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European political parties

 
What is a European political party?

A European political party is an organisation following a political programme. This party is composed of national parties and/or individuals as members, represented in several Member States and is registered with the Authority for European political parties and European political foundations (‘Authority’). As mentioned in the Treaties, "political parties at European level contribute to forming European political awareness and to expressing the will of citizens of the Union”.

How is a European political party financed?

The funding took the form of an operating grant until financial year 2017. From 2018, the funding takes the form of a contribution. The rules for this form of funding are specified in Title VIII of Part II of the Financial Regulation. It can cover up to 85% of the reimbursable expenditure of a party, while the rest should be covered by own resources such as membership fees and donations.

Funds available for parties are budgeted on the budget line 402 of the European Parliament’s budget.

What can and what cannot be paid from the contribution from the EU budget?

The contribution can be used to meet the expenditure directly linked to the party’s statutory objectives, that is the so-called reimbursable expenditure such as:

  • meetings and representation costs
  • costs of publications,
  • administrative, personnel and travel costs,
  • costs of campaign in European elections.

The contribution cannot be used, among others, to meet non-reimbursable expenditure such as:

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

The rules of funding are laid down by a regulation adopted by the Council and the Parliament, pursuant to Article 10 paragraph 4 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 224 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The implementing procedures are adopted by the Bureau of the European Parliament.

Which rules apply? (from financial year 2018)
The following rules apply from the procedure concerning funding of financial year 2018 onwards:
 
 
European political parties [cont.]
What conditions must be met in order to receive funding?

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

  • the party must be registered by the Authority,
  • it must be represented in the European Parliament by at least 1 Member of the European Parliament,
  • it must be audited by an external auditor mandated by the European Parliament,
  • it must not be subject of sanctions imposed by the Authority.

In order to be registered by the Authority, the party must comply with the registration conditions:

  • it must have its seat in a Member State as indicated in its statutes;
  • it or its members must be, or be represented by, in at least one quarter of the Member States, members of the European Parliament, of national parliaments, of regional parliaments or of regional assemblies, or it or its member parties must have received, in at least one quarter of the Member States, at least three per cent of the votes cast in each of those Member States at the most recent elections to the European Parliament;
  • it must observe, in particular in its programme and in its activities, the values on which the Union is founded, as expressed in Article 2 TEU, namely respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities;
  • it or its members must have participated in elections to the European Parliament, or have expressed publicly the intention to participate in the next elections to the European Parliament; and
  • it must not pursue profit goals.
How does the funding procedure work in practice?

You can download here the brief report on the state of play of the funding procedure).

Any party meeting the above-mentioned conditions may apply for funding for a given financial year, by sending to the Parliament by 30 September of the preceding financial year its application and an estimated budget.

Once the applications are evaluated and approved, the funds available in the Parliament’s budget are distributed among these parties according to a set scale:

  • 15% are distributed in equal shares,
  • 85% are distributed in proportion to the number of the elected Members of the European Parliament being members of the party.

This constitutes a provisional contribution amount, which is paid at the beginning of each year (pre-financing payment). The provisional contribution amount must not exceed the amount applied for in the funding application and neither 85% of the reimbursable expenditure budgeted in the estimated budget.

The final contribution amount is established the following year after approval of annual reports of the parties by the Bureau of the European Parliament. The final contribution amount must not exceed the provisional contribution amount and 85% of the reimbursable costs actually incurred.

How much do the parties receive from the EU budget?
Where is the financial data reported?

The parties must declare all revenue and expenditure in their annual reports. Such annual report consists mainly of:

  • audit report including financial statements
  • financial statement based on the structure of the estimated budget,
  • detail of accounts as regards revenue, costs, assets and liabilities,
  • list of donations
  • activity report
Technical support

Technical support provided by Parliament to European political parties 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

 
 
European political foundations
What is a European political foundation?

A European political foundation is an organisation affiliated with a European political party which underpins and complements the objectives of that party and is registered with the Authority for European political parties and European political foundations (‘Authority’). Such foundation observes, analyses and contributes to the debate on European public policy issues. It also develops activities linked to European public policy issue, for example by organising seminars, training, conferences and studies.

How is a European political foundation financed?

A European political foundation may receive funding from the European Parliament. The funding takes a form of an operating grant. The rules for this type of funding are specified in Title VI of Part I of the Financial Regulation. This grant can cover up to 85% of the eligible expenditure of the foundation, while the rest should be covered by own resources coming from membership fees and donations.

The Parliament publishes annually here its annual work programme of grants (2018).

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 work programme, that is the so-called eligible expenditure such as:

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

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

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

The rules of funding are laid down by a regulation adopted by the Council and the Parliament, pursuant to Article 10 paragraph 4 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 224 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The implementing procedures are adopted by the Bureau of the European Parliament.

Which rules apply? (from financial year 2018)

The following rules apply from the procedure concerning funding of financial year 2018 onwards:

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 registered by the Authority,
  • it must be affiliated with a registered European political party, which is eligible for funding from the European Parliament’s budget
How does the funding procedure work in practice ?

You can download the brief report on the state of play of the funding procedure.

Any foundation meeting the above-mentioned conditions may apply for funding for a given financial year, by sending to the Parliament by 30 September of the preceding financial year its application, an estimated budget and its work programme.

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 in proportion to the number of the elected Members of the European Parliament being members of the party to which the foundation is affiliated.

This constitutes a provisional grant amount, which is paid in principle by the end of the first quarter of each year (pre-financing payment). The provisional grant amount must not exceed the amount applied for in the funding application and neither 85% of the reimbursable expenditure budgeted in the estimated budget.

The final grant amount is established the following year after approval of the foundations’ annual reports by the Bureau of the European Parliament. The final grant amount must not exceed the provisional contribution amount.

How much do the foundations receive from the EU budget?
Where is the financial data reported?

The foundations must declare all revenue and expenditure in their annual reports. Such annual report consists mainly of:

  • audit report including financial statements and the
  • financial statement based on the structure of the estimated budget,
  • detail of accounts as regards revenue, costs, assets and liabilities,
  • list of donations
  • activity report

The foundations’ audit reports and donations can be consulted here.

 
 
Audit reports and donations of the parties and foundations

You will find here the audit reports including the financial statements as well as the donations of the parties and foundations, as submitted annually to the European Parliament by the parties and foundations.

The funding amounts, as shown in these reports, cannot be considered as final in all cases. They might differ from the ones actually awarded and paid by the European Parliament because the audit report is issued before the decision on final funding amount is approved by the Parliament.

Please also note that as from 2018 funding, the transparency requirements change pursuant to Article 32 of the Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014. Most of these requirements are applicable only after the control of annual reports in 2019.

 
 
Authority for European political parties and foundations

As of 1. January 2017 a new system of registration applies to European Political Parties and European Political Foundations.

Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations ('Regulation No 1141/2014') sets out the new rules to be followed and establishes an Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations (the 'Authority').

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32014R1141

The Authority has been set up for the purpose of registering, controlling and imposing sanctions on European Political Parties and European Political Foundations pursuant to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014.

The Authority’s website can be accessed under: http://www.appf.europa.eu.

 
 
Legal framework (until financial year 2017)