Danish People’s Party to repay EU for sailing tour

The Eurosceptic Danish People's Party (DF) is to be billed for EU grant money that it spent on a sailing trip in violation of EU Parliament rules.

Danish People's Party to repay EU for sailing tour
The sailing trip took DF’s MEP Morten Messerschmidt and party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl out to voters. Photo: Keld Navntoft/Scanpix

The EU parliament has ruled that a 2013 sailing trip taken by DF’s MEP Morten Messerschmidt and party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl “promoted domestic parties or candidates or was used for election campaigns”, and the party must now settle a repayment to the tune of 127,000 kroner (€17,000).

The DF sailing trip was done in conjunction with Denmark's 2013 municipal elections. 

EU Parliament General Secretary Klaus Welle confirmed the use of EU grant money to fund the sailing trip and his report may result in an even larger bill for DF. 
The report notes the use of EU grants for DF’s campaigns on so-called social dumping and the upcoming referendum on Denmark's opt-on on EU justice affairs, stating that it is “doubtful” that the use of EU grants in relation to these campaigns is in keeping with the appropriate guidelines.
The parliament must wait until the end of the current financial year and receipt of “relevant documents” in order to confirm this, however.

Any new bill from the EU is likely to be given a frosty welcome by Messerschmidt, who told the EU parliament in October that the use of the EU funds for the sailing trip was “in keeping with the rules” and that the question of misuse was a “non-issue”.

Following confirmation from the EU on Monday that Messerschmidt and his party had indeed broken the rules, the MEP confirmed that his party would repay the money despite being “in complete disagreement” with the EU appraisal.

“The sailing trip was undertaken in order to launch my work as part of the EU parliament, and I was on board to talk about EU-related things,” Messerschmidt told Politiken.

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