Political finance

General

How are political parties and politicians funded in your jurisdiction?

European political parties

European political parties (EPPs) operate transnationally and are generally made up of national political parties from several EU member states.

EPPs are entitled to annual funding from the EU general budget if at least one of their members is a member of the European Parliament (MEP) and if they fulfil the others conditions laid down in article 18 of Regulation No 1141/2014. 85 per cent of the part of the EU general budget that is allocated for this purpose is distributed among the EPPs in proportion to their share of MEPs. The other 15 per cent is distributed in equal shares among the EPPs. The funding from this budget may not exceed 90 per cent of the (annual) reimbursable expenditure of a party and may not be used to fund national parties or candidates.

           

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)

MEPs receive a monthly salary and, when they turn 63, a pension from the European Parliament’s budget. They are also entitled to several allowances, including allowances for travel expenses, general expenditure and accommodation. In addition, the Parliament has a separate budget for the costs of the MEPs’ personal assistants and other service providers (such as experts).

Registration of interests

Must parties and politicians register or otherwise declare their interests? What interests, other than travel, hospitality and gifts, must be declared?

Yes, pursuant to article 4 of their Code of Conduct, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) must declare their financial interests and conflicts of interest to the president of the European Parliament. This declaration must be done after their election to Parliament and any subsequent changes must be notified to the president within 30 days.

MEPs may in principle not accept any gifts or similar benefits over €150. Benefits under €150 may be accepted subject to the conditions laid down in the Code of Conduct. As an exception, MEPs may accept reimbursement of their travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses, or the direct payment of such expenses by third parties, when they attend, pursuant to an invitation and in the performance of their duties, at an events organised by third parties.

MEPs must declare:

  • any occupation during the three-years’ period before the MEP took up office, and any memberships or board positions during that period;
  • any salary that the MEP receives for the exercise of a mandate in another parliament;
  • any regular remunerated activity that the MEP undertakes alongside the exercise of his or her office;
  • membership of any boards or committees of any companies, non-government organisations, associations or other bodies established in law, or any other relevant outside activity that the member undertakes;
  • any occasional remunerated outside activity (including writing, lecturing or the provision of expert advice), if the total remuneration for all such activities exceeds €5,000 in a calendar year;
  • any holding in any company or partnership, where there are potential public policy implications or where that holding gives the member significant influence over the affairs of the body in question;
  • any support, whether financial or in terms of staff or material, additional to that provided by Parliament and granted to the MEP in connection with his or her other political activities; and
  • any other financial interests that might influence the performance of the MEP’s duties.
Contributions to political parties and officials

Are political contributions or other disbursements to parties and political officials limited or regulated? How?

Yes. Pursuant to article 20 of Regulation No 1141/2014, donations to European political parties (EPPs) may not exceed €18,000 per year and per donor (legal or natural person) and must be reported to the authority that monitors the EPPs.

EPPs may accept contributions from party members that are civilians, unless they are an elected member of the European, national, or regional parliament (or assembly). These contributions may not exceed €18,000 per year and per member and must be limited to 40 per cent of the party’s annual budget.

Furthermore, EPPs may not accept any of the following:

  • anonymous donations or contributions;
  • donations from the budgets of political groups in the European Parliament;
  • donations from any public authority from a member state or a third country; or
  • donations from any private entities based in a third country or from individuals from a third country who are not entitled to vote in elections to the European Parliament.
Sources of funding for political campaigns

Describe how political campaigns for legislative positions and executive offices are financed.

European political parties may use the funds they receive from the EU general budget or from any other source to finance their elections campaigns for the European Parliament. The funding (and possible limitation) of election expenses made by political parties and candidates in their elections to the European Parliament is governed by the laws of the EU member states.

Lobbyist participation in fundraising and electioneering

Describe whether registration as a lobbyist triggers any special restrictions or disclosure requirements with respect to candidate fundraising.

Not applicable. See www.lexology.com/gtdt.

Independent expenditure and coordination

How is parallel political campaigning independent of a candidate or party regulated?

EU law does not regulate political campaigning independent of a candidate or party.

Law stated date

Correct on

Give the date on which the information above is accurate.

7 May 2021