Is the EU funding political parties?

Barroso

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According to the author of this article, the EU has been involved in funding Spain’s poster-boy rightwing party, Ciudadanos.

The first half of the article describes Jean-Claude Juncker's political trajectory, which is by way of introduction to the meat of the article - corrupt funding of a political party, Ciudadanos, apparently set up as a "proxy" rightwing party at a time of political change in Spain.

Ciudadanos was set up around 2005 in Catalonia where the rightwing Spanish party Partido Popular (known as the PP) gets very little support. It was billed as a modern, centrist party, the “Citizens’ Party”. It accepts divorce, homosexuality and abortion, and was pro-Spain from the start. As time went on, it became clear that it was rightwing on the economy.
It eventually spread to the rest of Spain, and picked up a lot of support from modern young people who had outgrown the PP on the one hand because of their traditionalist stance on the issues mentioned above, and from the Socialist Party (PSOE) on the other because the children of many of their supporters have become distanced by education from the working class society that was the power base of the PSOE. Ciudadanos is currently supporting a PP government in Madrid.

The article was copied to me by a Spanish friend. It is written by a guy called Matthew Parish. I don’t know anything about him, but he details how money was passed by the EU to Ciudadanos through a series of opaque intermediaries, all linked in one way or another to rightwing Spanish organisations and individuals. A series of organisations are used, apparently to hide the money trail. They are “CTP”, Comunidad de Trabajo de los Pirineo; “POCTEFA”, Programa INTERREG V-A España-Francia-Andorra; and Daleph.

He describes the situation in these terms:
The way EU funds are siphoned off for political purposes in Catalonia, when they should not be, appears to be as follows. The Spanish Ministry of the Economy finances, as one of its regional implementing agencies for the European Regional Development Fund, an organisation called “CTP”, Comunidad de Trabajo de los Pirineos. This means “Working Community of the Pyrenees”: a mostly meaningless expression. CTP is an obscure nongovernmental organisation that pretends (although it is not) to be an association of regional government agencies in France, Spain and Andorra.
He continues with further details:
CTP then disburses funds to an organisation called “POCTEFA”. This stands for Programa INTERREG V-A España-Francia-Andorra. The legal nature of this organisation is likewise obscure. It pretends to be an EU institution, but it is not. It cannot be an EU institution, because Andorra is not in the European Union. Although POCTEFA’s website has no address, its telephone numbers are the same as those for CTP. POCTEFA apparently serves little ostensible purpose save to add an extra level of opacity for those seeking to trace the destination of money coming from the EU Regional Development Fund.
The next stage of the process seems to be as follows:
In turn, POCTEFA makes substantial grants to a so-called public sector management consultancy called Daleph. This is a strange name for a management consultancy. The word is from ancient Biblical Hebrew, whose meaning approximates to “Revenge by the Sword”. This imagery may be associated with the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. At least one of Daleph’s directors has associations with the Franco family.
And finally there is a lot of money involved:
The EU funds disbursed by POCTEFA to Daleph, transmitted through an obscure bank in respect of which a senior executive of Daleph is also a senior executive of the bank, are in the order of many millions of Euros. They are substantially larger than many of the other grants made by POCTEFA. These funds are said to be for the purposes of arts and culture.
.....
This is corruption. I have studied a number of electoral systems in divided societies. This is a scheme of electoral corruption.
Do read the article. It is quite hair-raising, what is being done with public money in the EU.
 


Dame_Enda

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This must be regulated. It's a blank cheque right now. And what makes it worse is that funding also comes from the EPP, PASDE, ALDE, NGL-GUE and other parties in the European Parliament, who in some cases are themselves compromised because of the lack of disclosure of members interests. The EP has a register of members interests, but it is only voluntary.
 

CookieMonster

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That article is bollox.

The way these funds have been channelled is through the European Regional Development Fund. This is a branch of one of the Directorates-General of the European Commission, falling un-der Mr Juncker’s responsibility, known as “DG-REGIO”.
Marc Lemaître is Director-General or DG REGIO, he's from Luxembourg and formally forked for former commissioners Danuta Hübner, Paweł Samecki, and Janusz Lewandowski. He's only been at DG REGIO since late in 2016. Ciudadanos had existed for ten years at that stage.

