Sorry, Daily Express, the European Parliament is not trying to liquidate any political party
Imagine a world where misspending taxpayers’ money brings no consequences to the culprits. Where political party funding is not governed by rules of good conduct. This, dear reader, is the world the Daily Express would apparently like, judging from their recent story. The piece claims that the EU is trying to “liquidate” Eurosceptic parties by suspending their funding.
What the story omits is a few essential facts and the whole context.
Similar to Policy Development Grants administered by the Electoral Commission in the UK, the European Parliament offers grants to all pan-European political parties. These grants are governed by a set of rules which all parties need to adhere to.
In this week’s decision, the European Parliament decided to introduce stricter conditions on four European political parties and two foundation in its decision on the awards of grants in 2017.
This decision was taken in view of misspending and allegations of misuse of the grants. These include ADDE and IDDE’s misspending of European Parliament grants in 2015 which resulted in them having to pay back nearly 180 000 EUR and a related inquiry led by the Electoral Commission (see our previous press release here).
Contrary to Express’s claims, the funds have not been stripped from the parties. The six organisations will be entitled to an advance of 33% of the final grant sum rather than the usual 80%. They will also need to submit a first-call bank guarantee for the equivalent sum. If all their expenditure for the coming year can be properly accounted for afterwards, they will still be eligible for receiving a full grant.
Far from Express’s cries of “anti-populist measures” this decision was taken in order to protect taxpayers' money and due process which applies to all political parties, their political affiliations notwithstanding.
Find out more about European political parties and their funding on our website.