Thursday

18th Apr 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

Lobby register transparency talks collapse

Efforts to set up a better transparency register for lobbyists have collapsed after two years of talks. The impasse revolves around the European Commission's insistence that the register also become mandatory for the European Parliament and Council.

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us