2nd Oct 2023

European political parties line up for EU funds

European political parties will be getting money from the EU coffers this year from an annual budget of 6.5 million euro, under new rules adopted by EU states last year.

Eligible parties have until 23 July to apply for the money issued by the European Parliament.

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A number of European-level parties have been formed over the years, such as the EPP (Christian democrats/centre-right), the Party of European Socialists, the ELDR (liberals), the European Free Alliance (chiefly regionalist parties) and the Greens, while others are still being set up.

Another 8.4 million euro is available for 2005.


However, to be eligible for this money, these pan-European parties have to fulfil certain criteria.

Last June, new rules were adopted which would enable political parties at European level to receive funding from the general EU budget if they are represented in at least one quarter of Member States (seven).

The alternative is that the party should have received at least three percent of the votes cast in at least a quarter of the member states.

These parties also need to observe "the principles on which the EU is founded" - the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Fifteen per cent of the annual available money will be distributed equally among those parties at European level which have their application accepted, while the rest will be distributed in proportion to the number of members elected to the European Parliament.

These new rules where however opposed by some MEPs who decided last year to take the case to the Court of Justice, since they saw it as discriminatory against the smaller groups in the European Parliament or those parties that oppose European integration.

Article 191 of the Treaty states that political parties at European level "are important as a factor for integration within the Union and that they contribute to forming a European awareness".

But it is not clear how far such pan-European parties will succeed in raising citizens' awareness of the EU.

The recent European elections in June saw the main focus on national issues.


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