Brussels, 27 June 2007
Strengthening European Democracy, political debate and voter participation in elections to the European Parliament
The Commission today adopted a proposal to allow the establishment of European political foundations. The proposal will create new opportunities for strengthening informed debate on current and future European issues.
The proposal should be seen in the context of the conclusions drawn from the debate that took place during the period of reflection. "Plan D" thus illustrated that there is clear demand and opportunity for measures to strengthen and expand political dialogue. Furthermore, the proposal is presented at this point in time so that it may be up and running before the elections to the European Parliament in June 2009 during which it will be a major objective to increase voter turn-out.
Following adoption of the proposal, Vice-President of the Commission responsible for Institutional affairs and communication strategy, Margot Wallström said "I firmly believe that communication, dialogue and active involvement of the citizens is crucial for the Union's ability to achieve its objectives and deliver the right policies. European Political parties and foundations have a key role to play in bridging the gap between politics at national and European level. Within the coming months and years Europe will face important political challenges and events including the IGC and the elections to the European Parliament in 2009. Against this backdrop, it is all the more important to involve the citizens in a permanent, genuine and informed political dialogue We need to make it clear to the citizens that their political choice matters and that their active involvement on European issues has a direct bearing on their everyday lives.
The proposal amends the existing regulation on political parties at European level and their funding, which was adopted in 2003. It is based on Article 191 of the EC Treaty, which recognises that political parties at European level are important as factor of integration and contribute to forming European awareness and to expressing the will of the citizens of the Union.
Note for the editors
The existing Regulation (EC) 2004/2003 on the regulations governing political parties at European level and the rules regarding their funding was adopted in 2003.
A total of ten political parties at European level receive funding via the Regulation, which is administered by the European Parliament. The budget for the purposes of the political parties at European level was fixed at EUR 10.4 million in 2007