HC Deb 28 March 1983 vol 40 cc49-50W
Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidelines have been issued by the European Assembly on the specific purposes for which the allocation of 43 million European currency units may be spent by political parties in the preparation of the 1984 elections; and what arrangements have been made to ensure that the money is spent on these purposes.

Mr. Hurd

[pursuant to the reply, 25 January 1983, c. 385]: the Bureau of the European Parliament has now taken decisions relating to the criteria for expenditure and procedures for control of the funds to be made available for the 1984 elections.

The European Parliament has so far provided for the allocation of 20 million European currency units (ecu's) (£12.6 million, at the current rate of exchange of £1=1.59 ecu) in preparation for the 1984 European Parliament elections. This consists of 13 million ecus (£8.2 million) from the 1982 budget, made available by savings from general expenditure, and 7 million ecus (£4.4 million) from the 1983 budget. A further sum will be made available from the 1984 budget, but the amount has not yet been decided. This money will be allocated to the political groups, roughly in accordance with their level of representation in the Parliament. The Parliament's Bureau has laid down that the funds shall be used solely to finance activities directly connected with the preparation and implementation of the information campaign for the 1984 elections.

The Bureau of the Parliament has now drawn up the following criteria for the utilisation of the funds and control of expenditure: —the chairman of the political groups shall be responsible for the allocation of the funds; —the chairman and treasurer of each group shall guarantee the control of the actual utilisation of the funds; —justification of the utilisation of the funds shall ultimately be given to the bodies responsible for auditing the funds of the European Parliament; —the political groups shall establish separate accounts in respect of expenditure on the information campaign, to distinguish this from income and expenditure pertaining to their other activities; —the political groups shall institute an accounts system which enables comparisons to be drawn between them so that all the control bodies may monitor them effectively. These systems must distinguish clearly between:

  1. (a) administrative expenditure;
  2. (b) expenditure on meetings;
  3. (c) expenditure on publications and publicity;
—in each political group, the treasurer and auditors shall verify that the entries in the accounts have been properly made; —each year the groups shall publish a report on the utilisation of the funds during that period, which will be forwarded to the President of the Parliament and the Chairman of the Committee on Budgetary Control; —the Committee on Budgetary Control shall draw up a report for the Bureau of the Parliament; —on the basis of this report, the Bureau shall verify the disbursement of the funds allocated.

In addition to the above internal procedures of the Parliament, the expenditure, like all other expenditure by the Community institutions, will be subject to subsequent auditing by the Court of Auditors.

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