Tory fury at EU plan to fund Labour
A new EU subsidy of political parties to be proposed today would benefit both Labour and the Liberal Democrats, but exclude the Tories. [The decision] is expected to make millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money available for party political campaigning. Prodi told to rethink subsidies for parties…
(The Times, 17 January 2001, page 1)
The European Commission was forced yesterday into a hasty retreat over proposals to subsidise political parties. Romano Prodi, the President of the Commission, was ordered to rethink his plans after they were disclosed by The Times yesterday. The Commission began discussing Signor Prodi’s plans for the financing of political parties yesterday…
(The Times, 18 January 2001, page 2)
In an effort to increase turnout at elections to the European Parliament, all 15 Member State governments agreed in the 1993 Maastricht Treaty to encourage the development of Europe-wide political parties. A proposal to put this into effect was made in the summer of 2000, when the Times first ran this story. Nothing has changed since then. No money will be given directly to national political parties and no funds will be used for election campaigning. National political parties can choose to be members, or not, of European political organisations. Britains Conservative Party has chosen not to. All action in this area needs the assent of all 15 Member States.
A final decision on this was put back because not all Commissioners had had time to study the proposals- not because of the report in the Times. It is also wrong to suggest that the plans have been dreamt up out of the blue by the Commission. The European Parliament has long been keen on bringing more clarity and transparency to the current system.