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The formation of political groups in the European Parliament


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Piotr Tosiek

The formation of political groups in

the European Parliament

Annales Universitatis Mariae Curie-Skłodowska. Sectio K, Politologia 8, 41-53



U N I V E R S I T A T I S M A R I A E C U R I E - S K Ł O D O W S K A L U B L I N - P O L O N I A


Z akład Stosunków M iędzynarodowych W ydział Politologii U M CS


The form ation o f political groups in the European Parliament

Tworzenie g rup politycznych w Parlamencie Europejskim

The European Parliament is a place where the cooperation of political parties from fifteen EU countries is required. More than a hundred parties have to find a way to be present at the European political scene. It would be difficult for the Parliament to have a real vote in the EU institutional structure if there were so many actors within. Thus, political groups - sometimes called “factions” - are formed.

Political groups have to operate in a very specific background whose m ain feature is m ultinationality and transnationality o f participants who m ust look for the right form s o f cooperation. The creation of factions is different from the form ation of party clubs in national parliam ents.

The aim o f this article is to give very general inform ation about the analysed p roblem 1 by presenting three aspects o f form ation o f political groups. The first is the form al aspect with its practical results, the second one focuses on the internal structure o f factions and the third on decision-making within them.


In this section the analysis comprises formal principles governing the formation of political groups, the presentation of special facilities offered to the groups, two practical patterns o f the creation o f factions rooted in formal solutions.

1 A strict empirical analysis o f the activity o f political groups one can find in: P. Tosiek,

Funkcjonowanie grup politycznych w Parlamencie Europejskim ( analiza ilościowa ) , “ Studia E uropejs­


Basic regulations dealing with the creation of political groups are not included into the E U prim ary law but arise from the Rules of Procedure o f the E uropean Parliam ent (R P).2 C hapter V of this document (Political Groups - a r t . 29-31) is of a vital im portance.

M em bers o f the E uropean Parliam ent (M EPs) m ay form themselves into groups according to their political affinities (art. 29.1 RP), i.e. there is no formal ground to create a faction on another basis (e.g., the national one).

A nother problem is the m inim um o f membership. The Rules o f Procedure state th at “ a political group m ust comprise members from m ore than one mem ber state“ . T he faction m ay be formed on the following conditions:

* there should be at least 23 deputies if they come from two member states; * 18 - if they com e from three m em ber states;

* 14 - if they come from four or m ore mem ber states (art. 29.2 RP). The m inim um o f m em bership is the m ain stim ulator o f the creation of political groups. T he reason to include this rule is to reach the high level of cohesion of the EP via lim itation o f the num ber of political factions.

A m em ber o f the EP m ay n ot belong to m ore than one group (art. 29.3 RP). The President o f the EP shall be notified in a special statem ent when a political group is set up. This statem ent shall specify the name o f the group, its members and its Bureau (art. 29.4 RP). T he statem ent shall be published in the “ Official Journal o f the E uropean Com m unities” (art. 29.5 RP).

The Rules o f Procedure give political groups m any prerogatives which are connected with the com position of the Parliam ent governing bodies and committees, plenary sittings etc. In this context the position of the Conference of Presidents should be m entioned. This body is responsible for the agenda of plenary sittings and consists o f the EP President and the chairmen of political groups. Decisions are taken by a consensus but where it cannot be reached, the m atter shall be p u t to a vote subject to a weighting based on the num ber of m em bers in each political group (art. 23 RP). Thus, the role o f the biggest factions is strongly expressed.

The activity o f political groups is financed by the Parliam ent’s budget. The am ount o f the m oney granted depends on the num ber o f members who belong to each faction. The funds are divided into three parts: expenses of the staff o f the groups, expenses connected with political activity and inform ation services. A part from this direct help the room s in the EP seat and some technical facilities are also offered to the groups. The costs of the functioning o f factions are equal approxim ately 10 per cent of the annual EP budget (in 1994 twenty million E C U ).3

2 European Parliament. Rules o f Procedure, 14th Edition, June 1999 (as a t O ctober 2000) - WEB

Version: U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/sg/tree/en/default.htm > .


The position o f political groups is m uch stronger than the role o f non- -attached m em bers of the EP. T he latter ones are provided with a secretariat to help them in technical m atters (art. 30 R P) but their form al and real position is that of a m inim um .

