Political parties at European level

 
What is a political party at European level?

A political party at European level is an organisation following a political programme, which is composed of national parties and individuals as members and which is represented in several Member States. As mentioned in the Treaties, "political parties at European level are important as a factor for integration within the Union. They contribute to forming a European awareness and to expressing the political will of the citizens of the Union."

How is a political party at European level financed?

Since July 2004, European political parties have been able to receive annual funding from the European Parliament. The funding takes the form of an operating grant. It can cover up to 85% of the eligible expenditure of a party, while the rest should be covered by own resources such as membership fees and donations.

What can and what cannot be paid from the grant?

The grant can be used to meet the expenditure directly linked to the objectives set out in the party's political programme, such as:

  • meetings and conferences,
  • publications, studies and advertisements,
  • administrative, personnel and travel costs,
  • campaign costs connected to European elections.

It is called eligible expenditure.

The grant cannot be used, among others, to meet expenditure such as:

  • campaign costs for referenda and elections (except for European elections),
  • direct or indirect funding of national parties, election candidates and political foundations both at national and at European level,
  • debts and debts service charges.
Who sets the rules of funding?

The legal basis is given in Article 10 paragraph 4 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 224 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The rules of funding are laid down by a regulation adopted by the Council and the Parliament. It has been revised in order to improve the conditions for funding. The implementing rules are adopted by the Bureau of the Parliament.

How many parties exist, and how much do they receive?

You can download the list of the parties indicating the grant amounts here

Their final reports can be consulted here

 
 
Political parties at European level [cont.]
What conditions must be met in order to receive funding?

In order to receive a grant from the Parliament, a party must satisfy certain conditions:

  • the party must have legal personality in the Member State in which its seat is located,
  • it must be represented, in at least one quarter of Member States, by Members of the European Parliament or by Members of national or regional Parliaments or Members of regional assemblies,
  • it must observe the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law,
  • it must have participated in elections to the European Parliament, or expressed the intention to do so.
How does the funding procedure work in practice?

You can download the brief annual reports of the European Parliament (link).

Any party meeting the above-mentioned conditions may apply for funding, by sending its application by 30 September each year to the Parliament, together with its work programme and budget for the following year.

Once the applications are evaluated and approved, the funds are distributed among these parties according to a set scale:

  • 15% are distributed in equal shares,
  • 85% are distributed among those which have elected Members in the European Parliament, in proportion to the number of those Members.

A first instalment, representing 80% of the total awarded grant, is paid in principle by the end of the first quarter of each year.

The balance is paid the following year after approval of final reports of the parties by the Bureau of the European Parliament. The final report mainly consists of:

  • a final report on the implementation of the programme of activities;
  • a final financial statement of the eligible expenditure actually incurred, based on the structure of the provisional budget,
  • a comprehensive summary of revenue and expenditure corresponding to the accounts for the period of eligibility covered by the grant decision,
  • a report on an external audit of the accounts carried out by an independent auditor, certifying that the grant has been used in compliance with the rules.
 
 
Political foundations at European level
What is a political foundation at European level?

A political foundation at European level is an organisation affiliated with a political party at European level which underpins and complements the objectives of that party. A political foundation at European level observes, analyses and contributes to the debate on European public policy issues. It also develops linked activities, such as organising seminars, training, conferences and studies.

How is a political foundation at European level financed?

Foundations were funded for the period from October 2007 to August 2008 by action grants awarded by the European Commission under a pilot project.

From September 2008, the European Parliament has taken over the funding and now awards annual operating grants. The first grant covered the remaining 4 months period of 2008, followed by grants corresponding to the calendar year. The grant can cover up to 85% of the eligible expenditure of a foundation, while the rest should be covered by own resources such as membership fees and donations.

What can and what cannot be paid from the grant?

The grant can be used to meet the expenditure directly linked to the activities set out in the foundation's programme of activities, such as:

  • meetings and conferences,
  • publications, studies and advertisements,
  • administrative, personnel and travel costs.

It is called eligible expenditure.

The grant cannot be used, among others, to meet expenditure such as:

  • campaign costs for referenda and elections,
  • direct or indirect funding of national parties, election candidates and national political foundations,
  • debts and debts service charges.
Who sets the rules of funding?

The rules of funding of the parties are laid down by a regulation adopted by the Council and the Parliament. It has been revised in order to allow for the funding of foundations too. The implementing rules are adopted by the Bureau of the Parliament.

How many foundations exist, and how much do they receive?

You can download the list of the foundations indicating the grant amounts here.

Their final reports can be consulted here

What conditions must be met in order to receive funding?

In order to receive a grant from the Parliament, a foundation must satisfy certain conditions:

  • it must be affiliated with a political party at European level which is recognised by the regulation,
  • it must have legal personality, separate from that of the party, in the Member State in which its seat is located,
  • it must observe the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law,
  • it shall not promote profit goals,
  • its governing body shall have a geographically balanced composition.
How does the funding procedure work in practice?

You can download the brief annual reports of the European Parliament here

Any foundation meeting the above-mentioned conditions may apply for funding, by sending its application by 30 September each year to the Parliament, together with its work programme and budget for the following year.

Once the applications are evaluated and approved, the funds are distributed among these foundations according to a set scale:

  • 15% are distributed in equal shares,
  • 85% are distributed among those that are affiliated to such political parties at European level which have elected members in the European Parliament, in proportion to the number of elected members.

A first instalment, representing 80% of the total awarded grant, is paid in principle by the end of the first quarter of each year.

The balance is paid the following year after the final report of the foundations have been approved by the Bureau of the European Parliament. The final report consists of:

  • a final report on the implementation of the pro­gramme of activities;
  • a final financial statement of the eligible expenditure actually incurred, based on the structure of the provi­sional budget,
  • a comprehensive summary of revenue and expenditure corresponding to the accounts for the period of eligibility covered by the grant decision,
  • a report on an external audit of the ac­counts carried out by an independent auditor, certifying that the grant has been used in compliance with the rules.
 
 
Final reports of the parties and foundations

You will find here the final reports of the parties and foundations, as submitted by them annually to the European Parliament. The version published herewith includes the following documents:

  • a final financial statement of the eligible expenditure actually incurred, based on the structure of the provisional budget,
  • a comprehensive summary of revenue and expenditure corresponding to the accounts for the period of eligibility covered by the grant decision,
  • a report on an external audit of the accounts carried out by an independent auditor, certifying that the grant has been used in compliance with the rules.

It does not include the final report on the implementation of the programme of activities.

The grant amounts, as shown in these reports, cannot be considered as final in all cases and they might differ from the ones actually awarded and paid by the European Parliament.

 
 
 
 
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