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MEPs back new rules for funding of political parties

MEPs back new rules for funding of political parties

Photo © European Union - source EP

(STRASBOURG) - The European Parliament in plenary Tuesday approved new rules governing the public funding for European political parties and foundations, to ensure that this is used properly and transparently.

The changes will increase transparency, so people know what they are voting for in the European elections, improve democratic legitimacy with funding that better reflects the electorate's choices, and strengthen enforcement so that abuses of public money can be better tackled and funds reclaimed.

"The institutions have worked together well to close loopholes which, until now, allowed a European Political Party to be created only for financial reasons," said Parliament's rapporteur Rainer Wieland MEP: "Cross-party membership will not be possible any more and funding will be linked more precisely to actual voting results at EU level, making European political parties more European and, as more logos will be published online, more visible at the national level."

MEPs gave their backing to a Commission proposal that individuals should no longer be able to form a European party – only national parties can do so. This is to prevent individual members of a national party from forming more than one European party in order to maximise their access to public funds without giving their parties a proper European dimension.

The Euro-Parliament will also be better able to recover unduly paid funds and individuals guilty of fraud will become liable to pay back misspent funds. The European Public Prosecutor's Office - officially yet start work - is also called upon to investigate alleged abuses in future.

Should a European party and its affiliated foundation fail to live up to the necessary sponsoring requirements, or provide false information when registering, the independent Authority for European Political Parties must de-register it, MEPs say.

The Parliament also wants national parties to display the logo and political manifesto of their affiliated European party on their websites, as a condition for accessing funds. They must do this at least 12 months before submitting applications for funding.

Finally, the revised regulation on funding will reduce the share that is currently allocated equally to all European parties from 15% to 10%. The remaining 90% is to be distributed in proportion to each party's share of elected MEPs.

The Council is now expected to approve the new regulation on 26 April. Once the amendments have entered into force existing European political parties will have two months to submit proof that they still satisfy the registration criteria. If they do not, the party and its affiliated foundation will be deleted from the register. The Parliament says it wants to have the new rules in force before the end of June this year, when the call for applications for funding in 2019 (European election year) is due to be published.

Further information, European Parliament

Adopted text will be available here (17.04.2018)

Procedure file

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