The form al regulations give rise to two practical patterns of the creation o f the groups.4 T he first one focuses on the ideological basis: a faction is formed when national political parties have similar manifestoes, represent the same political families etc. The biggest groups like C hristian Dem ocrats or Socialists have been founded according to this model.

The second p attern is rooted in the Rules of Procedure and expresses the will to influence EP policy while com m on ideological platform is absent or very weak. This m odel - called “ organisational” one - is adopted by small factions. T he best examples in the history o f the European Paliam ent were so-called “ technical groups” which consisted o f M EPs from different political wings and had no com m on m anifesto but used the powers given by formal regulations.5

It has to be noticed, however, th at in the recent EP terms both patterns have been mixed. Large groups attract national parties - which are sometimes far from their political platform - to be m ore and m ore influential. Small factions, on the other hand, are created by the core th at is usually politically cohesive and the accessory m em bers w ho are necessary to achieve a m inimum o f mem bership to form a group.

The regulations o f the Rules o f Procedure prom ote the form ation of transnational political groups. The form al solutions aim at strengthening co-operational processes am ong political parties which come from different member states and therefore at creating long-lasting mechanisms th at m ay agregate their interests. This fact is reflected in the structure o f political factions.


The structural platform o f the analysis in this section is connected with the exploration o f the com position o f political groups. Political groups form a very complicated international political structures. This fact dem ands a special internal organisation th at takes into account transnational and m ulti-party character o f these groups.

Each group has its own rules and regulations (“ statutes” ) but in practice there are m any sim ilar o r even identical solutions. Every group is a hierarchical

4 S. Hix, Ch. L ord, Political Parties in the European Union, London 1997, pp. 94-96. 5 The Technical G ro u p o fln d ep en d en t M em bers (TD I) is one of the factions in the present EP term (see below).


organisation th at consists o f the Bureau, the President, D eputy Presidents, T reasurer, w orking groups and the Secretariat.6

The Bureau is com posed o f the President, D eputy Presidents, the Treasurer and the M em bers o f the Bureau. The shape o f this body depends on the size of a faction and the num ber o f parties which form this faction. F o r instance, in the biggest group (PPE-D E) the following deputies are included: the President, D eputy Presidents, the T reasurer, m em bers of the group who are also the m em bers o f Parliam ent’s Bureau, chairm en o f the EP committees, chairmen of interparliam entary delegations, chairmen o f the working groups, heads of national delegations and one co-opted mem ber for every ten members of a national delegation.7

The powers o f the Bureaux are regulated in the statutes o f the groups. Generally, they refer to the preparation o f political discussions within the factions and position papers o f the groups at Parliam entary forum, decision­ -making dealing with the m anagem ent o f the groups and their secretariats.8 The m ain way to m ake a decision in the Bureau is consensus.

The Presidents o f factions are elected by members o f a group and represent them in the EP Conference of Presidents. The duties of the President include coordination o f professional activity o f the faction but his political role depends m ainly on his personality. The m ajority o f groups have a single President. However, there are three factions with double or even triple Presidency (Verts/ALE: tw o Co-Presidents, TD I: three Co-Presidents, ED D : three C o-Presidents).9 The latter solutions aim at achieving high internal cohesion.

D eputy Presidents are usually the leaders o f national party delegations (there are differences in the num ber o f D eputy Presidents in each group). Their role is to help the President in his duties. Every group has its own Treasurer who is responsible for financial coordination o f current activity o f a group. In order to include into the Bureau the representatives o f all political parties which form the faction the institution of a M em ber o f the Bureau has been created. Smaller factions usually do n ot have such posts.

The w orking groups within the factions play an im portant professional role as preparatory bodies. They consist o f deputies-experts who coordinate the work o f deputies in the EP committees. F o r instance the PPE-DE G roup has four w orking groups (A: foreign affairs, development, legal questions; B: economy, employment, regions, w om en’s rights; C: budget, agriculture, fisheries; D: citizens’ rights, culture, environm ent). Their conclusions are m ade known to the

e F. Jacobs, R. C orbett, M . Shackleton, op. cit., p. 87; S. Hix, Ch. Lord, op. cit., p. 61. 7 U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/ppe/tree/group/en/default.htm > .

