Recommandation 86 (2000)1 on the financial transparency of political parties and their democratic functioning at regional level

The Congress,

Bearing in mind the proposal of the Chamber of Regions,

1. Referring to the report submitted by Mr Haegi on “The democratic functioning and financial transparency of political parties at regional level”;

2. Mindful of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS N° 173), signed on 21 January 1999, and the Civil Law Convention on Corruption (ETS N° 174), signed on 4 November 1999, as well as Opinions 207 (of 23 June 1998) and 213 (of 26 May 1999) of the Parliamentary Assembly thereon;

3. Bearing in mind Resolution 79 (99) and Recommendation 60 (99) adopted during the plenary Session of the Congress in 1999, following the report of Mr Viorel Coifan on "The political integrity of local and regional elected representatives";

4. Supporting Recommendation (99) 15 of the Committee of Ministers on measures concerning media coverage of election campaigns;

5. Welcoming the Venice Commission’s current work on constitutional and legislative provisions concerning political party financing, and the related work done some years ago by the Council of Europe Directorate of Legal Affairs;

6. Considering that, on the one hand, political parties, as an expression of democratic pluralism, are entitled to receive support whether from public or private funds, but, on the other hand, such financing must be clearly regulated and transparent to avoid the risk of distorting the democratic process and gradually discrediting politicians in general;

7. Convinced of the need to take measures to this end at regional as well as other levels;

Recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

8. Concern itself with the increasing incidence of “scandals” directly or indirectly related to political party financing, and their damaging impact on the public perception of democracy;

9. Initiate, as part of its work programme, research into the introduction of European-level regulations on transparency in politics and, as part of this process, collect all available information on transparency in party financing and public life;

10. Instruct the CDLR to draw up a draft charter containing the main principles making it possible to guarantee a minimum degree of transparency in the financing of political parties at local and regional levels, with a view to the better functioning of democracy;

Recommends that governments:

11. Ensure that their respective national laws include adequate provision for transparency in political party financing and for appropriate supervisory measures;

12. Submit their legislation on transparency in the financing of politics to critical scrutiny and draw on the positive and innovative experience of certain other countries and regions with a view to improving their own laws in this field;

Recommends that the Parliamentary Assembly:

13. Keep abreast of the CLRAE’s work on political party financing at sub-state level, and co-operate closely with it on this theme;

14. Consider how to raise awareness of the issue at European, national and sub-national levels;

15. Initiate a detailed report on transparency in the financing of politics.

1 Debated and approved by the Chamber of Regions on 24 May 2000 and adopted by the Standing Committee of the Congress on 25 May 2000 (see Doc. CPR (7) 7, draft recommendation presented by Mr C. Haegi, rapporteur).

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