European Parliament Backs New Rules For Funding Political Parties

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The European Parliament has voted to approve plans to reform the funding arrangements and legal status of European political parties and their affiliated foundations, it was announced Wednesday.

The new rules, informally agreed with European Council, will clarify the finances of these bodies and enhance their European character. A method to monitor compliance and impose penalties for breaches is also part of the deal.

The European Parliament approved the new rules in a 539 to 103 vote with 20 abstentions.

The new rules state that EU political parties (EUPPs) and their affiliated foundations must be established under EU law in order to overcome the obstacles created by the diversity of national legal forms and ensure high standards of transparency and accountability.

The new rules will make it easier for European parties and foundations to generate their own resources by raising the ceiling on donations from EUR 12,000 to EUR 18,000 per donor per year. For donations above EUR 3,000, the donors' names and the corresponding amounts will be publicly disclosed. For amounts between EUR 1,500 and EUR 3,000, the donor's prior consent to publication will be needed. The legislation states that the European Parliament and an independent authority will be responsible for assessing compliance with the rules.

The authority, chosen by the three EU institutions, will be in sole charge of verifying compliance with the rules on registration and deciding on the de-registration of an EEUP. It will also deal with other requirements relating to non-EU funds (i.e. donations and contributions).

If the rules are infringed, the authority will ask for corrective measures, failing which it will be able to impose penalties in the form of fines and, as a last resort, de-registration, which would exclude the party from funding.

Parliament would impose penalties for misuse of EU funding, like in cases such as failure to comply with reporting and transparency requirements or of criminal conviction.

SOURCE: RTT News, April 17th 2014: http://www.rttnews.com/2302974/european-parliament-backs-new-rules-for-f...