Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New EU political funding rules

After much lobbying from "Hope not Hate" the Vice-President of the European Commission announced that funding would only be provided to political parties that observed the values of the European Union. As this includes respecting the rights of minorities "Hope not Hate" believes this should stop groups such as the BNP from receiving EU funding.

On the face of it this seems perfectly reasonable, however there is a downside. It is a generally agreed observation that the candidate that spends more money than their opponent has a greater chance of winning. By changing the rules such that funding only goes to parties that uphold the values of the EU a minor bias is put into place that such parties are more likely to win.

Now while I agree with the values named such as "human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities" what happens if a value such as 'supporting the Euro' or 'supporting the EU' creep in certainly these are values held by the majority EU members.

If such a change were to occur we will indeed have a case in which the only parties funded by the EU are ones that support the EU.

But doesn't that make sense though; why would the EU fund a group that didn't support it that wanted the country they represented to leave? If the EU were a business that would be fine; it hands over money to those it thinks will improve things for itself. But the EU is not a business it's supposedly a democratic organisation funded by the taxpayers of its member states.

So this becomes the EU deciding that it will use our money to only fund groups that support its values.

Rather than set a bunch of rules as to who or what gets such funding for me this raises the larger question of why the EU is providing any funding at all?