Richard Corbett MEP calls for investigation as Libertas application is now open to question with one alleged signatory denies he supported the application.
The Estonian MP Igor Gräzin, " issued an affidavit on 3 February stating: “I have never signed any papers asking for a recognition of Libertas as a political party in the EU and all corresponding claims are utterly untrue.” So whose signature was on the application?
What is Ganley up too?
The committee refused 's apllication for 100,000 euro for a think tank as it had the same name as the political party and its appointed members were all Irish. No doubt his usual Irish Libertas hacks like Caroline Simon the leading anti abortionist and legal officer of C.O.I.R. , and former Rivada employee David Cochrane.
Libertas bid for funding comes a cropper
The European Parliament is re-considering a decision to give €200,000 in EU funds to Libertas, a new political party opposed to the EU's Treaty of Lisbon, after a member of the Estonian parliament denied that he had signed the documents used to establish the party as a pan-European organisation.
Estonian MP Igor Gräzin, a member of the Estonian Reform Party, issued an affidavit on 3 February stating: “I have never signed any papers asking for a recognition of Libertas as a political party in the EU and all corresponding claims are utterly untrue.”
Gräzin was one of eight politicians who signed the documents seeking to establish Libertas as a pan-European political party. EU rules require that, to be eligible for EU funding, a party's founding documents must have signatories from at least seven EU member states, a quarter of the total number of states.
Libertas was set up by Declan Ganley, who led the successful campaign for a ‘No' vote in the Irish referendum against the Treaty of Lisbon in June 2008.
Gräzin said that “none of Libertas's agenda” matched his position in the Estonian parliament or the Estonian Reform Party.
Gräzin was the only member of the Estonian parliament to vote against the constitutional treaty, the failed precursor of the Treaty of Lisbon, when it went before the parliament for ratification in 2006.
Gräzin's declaration came just the day after the European Parliament's budgetary bureau, made up of its president and fourteen vice-presidents, decided to award just over €200,000 to Libertas.
A prominent political opponent, the UK Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff, commented that “Mr Ganley seems to have fallen at the first hurdle. Apparently his claim to have recruited enough supporters was untrue. What Europe really needs is a bit more Veritas and a lot less Libertas.”
The Parliament's bureau on 2 February allocated funds to ten parties other than Libertas for their campaigns for elections this June to the European Parliament.
The largest chunk of funding – €3.4 million – was allocated to the conservative European People's Party.
One group that has an explicitly Eurosceptic platform, the Independence/Democracy Group, received funding.
Another political group that, like Libertas, challenges the way the EU is run, Adie, received EU money until last year.
Libertas also applied for €111,000 to fund a think-tank affiliated to the party. The bureau turned down that request as the members of the think-tank's board come from just one member state (Ireland) and as it had the same name as the political party.
EU funding for Libertas group thrown into doubt
The confirmation of the Eurosceptic group Libertas as a pan-European political party, entitling it to EU funding, has been cast into doubt, this website can reveal.
It follows Monday night’s decision by parliament’s bureau, the assembly’s key decision-making body, to endorse its status as a fully-fledged European party and allocate it €200,000 in EU funding.
However, it has now emerged that one of the eight people who Libertas claimed had signed its application to parliament appears to have withdrawn his ‘signature.’
UK ALDE deputy Andrew Duff today said he had received an email from Estonian MP Igor Grazin, a member of the liberal Reform Party in Estonia, which seems to distance himself from Libertas, the anti-Lisbon treaty group set up by Irish businessman Declan Ganley.
The email said to have been sent by Grazin reads, “I have never signed any papers asking for recognition of Libertas as a political party in the EU and all corresponding claims are utterly untrue.”
Duff says he received the correspondence after the decision by the bureau, comprising parliament’s president Hans-Gert Pöttering, its 14 vice presidents and six quaestors.
Grazin was not immediately available for comment but, if correct, the development is significant and would, says Duff, leave the bureau having to reconsider its decision.
According to EU legislation, a pan-European political party must be formally endorsed by elected representatives from at least seven member states.
Libertas said its application for recognition as a political party had been signed by “eight European democrats”. Apart from Grazin, they included two elected representatives from France and one each from the UK, Poland, Finland, Greece and Bulgaria.
“If, as appears the case, Grazin has withdrawn his support, the bureau decision will have to be changed because Libertas will have signatures from only six EU countries and not seven,” said Duff.
“I am satisfied that the email sent by the Estonian MP is genuine, not least because people I know have spoken to him. The fact of the matter is that his signature is needed in order to validate the application.”
He added, “This is a significant development because it is a constitutional issue. I have to say that it also proves the fragility of Mr Ganley’s enterprise.”
Libertas spokesperson Anita Kelly strongly refuted any suggestion that parliament’s bureau has been misled in any way.
She said, “I know nothing about this alleged email sent by Mr Grazin to Mr Duff.”
“The fact of the matter is that he did sign the submission which went to the bureau.
“The application was carefully scrutinised by parliament’s legal service and if it contained insufficient signatures it is hardly likely the bureau would have accepted the application because it would have been rendered invalid.”
When asked about the implications if Grazin's signature was not in the application, a well-placed parliament source said, “At a minimum the matter will have to be investigated.
“Grazin has, after all, sent an affidavit to the parliament so there are now two conflicting sources of information - the other being the application submitted by Ganley.
“Should it prove that Grazin is not one of the signatories, then Libertas will be one country short of the criterion to qualify for recognition and funding.”
Further reaction came from UK Socialist deputy Gary Titley who described Libertas as "phoney," adding, "EU funds should only go to political parties whose elected representatives were elected in their name. As far as I am aware, this is not the case with Libertas."
His party colleague, Richard Corbett said, "As far as I am concerned Libertas has not yet proved its existence. I would like the bureau to investigate further, in particular the affiliates and members Libertas claims to have." here
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