The Commission published a draft regulation outlining the guidelines and statute for European parties on 19 February. Party representatives call for a more realistic assessment of their situation.
The contentious issues discussed in Council meetings during the Swedish and Belgian Presidencies of the Union, centered on three aspects, on which no unanimous position could be found:
- How to verify that a European Party is founded on respect for democratic principles and a proposed verification system
- The height of threshold for financing in terms of the number of Member States in which a European party must be established
- The prohibition/limitation of certain types of donation.
The new regulation, Commission officials said ahead of the adoption, reformulates a number of these disputed issues, but the spirit of the original proposal remains unaltered:
- It outlines that European political parties should abide by the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, whereas the old plan only bound parties to the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. Questions of verification of a party’s adherence to these principles are still to be outlined.
- The proposal reiterates its claim whereby only political groups represented in at least three Member States should be recognized as European political parties and be eligible for funding–the EP had previously asked for this number to be increased to four Member States.
- Private donations of larger amounts and/or by single donors to European Parties should be declared The new report slightly increases proposed budget allocation to 8.4 million EURO, up from 7 million in the previous proposal