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“The term ‘Euro-parties’ means:
transnational, extra-parliamentary federations of national political parties
from several EU Member States, united by political affinity. These
organizations are therefore not identical with political groups in the EP,
although they closely cooperate with one another. The two biggest and most well
known euro-parties are the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Party
of European Socialists (PES)”. (,

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Article 10, paragraph 4
of the Treaty of the European Union states that “Political parties at European
level contribute to forming a European political conscience and to expressing
the will of the citizens of the Union.” (, 2018)2

Euro-parties are
regulated and supported economically by the European Union and are not made up
by individuals but, they are composed by national parties.

They campaign during the
European elections and express themselves within the European parliament by their affiliated political groups and their European Parliament members.

Euro-parties, coordinate
themselves with their affiliated heads of state and government, in this way
they are able to influence the decision-making process of the European Council.

They also work closely
and co-ordinate with their affiliated members
of the European commission and, according to the Lisbon Treaty, the Euro-party that wins the European elections has the
right to nominate its candidate for Presidency of the European Commission
to the European Council.

biggest and most important Euro-parties are the “Party of European Socialists”
and the “European People’s Party”.

The party of European Socialists was established in
1992 and it represents social democratic values. It is made of national-level
parties from all the member states of the European Union, plus Norway, and it
includes major parties such as the Italian Democratic Party and the British
Labour Party. Euro-parties are at the core of the potential democratization of European
governance and their progress is extremely important in order to create a
strong supranational representation. However, Euro-parties have not always
successfully shaped the European governance and policy.


The Social Democratic Party apparently is the one that
is facing the most of the problems among the Euro-parties. According to some
scholars, it seems that its autonomy is being limited by three complementary and interrelated
forces. The reasons of this restricted autonomy will follow.

“due to the nature of the European Union system,
and its lack of left–right politics that tends to dominate in the nation
states, EU-level party differences and left–right political contestation have
long been submerged by the general quest for consensus and compromise. This
produces a situation where policy making at the EU level can be characterized as
policy without politics” (Külahci
and Lightfoot, 2014)3.

Secondly, “because PES lacks the political weight to fully coordinate member party
policies on socio-economic issues and to articulate a coherent vision for the
EU. To some
extent the party coherence is dictated by internal rules and procedures. The
PES is made up of 32 full member parties and as a result of this size it can
feel like an artificial construct – a party of parties” (Külahci and Lightfoot, 2014)4


And thirdly “because of Collective
action problems related to manifesto conception and implementation” (Külahci and Lightfoot,2014)5. A common manifesto is important because it allows
the Euro-parties to exhibit its own line of action, and its own ideas for the
future of Europe, but again in this case, the PES is not able to formulate
detailed and coherent policies, not managing the ideological differences within
the party.  On
the one hand the difficulty they faced was to propose interesting policies to
the voters, on the other hand the difficulty was to maintain unity among the
Euro-parties. For
example, within the PES there was harsh debate about fiscal policy, in fact,
they could not find an agreement on a EU fiscal policy, so the PES campaigned
on ‘ending tax havens, tax avoidance scams and tax evasion’. At the end they
tried to keep the facade of unity.
(Külahci and Lightfoot, 2014)


Accessed 12 Jan. 2018



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