development of key technologies for embedded computing systems across different application areas, in order to strengthen European competitiveness and sustainability and allow the emergence of new markets and societal applications (4).

3.

The founding members of the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking were the European Union, represented by the Commission, certain EU Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom) and ARTEMIS-IA, an association representing companies and other research organisations active in the field of embedded computing systems in Europe. In 2009, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Latvia and Norway also became members of the Joint Undertaking, and Poland followed suit in 2012.

4.

The maximum EU contribution to the Joint Undertaking, to cover running costs and research activities, was 420 million euro to be paid from the budget of the Seventh Framework Programme (5). In addition, ARTEMIS-IA was to make a maximum contribution of 30 million euro to the running costs, while the ARTEMIS Member States were to make in-kind contributions to the running costs (by facilitating the implementation of projects) and provide financial contributions of at least 1,8 times the EU contribution. In-kind contributions were also to be provided by the research organisations participating in projects.

INFORMATION IN SUPPORT OF THE STATEMENT OF ASSURANCE

5.

The audit approach taken by the Court comprises analytical audit procedures, testing of transactions at the level of the Joint Undertaking and an assessment of key controls of the supervisory and control systems. This is supplemented by evidence provided by the work of other auditors (where relevant) and an analysis of management representations.

STATEMENT OF ASSURANCE

6.

Pursuant to the provisions of Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Court has audited:

(a)

the accounts of the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking, which comprise the financial statements (6) and the reports on the implementation of the budget (7) for the period 1 January to 26 June 2014; and

(b)

the legality and regularity of the transactions underlying those accounts.

The management’s responsibility

7.

In accordance with Articles 16 and 22 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 110/2014 (8), the management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of the annual accounts of the Joint Undertaking and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions.

(a)

The management’s responsibilities in respect of the Joint Undertaking’s annual accounts include designing, implementing and maintaining an internal control system relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, selecting and applying appropriate accounting policies on the basis of the accounting rules adopted by the Commission’s accounting officer (9), and making accounting estimates that are reasonable in the circumstances. The Director approves the annual accounts of the Joint Undertaking after its accounting officer has prepared them on the basis of all available information and established a note to accompany the accounts in which he declares, inter alia, that he has reasonable assurance that they present a true and fair view of the financial position of the Joint Undertaking in all material respects.

(b)

The management’s responsibilities in respect of the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions and compliance with the principle of sound financial management consist of designing, implementing and maintaining an effective and efficient internal control system comprising adequate supervision and appropriate measures to prevent irregularities and fraud and, if necessary, legal proceedings to recover funds wrongly paid or used.

The auditor’s responsibility

8.

The Court’s responsibility is, on the basis of its audit, to provide the European Parliament and the Council (10) with a statement of assurance as to the reliability of the annual accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions. The Court conducts its audit in accordance with the IFAC International Standards on Auditing and Codes of Ethics and the INTOSAI International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions. These standards require the Court to plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance as to whether the annual accounts of the Joint Undertaking are free from material misstatement and the underlying transactions are legal and regular.

9.

The audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions. The procedures selected depend on the auditor’s judgement, which is based on an assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the accounts and material non-compliance by the underlying transactions with the requirements in the legal framework of the European Union, whether due to fraud or error. In assessing these risks, the auditor considers any internal controls relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of the accounts, as well as the supervisory and control systems that are implemented to ensure the legality and regularity of underlying transactions, and designs audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances. The audit also entails evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies, the reasonableness of accounting estimates and the overall presentation of the accounts.

10.

The Court considers that the audit evidence obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for its statement of assurance.

Opinion on the reliability of the accounts

11.

In the Court’s opinion, the Joint Undertaking’s accounts for the period 1 January to 26 June 2014 present fairly, in all material respects, its financial position as at 26 June 2014 and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the period then ended, in accordance with the provisions of its financial rules and the accounting rules adopted by the Commission’s accounting officer.

Basis for a qualified opinion on the legality and regularity of the transactions underlying the accounts

12.

The Joint Undertaking’s ex-post audit strategy (11), adopted by a Governing Board decision on 25 November 2010 and modified on 20 February 2013, is a key tool (12) for assessing the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions. The payments made in 2014 relating to certificates of acceptance of costs issued by the national funding authorities of the Member States (NFAs) amounted to 5,9 million euro, or 37 % of the total payments.

13.

Although the audit of project cost claims has been delegated to the NFAs, the administrative agreements signed with the NFAs do not include practical arrangements for ex-post audits.

14.

The Joint Undertaking received audit reports from the NFAs covering approximately 46 % (as of April 2015) of the costs related to completed projects. However, the Joint Undertaking did not assess the quality of these audits (13). The Court performed an assessment of the audit strategies, including audit reports, of three NFAs which indicated that the methodologies used by the NFAs did not allow the Joint Undertaking to calculate a reliable weighted error rate nor a residual error rate. Therefore it is not possible to conclude whether ex-post audits are functioning effectively and whether this key control provides sufficient assurance as to the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions.

