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Allister rejects publicly funded European Parties

23 March 2006

In a hard-hitting speech in the European Parliament, DUP MEP Jim Allister hit out at a proposal that there should be formal Europe-wide political parties funded by the European taxpayer.  This proposal which has come from the Euro-enthusiast majority is seen by them as a means of forwarding European integration and demoting national politics. 

In the course of his remarks, Mr Allister said:-

"The resolution speaks of the gulf between the public and European institutions. Those who think more Europe, with Europe-wide political parties, is the answer, are, I believe, missing the point.  It is the institutions, not the people, who are at fault - their expressions of disdain are clear enough - not least in turn out in the European elections.  Most MEPs here have embarrassing small mandates.  I don't see citizens on the street demanding the right to vote for European Political Parties, but I do see them demonstrably rejecting an increasingly centralised Europe, as in France and Holland.

European political parties that it is hoped might eclipse national parties may fit the template of European integration, but the rock on which many will perish is democratic rejection, when they have to face the harsh reality of seeking a popular mandate.  It is one thing to play at superstatehood in this rarefied House, it is another to face the real issues at the polls.

The narrow political vision of this venture is evident from recitals A and B.  It is seen as a "next step" towards European integration and "building a European political area".  Clearly, these parties are seen as part of the machinery of a Federal Europe.  Federalist parties for Federalist politicians might make some intellectual sense but, Mr President, I'd welcome a fight with them any day in my constituency.

I believe Euro Parties will not supplant national and regional parties, nor should they.  Nor, would it be right to try and buy success by throwing endless supplies of taxpayers' money at European Parties.  Don't kid yourselves - our citizens don't want us that much, that they should pay for the privilege.

I thought maybe Mr Corbett (British Labour), when he spoke, drawing on the expertise of his own Party, was going to suggest we could fund this endeavour by creating an Upper House and then selling the membership to the highest bidder!"

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