European political party

European political party

A European political party, formally a political party at European level, informally (especially in academic circles) a Europarty, is a type of political party organization operating transnationally in Europe. They are regulated and funded by the European Union. There are ten Europarties as of 2006. Within the European Parliament these parties often express themselves in affiliation with the political groups.


* 1992: Section 41 of the Treaty of Maastricht [ [ Treaty of Maastricht] ] added Article 138a to the Treaty of Rome. Article 138a (later renumbered to Article 191) stated that "Political parties at European level are important as a factor for integration within the Union. They contribute to forming a European awareness and to expressing the political will of the citizens of the Union." So the concept of a "political party at European level" was born.

* 1997: Article J.18 and Article K.13 of the Treaty of Amsterdam [ [ Treaty of Amsterdam] ] established who should pay for expenditure authorised by Article 138/191 within certain areas. This provided a mechanism whereby Europarties could be paid for out of the European budget, and the Europarties started to spend the money. Such expenditure included funding national parties, an outcome not originally intended.

* 2001: Article 2, section 19 of the Treaty of Nice [ [ Treaty of Nice] ] added a "second" paragraph to Article 191 of the Treaty of Rome. That paragraph stated that "The Council, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 251, shall lay down the regulations governing political parties at European level and in particular the rules regarding their funding." The reference to "Article 251" refers to co-decision, which meant the European Parliament had to be involved. So Europarty funding had to be regulated by the Council and the European Parliament, acting together.

* 2003: Regulation (EC) No 2004/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 [ [ Regulation (EC) No 2004/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003] ] defined what a "political party at European level" actually "was" and specified that that funding should not go to national parties, either directly or indirectly. This meant that European money should stay at the Europarty level and, as a result, the nascent Europarties started to organise themselves on a more European basis instead of acting as a mechanism for funding national parties.

* 2007: That regulation was later heavily amended by the Decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament of 29 March 2004 [ [ Decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament of 29 March 2004] ] and by other amendments, the latest of which is Regulation (EC) No 1524/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2007 [ [ Regulation (EC) No 1524/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2007] .] These amendments tightened up the procedures and funding and provided for the earlier-floated [ [ EU in drive to make Brussels more political] 29/05/2007] concept of a "political foundation at European level". This meant that the Europarties can set up and fund legally separate affiliates (the Eurofoundations) to aid them, although funding national parties remains forbidden.

The parties

The below parties, listed by the order of foundation of their ancestor organisations, received official EU recognition and funding during the 2005 financial year. [ [ Funding]] Their total funding for 2008 is €10.6 million, with a further €5 million for the foundations. [ Press Release IP/07/1953, Brussels, 18 December 2007]]
*European People's Party: Christian democrats and conservatives, including the CDU of Germany and the UMP of France.
*Party of European Socialists: social democrats and democratic socialists, including the Socialist Party of France and the Labour Party of the United Kingdom.
*European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party: liberals and centrists.
*European Free Alliance: pro-devolution, independentist.
*European Green Party: greens.
*Alliance for Europe of the Nations: eurosceptics and nationalists.
*Party of the European Left: socialists and communists.
*European Democratic Party: centrists, european integrationists.
*Alliance of Independent Democrats in Europe: centrists.
*EUDemocrats: EU-critical and EU-reformists of centre.

Other pan-European political organizations

*Nordic Green Left Alliance: Scandinavian socialist greens
*Euronat: Right-wing nationalist parties, including the British National Party of the United Kingdom and the Front National of France.
*European Christian Political Movement: Christian-social parties.
*European Anticapitalist Left: Network of anticapitalist, mostly broad left-wing parties in Europe.
*European National Front: Network of far-right parties and organizations in Europe.
*Movement for European Reform: conservative and Atlanticist eurosceptics; plan to form an independent parliamentary group after the 2009 elections to replace the European Democrats, the sub-group of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament comprising MEPs from the UK Conservative Party and the Czech Civic Democratic Party.
*Platform for Transparency: loose confederation of three independent MEPs; somewhat eurosceptic.

Dedicated pan-European parties

*Europe – Democracy – Esperanto: Party advocating the introduction of Esperanto as an official language in the European Union.

Membership of pan-European organizations


Europarty funding goes to Europarties and stays with Europarties. National political parties disinclined from joining Europarties are thereby disadvantaged. [ [ Why I am going to the European Court]] 25 Members of the European Parliament petitioned the European Court of Justice, arguing that this contravened the EU's stated values of pluralism and democracy. The case was rejected after eighteen months. [ [ Pan-European political parties]] [ [ Official journal of the European Union C 229/20 17/09/2005]] A closely related case fought by the French Front National, the Italian Lega Nord, and the Belgian Vlaams Blok (now Vlaams Belang) was appealed. [ [ Official journal of the European Union C 315/9 10/12/2005]]


ee also

* Parties in the Council of the European Union
* Index of political parties to browse parties by name
* List of political parties to browse parties by country
* List of political parties by ideology to browse parties by ideology
* Membership of internationals to browse parties by membership of internationals

External links

* [ Video : Relations between parliamentary groups and political parties] European NAvigator
* [ Parties' contact details]
* [ The European Parliament and Supranational Party System] Cambridge University Press 2002

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