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  • Stricter rules to access public money and recover misused funds

  • Only national parties, not individuals, can form a European political party eligible for funding

  • European parties to be de-registered if they provide false information

New rules to ensure proper use of public money when funding European political parties and foundations were informally agreed by MEPs and Council on Tuesday.

A delegation of MEPs and Council representatives agreed on Tuesday evening that individuals should no longer be able to create a European party – only national parties can do so. This is to avoid individual members of a national party participating in the formation of more than one European party in order to maximise access to public funds.

The European Parliament should be able to recover amounts unduly paid and individuals guilty of fraud would become liable to pay back misspent funds. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office, yet to officially start, will be called on to investigate alleged abuses in the future.

Should a European party and its affiliated foundation fail to live up to the necessary sponsoring requirements, or provide false information when registering, the independent Authority for European Political Parties must de-register it, negotiators also decided.

Stricter transparency and fairer share of funds

Negotiators also agreed that national parties should display the logo and political manifesto of their affiliated European party on their websites as a condition to access funds. This is to be done by member parties at least 12 months before the funding applications are submitted.

Finally, the revised regulation would reduce the share of funding that is currently equally allocated to all European parties from 15 to 10%. The remaining 90 percent is to be distributed in proportion to each party’s share of elected MEPs.

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“The institutions have worked together well to close loopholes which, until now, allowed a European Political Party to be created only for financial reasons. Cross-party membership will not be possible anymore and funding will be linked more precisely to actual voting results at EU level, making European political parties more European and, as more logos will be published online, more visible at the national level”, said lead MEP Rainer Wieland (EPP, DE).

“We have adapted the current regulation to the latest developments and needs of European politics. By lowering the threshold for distribution of funds and focussing on visibility of national member parties, we have enhanced the democratic representation of European political parties and foundations, through financing which is truly proportionate to their presence in the EP”, said lead MEP Mercedes Bresso (S&D, IT).

Next steps

The informal deal will be put to a vote in the Constitutional Affairs Committee in due course. If approved, the deal will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole as well as the Council of Ministers. The Parliament wants to have the new rules in force before the end of June this year, when the call for applications for funding in 2019 (European election year) is due to be published.