Sunday, 1 March 2009

European Parliament: Facilities and funding for political groups

The political groups of the European Parliament are provided with a secretariat and facilities and they receive money from the EP’s budget. Members outside the political groups (non-attached MEPs) are provided with a secretaritat and appropriations, according to the Rules of Procedure (16th edition, October 2008):

Rule 30 Activities and legal situation of the political groups

1. The political groups shall carry out their duties as part of the activities of the Union, including the tasks allocated to them by the Rules of Procedure. The political groups shall be provided with a secretariat on the basis of the establishment plan of the Secretariat, administrative facilities and the appropriations entered for that purpose in Parliament's budget.

2. The Bureau shall lay down the rules relating to the provision, implementation and monitoring of those facilities and appropriations, as well as to the related delegations of budget implementation powers.

3. Those rules shall determine the administrative and financial consequences in the event of the dissolution of a political group.


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Non-attached members

Non-attached members receive funding for a secretariat:


Rule 31 Non-attached Members

1. Members who do not belong to a political group shall be provided with a secretariat. The detailed arrangements shall be laid down by the Bureau on a proposal from the Secretary-General.

2. The Bureau shall also determine the status and parliamentary rights of such Members.

3. The Bureau shall also lay down the rules relating to the provision, implementation and auditing of appropriations entered in Parliament's budget to cover secretarial expenses and administrative facilities of non-attached Members.


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Expenditure

The direct funding to the political groups and non-attached MEPs for their secretariats is 52,690,000 euros in the EP’s 2009 budget. This is about 70,160 euros per MEP (using 751 MEPs as an average).

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Allocation of funds

Bureau’s rules and decisions

The rules are laid down and the implementing decisions taken by the Bureau, but the European Parliament does not provide accessible and systematic information about the decisions by the all-important Bureau (or other political bodies).

Since the information exists and is communicated in-house, this lack of information to the public is easy to remedy, if the will is there. Is it?


Ralf Grahn