Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Contributions to European Political Foundations

We have been waiting for this since TEBAF Margot first announced them, and now we have the answer. The first funding for the new European Political Foundations will be 5 million Euro per annum, starting in 2008, just in time for funding campaigns in the 2009 European elections. This is to be paid for out of your money, via the good offices of the European Parliament.

The President of Parliament, Mr Pöttering has written to to Reimer Böge, Chairman of the Budget Committee to free up the cash at the Committee meeting on the 28th February.

Another budget line who cares, you might say. What the hell is one of those anyway?

The EPFs are the latest in a long line of organisations designed to gainfully employ the European political elite using taxpayer's money to tell them that Europe is wonderful.

You see they are a direct offshoot of European Political Parties, which are according to the regulation that created them in November 2003,
Political parties at European level are important as a factor for integration within the Union and that they contribute to forming a European awareness
This of course is a direct lift from Article 138 of the Maastricht Treaty, which until recently has been Article 191 of the current Treaty, and becomes in the Lisbon Treaty, Article 8, 4,

“Political parties at European level contribute to forming European political awareness and to expressing the will of citizens of the Union”.
This is in my opinion a slight improvement on the old treaty (never thought I would say that) but does not take away from the fact that once created the 8.1 million Euro designated for them has been hamstrung by financial rules barring them from direct political activities,

“Such expenditure shall include administrative expenditure and expenditure linked to technical assistance, meetings, research, cross-border events, studies, information and publications”.
This from the perspective of the Commission just wouldn't do. They want to fund direct political activities, and through the EPFs they have found a way. They have modelled these EPFs on the German system with organisations like the immensely powerful Konrad Adanauer Stiftung (Which organises events like this in the UK) acting as a paradigm. So in the Commission communication calling for their creation, COM(2007) 364 final

“the Commission considers that such foundations do have an important role to play in underpinning and promoting the activities and objectives of the political parties at European level. European political foundations can underpin and complement the activities of the political parties by undertaking a range of activities that contribute to the debate on European public policy issues and European integration”,
But better, far better is this,

“it is proposed to establish clearly that appropriations received from the EU budget may also be used for the financing of campaigns conducted by the political parties at European level in the context of European Parliament elections”,
Listen to the crowing of the federastic elite in December when the regulation was signed off allowing MEPs to get more of your cash.

"European political foundations will play an important role in involving citizens in a permanent, genuine and informed political dialogue", Wallström said.

European People's Party (EPP) President Wilfried Martens described the signing of the regulation as a "turning point for the democratisation" of the EU, putting European political parties "at the centre of the […] political process" in a "new era of European politics".

Meanwhile, the establishment of European political foundations "offers endless opportunities for the development of the political debate" and the funding for European election campaigns "allows for the competition of programmes and ideology at European level," Martens added.

Upon the adoption of the reforms by MEPs on 29 November, German Socialist MEP and rapporteur on the issue Jo Leinen said they would give European political parties "more flexibility in managing their funds and financing their electoral activities".
Of course this is direct taxpayer funding of political activities, the lions share of which, by far will be for integrationist. Thus the cash-strapped Labour Party will be able to use funds accrued by the Party of European Socialists new foundation to pay for its campaign in 2009. The Lib/Dems will have their European Liberal Democratic and Reform Party one. The Tories have until now refused to join a European Political Party, as have UKIP, believing rightly in my view that the conditions imposed upon the parties in return for cash are potentially in conflict with free expression and are there to ensure compliance with European integrationalist ideas.

The simple fact that taxpayers cash is being used for this at all sticks in my craw. If political parties want to pay for campaigns, then they should get their cash through voluntary methods. If they cannot raise their cash directly through private or corporate donations, then why on earth should the benighted and overburdened taxpayer have to fund their ambitions?

This of course is but a drop in the ocean compared to the EU's own propaganda budget of course, but in this case it goes directly to the politicians who are currently refusing to come clean about their secretarial spending.


Anonymous said...

And add this to the equation:

Blood boiling yet?


Anonymous said...

It's years since I did equations but I'll have a stab it at.

more-to-life-than-shoes.blogspot.com/2008/02/article-by-nigel farage.html = Giggly+nonsensical+rambling+lingusitically challenged+irrelevant politician