8 F. Jacobs, R. C orbett, M . Shackleton, op. cit., p. 87.


whole faction, which then decides what position to adopt in plenary sessions of the E P .10

Each and every political group has its own staff (the Secretariat) whose size depends on the num ber o f the m em bers o f a faction and languages which are used within the group. T he num ber o f officers cannot exceed the num ber o f deputies who belong to the group. T he m ain p art is the provisional staff recruited by the group or a single М ЕР. T he duties o f the staff include organisation o f the current activity of the Bureau and the whole group, representatives o f the group in the EP committees as well as public relations.11

The m ost im p o rtan t element within political groups are national delegations which represent single national political parties. Their position is regulated in the statutes o f each faction. Some delegations are assured form al representation in the Bureau o f the group o r the EP governing bodies. Large national delegations elect their own President, Treasurer etc. Sometimes they have their own staff and thus form a kind o f sub-groups within the groups (Table 1).

Table 1. Political and national structure o f the EP (October 2000)

В D K D G R E F 1R I L N L A P SF s U K Total PPE-DE 6 1 53 9 28 21 5 34 2 9 7 9 5 7 37 233 PSE 5 3 32 9 24 22 1 16 2 6 7 12 3 6 30 178 ELDR 5 6 - - 3 - 1 8 1 8 - - 5 4 10 51 Verts/ALE 7 - 7 - 4 9 2 2 1 4 2 - 2 2 6 48 GUE/NGL - 1 6 7 4 11 - 6 - 1 - 2 1 3 - 42 UEN - 1 - - - 12 6 9 - - - 2 - - - 30 TDI 2 - - - - 5 - 11 - - - 18 EDD - 4 - - - 6 - - - 3 - - - - 3 16 N1 - - - - 1 1 - 1 - - 5 - - - 1 9 Total 25 16 98 25 64 87 15 87 6 31 21 25 16 22 87 625 Source: U R L < http://wwwdb.europearl.eu.int/ep5/owa/p_meps2.repartition?ilg=EN> .

In the fifth term o f the E uropean Parliam ent there are eight political groups (as at O ctober 2000). They differ from one another as for the num ber and size of national delegations. The review o f their com position is the next p art of this section.

The biggest faction - G roup o f the European People’s Party (Christian D em ocrats) and E uropean D em ocrats (PPE-DE) - was founded in 1953 as the Christian D em ocrat G ro up and then changed its nam e several times. The PPE-D E G ro u p consists o f 233 representatives of twenty-nine parties from fifteen EU countries. Its President is H ans-G ert Poettering (G erm any/C D U ) (Table 2).

10 U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/ppe/tree/group/en/grouptra.htm > . 11 See also: F. Jacobs, R. C orbett, M . Shackleton, op. cit., pp. 87-89.


T able 2. Political structure of the PPE-D E G roup

N ational Party Country Abbreviation

Christelijke V olkspartij Belgium CVP

Parti Social Chretien Belgium PSC

Christliche Soziale Partei Belgium CSP

D et K onservative F olkeparti D enm ark С

C hristlich-D em okratische U nion Germ any CD U

Christlich-Soziale U nion G erm any CSU

N ea D im okratia Greece N D

P artido Popular Spain PP

Unio D em ocratica de C atalunya Spain U D C

D ém ocratie Liberale France DL

Rassem blem ent p o u r la Republique France RPR

Nouvelle U nion p o u r la D ém ocratie Française France Nouvelle U D F

Fine Gael Ireland FG

C entro C ristiano D em ocratici Italy CCD

C ristiano D em ocratici Uniti Italy CDU

F orza Italia Italy FI

Partito Pensionati Italy

-Partito Popolare Italiano Italy PPI

R innovam ento Italiano Italy RI

Südtiroler V olkspartei Italy SVP

U nione D em ocratici per l’E u ro p a Italy U .D . EUR

Parti Chretien Social Luxembourg PCS-CSV

Christen D em okratisch Appel Netherlands CDA

österreichische Volkspartei Austria ÖVP

P artido Social D em ocrata Portugal PSD

K ansallinen K okoom us Finland K O K

M o deratem a Sweden M

K ristdem okratem a Sweden _

Conservative and U nionist Party UK Cons.

