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European View - Volume 3 - Spring 2006 Transnational Parties and European Democracy

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    European View - Volume 3 - Spring 2006 Transnational Parties and European Democracy European View - Volume 3 - Spring 2006 Transnational Parties and European Democracy Document Transcript

    • E uropEan V iEw Volume 3 - Spring 2006TransnaTional ParTies and euroPean democracy Wilfried Martens Editorial • Jan Peter Balkenende European Va- lues and Transnational Cooperation as Cornerstones of Our Fu- ture European Union • Luciano Bardi EU Enlargement, Euro- pean Parliament Elections and Transnational Trends in European Parties • José de Venecia The Expansion of International Party Coo- peration: CDI Creating Bonds among Asian Centrist Parties • Afonso Dhalakama Political Parties in Africa as Instruments of Democracy • David Hanley Keeping it in the Family? Natio- nal Parties and the Transnational Experience • Thomas Jansen The Emergence of a Transnational European Party System • Kostas Karamanlis European Parties and Their Role in Building De- mocracy: The Case of the Western Balkans • Ernst Kuper Towards a European Political Public: The Role of Transnational European Parties • Robert Ladrech The Promise and Reality of Euro-par- ties • Doris Leuthard The Swiss Referendum: A Political Mo- del for the European Union? • Gutenberg Martínez Ocamica Par- ty Cooperation between Continents: ODCA and a Proposal for the EPP • Annemie Neyts The Evolution and Function of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party • John Palmer The Future of European Union Political Parties • Hans-Gert Pöttering The EPP and the EPP-ED Group: Success through Synergy • Poul Nyrup Rasmussen The Future of the Party of European Socialists • Fredrik Reinfeldt Eu- ropean Parties and Party Cooperation: A Personal View • Ivo Sanader Transnational Parties in Regional Cooperation: The Impact of the EPP on Central and South-East Europe • Justus Schönlau European Party Statute: Filling the Half-full Glass? • Steven Van Hecke On the Road towards Transnational Parties in Europe: Why and How the European People’s Party Was Founded • Andreas von Gehlen Two Steps to Euro- pean Party Democracy • Alexis Wintoniak Uniting the Centre-right of Europe: The Result of Historical Developments and Political Leadership A Journal of the Forum for European Studies
    • EUROPEAN VIEW European View is a journal of the Forum for European Studies, published by the European People’s Party. European View is a biannual publication that tackles the entire spectrum of Europe’s political, economic, social and cultural developments. European View is an open forum for academics, experts and decision-makers across Europe to debate and exchange views and ideas. EDITORIAL BOARD Chairman: Wilfried Martens, President of the European People’s Party, former Prime Minister, Belgium Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister, Sweden Elmar Brok, Member of the European Parliament, Germany John Bruton, former Prime Minister, Ireland Mário David, Member of Parliament, Portugal Vicente Martínez-Pujalte López, Member of Parliament, Spain Loyola de Palacio, former Vice-President of the European Commission, Spain Chris Patten, former Member of the European Commission, United Kingdom Jan Petersen, former Foreign Minister, Norway Hans-Gert Pöttering, Chairman of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, Germany Alexander Stubb, Member of the European Parliament, Finland József Szájer, Vice-Chairman of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, Hungary Andrej Umek, former Minister for Science and Technology, Slovenia Per Unckel, former Minister of Education and Science, Sweden Yannis Valinakis, Deputy Foreign Minister, Greece ADVISORY BOARD Antonio López-Istúriz, Christian Kremer, Luc Vandeputte, Kostas Sasmatzoglou, Ingrid Goossens, Guy Volckaert EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tomi Huhtanen Assistant Editors: Galina Fomenchenko, Mélanie Dursin, Marvin DuBois, Maureen Epp, Richard Ratzlaff, John Lunn For editorial inquiries please contact: European View Editor-in-Chief Rue d’Arlon 67 1040 Brussels email: thuhtanen@epp-eu.org Tel. +32 2 285 41 49 Fax. +32 2 285 41 41 Url: www.epp-eu.org/europeanview The Forum for European Studies is a think-tank dedicated to Christian Democrat and like-minded political values, which is engaged in open, comprehensive and analytical debate. European View and its publishers assume no responsibility for facts or opinions expressed in this publication. Articles are subject to editing and final approval by the Editorial Board. This publication is partly funded by the European Parliament.2 European View
    • cONtENts• Editorial ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................5 Wilfried Martens• European Values and Transnational Cooperation as Cornerstones of Our Future European Union ......................................................................................................................................................................7 Jan Peter Balkenende• EU Enlargement, European Parliament Elections and Transnational Trends in European Parties.............................................................................................................................................................................13 Luciano Bardi• The Expansion of International Party Cooperation: CDI Creating Bonds among Asian Centrist Parties .........................................................................................................................................................................21 José de Venecia• Political Parties in Africa as Instruments of Democracy...........................................................................................31 Afonso Dhalakama• Keeping it in the Family? National Parties and the Transnational