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Statute and financing of European political parties


19 Mar 2014


Euro & Finance
EU political parties on new, solid ground: transparent, efficient and better representing the citizen's interests
The long-awaited proposal on European political parties has been finalised and adopted by the Constitutional Affairs Committee. The majority of the Committee approved today the report by Mrs Giannakou on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations.
The report underlined that European political parties, as they stand now, cannot fully fulfil their roles. It calls for a common European legal statute for European political parties and their foundations, which would permit them to obtain legal personality under EU law.
After the votes, Rapporteur Marietta Giannakou stressed the importance of the adoption of these proposals in view of the upcoming European elections. “The improvement of the rules on founding and funding EU political parties to increase their visibility, transparency and effectiveness are crucial," she said. Bearing in mind that, from now on, the winning party in the European elections will have the right to put forward their lead candidate as the next European Commission president, the new legislation will offer EU citizens the chance to vote for European political parties with legal personalities, which will represent citizens' interests.  “Citizens will be able to get actively involved in political life and the political system more easily, in order to express their opinions and concerns particularly," concluded Mrs Giannakou.
The main novelties of the new regulation are the following:
    EU legal statute
The creation of a European legal status for European political parties and political foundations, ensuring high standards of transparency and accountability.
    Respecting EU values a necessary condition
Requiring respect of the fundamental principles and values​​ of the EU, as defined in the Treaty on European Union.
    More financial flexibility
The maximum donation from natural or legal persons will go up to 18,000 euros, while European political parties will have the opportunity to transfer unused funds to the following year. It should be noted that the regulation will not cause an increase in the share of the EU budget distributed to European political parties. The percentage of co-financing from the EU budget will remain unchanged at 85%.
    Stricter sanctions to ensure compliance
The European Parliament and an independent authority would be in charge of assessing compliance with these rules. Parliament would enforce punishments in case of misuse of EU funding, eg. in cases of failure to comply with reporting and transparency requirements or of criminal conviction.
The agreement is scheduled to be adopted during Parliament's April plenary session. The Commission should table a proposal for improving the rules by mid-2018. The regulation is to apply from 1 January 2017.
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 274 Members from 27 Member States.
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