On 25 January 2022, the European Union’s General Affairs Council gathered in Brussels for a meeting at which EU Foreign Ministers discussed the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, the EU’s ‘reinforcing democracy and integrity of elections’ legislative package, the Conference on the Future of Europe, coordination issues related to COVID-19, and the relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom.
In a debate on the ‘democracy and integrity of elections’ package, the Latvian Foreign Minister objected to a proposal from the European Commission to allow political parties to receive contributions from outside the European Union. This is a direct threat to our democracy and will foster efforts to influence political processes, Edgars Rinkēvičs underlined. This is unacceptable from the perspective of the security of Latvia and the European Union, he added.
Latvia already has a solid national legal framework in place concerning the functioning of political parties, their financing and conduct during elections. Law on Financing of Political Organisations (Parties) ensures the transparency, lawfulness, and conformity of the financial activities of the political organisations (parties) to the system of parliamentary democracy. For instance, restrictions have been set on the financing of political parties (a specific amount may be donated by natural persons only) and there is an obligation to submit a declaration on income and expenses also in relation to the European Parliament elections. In addition, Pre-election Campaign Law also enables individuals to express their views and the public to obtain comprehensive information regarding the candidates, lists of candidates, political parties, associations of political parties and associations of voters before the election of the European Parliament.
Photo: European Commission, Anxhela Shaka