Qualified opinion on the legality and regularity of the transactions underlying the accounts

15.

In the Court’s opinion, except for the possible effects of the matter described in the basis for a qualified opinion in paragraphs 12 to 14, the transactions underlying the annual accounts for the financial year ended 26 June 2014 are, in all material respects, legal and regular.

16.

The comments which follow do not call the Court’s opinions into question.

COMMENTS ON BUDGETARY AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Implementation of the budget

17.

The initial 2014 budget included commitment appropriations for running costs amounting to 2,2 million euro. The budget did not include commitment appropriations for operational activities as a consequence of the plans to merge ARTEMIS and ENIAC during 2014 to create ECSEL which will be in charge of the 2014 call. The utilisation rate for administrative commitment appropriations was 38 % because the merger took place in June whereas the budget was adopted for the whole year.

Calls for proposals

18.

The Council Regulation setting up the Joint Undertaking envisaged a maximum total budget of 410 million euro to cover operational expenditure. At the time of the merger, the amount of appropriations committed for the calls for proposals was 198 million euro (48 % of the total budget). According to the Council Regulation setting up the Joint Undertaking, ARTEMIS is to respect a 1 to 1,8 ratio between the EU contribution and the Member States’ contribution. Budget restrictions in the Member States meant that it was not possible to commit the remaining part of the budget (52 %).

OTHER MATTERS

Follow-up of previous observations

19.

The new Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the Union (14) was adopted on 25 October 2012 and took effect on 1 January 2013 (15). However the model financial regulation for public-private partnership bodies referred to in Article 209 of the new Financial Regulation did not enter into force until 8 February 2014 (16). Because of the merger into ECSEL Joint Undertaking, the financial rules of the Joint Undertaking were not amended.

20.

Article 6(2) of the Council Regulation setting up the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking stipulates that the Joint Undertaking shall have an internal audit capability. This function had not been set up at the time of the merger.

21.

The mission charter of the Commission’s Internal Audit Service (IAS) was adopted by the Governing Board on 25 November 2010. Because of the merger into ECSEL Joint Undertaking, the financial rules of the Joint Undertaking were not amended to include the provision of the Framework Regulation referring to the powers of the Commission’s Internal Auditor.

22.

At the time of the audit, the Joint Undertaking did not have in place a comprehensive written procedure to deal with conflicts of interest.

This Report was adopted by Chamber IV, headed by Mr Milan Martin CVIKL, Member of the Court of Auditors, in Luxembourg at its meeting of 20 October 2015.

For the Court of Auditors

Vítor Manuel da SILVA CALDEIRA

President


(1)  Council Regulation (EC) No 74/2008 of 20 December 2007 on the establishment of the ‘ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking’ to implement a Joint Technology Initiative in Embedded Computing Systems (OJ L 30, 4.2.2008, p. 52).

(2)  The ENIAC Joint Undertaking was set up by Council Regulation (EC) No 72/2008 of 20 December 2007 (OJ L 30, 4.2.2008, p. 21) to define and implement a ‘research agenda’ for the development of key competences for nanoelectronics.

(3)  The ECSEL Joint Undertaking was set up by Council Regulation (EU) No 561/2014 of 6 May 2014 (OJ L 169, 7.6.2014, p. 152).

(4)  The Annex summarises the Joint Undertaking’s competences and activities. It is presented for information purposes.

(5)  The Seventh Framework Programme, adopted by Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 412, 30.12.2006, p. 1), brings all the research-related EU initiatives together under one roof and plays a crucial role in achieving the goals of growth, competitiveness and employment. It is also a key pillar for the European Research Area.

(6)  These include the balance sheet and the statement of financial performance, the cash-flow table, the statement of changes in net assets, a summary of the significant accounting policies and other explanatory notes.

(7)  These comprise the reports on implementation of the budget, a summary of budgetary principles and other explanatory notes.

(8)  OJ L 38, 7.2.2014, p. 2.

(9)  The accounting rules adopted by the Commission’s accounting officer are derived from the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) issued by the International Federation of Accountants or, where relevant, the International Accounting Standards (IAS)/International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the International Accounting Standards Board.

(10)  Article 47 of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 110/2014.

(11)  The general financing agreement between the European Commission and the Joint Undertaking states that ‘the Joint Undertaking, in its competent board, adopts its ex-post audit strategy with the aim of providing reasonable assurance on the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions’ and ‘the ex-post audit strategy shall be based on examination of procedures and of a sample of transactions for all or a sample of beneficiaries and shall, in particular, adequately reflect the risks involved’.

(12)  Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 74/2008 states that ‘The ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking shall ensure that the financial interests of its members are adequately protected by carrying out or commissioning appropriate internal and external controls’ and ‘The ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking shall carry out on-the-spot checks and financial audits among the recipients of the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking’s public funding. These checks and audits shall be performed either directly by the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking or by ARTEMIS Member States on its behalf. ARTEMIS Member States may carry out any other checks and audits among the recipients of their national funding as they deem necessary and shall communicate the results to the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking.’

