European political parties vote to increase own subsidies

23 March 2006

European political parties vote to increase own subsidies

The social democratic PvdA, the CDA (Christian Democrats), VVD (right wing liberals), D66 (centrist liberals) and the Green Left voted today in the European Parliament in favour of an increase in subsidies to their own parties as well as the relaxation of the rules governing how the money is distributed. SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer, commenting on the vote, said: “The culture of graft in Europe has now been quite shamelessly established."

The European Parliament voted today by a large majority in favour of the Leinen Report on European Political Parties. The Report provides for the continuation of a statute governing European Political Parties as well as for a substantial relaxation of the subsidies paid by the EU to such organisations, who will now enjoy much more flexibility in relation to how the money is spent. Currently any money not spent from an annual award is written off; under the new rules, parties will be able to carry it over.

The report also calls for a feasibility study into the possibility of having Europe-wide party lists for European Parliamentary elections. Finally, the European Parliament majority approved a call to increase the budget from last year's level of €8.4 m.

The SP voted against the report. Explaining the decision, Erik Meijer said that “if national political parties want to unite into European parties that's up to them, but I don't see why they shouldn't have to fund this themselves. And the fact that they are now asking for an increase in subsidies and a relaxation of the rules just demonstrates that these politicians are putting their own interests before those of the voters.” The SP voted against the introduction of subsidies for European political parties and will continue to oppose them. The party participates in the Confederal Group of the United Left (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament and enjoys good and productive relations with a number of like-minded parties in other countries, but is not affiliated to a European Political Party.

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