European political party
A European political party (colloquially also European party , formerly an official political party at European level ) is a political party or an alliance of political parties that is politically active at the level of the European Union.
The existing parties at the European level are predominantly alliances of national political parties with a similar political direction. However, there are also European parties in the narrower sense whose members are individual citizens, usually members of the European Parliament or national or regional parliaments. There are also other political parties and party alliances that are specifically active at the level of the European Union , but do not meet the formal requirements of the relevant regulation of the European Community . The first European parties emerged in the 1970s. Political parties were formally introduced at European level with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.
The individual groups in the European Parliament are composed primarily of the members of the relevant European political parties. Parties and parliamentary groups do not correspond completely, some parliamentary groups consist of several European parties, and the parliamentary groups contain members of national parties that do not belong to any European party. Currently around 82% of MEPs belong to a European political party.
Ten parties are currently registered with the competent authority for European political parties and European political foundations . The registered parties can receive funding from the EU budget. Political foundations are close to the political parties at European level and can also receive funding from the general budget of the European Union .
Ten parties are (as of May 15, 2020) registered with the Authority for European Political Parties:
According to Treaty on European Union "[p] political parties at European level [...] contribute to the development of a European political consciousness and to the expression of the will of the citizens of the Union ." Participating in the elections to the European Parliament and who meet a number of other requirements (see below ) can be recognized by the European Parliament. Since January 1, 2017, the Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations has been responsible for the registration of European parties.Paragraph 4 of the
The first European parties emerged from the political groups in the European Parliament in the 1970s . Political parties were formally introduced at European level with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. In 2003, the term “political party at European level” was specifically defined in Regulation (EC) No. 2004/2003 and the options for public funding for these political parties at European level were specified.
Today the political groups in the European Parliament are mainly made up of the members of the major European political parties. Parties and parliamentary groups do not correspond completely, some parliamentary groups consist of several European parties, and in many parliamentary groups there are also members of national parties that do not belong to any European party or party alliance. Currently around 88% of MEPs belong to a European political party. Despite their legal ties to the EU framework, many of the parties also have members in European countries outside the EU, some as associated members. The parties also form the basis for the political groups or groups in the Committee of the Regions of the EU, in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and in the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe .
A European political party (within the meaning of Regulation (EC) No. 2004/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of November 4, 2003 on the regulations for political parties at European level and their funding) must meet the following requirements:
- It has legal personality in the Member State in which it is established;
- is represented in at least a quarter of the Member States by members of the European Parliament or in the national parliaments or regional parliaments or regional assemblies, or
- in at least a quarter of the Member States received at least 3 percent of the votes cast in each of these Member States in the last election to the European Parliament ;
- In particular, in its program and in its activities it respects the principles on which the European Union is based, that is to say the principles of freedom , democracy , respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law ;
- she took part in the elections to the European Parliament or expressed her intention to do so.
If an organization meets these requirements, it can register with the Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations (AEPPEPF).
A registered European political party that is represented by at least one member in the European Parliament can apply to the AEPPEPF for funding from the general budget of the European Union . In the 2017 budget year, 16 European political parties will receive funding.
First party alliances at EC level (1957–1991)
Since the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1952, there has been cooperation between the national parties that formed the various political groups in the European Parliament . However, these were initially based solely on a common political direction and not on a real organizational merger. The first step towards more solid organizational structures was taken in 1957 by the member parties of the Socialist International in the ECSC member states, who agreed at a congress to set up a liaison office. In 1974 this resulted in the Federation of Social Democratic Parties of the European Community , the first formal party association at the level of the European Communities . Even small parties organized themselves transnationally, such as from 1951, the neo-Nazi European Social Movement and in 1960 the European Federalist Party .
