The issue over party funding and regulation has come into wider public attention in recent months due to the controversy surrounding French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and British party UKIP’s alleged misuse of European Parliamentary allowance for electioneering in their home countries.

In the plenary debate on Wednesday evening on the review of the regulation on the Statute and the Funding of European political parties and foundations, GUE/NGL’s Helmut Scholz outlined some of the most pressing concerns he had with this review.

In particular, he wanted to know where the European political parties with their newly granted rights are positioning themselves, and what constructive contribution they should have for the future of the EU in the face of rising disharmony within the bloc.

German MEP – a member on the European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) – questioned the idea of allowing more political freedom for the parties and how, at the same time, such rules can ultimately benefit and contribute to the EU’s future. He stressed:

“This is a political question and eludes the regulatory responsibility of the Commission.”

“So where are their initiatives for the expansion of the right of legislative initiative and the right of inquiry to the European Parliament? Where are their contributions for the improvement and development of turning the ‘European Citizen's Initiative’ into a real instrument of participation? Or their general role and initiatives for strengthening democratic participation and social inclusion?”

“Where are their initiatives against the increase in racism in our societies, or against the overemphasis on the disunity within the EU?” he asked.

The MEP criticised in the debate that the regulation review comes when in reality it had barely been implemented in the daily work of the EPP. He said:

“This debate is unusual in that this only came about when three of the political groups in the European Parliament – the EPP, S&D and ALDE – requested to have this review of a regulation that is intended to oversee their work even though it has yet to come into force.”

“On the one hand, this is due to the ignorance of the former rapporteur to successfully negotiate this specific dossier with the Council,” he continued.

“On the other, it is necessary to debate this as we look at the politics across the EU’s 28 member states today and we see a significant change in the framework for the activities of the European political parties with new objectives arising all the time. I therefore call on the European Parliament to draw up a sound position on this issue as a matter of urgency,” Scholz concluded.

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