Experience....................................................................................................35 David Hanley• The Emergence of a Transnational European Party System ...................................................................................45 thomas Jansen• European Parties and Their Role in Building Democracy: The Case of the Western Balkans .......57 Kostas Karamanlis• Towards a European Political Public: The Role of Transnational European Parties ............................63 Ernst Kuper• The Promise and Reality of Euro-parties ..............................................................................................................................73 Robert Ladrech• The Swiss Referendum: A Political Model for the European Union? ..................................................................81 Doris Leuthard• Party Cooperation between Continents: ODCA and a Proposal for the EPP ...............................................87 Gutenberg Martínez Ocamica• The Evolution and Function of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party .............................93 Annemie Neyts• The Future of European Union Political Parties...........................................................................................................101 John Palmer• The EPP and the EPP-ED Group: Success through Synergy..................................................................................111 Hans-Gert Pöttering• The Future of the Party of European Socialists ..............................................................................................................121 Poul Nyrup Rasmussen 3 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • • European Parties and Party Cooperation: A Personal View ................................................................................129 Fredrik Reinfeldt • Transnational Parties in Regional Cooperation: The Impact of the EPP on Central and South-East Europe...................................................................................................................................................................135 Ivo sanader • European Party Statute: Filling the Half-full Glass? ...................................................................................................143 Justus schönlau • On the Road towards Transnational Parties in Europe:Why and How the European People’s Party Was Founded .......................................................................................................................................................153 steven Van Hecke • Two Steps to European Party Democracy ..........................................................................................................................161 Andreas von Gehlen • Uniting the Centre-right of Europe: The Result of Historical Developments and Political Leadership...........................................................................................................................................................................173 Alexis Wintoniak • ANNEx The EU regulation governing political parties at European level and the rules regarding their funding .........................................................................................................................................................................................1794 European View
    • Wilfried Martens Editorial By Wilfried MartensOne year after the French and only if two conditions are met. First,Dutch referenda on the European European parties must propose validConstitution, the potent political answers in the ongoing debate onmessage of its rejection continues the identity, the development andto resound: Europe will not be the borders of the EU of the future.shaped automatically. As long as Second, to put those answers intothe European Union cannot count on a greater action, European parties must have sufficientdegree of support from its citizens, it will input into the European decision-makingremain a fragile edifice. Established by treaties, process; the parties must also be provided withthe institutions of the European Union cannot, the necessary legal and financial foundation forby their nature, fully and flexibly respond to playing their role at the European level.the challenge of this unique moment in thehistory of the European Union. The only way In order to justify their existence, the Europeanto ensure the success of our common European political parties are obliged to continuouslyfuture is for European political leaders and develop alternative policies which can stimulatetheir political parties to take full responsibility the unification process. It is up to us, thefor this challenge and show the way forward European politicians, to come up with afor Europe. In order to carry out this task, the comprehensible plan for Europe’s developmentpolitical parties at the European level have for and deepening and also to communicate thisyears been developing their role, transforming plan clearly to the citizens of Europe. Shapingthemselves from umbrella organizations to a clear vision for Europe is the commondynamic actors in European politics, not only responsibility of all European parties. Most ofthrough European elections, but also in all other the European level parties are committed toaspects of European political life. providing new impetus to Europe. But goodwill is not sufficient. For a political party, it isToday, European parties are actively engaged, at necessary to count quantitatively if it is to haveall levels, in the major institutions of the EU: the sufficient weight in the current decision-makingCouncil, Commission, Parliament, Committee of process to implement its vision: few things areRegions, etc. For example, the European People’s possible without political parties.Party (EPP) organises its own summit of headsof government and opposition leaders prior to Transnational European parties, some of whicheach European Council summit. Such informal have been in existence for many years, havemeetings are also taking place at the various gone through different stages of development.other levels of the EU. These meetings are For example, the process of integrating newbecoming increasingly important for European member parties into the EPP was essential, ifpolitical development as the EU becomes more highly controversial. How else was the EPP tomultidimensional and parallel political dynamics escape marginalisation? How else would the EPPin different EU Member States need to be taken have been able to make the kind of differenceto account. it has made—I think particularly of our initiative in establishing the European Convention andBut political parties can succeed in this huge the EPP’s subsequent vital participation? Howtask of convincing European citizens of the else will it be able to go on making a difference,importance of our common European future today and in the future? 