Political Financing Regulation at the EU Level: The Conflict of National Traditions and Interests

Authors: Wojciech Gagatek | Published in: working paper series on the legal regulation of political parties, no. 14, November. | Date of publication: 2011


In 2003 the European Union passed its first-ever regulation on the recognition and financing of extra-parliamentary political parties at European level (the so called Europarties). By enacting such a law, the (non-state) EU joined the majority of democratic states which provide political parties with public subsidies. By explaining Member States' preferences and considering the variables to be included in such an analysis, this paper examines the process of institutionalization of Europarties, conceptualized as the conflict of ideas and interests concerning the choice of a specific model of parties' legal status and their financing. This paper develops a framework for analysis based on the institutional and constitutional borrowing in order to hypothesize on which grounds such a conflict could emerge (both between the Member States and between the political groups in the European Parliament). The empirical analysis confirms that in most circumstances such conflict resulted from the clash of national traditions as well as different views amongst the parties on the present and the future path of political integration in the EU.

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