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UNITED E-NEWS 09/10/2012

New rules to stop EU funding for racist parties

Last month, the European Commission finally backed a proposal for new laws that intend to cut off EU funding for racist or xenophobic parties and their associated foundations. The proposal demands European political parties and foundations to register officially under EU law to get a new legal status that allows them to receive EU funding.

To obtain this new European legal status it is required to fulfil certain criteria and respect the values on which the EU 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". The part regarding minorities is a new addition that will leave far right parties struggling to receive this status.

The new regulations will also allow European political parties to get involved in the national campaigns and elections of their member parties. Moreover it would force parties to publish the names of donors contributing more than 1,000 Euros a year, while the annual limit on individual donations would rise from 12,000 Euros to 25,000 Euros. The new regulations also bring in sanctions (administrative and financial) for breaches of the criteria, including the values on which the EU is founded.

The introduction of a European legal statute for European political parties has been a long-standing request of the EU Parliament. However, this process only gained pace after the public outcry that followed the decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament to grant 289,266 Euro to the far right "Alliance of European Nationalist Movements" earlier in 2012. The Commission's adoption of the proposal was therefore welcomed by many MEPs. Hannes Swoboda, president of the "Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats" in the EU Parliament, stated: "It is time to stop to keep giving EU money to rightist and xenophobic parties that are systematically rallying against EU values and principles."

In 2012, 13 European political parties and 12 European political foundations were awarded almost 31 million Euro in total; including:
- "Alliance of European Nationalist Movements"(*): 289,266 Euro
- "European Alliance for Freedom" (**): 360,455 Euro
- "European Foundation for Freedom" (***): 243,811 Euro

The European Commission is hopeful that the co-legislators can agree on the new rules quickly, in time for the European Parliament election campaigns in 2014. According to the proposal the new rules shall apply from 1 July 2013.

More info:
New role for political parties to make European elections truly European - http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014...ies_en.htm

Press Release: Commission proposal boosts European political parties' ability to represent EU citizens, strengthens democracy - http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesActi...=IP/12/951

(*) British National Party (UK), Freedom Party (FIN), Jobbik (H), National Democrats (S), National Front (B), National Renovator Party (P), Republican Social Movement (E), Tricolour Flame (I), All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda" (UA)

(**) Citizens in Rage (D), Freedom Party of Austria (A), National Front (F), Order and Justice (LT) Sweden Democrats (S), UK Independent Party (UK), Vlaams Belang (B), Krisztina Morvai (nonpartisan; associated with the Hungarian Jobbik party), Sharon Ellul-Bonici (nonpartisan; Malta)

(***) official foundation of the "European Alliance for Freedom"

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