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European political party


European political party

European Union
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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government
of the European Union

A European political party (formally, a political party at European level; informally – especially in academic circles – a Europarty) is a type of European Union. They are regulated and funded by the European Union and are usually made up of national parties, not individuals. Europarties have the exclusive right to campaign during the European elections and express themselves within the European Parliament by their affiliated political groups and their MEPs. Europarties, through coordination meetings with their affiliated heads of state and government, influence the decision-making process of the European Council. Europarties also work closely and co-ordinate with their affiliated members of the European Commission and, according to the Lisbon Treaty the Europarty that wins the European elections has the right to nominate to the European Council its candidate for President of the European Commission.


  • Timeline 1
    • 1992 1.1
    • 1997 1.2
    • 2001 1.3
    • 2003 1.4
    • 2007 1.5
  • Regulations 2
  • Funding 3
  • Current Europarties 4
    • Defunct Europarties 4.1
    • Proposed Europarties 4.2
  • Europarty structure 5
  • European political parties not recognised by the EU 6
  • Confederations of national parties that are not Europarties 7
  • Membership of Europarties by national party 8
  • Controversy 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12



Section 41 of the Treaty of Maastricht[1] 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.


Article J.18 and Article K.13 of the Treaty of Amsterdam[2] 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.


Article 2, section 19 of the Treaty of Nice[3] 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.


Regulation (EC) No 2004/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003[4] defined what a "political party at European level" actually was and specified 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.


That regulation was later heavily amended by the Decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament of 29 March 2004[5] 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[6] These amendments tightened up the procedures and funding and provided for the earlier-floated[7] concept of a "political foundation at European level". This meant that the Europarties can set up and fund legally separate affiliated think-tanks (the Eurofoundations) to aid them, although funding national parties remains forbidden. The revised regulation also gives Europarties the exclusive responsibility to campaign for the European elections and can use their funds for this purpose (their corresponding political groups of the European Parliament are strictly forbidden to campaign).


As of 1 November 2008, the regulation governing Europarties is Regulation (EC) No 2004/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003,[8] as later amended[9] under codecision (see above). According to that regulation's European Commission factsheet,[10] for a party to become a Europarty it must meet the following criteria:

  • it must have legal personality in the Member State in which its seat is located.
  • it must observe the founding principles of the European Union, namely the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.
  • it must have participated, or intend to participate, in elections to the European Parliament.
  • it must have in at least one quarter of the Member States, one or both of the following:
    • either it must have received at least 3% of the votes cast in each of those Member States at the most recent European Parliament elections.
    • or it must already be represented by Members, whether Members of the European Parliament for those states, or Members of the national Parliaments of those states, or Members of the regional Parliaments of those states, or Members of the regional Assemblies of those states.
  • it must publish its revenue and expenditure annually.
  • it must publish a statement of its assets and liabilities annually.
  • it must provide a list of its donors and their donations exceeding €500.
  • it must not accept anonymous donations.
  • it must not accept donations exceeding €12,000 per year and per donor.
  • it must not accept donations from the budgets of political groups of the European Parliament.
  • it must not accept more than 40% of a national political party's annual budget.
  • it must not accept donations from any company over which the public authorities may exercise a dominant influence, either by virtue of their ownership of it, or by their financial participation therein.
  • it must get at least 15% of its budget from sources other than its European Union funding.
  • it must submit its application by 30 September before the financial year that it wants funding for.


Their total funding for 2012 will be €15 million pre financing. You must add another 20% (18.9 million) which are given later on in the next year after accounts are presented), with a further €9.720 million pre financing,(total amount 12.150 million) for the foundations.[11][12][13]

Current Europarties

As of March 2012, there are 13 recognised Europarties:[14]

Europarty Ideology 2013 grant First Recognised
European People's Party[14] Christian democracy, Conservatism €7.3m 2004
Party of European Socialists[14] Social democracy €5.0m 2004
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party[14][15] Liberalism €2.2m 2004
European Green Party[14] Green politics €1.6m 2004
Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists[14] Conservatism, Economic liberalism, Euroscepticism €1.4m 2010
Party of the European Left[14] Socialism, Communism €0.9m 2004
Movement for a Europe of Liberties and Democracy[14] Euroscepticism, National conservatism €0.8m 2012
European Democratic Party[14] Centrism €0.6m 2004
European Free Alliance[14] Regionalism, Independentism €0.4m 2004
European Alliance for Freedom[14] Euroscepticism, Nationalism, Right-wing populism €0.4m 2011
Alliance of European National Movements[14] Ultranationalism, Euroscepticism, Far-right politics[16] €0.4m 2012
European Christian Political Movement[14] Christian right, Social conservatism €0.3m 2010
EUDemocrats[14] Euroscepticism, Eurorealism €0.3m 2006

Defunct Europarties

Proposed Europarties

In January 2008, leaders of far-right parties from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria and France announced plans to launch a far-right Europarty by 15 November, provisionally called the European Patriotic Party, Patriotic European Party or European Freedom Party.[18][19] According to media reports, the European Alliance for Freedom was founded in 2010 or 2011 and is officially recognised.[20]

It was reported on 1 November 2008 that Declan Ganley had registered a company in Dublin called the Libertas Party Ltd[21] and that it was intended to "carry on the business of a European political party".[21] Libertas applied for Europarty recognition which was briefly granted but then suspended following the disavowal of two of its candidates.