5 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Editorial Transnational parties, by definition, have to legal. Henceforth, abuses or the improper use undergo a profound debate on the matter of public funds will be almost impossible. The of their core principles. For the EPP, being a work is far from finished, however, as a full select but weak club of so-called pure Christian fledged ‘statute’ for European level parties is not Democrats, isolated from a separate conservative yet complete. force—a situation that could only have had the effect of weakening our own position and that of Together with the changing European political the centre-right as a whole—was no real option. system, the role of European parties is changing ‘Unity in diversity’ remained—and remains—the and becoming more important. European parties motto that the EPP needs to implement. Thus I did play an essential role in facilitating and even fully accept the process of opening up the EPP managing EU enlargement; now their role has to other traditions. This has to be managed with been highlighted by the challenges Europe a measure of caution; it is necessary to maintain is facing. This development is not limited to the identity of the EPP itself. When Europe is Europe. changing, however, European political parties need to change as well. Regional cooperation between parties from different countries is growing on other continents. Apart from the particular situation in which the Global party cooperation is becoming both richer EPP finds itself today, I am quite convinced that in content and greater in importance. Decision- all political parties at the European level find makers, the media and academics are showing themselves in a better position to exercise their a growing interest in the newly developing role huge responsibility than they were in 15 years of transnational parties. In this new context, ago. This is due primarily to the improvement European parties and their evolution are on the of the legal and financial basis on which they front line of a phenomenon which, I believe, can build their organisation and develop their may one day become an example for global activities. political development. Thanks to the Regulation on European level Political Parties,1 political parties can now count on public funding. They have legal status, Wilfried Martens is the President of the European through obtaining legal personality in the People’s Party. country where they are registered. This should be considered a great step forward in building a European political space with real transnational parties. A strong impetus has been given to the Europeanisation of the democratic party system and the politicising of the European decision- making process. Thus the EPP has had legal personality since 2004 and receives public funds directly from the European Parliament—a minimum amount and additional funds a rato based on the percentage of votes it receives—as do all the other recognised European level parties. The system is now transparent and completely 1 No 2004/2003 of the Council and the European Parliament of November 2003.6 European View
    • Jan Peter Balkenende European Values and Transnational Cooperation as Cornerstones of Our Future European Union By Jan Peter Balkenende In a comparatively integration has come to a standstill. Personally, short space of time, the I don’t believe that at all. The majority of European Union has Europeans—including the ‘no’ voters—support undergone tremendous European integration. Polls have shown that, change and has been in many areas, EU citizens want even closer confronted with chal- cooperation than their governments arelenges that are unique in its relatively short ready for—for instance, in the fight againsthistory. Since the turn of the millennium, the international terrorism. There can be no doubtUnion has expanded significantly (it now that, even without a Constitution, the EU willaccounts for over a quarter of the world’s GNP) continue to exist and seek solutions that serveand made a huge success of the reunification the interests of its own people and the rest ofof the European continent. It has also altered the world. Fortunately we are still managingits role and position within a changing global to make progress on key issues, like the dealarena, with countries like China and India on on the new financial perspectives for the nextthe rise and challenges ahead such as energy seven years and on the start of accession talkssupply. At the same time, it has recently had to with Turkey.face up to terrorist attacks and growing internaldifferences, and it was unable to convince its The European Union will emerge from this periodcitizens to take the next step towards a closer of reflection even stronger if we have the courageUnion by accepting the proposed Constitutional to communicate more openly and honestly withTreaty. each other. Our future Europe will be shaped by civil society, business, NGOs, and cultural andAfter the French and Dutch rejection of the academic entities, not just by politicians andTreaty, the Member States