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 VIII of the Financial Regulation. This grant can cover up to 95% 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 (2021).

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 2019)

The following rules apply from the procedure concerning funding of financial year 2019 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:

  • 10% are distributed in equal shares,
  • 90% 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 95% 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.