Thursday

19th Oct 2017

Far-right political groups miss EU funding deadline

  • Roberto Fiore (r) of the Alliance for Peace and Freedom is a self-described fascist. (Photo: Aleksandra Eriksson)

Some six far-right and nationalist European political groups, who largely depend on public grants, will not receive any funding from the EU next year.

The move follows the European Parliament's end-of-September registration deadline to access millions of euros in grants ahead of the 2019 elections. The groups either did not register, or failed to meet any number of conditions required by a new oversight authority.

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Among them is the far-right nationalist Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF), whose members include politicians from the Greek neo-nazi Golden Dawn party and Germany's NPD, another ultra nationalist political party with a neo-nazi ideology.

Headed by a self-declared fascist from Italy, Roberto Fiore, the APF was eligible to over €400,000 in 2017 in EU parliament grants.

Its Swedish secretary general, Stefan Jacobsson, told this website on Sunday (8 October) in an email that there is no deadline and that the "party is in the registration process".

But a European political group must now first be registered with the new oversight authority as a legal entity before getting EU funding.

This body, the Authority for European Political Parties and Foundations, was created in September 2016.

Independent from the EU parliament, it registers, controls, and oversees European political parties and their affiliated foundations following new registration rules published in January.

Because the APF's registration has yet to pass the authority's scrutiny, it was unable to meet the EU parliament's September deadline.

It also means that the APF's affiliated political foundation, Europa Terra Nostra, will not get any money, either. Europa Terra Nostra was eligible for some €260,000 in 2017.

It is not explicitly clear why the APF failed to pass the authority's registration barrier.

But people who want to form a European political group must adhere to a set of EU values like liberty, democracy, and respect for human rights.

Seven-state rule

A group must also have representatives from at least seven EU states. Such sponsors can be individuals like regional or national deputies.

"The current rules about who can sponsor the registration of a European political party are prone to abuse. There are several cases of different members of a single national party sponsoring more than one European political party," said European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans last month.

He also noted cases where members of the same national party have been sponsoring multiple different European parties. Timmermans said such practices ends up creating multiple European parties that represent the same group of underlying citizens.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that APF's French representative was a National Front regional councillor from Brittany. When contacted by French newspaper, Le Monde, the councillor denied any knowledge of the APF, suggesting her name had been forged to meet the seven-member threshold.

The EU commission now wants to ban individuals from sponsoring groups, and instead, require endorsements from political parties.

APF is not alone in facing the cuts.

The Ukip-dominated Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE) has also missed the funding registration deadline. The Financial Times last week reported the ADDE had been entitled to some €1.8 million for next year.

The Alliance of European National Movements (AENM) will not receive any money either. The group's leader, Hungarian MEP Bela Kovacs, is embroiled in accusations of spying for the Russians. He also belongs to the far-right Jobbik party in Hungary. AENM also reportedly used somebody from the National Front to meet the seven-country threshold.

Meanwhile, other parties simply did not register with the authority.

These include the European United for Democracy, Coalition pour la Vie et la Family, and the European Alliance for Freedom.

Anti-EU parties face funding cuts

Reforms proposed by Commission would reduce EU funding for nationalist and ultra-right European political parties by up to 66 percent.

Opinion

The story behind Golden Dawn's success

If the Greek government is truly looking for answers to Golden Dawn's success, it should look to its own anti-immigrant policies.

Court hearing in MEPs 'private' expenses battle

The European parliament claims the media and public do not have a right to supervise or monitor the public role of MEPs, says Natasa Pirc Musar, a lawyer representing journalists, in a transparency battle against the assembly.

Eurogroup closes Schaeuble era

Eurozone finance ministers bade farewell to their longest-serving and most influential colleague, while preparing to also replace its chairman at the end of the year.

EU agencies defend research ahead of glyphosate vote

As the renewal of the weedkiller glyphosate is a hot potato on the EU agenda, with a vote in the Parliament on Thursday, the role of two closely-involved EU agencies has come under scrutiny.

Europeans more positive about EU, survey shows

On balance, 55 percent of British respondents said the UK had benefited from EU membership. Among all European respondents, 47 percent said their voice counted in the EU.

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