European political parties receive funding from the European Parliament to meet expenditures directly linked to the objectives laid down in their programmes. Here is our short guide explaining the rules that define how funds are allocated and how the parties can use them.
How are political parties financed at the European level?
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
This is called eligible expenditure. However, the grant cannot be used 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 for funding?
The legal basis can be found 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 Parliament's bureau.