After calling a snap election for May, the Greek Parliament on Monday approved a 30 million euros budget to finance the campaigns of its political parties. The move has caused outrage inside and outside the country. Greece recently underwent severe cuts in public spending after it received a second bailout fund of 130 billion euros.
Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt questioned if the so-called Troika had approved the move. The Troika consists of EU officials who monitor how Athens spends its public money under bail-out conditions. In an open letter to Jose Manuel Barroso, Verhofstadt said that “in times when most Greeks are facing severe cutbacks, the same should be applied to politicians”.
But the European Commission on Thursday said that it is not in their hands to control how member states spend their public money on national electoral campaigns.
It remains unclear wether the EU has the power to stop the payment. Greece will hold a snap election on the 6th of May to replace the technocrat government of Lukas Papademos. It will be the first time the Greeks go to the polls since 2009 when the country was hardly-hit by a deep recession.