The European Parliament is investigating subsidies which went to Dutch anti-EU campaigners, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper says on Wednesday.
The paper says Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, has admitted arranging financing for a newspaper advert which helped gather enough signatures to force the referendum.
‘It is understood that the parliament’s Directorate-General for Finance suspects a European subsidy used to buy a full-page advert in a Dutch paper, was used in breach of European Parliament rules,’ the Telegraph says.
The advert was printed in the Telegraaf last September. Funding was given by the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe (IDDE).
‘My involvement in raising funding wasn’t particularly big in that I encouraged the political parties and all the European groups I’m a member of to use their resources,’ Farage is quoted as saying. ‘I’m a member of the ADDE [Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe], and the IDDE think tank is part of that.’
The treasurer of the IDDE until last September was Dutch MP Louis Bontes, a former member of the anti-Islam PVV who now represents the right-wing eurosceptic VNL party. The VNL invited Farage to the Netherlands earlier this week to campaign for a ‘no’ vote in Wednesday’s referendum.
Campaigners for a ‘no’ vote in the Netherlands have admitted that their real aim is to force a debate on the Netherlands’ membership of Europe and the Ukraine treaty is a means to an end.
Shockblog GeenStijl which actually bought the advert trumpeted in a blog post last September that it was using money from the European parliament. ‘It is European money but eurosceptic European money. A big thank you for that Nigel Farage,’ the blog post said.
The European Parliament rules state that the grants it makes to political groupings ‘cannot be used… to meet expenditure such as campaign costs for referenda and elections (except for European elections), and direct or indirect funding of national parties, election candidates and political foundations both at national and at European level.’
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