Source: U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/ppe/tree/site/en/default.htm > .

The second biggest f a c tio n -G ro u p o f the Party o f European Socialists (PSE) - was founded in 1953 as the Socialist G roup and then changed its name. The PSE G ro u p is com posed o f 178 m em bers who represent eighteen national parties from fifteen E U countries. Its President is Enrique Baron Crespo (Spain/PSOE) (Table 3).

Three biggest groups (PPE-D E, PSE, E L D R ) are connected with three transnational E u ro p ean political parties: European People’s Party, Party of E uropean Socialists and E uropean Liberal, Dem ocratic and Reform Party. T ransnational parties are in fact federations of national parties which cooperate at the E uropean level. They are composed o f groups coming not only from the EU states but also from candidate countries. Their activity is to be seen at m any scenes, e.g., the Council o f E urop e.12

12 F o r m ore inform ation see: J. Smith, How European are European elections?, [in:] Political

Parties and the European Union, ed. by J. Gaffney, L ondon-N ew Y ork 1996, p. 279; S. Hix, Ch. Lord,


T able 3. Political structure o f the PSE G roup

N atio n al Party C ountry A bbreviation

Parti Socialiste Belgium PS

Socialistische Partij Belgium SP

Socialdem okratiet D enm ark A

Sozialdemokratische Partei D eutschlands G erm any SPD

Panellinio Socialistiko K inim a Greece PASOK

Partido Socialista O brero Espanol Spain PSOE

Parti Socialiste France PS

L abour Party Ireland Lab.

Dem ocratici di Sinistra Italy PDS

Socialisti D em ocratici Italiani Italy

-Parti Socialiste O uvrier Luxembourgeois Luxem bourg POSL

Partij van de A rbeid N etherlands PvdA

Sozialdemokratische Partei Ö sterreichs A ustria SPÖ

Partido Socialista Portugal PS

Suomen Sosialdem okraattinen Puolue Finland SDP

Sveriges Socialdem okratiska A rbetarepartiet Sweden SAP

L abour Party UK Lab.

Social D em ocratic and L ab o u r Party (N. Ireland) U K SD LP

Source: U R L < h ttp //:w w w .europarl.eu.int/pesEn/Contact/Fam ily/default.htm > . T able 4. Political structure o f the E LD R G roup

N atio n al Party Country A bbreviation

Parti R eform ateur Liberal Belgium PRL

Vlaamse Liberalen en D em ocraten Belgium VLD

Venstre D enm ark V

D et R adikale Venstre D enm ark RV

C onvergenda D em ocrat!ca C atalunya Spain CD C

Partito R epubblicano Italiano Italy PRI

Val d ’A osta U nion Italy

-Lega N ord Italy LN

D em okratesch Partei Luxembourg D P

D em ocraten 66 N etherlands D ’66

V olkspartij voor Vrijheid en D ém ocratie N etherlands W D

Suomen K eskusta Finland K ESK

Svenska F olkpartiet i Finland Finland SFP

Centerpartiet Sweden С

Folkpartiet L iberalem a Sweden FP

Liberal D em ocrats U K LD

Source: U R L < h ttp ://eld .eu ro p arl.eu.int./m embers.asp > .

The fourth biggest group represents the Greens and the regionalists and is called the G reens/E uropean Free Alliance (Verts/ALE). It was founded in 1989 as the G reen G roup. N ow there are 48 mem bers in the V erts/ALE G roup. They come from nineteen parties o f twelve E U countries. The group has two


Table 5. Political structure o f the V erts/A LE G roup

N atio n al Party Country Abbreviation

A nders gaan leven Belgium Agalev

Ecolo Belgium ECO LO

Volksunie Belgium VU

Bündnis 90/Die G rünen G erm any G rüne

P artido A n d a lu d sta Spain

-E usko A lkartasuna Spain

-Bloque N acionalista G alego Spain

-E usko A lderdi Jertzailea Spain

-Les Verts France

-The G reen P arty Ireland G P

Federazione dei Verdi Italy

-Dei G reng Luxembourg

-G roenL inks N etherlands

-Die G rünen Austria G rüne

Vihreä Liitto Finland V1HR

M iljopartiet De G ro n a Sweden M P

Plaid Cymru UK

-Scottish N ational Party UK SNP

T he G reen Party U K

-Source: U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/greens-efa/group/w ho/m em bersJitm > .

