Labour MEPs welcome change to EU political funding rules that will keep funds from Far Right parties that do not "respect European values" - 2012-09-13
Labour MEPs fully welcomed today's proposals from the European Commission stating that EU funds should only be granted to Europe-wide political parties that "respect the values on which the EU is founded." This will include the programmes and activities of its members.
"Funding Europe-wide political parties should never include groups of parties that foster racial hatred," said Glenis Willmott, Leader of the British Labour MEPs.
"Earlier this year, there was a proposal to give funding to a Europe-wide federation of far right political groups, and we led an alliance of political parties to oppose this.
"If we're going to have state-funding for Europe-wide political parties, obviously it should include funding for all shades of democratic opinion, whether it's right, left, green or anti-European.
"The idea is to create pan-European thinking on issues that affect all Europeans at a political party level. But there's no way European taxpayers should fund parties that are dedicated to spreading racism.
"Today's proposals to ensure that the programme and activities of these Europe-wide political parties respect EU values are simple common sense. The tolerant don't always have to tolerate the intolerant," she said.
The Draft Regulation clearly states that a new European party "must observe, in particular in its programme and in its activities, and through those of its members, the values on which the European Union is founded, namely respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities" (Article 3.1.c).
The Socialist and Democrats Group, of which the British Labour Party is a lead member, also warmly welcomed today's new rules that were adopted by the European Commission on the initiative of Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič.
The overall aim of the Commissioner's proposals is to strengthen the role of political parties and foundations in forming European political awareness and expressing the will of EU citizens. Today's proposals should increase the visibility, recognition, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of European political parties and foundations. Only parties that have representation in the European Parliament may apply for funds.
The main change is that the proposal provides a European legal status for European political parties and foundations based on EU law, which provides full legal recognition in all member states of the EU.
These new rules will allow the European Parliament to thoroughly check the internal democracy and the respect for EU values of the European political parties, and the parties that constitute them.
The current Regulation on political parties at EU level dates back to 2003 and was amended in 2007 to include 'policy foundations.'
Any queries to David Poyser 0032 479 790053