Reforming European parties – seminal report

European Democracy Consulting publishes its 2020 seminal report on reforming European political parties. The report was written for MEP Domènec Ruiz Devesa and covers six pillars of the regulation of European parties: registration, structure and operations, financing, campaigning, visibility and transparency, and sanctions. It has since infused many work streams of European Democracy Consulting, including our specific recommendations for a smarter public funding regime for European parties, our complaint to the European Ombudsman, the Logos project, and our visualisations of European parties’ donations and contributions. Read the full report here.

List of Recommendations

Registration of new parties
  • Turn European parties into associations of citizens
  • Lower the Member State requirement
  • Request party members instead of votes
Structure and operations
  • Create a European-level status for European parties
  • Ensure the possibility of individual membership with associated rights
  • Request the election of the top leadership and electoral positions by individual members
  • Limit the number of affiliated parties to one per Member State
  • Harmonise party names and logos across Europe
  • Extract European party funding from the European Parliament
  • Allow European political parties to finance affiliated national parties and candidates
  • Increase the funding of European parties
  • Overhaul the public funding regime of European parties
    – Move from split-envelope funding to fixed figures for increased stability
    – Reassess the lump sum amount to create a level playing field
    – Replace MEP-based with vote-based funding to reward electoral performance
    – Introduce individual member-based funding to increase political participation
    – Use a matching fund to strengthen private funding
  • Create special rules for new parties to facilitate the emergence of newcomers
  • Introduce an “electoral kit” for European elections
  • Use conditionality to support specific policy goals and values
Electoral and Referendum Campaigns
  • Give European parties a central role in European elections
  • Allow European parties to fund national politics
  • Enforce a common manifesto for European elections
  • Request the selection of parties’ Spitzenkandidat via primaries
  • Give the Commissioner nomination competence to winning parties
Visibility for citizens and transparency
  • Ensure the visible display of European parties’ logo on affiliated parties’ websites
  • Ensure the visible display of European parties’ logo on member parties’ propaganda
  • Ensure the display of European parties’ logo on ballots for European elections
  • Enhance the APPF’s role, capacity and resources for increased visibility and transparency
    – Give the APPF a clear role in the public visibility of European parties
    – Redesign and expand the AFFP’s website for increased visibility and transparency on European parties
    – Expand and improve data reporting by European parties
    – Increase transparency about the APPF’s own work
    – Organise outreach public events to broaden knowledge of European parties
    – Increase the budget of the APPF
  • Set up a more effective and dissuasive framework of sanctions
  • Strengthen the role of the APPF in controlling European parties

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