This entity was involved in the authorship of a controversial 2013 public administration report. That report was prepared by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and advo-cated structural reorganisation of the Catalan public administration to withdraw Catalan regional autonomy powers to Madrid. This report was first commissioned under Mr Juncker’s predecessor as Commission President, Jacques Santer, before Mr Santer (and his entire Commission) were forced to resign in the face of a corruption scandal. Mr Santer was previously CSV Prime Minister of Luxembourg for eleven years.
Santer was Commission president from 1995-1999. The report in question then would have been commissioned at least 7 years prior to teh formation of Ciudadanos and 15 years prior to Junker becoming Commission president. There have been 4 terms (and three presidents - Prodi served twice) since then.

. Although reliable figures are hard to establish amidst the obscure accounting practices of the European Commission, it is estimated that the Fund accounts for one-third of the EU’s budget.
There's nothing obscure about the EC's accounting practices. They are complex given the size of the organisation, but not obscure by any rational measurements. They use what is called multi-annual financial framework (MFF). For 2014-2020 DG REGIO has a budget of €260 billion euro for the period 2014-2020.

The total MMF budget for 2014-2020 is just over one trillion euros (about 1% of the gross national income from all member states at the time it was agreed).

CTP is an obscure nongovernmental organisation that pretends (although it is not) to be an association of regional government agencies in France, Spain and Andorra. It could not be what it pretends to be, because Andorra is not in the European Un-ion.
I cannot see why regional government agencies in France, Spain and Andorra can't cooperate simply because Andorra isn't in the EU. It's signed a number of cooperation agreements with the EU on a number of areas.
CTP then disburses funds to an organisation called “POCTEFA”. This stands for Programa INTERREG V-A España-Francia-Andorra. The legal nature of this organisation is likewise obscure. It pretends to be an EU institution, but it is not. It cannot be an EU institution, because Andorra is not in the European Union.
As above. Interreg is the EU's European Territorial Cooperation instrument, non-EU countries can participate at their own cost and many do because it makes sense for them to do so. Norway and Switzerland for example. I can't be bothered to do research into what Andorra may be participating in but given it's size, location and links with the EU it doesn't seem implausible that they wouldn't be involved.

Gives very little detail about the funds themselves or the projects to which get to, focusing it seems on a, at least, 15 year old report.

If there is something untoward - and I haven't seen any evidence in that article that it is, much more an abuse of the funds mentioned, rather than some underhanded action on the part of the European Commission. Working, as I do, with ERDF, ESIF, Framework Programme and Interreg funding from the EU it would be incredibly difficult to misspend such funds other than for what they are originally allocated. I strict reporting requirements, on ERDF and Interreg in particular, would simply not allow it.

tl;dr - conspiratorial nonsense backed up by nothing presented in a grave tone but littered with inaccuracies.
 

CookieMonster

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This must be regulated.
It is regulated, heavily. Speak to anyone who has worked on the reporting side of ERDF or Interreg funding.

It's a blank cheque right now.
It's not. Funding must be spent on exactly what it is allocated for. If it's not spent it's returned. If it is not spent properly it's recovered.

And what makes it worse is that funding also comes from the EPP, PASDE, ALDE, NGL-GUE and other parties in the European Parliament, who in some cases are themselves compromised because of the lack of disclosure of members interests. The EP has a register of members interests, but it is only voluntary.
What funding comes from the political groupings?
 

Dame_Enda

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Andorra is well known as a tax haven. I hope the EU are not engaged in money laundering through it.
 

Barroso

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This must be regulated. It's a blank cheque right now. And what makes it worse is that funding also comes from the EPP, PASDE, ALDE, NGL-GUE and other parties in the European Parliament, who in some cases are themselves compromised because of the lack of disclosure of members interests. The EP has a register of members interests, but it is only voluntary.
I love the voluntary register of interests!
But the point is that according to the article, money has been channeled through a series of bodies and ended up being used to fund Ciudadanos.

I find it interesting that the Ciudadanos model is somewhat similar to the PDs here in Ireland. Different in that the PDs were in the main a bunch of disaffected, but ambitious, politicians who weren't getting what they felt were their just desserts in FG and FF, but similar in that they espoused a "modern" society, i.e. one where divorce and contraception were available. I'm not sure where they stood on homosexuality and abortion, but they were rightwing in economic terms, so fit in pretty much with the Ciudadanos model.