(13)  According to the ex-post audit strategy adopted by the ARTEMIS Governing Board, the Joint Undertaking must assess at least once a year whether the information received from the ARTEMIS Member States provides sufficient assurance as to the regularity and legality of the executed transactions.

(14)  Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002 (OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1).

(15)  Article 214 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 with the exemptions referred to.

(16)  Delegated Regulation (EU) No 110/2014.


ANNEX

ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking (Brussels)

Competences and activities

Areas of Union competence deriving from the Treaty

(Articles 187 and 188 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union)

Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme provides for a Community contribution to the establishment of long-term public-private partnerships in the form of Joint Technology Initiatives which could be implemented through Joint Undertakings within the meaning of Article 187 of the Treaty.

Council Regulation (EC) No 74/2008 of 20 December 2007 on the establishment of the ‘ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking’ to implement a Joint Technology Initiative.

Competences of the Joint Undertaking

(Council Regulation (EC) No 74/2008)

Objectives

The Joint Undertaking shall contribute to the implementation of the Seventh Framework Programme by defining and implementing significant parts of the ARTEMIS Strategic Research Agenda for the development of key technologies in the field of embedded computing systems, by creating a sustainable public-private partnership and leveraging and increasing private and public investment in the sector of embedded systems in Europe.

The JU aims to achieve effective coordination and synergy of resources and funding from the industry, the Framework Programme, national R & D programmes and intergovernmental R & D schemes, thus contributing to strengthening Europe’s future growth, competitiveness and sustainable development.

ARTEMIS seeks to foster collaboration between all stakeholders such as industry, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), national or regional authorities, academic and research centres, pulling together and focusing the research effort.

The JU adopts a commonly agreed research agenda closely following the recommendations of the Strategic Research Agenda developed by the ARTEMIS Technology Platform. This Research Agenda identifies and regularly reviews research priorities for the development and adoption of key technologies for embedded computing systems across different application areas in order to strengthen European competitiveness and allow the emergence of new markets and applications important to society.

The JU will support R & D activities through open and competitive calls for proposals published on a yearly basis, to attract the best European research ideas and capacities in the field of embedded computing systems. Proposals submitted to ARTEMIS JU calls undergo a technical evaluation and selection process carried out with the assistance of independent experts. This process ensures that allocation of the Joint Undertaking’s public funding follows the principles of equal treatment, excellence and competition.

Governance

The JU’s governing body is the Governing Board. The executive team is led by an Executive Director, while industry (which includes large and small enterprises, as well as academia and research institutes) is represented by the ARTEMIS Industry Association (ARTEMIS-IA). ARTEMIS-IA provides the chairperson of the Governing Board and the members of the Industry and Research Committee (IRC), which is responsible for the technical work programme. The public sector (participating Member States and the European Commission) are individually represented on the Governing Board and the Public Authorities Board (PAB), which is responsible for financial matters.

Resources available to the Joint Undertaking in 2014

Budget

2 5 54  510 euro for commitments.

3 0 3 30  178 euro for payments (operational).

Staff at 26 June 2014

15 posts provided for in the establishment plan (8 temporary staff and 7 contract staff); 13 posts were occupied and assigned as follows: operational activities (8); administrative tasks (5); mixed tasks (0).

Activities and services provided in 2014

See the Joint Undertaking’s latest available annual activity report for 2013 at http://www.artemis-ju.eu/reference_documents

Source: Information supplied by the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking.


THE JOINT UNDERTAKING’S REPLY

13.

The ARTEMIS JU made arrangements with the national funding authorities (NFAs) within the boundaries established by the Council Regulation (EC) No 74/2008 (1) that entrusts the task to define the total costs to the NFAs, based on their grant agreements ‘in accordance with their national rules, in particular as regards eligibility criteria and other necessary financial and legal requirements.’ This Regulation does not establish a competence for the JU to define rules for the NFAs, and does not empower it to perform on the spot checks and audits among the NFAs. These shortcomings have been recognised and alleviated in the Council Regulation (EU) No 561/2014 establishing ECSEL Joint Undertaking that empowers the Joint Undertaking to award the EU grants in strict compliance with the Horizon 2020 procedures.

14.

The ECSEL JU confirms that its extensive assessments of the national assurance systems concluded that they can provide a reasonable protection of the financial interests of the JU members; however, as indicated by the ECA, the national methodologies do not allow the calculation of a weighted error rate nor a residual error rate for the projects launched under ARTEMIS and ENIAC Joint Undertakings. This technical difficulty does not result, however, in a negative opinion of the ECA, but understandably prevents it from confirming the legality and regularity of the transactions without formulating a reservation.

20.

Immediately after the merger of ARTEMIS and ENIAC into ECSEL, the function of internal audit capability has been established — on 4 July 2014 — by the Governing Board of ECSEL, with responsibilities for both legacy ARTEMIS and ENIAC programmes as well as for ECSEL itself.

22.

The Governing Board of ECSEL has adopted a comprehensive policy to prevent conflicts of interest.


(1)  Council Regulation (EC) No 74/2008 from 20 December 2007 establishing the ARTEMIS Joint Undertaking.


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