agreed to a period of policymakers in Europe’s capitals and Brussels’reflection during which all these different and institutions. European values and transnationaldiverse developments could be given proper cooperation will become a central theme.consideration, so that European citizens couldbe given a sound and satisfactory response. current state of affairsIt is already clear that this response will dealwith not just traditional policy-oriented, top- At the start of the twenty-first century, it is cleardown political initiatives, but also a new way of that the concept of partly sharing sovereignty‘communicating Europe’ by giving the people with a supranational organisation (the Europeana more central role in the debate. ‘The people’ Commission), combined with upholdinghave often been absent in the elitist European intergovernmental primacy in other fields, hasdecision-making of the past decades. That will been successful. Even the harshest critics of thenot be possible anymore. EU have to concede that the seeds of peace, freedom, prosperity and stability have taken rootFar from being the end of the road, the Union’s across the European continent. In fact, despitecurrent impasse is therefore in fact a new the current political debate within the EU,beginning. Some people have concluded from the winds of change are blowing these seedsthe French and Dutch ‘no’ votes that European further eastward into Turkey and the Balkans. 7 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • European Values and Transnational Cooperation as Cornerstones of Our Future European Union More recently we have seen positive results in integration matters. The ever-increasing Ukraine and Georgia as well. You could call it influence of EU decision-making and legislation the post-modern European dynamic: differences is recognised by the public; but the politically at all levels are settled at the negotiating table, elitist method of reaching agreement, which has not on the battlefield. We have been there and grown historically, needs to be revised in this do not want to go there ever again. This principle new era: people want more public involvement is already endorsed by twenty-five Member and information. States with a combined population of over 455 million—with more countries yet to come. The other debate centres on the sharing of Together they constitute not just an economic, power and sovereignty within the Union. The but also a democratic space in which people European Union is not a ‘superstate’. It is based can move and trade freely. For me personally, on the principle of subsidiarity. This means this is Europe’s greatest achievement. that decisions are taken at the closest possible level of government to the public: wherever However, this should not lead to complacency possible at local or national level, and only and a passive approach to European issues. The at international level when the scale of the French and Dutch ‘no’ votes were clear signals to problem calls for joint action. So the European continue and intensify our public debate on the Union should not concern itself with the content future of Europe. Both highlighted a change in of education, social security and tax policy. But the public’s attitude towards Europe. The desire it does exist to deal with state aid to businesses for peace and stability is no longer a convincing and environmental standards for cars. In a argument for further European integration. Sixty common market, these issues transcend national years is apparently such a long time that we have boundaries. If effective action can be taken at begun to take peace and prosperity for granted. local or national level, the European Union does Similar processes can, to a lesser extent, be not need to be involved. It only needs to act if witnessed in Central and Eastern Europe, even a transnational approach is the only solution. though the memory of oppression is still fresh. Member States must formulate a clear overview This approach is clearly no longer sufficient. of the current distribution of power, including Here, the Union is faced with a dilemma. In a the possibility of ‘renationalising’ some parts of way the EU has fallen victim to its own success: traditional ‘European’ policies. people do recognise the added value of closer European cooperation in a globalising world, The relatively positive outcome of the but they no longer accept the way the European Eurobarometer and other polls after the Dutch project is being communicated to them. ‘no’ vote is one of the reasons why I’m convinced that these negative referendum results stemmed A similar development can be seen in the from developments beneath the surface, which Netherlands. Despite the result in the Dutch had been neglected by too many decision- referendum, more than three-quarters of Dutch makers for far too long. We have had a rude people still answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘do awakening, but it may have been just the wake- you support EU membership?’ The question up call we needed. From this positive starting for Dutch citizens seems to be not whether the point, we shouldn’t blame each other or force European Union should continue to widen and Member States to take a specific position, but deepen, but how this should be done. Two think about how we can make the most of this different debates are important here. The first opportunity for reflection and reform. In the centres on the very policy-oriented way political following paragraphs I would like to give an decision-makers have communicated with the outline of my own view of where the Union public over the last few decades on European currently stands.8 European View