Co-Presidents: Heidi Anneli H au tala (Finland/V ihre Liitto) and Paul A.A .J.G. Lannoye (Belgium /ECOLO ) (Table 5).

The next group - C onfederal G roup o f the European United Left/Nordic G reen Left (G U E /N G L ) - was created in 1994. It represents communist and left-wing ecological parties. H aving 42 members from fifteen parties o f ten states G U E /N G L is the fifth largest faction in the EP. The President is Francis W urtz (France/P C F) (Table 6).

G roup o f the U nion for Europe of the N ations (U EN ) represents the M EPs who assert th at the E uropean U nion can only be built if sovereignty and national dem ocracy are respected. It was form ed in the present term o f the Parliament. The U E N G ro u p has 30 m em bers who come from five parties and five countries. The President is Charles Pasqua (F rance/R P F ) (Table 7).

The Technical G ro u p o f Independent M embers - Mixed G roup (TDI), form ed in the present term o f the EP, is composed of the M EPs whose main objective is to use the force th at is given to a political group by the EP Rules of Procedure. T he T D I G ro u p has no com m on political platform but is represented in the EP governing bodies. H aving 18 members from three parties and three countries it is n ot very influential. It has to be m entioned th at 8 members o f TD I do not come from any political party. T he T D I G roup has three Co-Presidents: G ianfranco D ell’A lba (Italy/non-party), Charles de Gaulle (France/FN ) and Francesco Enrico Speroni (Italy/ LN ) (Table 8).


T able 6. Political structure o f the G U E /N G L G roup

N ational Party Country A bbreviation

Socialistisk Folkparti D enm ark SF

Partei des D em okratischen Sozialismus G erm any PDS

D IK K I Greece

-K om m unistiko -K om m a Elladas Greece K K E

Synaspismos Greece Syn

Izquierda U nida Spain IU

Parti Com m uniste Français France PCF

Lutte Ouvrière France LO

Ligue Com m uniste R évolutionnaire France LCR

Partito dei Com m unisti Italiani Italy PdCI

Rifondazzione C om m unista Italy RC

Socialistische Partij Netherlands SP

Partido C om m unista Portugues Portugal PCP

Vasemmistoliitto Finland VAS

Vânster Partiet Sweden VP

Source: U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/gue/tree/parties/en/D efault.htm > . Table 7. Political structure o f the U EN G roup

N ational Party Country Abbreviation

D ansk Folke Parti

Rassem blem ent p o u r la France F ianna Fail

Alleanza N azionale-Patto

Centro D em ocratico Social-Partido Popular

D enm ark France Ireland Italy Portugal R PF F F AN CDS-PP Source: U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/uen/en/stru/M _stru_en.htm > .

Table 8. Political structure o f the T D I G roup

N ational Party Country Abbreviation

Vlaams Blok Belgium

-F ro n t N ational France F N

Lega N ord Italy LN

Source: U R L < http:/w w w db.europarl.eu.int/ep5/ow a/p_m eps.short_list> .

The G roup for a E urope o f Democracies and Diversities (EDD ), formed under this nam e in the present EP term , is composed of people who are critical of further E uropean integration and centralisation. The ED D G roup consists o f 16 M EPs who represent five parties (or movements) from four states. It has three Co-Presidents: Johannes (H ans) Blokland (N etherlands/R PF/SG P/G PV ), Jens Peter Bonde (D enm ark/J) and Jean Saint-Josse (France/Chasse, Peche, N ature, T raditons) (Table 9).


T able 9. Political structure o f the E D D G roup

N ational Party Country Abbreviation


Folkebevagelsen m od EU Chase, Peche, N ature, T raditions

R eform atorisch Politieke Federatie/SG P/G PV U nited K ingdom Independence Party

D enm ark D enm ark France Netherlands UK J N R PF/SG P/G PV Source: U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/edd > .

Nine M EPs are not included into any political group. They come from two political parties (or are non-party deputies) from five states. The influence of non-attached M EPs is rather small (Table 10).

Table 10. Political views o f non-attached M EPs

N ational Party Country Abbreviation

Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs D em ocratic U nionist Party

Austria UK

FPÖ D U P Source: U R L < http://w w w db.europarl.eu jnt/ep5/ow a/p_m eps.short_list> .

