Rules on political funding must be decided rigorously – Alfred Sant
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“Whatever changes or confirmation to rules of current practices on how political funds from the centre percolate to the national systems across the EU state members must be decided rigorously, transparently and democratically,” former Prime Minister Alfred Sant said.
During an explanation of vote in favour of a resolution on the funding of European political parties and foundations at the European Parliament, Dr Sant said that still, an essential component remains national campaigns, through established national parties and foundations.
The debate on the framework for political parties’ financing has reopened following recent and numerous scandals and suspicions of misuse of funds, the Commission said.
The European Commission is being encouraged to take a closer look at all the shortcomings and to propose a revision of the regulations as soon as possible.
“My vote on this resolution is qualified by the belief that the financing of pan-European parties through central EU funds needs greater discussion and salience. It should not be carried out on its own but must be linked to a wider consideration of other forms of political financing under EU aegis, including remuneration and operating allowances available to MEPs,” said Dr Sant.
“The aim would be to achieve the greatest transparency and accountability right through. Otherwise, scandals and suspicions of misuse of funds will continue to prevail as happened recently with various MEPs and national parties in different member states, including the Nationalist Party in Malta,” remarked the Maltese MEP.
The Office of Dr Sant has said that according to a report by journalists of ‘Investigative Reporting Denmark’ noted that “the offices of 249 MEPs are nowhere to be found.”
“They believe that some of this money may be being misused. A series of investigations carried out in all 28 member states revealed at least 42 cases in which MEPs are paying rent to their national political parties or even into their own personal accounts,” Dr Sant’s Office said.
It added that “in 249 cases, the MEPs declared that they did not have an office, refused to give the address, or the office could not be found, according to the investigation. The report noted that in Germany, MEPs of various political parties personally owned the buildings in which their national offices were located. These allegedly include Manfred Weber, the chair of the EPP group.”