Thursday

22nd Feb 2018

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.

News in Brief

  1. EU migration to UK at lowest since 2012
  2. MEP Andrieu will chair parliament pesticide committee
  3. Juncker's right-hand man warns of 'institutional blockage'
  4. Greek parliament to open probe on PMs and EU commissioner
  5. May gathers Brexit ministers to hammer out UK position
  6. Tajani asks Juncker for all EMA Brexit relocation documents
  7. Hahn: EU to back entry talks with Albania and Macedonia
  8. UEFA signs deal to promote 'European values' at EURO 2020

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme
  2. Frontex: Europe's new law enforcement agency?
  3. Poland and Greece broke EU environment laws, rules court
  4. Dutch MPs vote on ending 'Ukraine-type' referendums
  5. Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress
  6. UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit
  7. Commission defence of Barroso meeting leaves 'discrepancies'
  8. MEPs bar WMD and killer robots from new EU arms fund