The introduction of direct elections to the European Parliament , decided in 1976, was then the decisive point for the emergence of a large number of transnational party alliances. It was recognized that this would have to represent an important step towards legitimizing the political system of the EC, through which the supranational character of the European Parliament would be strengthened. Transnational parties should allow a less strongly national approach to political processes at the European level. In 1976, the Christian Democratic European People's Party (EPP) was founded, which from the outset claimed to want to become not just a party alliance, but a pan-European party. In the same year the Federation of Liberal and Democratic Parties in the European Community (forerunner of the ALDE) was established. In 1981 the European Free Alliance (EFA) was founded, in which various regional parties united. In 1978 the European Democratic Union (EDU) was founded as an alliance of conservative parties after the EPP had refused to accept non-Christian members. It was not until 1991 that the EPP opened up to the non-denominational conservative spectrum, so that the EDU could be absorbed into it in 2002. In 1979 the European Ecological Action (ECOROPA) was formed, from which the European Coordination of Green Parties (EKGP) arose in 1984 (forerunner of the EGP).
Despite the programmatic work carried out by the bodies of the European party alliances in the run-up to the European elections in 1979 , the election campaign in this and the following elections was largely national. Although transnational programmatic drafts existed, each individual national party presented itself in the election campaign with its own election manifesto, which was mostly primarily determined by national issues. The transnational programs were also not the same in detail: each member state could add its own footnotes to clarify the national interests.
Contractual anchoring (1992-2003)
The Maastricht Treaty of 1992 strengthened the role of the European parties, which for the first time received a basis in the EU treaty system. In Art. 138a (after later numbering ) of the EC Treaty it was stated:
“Political parties at European level are important as a factor of integration in the Union. They help to develop a European consciousness and to express the political will of the citizens of the Union. "
Although there were initially no material legal consequences associated with this contractual stipulation, several of the European party alliances were reconstituted in the following years with reference to Article 138a of the EC Treaty. The Federation of Social Democratic Parties was renamed the Social Democratic Party of Europe (SPE) in autumn 1992 , and the Federation of Liberal and Democratic Parties became the European Liberal, Democratic and Reform Party (ELDR) in December 1993 . The European Federation of Green Parties (1993, previously EKGP) and the European Free Alliance (1994) also adopted a new statute.
With the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997, the status as a European party acquired a new relevance, as the parties now had the option of funding from the budget of the European Union . As a result, minimum criteria were established for the first time in an EC regulation in 2003 that a party union had to meet in order to be recognized as a political party at European level within the meaning of the EC Treaty.
Start of party funding
The specific regulations regarding the status of European parties and the upcoming financing of these parties for the first time in 2004 led to the fact that some of the existing parties were formally re-established this year, and new parties emerged. For example, the ELDR was re-established on April 30, 2004 as an organization under Belgian law. The European Green Party (EGP) was founded on February 20th from the European Federation of Green Parties, which until then had seen itself as a pure party association. As the first European party, the EGP was no longer composed only of its member parties, but also made it possible for individuals to become members. In addition, the EGP was the first party to run a Europe-wide uniform election campaign for the 2004 European elections with a joint manifesto.
The centrist European Democratic Party (EDP), the left-socialist European Left (EL) and the national-conservative Alliance for a Europe of Nations (AEN), the first Eurosceptic European party, also emerged in 2004 . In the following year, with the Alliance of Independent Democrats in Europe (ADIE) and the EU Democrats (EUD), two further European parties were founded that rejected further integration. The ADIE dissolved again at the end of 2008, the AEN at the end of 2009. The Christian-conservative European Christian Political Movement (ECPM) was also founded in 2005, although it was not recognized until 2010.
Further party foundations from 2009 to 2014
A novelty was the Irish citizens' movement Libertas , which was recognized by the EU at the beginning of 2009 as the first purely transnational party, i.e. without any national member parties. Libertas was founded in 2008 as an Irish citizens' movement for the campaign against the Lisbon Treaty and was then reorganized into a party. After MPs from seven EU member states announced their membership in the party, it met the formal criteria for recognition as a European party. However, some of the MPs revoked their party membership shortly afterwards, so that Libertas lost their status again in the same year and finally ceased their activities.
After the European elections in 2009 , other European parties emerged. The European party Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformers (AECR, since 2016 Alliance of Conservatives and Reformers in Europe , ACRE) emerged from the European Conservatives and Reformers Group , which organized the British Conservatives . The European Alliance for Freedom (EAF), founded in autumn 2010 by politicians from several right-wing populist parties, was recognized as a European party in February 2011. The right-wing extremist Alliance of European National Movements (AENM), which has existed since 2009, was recognized in February 2012. As a result, there was resistance from all groups in the European Parliament to the recognition and thus the financial support of the AENM. As a result, a tightening of the requirements for European parties was discussed. Finally, the Movement for a Europe of Freedom and Democracy (MELD) was founded in 2011 from the ranks of the EFD Group and financed by the European Parliament from 2012 onwards.
