20th May 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.

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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."

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