Saturday, June 11, 2005

What is a political party for?

The reason I ask this is that it has been brought to me attention that the Official Journal of the European Communities has finally got around to publishing its rules governing the
Budget line 4020 ‘Contributions to European political parties’.
political parties at European level are important factor for integration within the Union. They contribute to forming a European awareness and expressing the political will of the citizens of the Union.”

Surely they have got the whole thing upside down. The function of political parties is , as I have always understood it to do the latter of these suggestions “express the political will” of the citizen/subject. But of course here in Brussels that is thrown on its head.
Gloriously this might explain why the Parliament is in a position that 80% vote in favour, for of course political parties in Brussels prime purposes are firstly to act as important factors “for integration”, and almost as important they “contribute to forming a European awareness”. This might be a small start in understanding why they have got things so horribly wrong.

What this is all about of course is that the EU has decided to fund parties that sign up to its belief system. So if you do and you and your friends get their application in (to be sent to President of the European Parliament, via Mr Vanhaeren, Director-General of Finance, KAD 3B001 L 2929 Luxembourg) you might just be eligible to 15% of €8 594 000. (the rest of the money is to parties that already subscribe to the system and already have MEPs. Of course this will be done “in proportion to the number of elected members”.

Not with standing the cheek of demanding that the European taxpayer has not only to pay for the MEP’s wages, it now has to shell out for his political program as well. Surely if people want o be represented by the fellow they will vote for him(her) and if necessary fund him (her)? If you cannot get the support, then go away, the electorate isn’t interested –why should the (smaller number of) taxpayers fund them?

So what do you have to do to get your mits in the cash?
A party “must be represented, in at least one quarter of Member States, by Members of the European Parliament or in the national Parliaments or regional Parliaments or in the regional assemblies, or it must have received, in at least one quarter of the Member States, at least three per cent of the votes cast in each of those Member States at the most recent European Parliament elections;”
So lets look at that. Any party that does not have representation in 6 countries, or at least received 3% of the vote in the latest European Elections is not eligible for cash.
The thing is of course that Eurosceptic parties by their nature are nationally based, thus disqualified.

The only party that could possibly comply with these funding rules is a party that is committed to the transnational rules governing the EU.
Piss off peasants – sod the no vote. We continue

European Constitution Article III-331 (pdf p 171)

“European laws shall lay down the regulations governing the political parties
at European level referred to in Article I-46(4), and in particular the rules
regarding their funding.”
Article I-46(4).
Political parties at European level contribute to forming European political awareness and to expressing the will of citizens of the Union.“

I would just like to point out something to the Official Journal. The Constitution has not been ratified and it is unlikely to be ratified by the closing date (15 November 2005) for the application of funds for something that’s legal base is the Constitution.

According to the Treaty of Nice
Article 191 (ex Article 138a)
Political parties at European level are important as a factor for integration within the Union. They contribute to forming a European awareness and to expressing the political will of the citizens of the Union.

Well that's not enough to start paying them our money is it? Interestingly this whole issue was debated by the HoC in Feb 2001. As far as they could work out the claimed legal base was via QMV (251).
This not withstanding European Scrutiny Committee rejoindered
"As for this latter question, we have serious doubts as to whether Article 308 EC[14] provides the appropriate legal base. This proposal does not appear to us to conform to the requirements of that Article, in that it does not concern any of the objectives of the Community referred to in Article 2 EC, or any of its activities as set out in Article 3 EC. Neither does it appear to us to have any real connection with the operation of the common market.

7.14 We ask the Government to inform us whether, and in what terms, it intends to challenge the legal base.

7.15 Meanwhile, we do not clear the document.
- My emphasis.

Hat tip my favourite Faux Irishman.


Gothamimage said...

Yesterday, in the Post- it was reported that Turkey was losing patience with the EU. Is that true?

Elaib said...

Yes, as far as it goes, slowly they are begining to realise they are being dragged along for the ride - and to "civilise" them. This is what Mark Leonard (Centre for European Reform - Foreign Policy Director) has to say,
"The Turks are suspicious of the EU's intentions because they casn see that European leaders say one thing to Turkish audiences and another to their own domestic constituencies.
But there is a greater danger than raising expectations: catergorically ruling out membership".
He wrote that beforethe eferenda, and he seems to be sayoing that it is morally better tostring them along, even if their is no substanticve intention to let them in. Now we have the French and Dutch 'Nos' and Merkel any intelligent/proud Turk can see the way the cookie is crumbling.

Carl said...


Great catch; great post. I've had a bit of fun with it here.