Before the 2014 European elections , a number of smaller party associations were formed, including the European Pirate Party (PPEU) and the Initiative of Communist and Workers' Parties of Europe (INITIATIVE).
Formation of smaller right-wing parties and misuse of funding
After the 2014 European elections the EFDD fraction was mainly from the ranks of the UK Independence Party -dominated Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe founded (ADDE). The parties involved in the EAF founded the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom (MENL), which was to replace the EAF. ADDE and MENL have been recognized since 2015. In early 2015, the right-wing extremist Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF) was founded, in which the German NPD and the Greek Golden Dawn are among others ; it was recognized in 2016. With the Coalition pour la Vie et la Famille , another right-wing extremist, Catholic fundamentalist party was recognized in 2017 that did not have a European parliamentarian. The financing of right-wing extremist parties by the European Parliament has been discussed again and again since the AENM was recognized in 2012. These parties did not meet the basic stance necessary for funding, namely to respect “the principles of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law”.
In addition, the misuse of the financing or its regulation by right-wing parties became known. On the one hand, the parties supported each other with the necessary signatures from parliamentarians from seven member states - the APF received signatures from the ranks of the Front National (member of the MENL), the AENM signatures of the Golden Dawn (member of the APF) and the CVF signatures of the ĽSNS (member of APF) and Forza Italia (member of EPP). The parties are taking advantage of the fact that a basic amount of 400,000 euros per party was made available, regardless of the number of European parliamentarians. On the other hand, funds were illegally spent on national parties and election campaigns. In 2015, for example, MELD funds were misused for the election campaign of the Danish People's Party . Also used UKIP means of ADDE abusive, which were therefore reclaimed by the European Parliament. For 2017, the pre-financing of several parties was cut after a risk analysis .
Establishment of the authority for European political parties and European political foundations
To strengthen the institutionalization of the European parties, the European Parliament decided in October 2014 to set up a permanent register of European parties. The Authority for European Political Parties and European Political Foundations was set up for the registration of parties and their foundations and started work on September 1, 2016. The first registrations took place in 2017. From the funding year 2018, registration is a prerequisite for applying for funding. By September 30, 2017, ten parties and ten foundations had registered. In early 2018, the Alliance of European National Movements (AEMN) and the Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF) were also registered.
In spring 2018, the European Parliament and the European Council changed the registration requirements. Until then, individual parliamentarians from seven member countries were necessary, since then member parties from seven countries have been necessary. Previously, parties like the AENM and APF had exploited the rule to the extent that politicians from the same national party were members of different European parties. After the regulation came into force, AEMN and APF were deregistered again.
Other political parties at European level
Other European parties and party alliances in the European Parliament
Some members of the European Parliament are members of an unregistered party alliance or a transnational party:
|Members||fraction||German speaking||Others (selection)|
|APF||Alliance for Peace and Freedom||right-wing extremist , nationalist||2015||non-attached||NPD||ĽSNS|
|APEU||Animal Politics EU||Animal welfare policy||2014||GUE / NGL, G / EFA||Animal welfare party||PvdD , PAN|
|INITIATIVE||Initiative of communist and workers' parties in Europe||Communist , Marxist-Leninist||2013||non-attached||PdA||KKE|
|PPEU||European pirate party||Pirate party||2013||G / EFA||PIRATES , PIRATE , PPS , PIRATE||PP , ČPS , Píratar|
|volt||Volt Europe||federalist||2017||G / EFA||Volt Germany , Volt Austria , Volt Lëtzebuerg||Volt Nederland|
Former recognized political party at European level
- The right-wing conservative Alliance of Independent Democrats in Europe (AIDE) existed from October 28, 2005 to December 31, 2008. Most of its members belonged to the IND / DEM group. After the dissolution, some of its members joined the newly founded Libertas , while others remained without a European party. The two most important parties later co-founded MELD.
