Investing in destabilisation: How foreign money is used to undermine democracy in the EU

06-05-2021

Foreign interference has become a major security threat for democracies. The European Union (EU) provides no exception and, in the last few years, has significantly stepped up its efforts to counter this threat. A specific type of foreign interference is the foreign funding of political parties. At the national level, regulations banning or limiting foreign funding are currently in place in most member states, but there is still significant variation across them. At the EU level, the recent reforms of the regulation on the funding of the Europarties and their associated foundations have banned contributions from abroad. Notwithstanding such welcome changes to party regulations, cases of foreign funding are still being reported in several member states, with foreign actors exploiting regulatory loopholes to channel funds or provide other types of support. To tackle this issue more effectively, regulatory convergence at the national level should be promoted, the transparency of party accounts should be enhanced, and the monitoring and sanctioning powers of the relevant control authorities strengthened.

Foreign interference has become a major security threat for democracies. The European Union (EU) provides no exception and, in the last few years, has significantly stepped up its efforts to counter this threat. A specific type of foreign interference is the foreign funding of political parties. At the national level, regulations banning or limiting foreign funding are currently in place in most member states, but there is still significant variation across them. At the EU level, the recent reforms of the regulation on the funding of the Europarties and their associated foundations have banned contributions from abroad. Notwithstanding such welcome changes to party regulations, cases of foreign funding are still being reported in several member states, with foreign actors exploiting regulatory loopholes to channel funds or provide other types of support. To tackle this issue more effectively, regulatory convergence at the national level should be promoted, the transparency of party accounts should be enhanced, and the monitoring and sanctioning powers of the relevant control authorities strengthened.

Awtur estern

Edoardo BRESSANELLI