In April 2012 a conference of Pirate Parties International agreed to establish a European political party,[22] which became the European Pirate Party (PPEU).

In September 2013, libertarian parties from Germany (Party of Reason), Spain (Partido de la Libertad Individual), France (Parti libéral démocrate) and the Netherlands (Libertarische Partij) signed The Utrecht Declaration and Covenant of European Classical Liberal and Libertarian Parties, establishing the European Party for Individual Liberty (EPIL).[23][24]

In March 2014, the Pirate parties from around Europe gathered in Brussels to form the European Pirate Party, (PIRATES). First chairperson is Amelia Andersdotter (Pirate Party Sweden), and the organisation also nominated Amelia and Peter Sunde as joint chairpersons for the European Commission.

Europarty structure

All current Europarties are mostly made up of national parties, Individual members MP or MEPS: MP's who are members of member parties can become members of the Europarty. Additionally, people can become individual members of the Europarty without having to join a national party first (e.g. Marian Harkin, who is an individual member of the European Democratic Party).

European political parties not recognised by the EU

Confederations of national parties that are not Europarties

Membership of Europarties by national party


Europarty funding goes to Europarties and stays with Europarties: the funding cannot be used for the funding of other political parties and in particular national political parties.[8] National political parties disinclined from joining Europarties are thereby disadvantaged.[25] 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.[26][27] A closely related case fought by the French Front National, the Italian Lega Nord, and the Belgian Vlaams Blok (now Vlaams Belang) was appealed[28] and rejected.[29]

See also


  1. ^ Treaty of Maastricht
  2. ^ Treaty of Amsterdam
  3. ^ Treaty of Nice
  4. ^ Regulation (EC) No 2004/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003
  5. ^ Decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament of 29 March 2004
  6. ^ Regulation (EC) No 1524/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2007.
  7. ^ EU in drive to make Brussels more political 29 May 2007
  8. ^ a b EUROPA > Summaries of legislation > The regulations governing political parties and rules regarding their funding at European level
  9. ^ The European Commission > PreLex > COM (2007) 364 : 2007/0130/COD
  10. ^ EU legislation summaries - The regulations governing political parties and rules regarding their funding at European level
  11. ^ Press Release IP/07/1953, Brussels, 18 December 2007
  12. ^ a b c "Top Stories from the European Parliament 2004-2009", date not specified, from
  13. ^ a b c "Invitations to tender, contracts, grants: List of grants awarded in 2005", 30 March 2006, from
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Grants from the European Parliament to political parties at European level 2004-2013", March 2013, from, retrieved 8 January 2014
  15. ^ Party was known as the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party until 10 November 2012.
  16. ^ Far-right European parties forge alliance,, 2009-10-25, A handful of European nationalist political parties have formed an alliance to represent them in Brussels... ... Negotiations are underway with like-minded Austrian, British, Spanish and Portuguese parties. 
  17. ^ a b "Grants from the European Parliament to political parties at European level 2004-2011", 9 July 2011, from
  18. ^ "EU far-right groups to form party" from BBC News, Friday, 25 January 2008
  19. ^ "FPÖ to help form pan-European right-wing umbrella party" from Wiener Zeitung, Friday, 25 January 2008
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b "Ganley registers Libertas as a European political party" from the Irish Times, Saturday 1 November 2008
  22. ^ The Prague Declaration
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Why I am going to the European Court
  26. ^ Pan-European political parties
  27. ^ Order of the Court of First Instance of 11 July 2005 in Case T-13/04: Jens-Peter Bonde and Others v European Parliament and Council of the European Union
  28. ^ Case C-338/05 P: Appeal brought on 19 September 2005 by le Front National and Others against the judgment delivered on 11 July 2005 by the Court of First Instance of the European Communities (Second Chamber) in Case T-17/04 between Le Front National and Others and the European Parliament and the Counsel of the European Union
  29. ^ Case C-338/05 P: Order of the Court of 13 July 2006 — Front National and Others v European Parliament and Council of the European Union

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
  • Results of the 2004 European Parliament elections by political party at European level
  • Europe United Party's official web page
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