European political parties will see a sharp increase in their budgets in 2019, as the total budgets by the European Parliament have gone seen a boost of nearly 50%. Specifically, European political parties will see a total budget of €50m while the total for political foundations has surged to €19.7.
The biggest winner from this increase will be the European People’s Party, who will see more than €21.8m for the war chest of the Party and political foundation (the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies).
Meanwhile, the Party of European Socialists will get the second biggest portion of the pie. The party and its Foundation for European Progressive Studies will net a total of €18.3m.
The paradox to this of course is that with increased money to the political parties – which will be largely to run events for the Spitzenkandidaten process and publicize each party’s candidate, will be given based to the percentage currently held in the European Parliament. This means that the Socialists, who are expected to see the largest decrease in the amount of seats they will hold after the 2019 elections, are in fact going to get to spend an amount on the elections that is disproportionate to the electorate.
Meanwhile Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), a party which is expected to make significant gains in the next election – will receive significantly less – a total of €6.2m for the party and their European Liberal Forum foundation.
The move to increase budgets in this way can be interpreted as a clear effort to consolidate as much fire power for the parties that make up the political status quo of the last 20 years in Europe.
Sources within the European Parliament have come forward to discuss about irregularities in the process of examination and approval of project financing for the political parties and their foundations – theoretically administrative processes which have come to serve political masters and not the will of the European citizen. More on that next week