18th March 2014: This morning at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate in the Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) on the vote that would follow on a new regulation for the registration and funding of European Political Parties.
"It is still undeniable that freedom of assembly, i.e. the registration and funding of political parties, will be dependent on their political programmes being approved of or disapproved of by the Political Class. It makes no difference whether the decision is taken by politicians directly or by an official or agency taking decisions on the basis of criteria laid down by the Political Class.
"Some of the so-called European values are indeed self-evidently right such as freedom of expression or freedom of association but these are routinely disregarded, not least in this regulation. Others, like non-discrimination, at least in its interpretation and scope, might be much more subjective.
"We have already seen how this procedure of registration and de-registration will be implemented. It can be seen from the first attempt to deregister groupings. That attempt was made without any reference to the grounds on which de-registration should take place. That is like calling for somebody to be arrested without specifying the charge."