19th Mar 2019

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. They risk not being entitled to funding.

Some euro-parliamentarians have also warned that they will take the case to the European Court of Justice.

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

After the go-ahead by the EU foreign affairs ministers last Monday, the European Parliament on Thursday (19 June) adopted the report on this matter with 345 votes in favour, 102 against and 34 abstentions. Both the Council and the European Parliament had to agree on this statute under the co-decision procedure.

According to the adopted statute, funding for so-called pan-European parties will flow from the EU citizens' coffers. But to qualify for this money, a political party would have to be represented in at least a quarter of member states.

This would pose problems to alliances that do not operate on a member state level - only the three big groups in the European Parliament, the Christian Democrats, the Socialists and the Liberals, can be sure of funding.

Moreover, the most concerning aspect of the statute is that funding will be withheld from any party that does not have "respect" for 'fundamental rights and principles', which would exclude parties that disagree with a binding European Charter of fundamental human rights.

"Whilst we oppose the state funding of political parties, this legislation goes far beyond that. In a democracy, political parties should not be offered funding on the condition that they conform to a majority belief - it is up to the voters to remove a politician who expresses noxious views," UK Conservative Daniel Hannan said.

Italian non-attached member Gianfranco dell'Alba criticised heavily the statute at a debate held on Wednesday (18 June) in the European Parliament in Brussels.

"Some of us that are also elected by millions of people will not get any money. We should take it to the Court of Justice. This is a deeply flawed report. We'll take it to the Court and then we'll see from there," he said.

Non-attached euro-parliamentarians from the radical group will be pushing forward as soon as possible for this case to be taken to court and will be contacting other groups that might give them their support.

"We are against public financing," Italian radical MEP Maurizio Turco told EUobserver. "There were about 100 MEPs that voted against, so we are not the only ones."

EU citizens to pay for pan-European parties

The European Union is set to provide financial support for European political parties. However, only the largest parties are in line for support, with the bill to be picked up by tax payers.

MEP perks on foreign ministers' agenda

Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels today and tomorrow will take time out from discussing controversial international issues to discussing controversial issues closer to home: MEPs' pay and funding of pan-European political parties.

News in Brief

  1. Blow for May as third vote on Brexit deal ruled out
  2. Three killed in possible 'terror' gun attack in Utrecht
  3. Third Brexit vote this week only if DUP will support it
  4. Germany's two largest banks confirm merger talks
  5. Serbian pro-democracy protests reach 15th week
  6. 'Yellow Vest' riots leave Paris shops vandalised
  7. European woman older when having first baby
  8. Majority of Germans want Merkel to stay on

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  2. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  3. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  6. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  11. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  12. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us