Tuesday

21st Feb 2017

EU anti-fraud body to probe Danish party

  • A total of 15 European political parties received grants from the European Union in 2016. The money is meant for political parties to be able to co-operate closer across the borders. (Photo: EUobserver)

The Danish People’s Party may incorrectly have spent EU money on meetings that were not clearly divided from national party gatherings, according to DR, Denmark’s public broadcaster, and daily Ekstrabladet.

In total €25.000 from EU coffers were spent on party summer-gatherings in 2014 and 2015.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • It is the second time Danish People’s Party has come on fire for alleged mismanagement of EU funds. MEP Morten Messerschmidt denies any wrongdoing. (Photo: Europa-Parlamentet i Danmark)

The meetings were attended by party members and staff only and had no representatives of sister parties in other EU countries present, as should have been the case to qualify for EU funds.

“I can confirm, that the European anti-fraud office is investigating the alleged abuse of EU funds paid by the European Parliament to Meld and Feld”, a spokesman of Olaf, the EU's anti-fraud body, Alina Burea, told DR.

The money was awarded to an alliance of eurosceptic groups known as the Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy (Meld), which had MEP Morten Messerschmidt on the board. Meld was closed in 2015.

Funds were also given to its political affiliation, the Foundation for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy (Feld).

It is the second time Danish People’s Party has come on fire for alleged mismanagement of EU funds.

Last spring the party agreed to refund over €200.000 after the European Parliament found it had wrongly spent parliament grants to produce EU related video and a follow-up campaign asking the Danes to vote No in a December 2015 referendum on whether to join EU justice and home affairs policies.

Money was also used to finance a campaign tour by boat and a €130,000 consultancy fee.

Messerschmidt denied any wrongdoing and said the demand for a refund was politically motivated.

MEP Anders Vistisen, now chairing the Danish People's party in the European Parliament, said he would contact the European Parliament administration on Monday (17 October) to seek clarity on whether the summer party gathering programs could be qualified as an EU arrangement, or whether the funds should be returned.

Liberal MEP Morten Loekkegaard expressed surprise that once again a case of possible misuse of EU funds was popping up around the euro critic and anti-immigrant Danish People's Party.

“We are dealing with a party that has been unusually creative in handling EU funds, and I think that must be stopped. It does not suit anyone. We should all tighten our act now to restore confidence in the system and that it is all right to receive support from the EU for political work. It is all right. But you just shouldn’t be too smart, Loekkegaard told DR.

A total of 15 European political parties received grants from the European Union in 2016. The money is meant for political parties to be able to co-operate closer across the borders.

The biggest payment (€8.7 million) went to the center-right European People's Party, while the second largest payment (€7.2 million) went to Party of European Socialists.

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 set to approve Canada trade deal

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light to the EU-Canada free trade agreement, which would start being implemented in April.

News in Brief

  1. Greece agrees on new bailout reforms
  2. EU commission denies Juncker resignation rumour
  3. US "strongly committed" to cooperation with EU, says vice-president
  4. Wilders pulls out of second Dutch election TV debate
  5. Russia to recognise passports from breakaway Ukraine regions
  6. Pro-refugee marchers swarm through Barcelona
  7. Renzi seeks party's support
  8. EU probes China-funded rail project

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  4. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  5. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe
  7. Salzburg Global SeminarToward a Shared Culture of Health: Charting the Patient-Clinician Relationship
  8. European Free AllianceAustria Should Preserve & Promote Bilingual and Multinational Carinthia
  9. Martens CentreShow Your Love for Democracy! Take Part in Our Contest: "If It's Broken, Let's Fix It"
  10. CISPECloud Computing Leaders Establish Data Protection Standards to Protect Customer Data
  11. Malta EU 2017Landmark Deal Reached With European Parliament on Portability of Online Content
  12. Belgrade Security ForumBSF 2017: Building a Common Future in the Age of Uncertainty