The internal structure o f political groups in the European Parliam ent is a specific problem as they consist o f national political parties which represent different political cultures and manifestoes. This fact is reflected in decision­ -making m echanism .


This section is to characterise a sophisticated decision-making mechanism within political groups. T he principles which govern the internal life o f factions aimed at achieving the equilibrium o f influences coming from mem ber parties of a group. M em bers o f a faction meet during a “ group-week” (when there are no plenary sittings or com m ittee meetings) or during the EP plenary sittings. The closed gatherings o f all mem bers o f a group during a “ group-week” are o f a vital im portance. They last two or three days when the position of a group at the next plenary sitting is being discussed. The M EPs who belong to national delegations or to the working groups m eet paralelly. On the other hand, the meetings during the plenary sittings are n o t so im portant and have accessory character.13

N ational party delegations play a crucial role in decision-making process. Their positions are the basis for the com m on position o f the whole faction. The


second pillar o f decision-m aking is created by working groups which prepare professional standpoints. T he p art o f so-called “ group coordinators” in the EP committees cannot be underestim ated, either.

Decision procedures during gatherings of all members create a continuum: from unanim ity in smaller groups to m ajority o f votes (PPE-DE, PSE).14 The principles o f the latter procedure are as follows:

* efforts are m ade to m ake a decision on a consensus basis (without voting) after the voice given to every national delegation;

* the institution of a “ separate vote” is often used which m eans that a national delegation th a t constitutes the m inority of the faction is allowed not to support the line o f the faction but its position m ust be motivated;

* the com prom ise is the best way to m ake a decision, e.g., the package-deal or “ strategic voting” m ethod (game theory) is put into practice in which every player has to give up some priorities in order to accomplish other goals.15

On the other hand, the leaders o f factions are strongly interested in cohesion o f the groups. Separate votes are an exceptional mechanism. Form al and informal pressures are used to achieve a high level of internal discipline. The m ost im portant form al way is to inflict a fine on а М ЕР who does not support the line o f a group. In practice, however, fines are imposed only on the deputies who do not attend the sittings of the EP. T he informal measures include deprivation of influential E P posts, exclusion from the list of speakers at plenary sittings or lim itation o f official business trip s.16 The institution of a “ whip” has been adopted from the British political system but his role is very limited. The m ain reason for this is the lack of registration o f voting results. The other one is a strong connection o f the M EPs with their national delegations. The “ group whips” can d o nothing if all the members o f a national delegation are against them .17 These are the m ain grounds for the fact th at internal cohesion o f political groups is still very problem atic. O ur empirical analysis - published elsewhere18 - has proved th at EP factions are very incohesive and tend to create very broad inter-faction coalitions.19 This is the m ain difference between national and EP party politics.

Decisions are m ade by political groups on the basis of a “committee decision-m aking” p attern explained by G. Sartori. This m odel helps in the

14 A. D um ała, Spójność grup politycznych w Parlamencie Europejskim, “ Biuletyn Europejski U M CS” , 1996, pp. 57-58.

15 S. Hix, Ch. Lord, op. cit., pp. 128,153-154; As for theoretical base for “ strategic voting” see: Z. J. Pietraś, Decydowanie polityczne, W arszaw a-K raków 1998, pp. 290-293.

16 S. Hix, Ch. L ord, op. cit., pp. 134-136.

11 F. Jacobs, R. C orbett, M . Shackleton, op. cit., p. 92. 18 P. Tosiek, op. cit., p. 101.

19 See also: F . A ttina, The voting behaviour o f the European Parliament members and the problem


creation o f “consensual decision-m aking structures” when the elites are not present or are being form ed at the m om ent.20 There is no doubt that political groups are practical counterparts o f this theoretical concept. Their m ain objective is to keep transnational political actors alive while their cohesion and influence give place to this priority.


The form ation o f political groups in the European Parliam ent is a process th at reflects specific background o f inter-party relations. N ational parties cooperate on the basis o f very strict form al regulations. They create political groups according to the three ways (ideological, organisational and mixed patterns). Decision-m aking process is rooted in a consensual mechanism where the elected governing bodies and national delegations play a crucial role.

