The grant for political parties in our country will decrease by 1.11% next year. This was decided by the House Committee on the Constitution Wednesday afternoon at the suggestion of House Speaker Eliane Tello. At the same time, the amount was indexed at 2 percent, much to the chagrin of the opposition.
The political parties in our country are funded by the endowment paid by the House of Representatives, among other things. Each party with at least one elected representative is entitled to this distribution, which consists of a lump sum supplemented by an amount based on the number of votes the party has received.
In total, this relates to more than 32 million euros. The system is governed by law dating back to 1989 and has been heavily criticized in recent years, in part because Belgian political parties raise relatively large amounts of money compared to parties in neighboring countries.
The FCA already states that party funding must be reconsidered. There has been no extensive discussion on the matter yet, but at the request of the government, Chamber President Ilian Tello has introduced a bill to implement a 1.11 percent savings on grants to political parties next year.
This is the result of budget talks in October, in which the government committed to providing 1.11% for 2022 on endowments for political parties, the House of Representatives, the Senate and a number of other government institutions.
But the addition of the parties is at the same time adjusted to the index, which is 2 percent. “An update is the result of a triple jump in the index,” Tellio said Wednesday afternoon, while explaining the proposal at the parliamentary committee on the constitution.
Plaster on a wooden leg
“This would be a small step in the right direction, but in fact the grant would be increased,” PVDA President and MP Raoul Hedepo objected to Tillieux. Barbara Bass (Vlaams Belang) spoke of a “missed opportunity.” “Certainly in times of budget tightness, parties have an exemplary function.” The PVDA and Vlaams Belang previously submitted a proposal to cut party funding by 50 percent.
N-VA Representative Wim Van der Donckt has proposed eliminating the indexing mechanism in law. He described Teleux’s proposal as “glue on a wooden leg”.
Open Vld Member of Parliament Patrick Dewell confirmed that the debate is far from over. “We agree with the proposal for a 1.11 per cent effort in 2022, but as far as we are concerned, that could also continue in the coming years. So this discussion will take place again next year and I will set a date,” he said.
Tellio also stressed that next year’s parliament can see for itself whether it will continue the process, or whether it will save more or less.
Christophe Calvo (Gruen) again asked to quickly work on a global discussion on party financing “I agree with this technical adjustment, but it is not only about the size of the amounts, but also what the parties are doing”.
The proposal was backed by the majority and N-VA parties in the commission on Wednesday afternoon. Vlaams Belang abstained, and the PVDA voted against. The plenary session did not give the green light after Thursday.
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