Political Groups

Political Groups in Europe

Description of Political groups

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes political groups in the following terms: [1] The European Parliament contains some nine loose political, or party, groupings, of which the largest are the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the European People’s Party (EPP), the latter dominated by German Christian Democrats, Spanish Partido Popular members and Forza Italia, in coalition with British Conservatives and French parties of the right. The other groups include Liberals of various hues, Greens, a Communist-Nordic Left alliance and miscellaneous smaller coalitions.

The two big groups, with well over half the votes, control the Parliament and collude over all major decisions – a necessary procedure, since the Parliament’s right of ‘co-decision’ with the Council of Ministers depends on its ability to muster an absolute majority of MEPs. The other ‘parties’ are for the most part a shifting sand of unstable membership, sometimes held together by little more than the desire to obtain office and parliamentary funds, both of which are dispersed according to the number of affiliated MEPs.

Certain of the political groups, notably the Socialists, the EPP, the Liberal federation and the Greens, have made efforts to turn themselves into real European parties. The Maastricht Treaty welcomed the emergence of such cross-border parties as a ‘factor for integration contributing to European awareness’. But these efforts have not met with success, above all because the Parliament is essentially an advisory body, with no responsibility for a legislative programme for which it might be held to account. Among the other obstacles are media and voter indifference, the unsatisfactory nature of the Parliament itself, the ceiling on personal advancement and the tendency of individual MEPs to vote along national lines if their own country’s interests are threatened. (See Appendix 3.)

Political groups and the European Union


See Also

  • Transnational parties
  • European political parties
  • Party groups


Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

See Also

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