The Council today adopted rules aimed at preventing European political parties from misusing personal data in EP elections.
The new rules take the form of amendments to the 2014 regulation governing the statute and funding of European political parties and foundations. They will allow for financial sanctions to be imposed on European political parties and foundations that deliberately influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of EP elections by taking advantage of breaches of data protection rules.
A verification procedure will be put in place for determining whether a breach of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, established by a national supervisory authority, is linked to the political activities of a European political party or foundation in the context of EP elections. It involves referring the matter to the committee of independent eminent persons established under the 2014 regulation.
The sanctions are imposed by the Authority for European Political Parties and Foundations after receiving an opinion from that committee. They would amount to 5% of the annual budget of the European party or foundation concerned. In addition, the European party or foundation subject to a sanction would not be able to receive funding from the EU budget the following year.
The new rules will enter into force on the day of their publication.
European political parties are political alliances registered under EU law. They can have national and regional parties, as well as individuals, as members and they must meet a number of requirements and conditions, including representation in at least a quarter of the member states. The EU funding is intended to help them finance their activities at European level and their campaigns in the EP elections.
In 2018, 10 European political parties and 10 European political foundations received funding from the EU budget.