One o f the m ost im p o rtan t factors is the lack o f an intra-group cohesion. This fact is caused m ainly by the non-existence o f the governm ent-opposition system. M oreover, the factions are composed o f fully-organised national parties which leads to the conflict o f loyalties.21 The m ain problem therefore is the balance between n ational parties and EP political groups.

The inter-party cooperation is in a long run aimed at creating all-European political parties. T heir embryoes, transnationals: PPE, PSE and E L D R , have already been existing. However, their future role depends mainly on the way that will be adopted by the E uropean U nion. A t the present stage of European integration the real E uroparties are unlikely to appear.


A ttina F ., The voting behaviour o f the European Parliament members and the problem o f the

Europarties, “ E uropean Journal o f Political Research” 1990, no. 18, pp. 557-579.

D inan D ., Ever Closer Union, L ondon 1993.

D um ała A ., Spójność grup politycznych н> Parlamencie Europejskim, “ Biuletyn Europejski U M CS” 1996, pp. 49-72.

Hix S., L ord C h., Political Parties in the European Union, London 1997. Jacobs F., C orbett R ., Shackleton M ., European Parliament, London 1995. Pietraś Z. J., Decydowanie polityczne, W arszaw a-K raków 1998.

Sartori G ., Teoria demokracji, W arszawa 1998.

Smith J., How European are European elections?, [in:] Political Parties and the European Union, ed. by J. G affney, L o n d o n -N ew Y ork 1996, pp. 275-290.

Tosiek, P., Funkcjonowanie grup politycznych w Parlamencie Europejskim (analiza ilościowa), “ Studia Europejskie” , 2000, n r 2, pp. 91-106.

20 S. H ix, Ch. L ord, op. cit., p. 130; G . Sartori, Teoria demokracji, Warszawa. 1998, pp. 281-288. 21 See also: D . D inan, Ever Closer Union, London 1993, p. 263.


I n t e r n e t U R L < http://eld.europarl.eu.int/m em bers.asp> .

U R L < http://w w w db.europarl.eu.int/ep5/ow a/p_m eps.short_list> .

U R L < http://w w w db.europarl.eu ,int/ep5/ow a/p_m eps2.repartition?ilg=EN > . U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/edd > .

U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/greens-efa/group/w ho/m em bers.htm > . U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/gue/tree/parties/en/D efault.htm > . U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/pes/E n/C ontact/Fam ily//default.htm > . U R L < http://w w w .europarl .eu.int/ppe/tree/group/en/default.htm > . U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/ppe/tree/group/en/grouptraiitm > . U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/ppe/tree/site/en/default.htm > . UR L < http://w w w .europarl .eu.int/sg/tree/en/default iitm > . U R L < http://w w w .europarl.eu.int/uen/en/stru/M _stru_en.htm > .


Parlam ent Europejski jest miejscem wymagającym współpracy ponad stu narodow ych partii politycznych. Ł ączą się one w grupy polityczne, nazywane także frakcjami. Sposób tw orzenia tych struktur - z uwagi n a wielo- i transnarodow ość - odbiega w znacznym stopniu od pow staw ania klubów parlam entarnych w legislatywach krajow ych. Pierwszą płaszczyzną analizy tworzenia frakcji w PE jest poziom form alny, związany z wymaganiami stawianymi przez Regulamin Parlam entu Europejskiego, które sprawiają, że w praktyce grupy pow stają według dwóch podstawow ych wzorców: ideologicznego oraz organizacyjnego. D ruga płaszczyzna badawcza odnosi się d o poziom u strukturalnego. W szystkie frakcje posiadają zbliżoną wewnętrzną strukturę zarządzającą, a p o d ­ stawową rolę odgryw ają w niej delegacje narodow ych partii politycznych. Trzeci poziom analizy dotyczy procesów podejm ow ania decyzji w ewnątrz frakcji. M echanizmy decyzyjne wynikają z wymagań form alnych i struktury grup, a ich podstaw ow ą cechą jest wysoki stopień konsensualno- ści. Przyszłość ogólnoeuropejskich partii politycznych, których zalążkami są grupy polityczne w Parlamencie Europejskim , zależy w wielkim stopniu od kierunku rozwoju, jaki przyjmie U nia Europejska jak o całość.


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