European political parties were established before the first direct European elections and have since gradually developed their infrastructure and influence. They represent transnational political federations of national political parties from several Member States sharing a political affiliation.
Since 2004, European parties have been entitled to funding from the EU general budget to finance their activities, albeit under strict conditions.
In September 2020, the Commission announced the revision of the Regulation on the statute and funding of the European political parties and European political foundations as one of the key initiatives in 2021.
According to its Communication on the European democracy action plan, Commission will propose a review of the legislation on the funding of European political parties with a view to addressing the financing of European political parties from outside the EU, revising the audit requirements, strengthening the links between European financing and national campaigns, and facilitating transparency and auditing. The goal is to have the new rules in place in sufficient time ahead of the May 2024 European Parliament elections.
In November Parliament proposed several ways to strengthen European democracy in a report assessing the existing rules on the statute and funding of European political parties. MEPs suggest improved donation monitoring, withholding funds when member parties do not comply with EU values, and reducing unnecessary administrative obstacles.