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No more money for EU Political Parties, say local MEPs

Wednesday, 6th April 2011

Today MEPs in Strasbourg voted through a measure which will give more power and more funding to EU political Parties. Although the measure was approved by more than five-to-one, East Midlands Conservative representatives Roger Helmer and Emma McClarkin voted against. The new rules would allow these EU parties to campaign, and use tax-payer funds, in national referendums. According to Helmer & McClarkin, this is a calculated move to allow more pro-EU activity in any referendum on EU issues.

European Political Parties are a type of political party organisation operating trans-nationally in Europe and in the institutions of the European Union. There are strict guidelines concerning the funding of these parties, which were last revised and amended in 2007. But the new rules allow much greater flexibility. Currently there are ten such parties in the European Parliament.

Mr Helmer and Miss McClarkin, who voted against the proposals to give the European Parties formal legal standing and to raise eligibility criteria, are concerned that this only entrenches established political forces and militates against non-federalist parties.

Commenting from Strasbourg Mr Helmer said:

"The EU is constantly looking for new ways to spend more to promote itself. But hard-pressed tax-payers will be furious to see their own money used to promote a European project about which the public are increasingly sceptical".