Wednesday

13th Dec 2017

Focus

European political parties to get legal status, must abide by EU values

  • The agreement is set to be endorsed in plenary in April with the regulation to go into force in 2017 (Photo: marsmet546)

European Political parties will be put on a firm legal footing, have to declare sizeable donations, and abide by EU values under new rules agreed Tuesday (18 March).

The rules, which have to be endorsed by the plenary and are only expected to come into force in 2017, are meant to increase transparency of the pan-European parties by subjecting to them to stricter spending and accountability rules.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

All donations above €3,000 will have to be made known to the public while there will be a ceiling of €18,000 per donor per year.

Marietta Giannakou, the Greek centre-right MEP who piloted the legislation through parliament, said the discussions on the deal, lasting over 18 months, had been "difficult."

The sticking points were the rules around penalising parties for poor accounting and de-registering them if they breach EU values.

EU institutional affairs commissioner Maros Sefocovic referred to the "political sensitivity" surrounding the question and how the discussions had given rise to a system of "checks and balances".

The rules include a new "authority" headed by someone who has never held political office or been a member of a political party.

This authority would be in charge of the process of registering or striking off a party. It would also ensure that EU money is being spent properly and could ultimately apply a fine. Its decisions can be appealed in the European Court of Justice.

The EU values question was the trickiest of all and the reason "why it took so long to hammer out a compromise," according to Sefcovic.

A European Political party - which needs members from seven EU states - will have to sign up to the values described in the EU treaty.

The values, laid out in Article 2, include respect for democracy, rule of law, human rights and freedom.

In the discussions surrounding the rules, concerns were raised that the values aspect could be used to obstruct eurosceptic parties.

Sefcovic pointed out that any decision made by the authority would have to be endorsed by member states and the parliament.

The European parties - currently there are 13 of them - will become legal entities. Many of them are at the moment set up as NGOs in the member state where they are registered.

The rules also mean that parties can engage in some longer term planning as the obligation to spend the annual allocation - covering 85 percent of the party's expenditure - from the EU budget within the year has been removed.

According to EP data, the centre-right EPP, currently the biggest family in the European Parliament, received €6,183,188 in 2011. The centre-left PES received € 4,117,825 that year while the European Alliance for Freedom received €368 262 and the Alliance of European Reformists and Conservatives received €632,626.

Pan-European parties statute to be taken to Court

The statute for European political parties, adopted today by the European Parliament, has been deemed discriminatory by the smaller political groups, as they risk not being entitled to funding.

Opinion

Do we still need political parties?

The question is a legitimate one, especially in a German election campaign that is avoiding pressing topics and leaving many voters helpless.

EUobserved

When two worlds collide

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. EU bank delays gas pipeline decision
  2. Hungary's leftwing parties join Jobbik in anti-Orban protest
  3. Barnier: EU will not accept UK backtracking on Brexit deal
  4. Puigdemont to return to Catalonia if elected
  5. Commission approves EasyJet partial takeover of Air Berlin
  6. EU medical command centre due next year
  7. Auditors: EU 'green' farm payments fail ecology criteria
  8. Austria gas explosion creates Italian energy 'emergency'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. Last chance for Poland to return property to its rightful owners
  2. Commission attacks Tusk on 'anti-European' migrant plan
  3. Volkswagen tells EU: we will fail on our recall promise
  4. EU will not start Brexit future talks before March
  5. Bitcoin risky but 'limited phenomenon', says EU
  6. Panama Papers - start of sensible revolution in EU tax affairs?
  7. Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees
  8. New Polish PM brings same old government