Agreement on statute and funding of European political parties
After 18 months of intense negotiations, the Council and the European Parliament finally reached a broad agreement on a Commission proposal to increase the visibility, recognition, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of European political parties on 26 February. The move paves the way for a more pan-European campaign in the next European elections in 2019.
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, who put forward the proposal in 2102 in the hope that it would be adopted in time for this year's European election campaign, called the agreement "an important step towards consolidating European democracy."
The proposal provides European-level legal status for European political parties and their affiliated foundations, tackling the most important obstacle they face when operating in and across Member States. In return, to be recognised as a European political party or a European political foundation, such organisations will have to meet high standards on internal governance, accountability, transparency, and respect for the values on which the Union is founded.
Funding for European political parties, which was one of the main sticking points in the negotiations, will be subject to a comprehensive set of rules, including strict reporting and control requirements. A regime of administrative sanctions will be introduced in case of infringements.
There will be no impact on the overall amounts made available under the EU budget, but the rules governing such funding will be streamlined and adapted to their specific situation and needs. European political parties would have to publish the names of donors contributing more than €3,000 a year, while the annual limit on individual donations would rise from €12,000 to €18,000.
A few points remain subject to final endorsement by the committee of the permanent representatives of the Member States to the EU (Coreper) on 5 March, then the agreement must be formally adopted by the co-legislators.