|Author (Person)||Shelley, John|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.18, 3.5.01, p8|
Safeguards against financial abuse are likely to be left out of plans for the funding of European political parties after they were blocked by an "unholy alliance" of MEPs.
Socialists members say tougher financial controls may have been thwarted after they were voted down at a meeting of the European Parliament's budgetary control committee.
The development came after amendments to the Commission's original proposal, suggested by German socialist MEP Helmut Kuhne, were individually approved.
But when the whole package of changes came up for approval at the end of last week's session, groups opposed to funding for EU parties linked up with centre-right German MEPs.
In a knife-edge vote, the same number of MEPs voted for and against the plans. Under parliamentary rules the whole Kuhne report is now dropped and the budgetary control committee will not now have a formal say in the final proposals.
"An unholy alliance of anti-Europeans and anti-strict controls people voted the report down," said Socialist MEP Michiel van Hulten.
The proposals on the funding of European political parties were put forward earlier this year following a damning report from the Court of Auditors which condemned the way such parties are currently funded by the back door.
Socialists described the European Commission proposals as too vague. Kuhne had called for the introduction of fines for parties which abuse the system and safeguards to prevent money for European groups being siphoned into national campaigns.
He now fears the rules will not be secure enough to ensure taxpayers' money is properly spent.
Kuhne accused centre-right Euro MPs of hypocrisy for calling on the Commission to clean up its act during the annual signing off of the Union budget, but refusing to accept tighter controls themselves.
"Every year during the discharge procedure they try to present themselves as being whiter than white," he said. "When it comes to their own affairs however that is where the call for transparency stops."
Kuhne also attacked UK conservatives and Finnish communists for voting against his proposals simply because they are against the whole idea of EU funding for political parties.
"You may like it or you may not like it but you've got to have protection if and when it comes," he said.
Some of Kuhne's proposals may be reintroduced into the rules when the Parliament's constitutional affairs committee approves its report on the subject, scheduled for today (Thursday, 3 May).
Safeguards against financial abuse are likely to be left out of plans for the funding of European political parties after they were blocked by an 'unholy alliance' of MEPs.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|