[credit provider=”Alina Zienowicz, Wikimedia Commons” url=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2007_07_16_parlament_europejski_bruksela_26.JPG”]
The European Parliament leadership has for the first time agreed to award subsidies to a pan-European coalition of 13 far-right parties, The New Statesman reports.The European Alliance of National Movements (EANM) will receive a subsidy of €289,266 ($382,375), drawn from EU-taxpayer money, from the Parliament’s budget for 2012. The EANM may also qualify for more European money next year.
The UK’s British National Party, France’s Front National, and Hungary’s Jobbik are some of the parties that will benefit from the decision. All three have been accused of basing their policies on anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and anti-immigration.
The EANM was refused funding in 2009 because they did not fulfil the necessary conditions, according to EUObserver. The budget provides for €18.9 million ($25 million) as contributions to European political parties to pay for operational costs.
Parliamentary rules stipulate that to qualify as a group to receive grants, parties must have at least 25 MEPs from at least seven member-states. At present, the EANM has only eight MEPs. But parliament officials have deemed the group has “satisfied the general conditions for being eligible” to receive subsidies, European Voice reports.
The Parliament’s bureau – the president and vice-presidents of the assembly – declared that EANM showed “no indications” it would violate basic EU democratic principles, including human rights, the rule of law and other fundamental freedoms.
The move was widely condemned, with UK Labour MEP member Claude Moraes calling for a boycott of the new group. “It’s a shameful week for democracy in Europe. Let’s hope this also will be a rallying cry for anti-fascists throughout the EU to work harder together to stop the pan-European far right,” he told TheParliament.com.
“There are very strict rules about how this political funding can be spent. These include respect for democracy and human rights. We will keep a very close eye to make sure this new grouping stick to the rules.”