- Libertas was briefly recognized as a European political party in February 2009, but after two members of the European Parliament withdrew their supporters' signatures, their status as a party was suspended until further notice. After the failure of Libertas in the European elections in 2009 - only one mandate could be won across Europe - and the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty , which it was opposed to , it ceased its activities.
- The national-conservative alliance for Europe of the Nations existed from 2004 to 2009 and primarily comprised the members of the UEN parliamentary group . After the parliamentary group was dissolved in the wake of the 2009 European elections , the party ceased its activities.
- The Movement for a Europe of Freedom and Democracy (Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy, MELD) was a Eurosceptic , right-populist party. It was founded on August 17, 2011 from among the ranks of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group , but without the participation of its largest party, the British UKIP. After a successor party under the name Alternative for Europe (AFE) was founded in mid-2015 , MELD no longer applied for party funding for 2016. The AFE was not recognized after the Danish DF stopped participating in the party.
- The Eurosceptic Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE) was founded in September 2014 from the ranks of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group and was mainly dominated by the British UK Independence Party . It was dissolved in May 2017 after financial irregularities.
- The EU Democrats , from 2014 Europeans United for Democracy (EUD), were founded in 2005 from the ranks of the Independence / Democracy Group . It comprised decidedly EU-skeptical parties and individual members, also from the more left-wing spectrum. In particular, it included the Swedish Junilistan and the Danish popular movement against the EU . At the end of 2017, she stopped working at the party.
- The European Alliance for Freedom (EAF) was a right-wing populist EU-skeptical party. It was originally founded in the fall by then UKIP member Godfrey Bloom . At the end of 2012, the party, which only had individual members, joined Marine Le Pen , chairwoman of the FN , and Franz Obermayr ( FPÖ ) took over the chairmanship. For the 2014 European elections, the EAF served as a right-wing populist election platform for the FN and FPÖ, including the Dutch PVV . The FN and FPÖ founded the MENL in 2015 , but the EAF remained active until the end of 2017.
- The Coalition pour la Vie et la Famille (CVF) was a Catholic fundamentalist Pro Life party that was dominated by the French Civitas . The CVF was founded in 2016 and was recognized for 2017. She was supported in this by Martina Schenk, a member of the Austrian National Council at the time . In the end, however, the CVF did not receive any funding for 2017, and the CVF could not apply for any more for 2018 because it was not represented in the European Parliament.
- The right-wing extremist Alliance of European National Movements (AEMN) was founded in 2009 under the leadership of the then Front National chairman Jean-Marie Le Pen ; the Front National members left the party at the end of 2013. Nick Griffin ( British National Party , until 2014), the Hungarian Jobbik (until February 2016), the Italian Fiamma Tricolore and the Slovenian National Party , among others, were or are involved . The AEMN was recognized or registered from 2012 to 2017 and briefly in 2018. Since December 2013 it has been led by Béla Kovács (formerly Jobbik, now non-party).
Other parties and alliances
In addition to the party alliances mentioned, there are some pan-European groupings that are transnationally organized and some of which (want to) run in European elections without, however, meeting or wanting to meet the requirements for founding a European party.
- The liberal south- east European network LIBSEEN comprises liberal parties in south-east Europe. Most of the member parties are also members of the ALDE party.
- In October 2010, the European Feminist Coordination Board was founded by several feminist parties . The association, to which the German feminist party Die Frauen , the Swedish Feministiskt initiativ (FI), the Polish Partia Kobiet and the Spanish Iniciativa Feminista belong, sought to have a parliamentary group in the European Parliament after the 2014 European elections. The FI won a seat in the election and joined the S&D group. On November 30, 2018, parties from Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Romania, Spain, Finland, Poland and Italy founded the Feminists United Network Europe (FUN Europe). The members ran for the 2019 European elections, but did not achieve a mandate.
- The European Party for Individual Liberty (EPIL) brings together four libertarian parties, one of which, the Spanish Partido Libertario, ran for the 2014 European elections.
- Europe - Democracy - Esperanto (EDE) advocates the use of the planned language Esperanto at European level. The party took part in the European elections in France in 2004, 2009 and 2014 (0.15% to 0.18%) and also ran in Germany in 2009 (0.04%). She also plans to run for the 2019 European elections.
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