The Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE) and their legal team are going on the offensive, after the European Parliament’s administration has delayed the sign off and closure of their annual accounts for 2017. This could potentially affect the third largest party’s grant, which is due to be awarded during the last EP Bureau of 2018, on December 10th.

In an email seen by New Europe, which ACRE plans to send to the European Parliament’s Political Bureau members, the European party says it is being singled out and discriminated against, in what seems to be a highly politicized attack. With ACRE running a Spitzenkandidat in May’s election, and despite losing the UK delegation, is still projected to form an equally large group in the next parliament. This has made the leading political parties of Europe nervous.

At the top of the administrative pyramid that oversees the money European political parties are dependent on to keep functioning, is the European Parliament’s Secretary-General, former EPP operative, Klaus Welle. The implementation of the checks and balances is under the management of the Director–General for Finance, Didier Klethi. Kassandra has been covering this issue since early September and has found that the administrative process is susceptible to being affected by political expediencies.

ACRE says conservatives have been singled out in a discriminatory manner on a series of events on EU trade that they conducted in 2017, on grounds that they didn’t have enough of a “European dimension”. 

In total contradiction to the European Parliament’s professional and independent auditor, Ernst and Young, that has verified ACRE’s legal compliance with rules and regulations, Klethi is pushing for these projects to be deemed ineligible for European funding. Whilst every other party and foundation did similar events in Lebanon, Niger, Chile, Washington DC and Las Vegas, Ethiopia, Canada, and Morocco, among other places, it was only ACRE’s that were recommended to be classified as non-eligible by the European Parliament’s DG Finance, based on the absence of such “European dimension”.

In an exchange with Klethi over a project that was singled out by DG Finance, a Source told Kassandra that Klethi retorted, “do it in Europe,” completely ignoring the whole list of other events that he had already approved.

Correspondence we have seen shows a selective enforcement, and varying interpretations of the same rules and procedures from Klethi and his team. The correspondence is riddled with inconsistencies in order to justify rather arbitrary application of the regulation and procedures.

What’s even more bizarre, is that after three months of reviewing from DG Finance, ACRE claims Klethi’s report to the Parliament’s Secretary General contains falsehoods that were forwarded to Welle, even though Klethi had admitted in an email communication that were indeed factually untrue.

The case is currently being reviewed by the Parliament’s Secretary General who in the end will be solely responsible to decide whether to accept these findings or recommend the signing off of ACRE’s accounts in an “unqualified” manner, as he has done with the other parties and foundations.

The story doesn’t end here. ACRE claims to have in its position dossiers on other political parties and foundations that shows that while DG Finance has spent all of their resources persecuting their party, they have been turning a blind eye on questionable expenditures – including, for example, the spending of a political party of over €2 million on building websites.

Kassandra wonders – how is the good Secretary General, Klaus Welle, is dealing with his own conflicts of interest? More on this coming soon.