EU Political party and foundation MELD and FELD to reimburse over 400,000 euros  

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The Bureau of the European Parliament (its President and 14 Vice-Presidents) has decided unanimously to ask the European party MELD and its foundation FELD to reimburse over 400,000 euros of the grant allocated to it for the year 2015. An external auditor and Parliament's financial administration found that part of the expenses claims by MELD and FELD were in breach of the rules for grants for political parties and foundations.

MELD and FELD will need to reimburse 402,481 euros (296,679 euros for MELD and 105,802 euros for FELD). The EU grants for European political parties and foundations cannot be used for information campaigns and events directly linked to a national referendum. The indirect financing of national political parties and their campaigns in a national election is equally prohibited. And the grant cannot be used to pay off debts either.


Eligibility criteria


European political parties and foundations can submit applications for grants covering a maximum of 85% of their expenditure. The application must contain a list of members showing it is represented in at least one quarter of EU Member States, by Members of the European Parliament, Members of national or regional Parliaments, or Members of regional assemblies. The applications are accompanied by a work program and provisional budget. The size of the grant is based on the number of party members. After approval of the provisional budget by the EP Bureau, the party and foundation receive an advance of 80% of the grant. The rest may be paid out if the party and foundation expenses are approved by the EP Bureau at the closure of the accounts, while money spent on non-eligible activities needs to be reimbursed.


Verification of the expenses


The party and foundation need to specify their expenses and submit invoices for these expenses, which are subsequently subjected to an external audit. The report drawn up by the external auditor is published on the European Parliament website. Parliament's financial administration may perform sample checks on the basis of the audit report or on the basis of other information. If activities are considered non-eligible for funding, the party will be asked to use its other revenues and/or to reimburse part of the grant. 


MELD/FELD


The Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy (MELD) was founded in 2011, as well as its affiliated political foundation, the Foundation for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy (FELD). The party and foundation were wound down towards the end of 2015, as they no longer had representatives from the requisite number of countries. The verification of their accounts was therefore speeded up; normally this takes place in the second of the following year.