Sunday

20th Jan 2019

EU parliament mulls funding ban for far-right party

  • EP in Strasbourg: APF received €400,000 in EU money this year (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

The European Parliament may restrict its grant payments to a far-right alliance that is planning a large rally in Sweden at the end of the month.

The Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF) is an EU-level party with fire-brand Stefan Jacobsson, a Swede with a neo-Nazi past, as its secretary-general.

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It also counts members from the Greek neo-nazi Golden Dawn party, the British National Party, and Germany's National Democratic Party (NPD), among others.

They received some €400,000 in EU money this year and are said to be using some of it to finance the rally.

Swedish centre-left MEP Marita Ulvskog told this website on Friday (13 May) that it has to be stopped.

"They are now preparing for a large meeting this summer in Sweden where nazis and fascists from different parts of the European Union will gather in Sweden and they are paid by EU money," she said.

Ulvskog had already tried to restrict the funding during the last parliamentary term. She thought she had succeeded.

"What we had not understood is that the money will be stopped in 2017. I got mad," she said.

Earlier this week she helped trigger a petition among MEPs that forced the issue onto the agenda of group leaders in the European Parliament's “conference of presidents”.

Parliament procedures require at least a quarter of all the MEPs to sign the demand before it can be discussed by the group leaders.

They obtained just over 280 signatures, mostly from the centre-right EPP, the centre-left S&D, liberal Alde and far-left GUE/NGL groups.

Ulvskog said they could have gotten more but stopped once the minimum was reached in order to push the issue as quickly as possible.

Rule 225

On Thursday in Strasbourg, the group leaders agreed to launch an investigation using an obscure parliamentary rule to verify whether or not a political party at European level observes "the principles upon which the European Union is founded".

The Constitutional Affairs Committee has been tasked to look into the matter.

Once the probe is done it will submit a proposal to the parliament.

Funding could be cut if the Alliance for Peace and Freedom fails to meet the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.

The far-right alliance, for its part, said it welcomed the investigation.

"If it is carried out fairly and objectively we have no doubt that it will confirm that the APF does indeed uphold true European principles," said the group's president, Roberto Fiore, who is co-founder of the Italian far-right New Force party.

Not everyone supported the petition despite their broad opposition to the Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF).

A majority of the Greens said a better tactic would have been to confront them directly on their policies, rather than using an administrative procedure to shut them down.

The Greens are concerned that the potential ban could help APF to demonise thé EU among its supporters.

MEPs crack down on funding for far right

Four eurosceptic and far-right parties will receive less money up front and will have to present bank guarantees, in a crackdown on misuse of funds after several scandals.

MEPs look for ways to defund far-right party

The Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF) has sued the European Parliament for changing its party funding rules last year. Meanwhile, MEPs probe their duty to fund a party that brings together people with neo-Nazi and fascist past.

MEPs redouble appeal on sexual harassment

The EU parliament's internal chiefs have so far refused to introduce mandatory training on dealing with sexual harassment. MEPs have now asked for it again.

Centre-right MEPs want transparency vote to be secret

A number of centre-right MEPs are pushing for a secret ballot on a plenary vote that would make EU lawmakers more transparent and accountable to the public - in a move described as "absurd" by Transparency International.

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