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EFOR urges the government, the PEA and political leaders to reduce party subsidies

While the Ministry of Finance drafts the budget for 2022, EFOR called on the Government, the Permanent Electoral Authority and the leaders of the ruling political parties to reduce subsidies for the coming years and amend the legislation to increase the transparency and efficiency of the allocation and spending of these funds.


To
Mr. Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă, Prime Minister
Mr. Adrian Câciu, Minister of Finance
Mr. Constantin-Florin Mitulețu-Buică, President of the Permanent Electoral Authority

Mr. Marcel Ciolacu, President of PSD
Mr. Florin-Vasile Cîțu, President of PNL
Mr. Kelemen Hunor, President of UDMR

 

Reduce subsidies for political parties

 

The Ministry of Finance is in the process of drafting the budget proposal for 2022. In this context, we request that the amounts allocated to subsidies for political parties allocated under Law 334/2006 to be reduced.

Subsidies have become the main source of funding for political parties and election campaigns in recent years. Since 2018, the annual value of subsidies has steadily increased, and this year has exceeded 50 million EUR. Expert Forum (EFOR),  along with other organizations , protested against the allocation of unjustified funds through the budget rectification in September, but the Government went ahead with the supplementation of almost 90 million lei (2o mln EUR) of the initial value of 162 million lei. The level is significant, especially since 2021 was not an election year, and the needs of political parties are much lower, as shown by statistics published by EFOR and available at  www.banipartide.ro/rapoarte. Political parties that received money from public funds spent about half of that amount.

According to the current regulations, the remaining funds are not returned at the end of the year, which leads to the accumulation of significant balances. We remind you that there is a recommendation of the Court of Accounts of 2018 which specifies that the legislation on party financing must be brought into line with that on public finances to regulate the situation of unspent funds: we also draw attention to the need to amend  the existing legislation in this sense. The funds held by the parties will most likely be used in the 2024 campaign, which will affect equal opportunities between electoral contestants. The accumulation of significant funds by a small number of parties and their spending on the campaign can distort electoral competition.

We believe that political parties should receive subsidies. The allocation of public funds is a mechanism by which the risk of illegal financing is reduced, and the parties are supported to carry out organizational development activities. But if we look at the numbers for 2021, we can see that half of the money was spent on advertising and promotion –  www.banipartide.ro/subventii. In addition to the fact that a low percentage of funds have been spent on the development of central or local party organizations, the money invested in promotion creates the risk of buying too much advertising and distorting the media market. Moreover, the procedure is non-transparent as publicly funded materials are not marked in any way.

In addition to the above, we add the lack of transparency of most political parties regarding the spending of these funds, as well as the problems related to their illegal or unjustified use. We therefore call for the grants budget for 2022 and the following years to be reduced and better justified, so as to serve the development of political parties and not actions such as those described above, which do not produce real benefits in public. We also believe that political parties need to initiate amendments to the current legislative framework in order to address existing recommendations (see the platform with electoral recommendations on electoral legislation) and to increase the degree of transparency and efficiency in the allocation and spending of these funds.

With consideration,

Expert Forum Association

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