Prohibitions of direct and indirect funding
Based on experience in the practical application of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014 (the "Regulation") over the past years, the Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations (the "Authority") endeavours to provide access to a set of non-exhaustive elements of guidance for European political parties and European political foundations. Any guidance provided by the Authority does not affect the directly binding character of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014. Moreover, such guidance will remain subject to adaptation as experience further builds up and/or the legislative framework changes.
- Joint activities between European political parties or European political foundations with partners at national level are not per se prohibited by Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014. In particular, the communication with audience activated by a national partner for purposes of European political party or foundation activities may be an effective means of bringing attention to European politics and policy matters. That said, the prohibitions of funding laid down in Article 22 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014 must be complied with at all times.
- In case of an activity carried out jointly by a European political party with another political party, in particular a national party, an excessive financing share by the European political party of such activity might constitute "indirect funding" as prohibited by Article 22(1) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014.
- In case of an activity carried out jointly by a European political foundation with a political party or another foundation, an excessive financing share by the European political foundation of such activity might constitute "indirect funding" as prohibited by Article 22(2) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014. .
- To assess the existence of a possible indirect funding of a party or foundation at national level under this provision, a number of factors have to be taken into account, such as in particular:
- consistent visibility of the European political party/foundation;
- level of ownership of the activity by the European political party or foundation as compared to the one of the party or foundation at national level. In assessing the latter, the overall context of the activity, the scope, the content, the objectives, the target group(s), the motivation, and the potential value of the activity for the national party's success in national elections are of relevance (see also MENL v Parliament, T-829/16, paragraphs 83ff.);
- the co-financing share borne by the European political party/ foundation, which should show a realistic correlation with the overall involvement of the European political party/ foundation, compared to the involvement of the national party at the specific activity (see also MENL v Parliament, T-829/16, paragraph 89).
- Indirect funding exists in cases where a national political party or a candidate derives a financial advantage, inter alia by avoiding expenditure which it would have had to incur, even where no funds are directly transferred" (MENL v Parliament, T-829/16; ADDE v Parliament, T-48/17).
- In order to assess whether indirect funding exists, the Authority relies on a range of elements, such as elements concerning the content of the financed measure, as well as geographic and time elements (see MENL v Parliament, T-829/16; ADDE v Parliament, T-48/17).
- In order to prove the existence of indirect funding, it is sufficient to rely on a "sufficiently concrete, precise and consistent body of evidence" (ACRE v Parliament, T-107/19).