I wonder where the PDs' initial funding came from?
 

Dame_Enda

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What the f**k are you on about?
You don't think there's something fishy when a consultancy group once tied to the former Santer Commission are routing money through a tax haven country outside the EU in order to set up a political party in a member state? I do.
 

CookieMonster

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You don't think there's something fishy when a consultancy group once tied to the former Santer Commission are routing money through a tax haven country outside the EU in order to set up a political party in a member state? I do.
I don't think you know what you're talking about. That's not even what this Parish chap is claiming is happening here. You'd be forgiven for being mistaken though, because his writing style is pure pish.
 

Dame_Enda

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It is regulated, heavily. Speak to anyone who has worked on the reporting side of ERDF or Interreg funding.



It's not. Funding must be spent on exactly what it is allocated for. If it's not spent it's returned. If it is not spent properly it's recovered.



What funding comes from the political groupings?
For example during the EU referendums in Ireland, funding was coming from the EU-wide parties for the Yes campaigns - either directly or indirectly.
 
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For example during the EU referendums in Ireland, funding was coming from the EU-wide parties for the Yes campaigns - either directly or indirectly.
Luvverly jubbly. You have proof. Eh?
 

Dame_Enda

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I don't think you know what you're talking about. That's not even what this Parish chap is claiming is happening here. You'd be forgiven for being mistaken though, because his writing style is pure pish.
A couple of posts in someone raised this issue in relation to Catalonia, and the role of Brussels consultants linked to the former Santer Commission in trying to support Spanish unionism in Catalonia, and routing money for that purpose through Andorra.
 

Spanner Island

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This must be regulated. It's a blank cheque right now. And what makes it worse is that funding also comes from the EPP, PASDE, ALDE, NGL-GUE and other parties in the European Parliament, who in some cases are themselves compromised because of the lack of disclosure of members interests. The EP has a register of members interests, but it is only voluntary.
Are you as concerned about the American setup?
 

CookieMonster

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A couple of posts in someone raised this issue in relation to Catalonia, and the role of Brussels consultants linked to the former Santer Commission in trying to support Spanish unionism in Catalonia, and routing money for that purpose through Andorra.
Can you reference the parts of these posts where that is claimed?
 

CookieMonster

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But it was still "EU funding"
That's not what you claimed here:

For example during the EU referendums in Ireland, funding was coming from the EU-wide parties for the Yes campaigns - either directly or indirectly.
It is very difficult to address the issues you're raising if you yourself are unable to remain consistent as to what the issue is.

In the point of the EU commission's leaflets, can you tell us what the outcome was of the claims that this was unlawful?
 

Dame_Enda

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Can you reference the parts of these posts where that is claimed?
Post 1 is what I meant. You admitted you're not sure why Andorra is involved. Post 1 quotes a source on the role of the consultancy in drawing up a paper on centralising powers from Catalonia to Madrid, and how this group was working for the Santer Commission.

First Post of Thread said:
.....The way EU funds are siphoned off for political purposes in Catalonia, when they should not be, appears to be as follows. The Spanish Ministry of the Economy finances, as one of its regional implementing agencies for the European Regional Development Fund, an organisation called “CTP”, Comunidad de Trabajo de los Pirineos. This means “Working Community of the Pyrenees”: a mostly meaningless expression. CTP is an obscure nongovernmental organisation that pretends (although it is not) to be an association of regional government agencies in France, Spain and Andorra...CTP then disburses funds to an organisation called “POCTEFA”. This stands for Programa INTERREG V-A España-Francia-Andorra. The legal nature of this organisation is likewise obscure. It pretends to be an EU institution, but it is not. It cannot be an EU institution, because Andorra is not in the European Union. Although POCTEFA’s website has no address, its telephone numbers are the same as those for CTP. POCTEFA apparently serves little ostensible purpose save to add an extra level of opacity for those seeking to trace the destination of money coming from the EU Regional Development Fund..
Of course, some of my conclusions are based on a hunch rather than evidence. But the evidence is quite clear that the EU was meddling in the Catalan question and that Andorra seems to have been involved.
 


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