European political parties
The Regulation on the regulations governing political parties at European level and the rules regarding their funding entered into force in 2004. It lays down conditions for recognition of a European political party, generating entitlement to Community funding:
- it must have legal personality in the Member State in which its seat is located;
- it must be represented, in at least one quarter of Member States, by Members of the European, national or regional Parliaments or assemblies, or have received, in at least one quarter of the Member States, at least three per cent of the votes cast in each of those Member States at the most recent European Parliament elections;
- it must observe the principles of the European Union;
- it must have participated in elections to the European Parliament, or have expressed the intention to do so.
The conditions to be met for entitlement to Community funding (8.4 million annually) are also set: it must declare its sources of funding, and certain sources are prohibited. Community funds must be used solely to cover expenditure related to its political programme and can in no circumstances be used to finance national political parties.
The European People's Party (EPP), the Party of European Socialists (PSE), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the European Green Party (EGP) and European United Left (GUE) are just some of the parties set up in European form.