    • Jan Peter BalkenendeWhat is at stake? for the EU, from six Member States to twenty- five. But how many Dutchmen or Britons couldAt a time of rapid globalisation, in order to find Slovenia on a map? And what percentageremain successful, nations have to act together of Slovaks know where Belgium is? Moreover,even more intensively than before. We can immigrants now make up 10% of the Dutchonly combat terrorism and international crime population. In the cities, half of all young peopleby joining forces. We can only secure jobs and are the children of newcomers. We see the sameprosperity through economic cooperation and by ethnic and cultural diversity in France, Belgium,making rules that create the same opportunities Germany, the Baltic States and elsewhere.for all. We can only avoid the dangers of climate In other words, people don’t feel European.change and rising sea levels by taking joint Europe is perceived as an abstract construct, asaction. We can only tackle air and water pollution being distant and not representing the wishesby acting together. Countries cannot solve these of the people.problems on their own: transnational challengesrequire transnational solutions. Diversity is a good thing; it enriches society. However, it has a downside as well: it can leadIt is in our common interest to push Europe to uncertainty and conflicting ideas. Sometimesbeyond simply the consolidation of national it even leads to distrust and, as we have sadlyvested interests. We should pursue the reforms witnessed, to violence. It’s not just the diversityneeded, display solidarity with less prosperous of countries within the Union that has grown.people both inside and outside the EU, and listen Diversity within the Member States themselvesbetter and communicate more transparently has also increased dramatically. As I said at thewith our citizens. The Union should do so along Collège d’Europe in Bruges in April last year,two lines. our challenge now is not preventing countries from drifting apart, but preventing people fromThe EU must intensify and improve its drifting apart.implementation of the policies that will guideus through the coming decades. These are It is interesting to note that one of the EU’spolicies in the areas of research, innovation, founding fathers, Jean Monnet, mentioned thisinternational environmental issues, immigration, important element of successful integration. Heenergy (supply and security) and the fight understood two things quite clearly. First, peaceagainst transnational crime—indeed, all policy demands our constant attention, even in timesareas that stem from a globalising world and of peace and prosperity. For this idea Monnetthat, by their very nature, call for a transnational is often quoted and praised. However, he putapproach. However, this policy-oriented forward a second very important element asapproach is at best only part of the solution, well: conflicts and violence can only be resolvedif not part of the problem. I’m fully convinced if nations move beyond nationalism. Lastingthat the current debate on the future of Europe peace only has a chance if Member States andgoes deeper. nations are willing and able to cooperate and build something that stands above borders:The European Union’s tremendous economic transnational cooperation as a cornerstone forgrowth has made it possible to spread prosperity lasting European integration. His words are asand stability to the new Member States. At the true today as they were half a century ago.same time it has led to an increase in cultural,political and social diversity. As this diversity There is also another factor in the mix. Myhas grown, it has weakened people’s sense generation—the baby boom generation—grewof belonging to a larger whole. The last few up with an image of Europe as an economicdecades have been a time of spectacular growth enterprise: a business partnership. Far less 9 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • European Values and Transnational Cooperation as Cornerstones of Our Future European Union was said about the other side of European need Europeans.” We have learned that this takes integration: Europe as a political project time. One cannot expect 450 million Europeans designed to preserve common values and put in 25 different countries with over 20 different them into practice. A rapidly expanding Union, languages to feel closely connected with one increasing diversity and an image of Europe as another. What’s more, many people are afraid an economic enterprise: these three factors have that the Union has too much influence over their helped weaken people’s sense of commitment daily lives. Many have difficulty identifying with to the European project. We run the risk of an expanding European Union, the euro and ending up with a European house that looks potential new Member States. These factors may strong from the outside, but is crumbling on the well undermine the European Union from within. inside. That is why we Europeans should continue to give careful thought to what binds us. We During the Dutch EU Presidency in 2004, we should be able to have an EU-wide debate on drew attention to European values and what they the core values of European integration. These meant for our future. The Netherlands organised core European values are at the foundation of a series of international conferences where this everything we do in Europe—from our security theme was debated by a range of thinkers from strategy to the Lisbon agenda. If we don’t make around the world. There was general agreement those values explicit, how can we expect people that, even on this diverse continent, certain to get excited about Europe? We should think of values bind us together. Freedom, respect for values as our inspiration. If we don’t talk about human rights and the rule of law, solidarity and our common inspiration, we will never be able equality—these values are universal. And it is to act boldly on the major issues of our time: precisely these values that make it possible to security, sustainable economic growth and the live in a Europe that encompasses so many integration of newcomers. And we will never differences. A number of guidelines for action feel European! emerged from the conferences: People don’t get enthusiastic about complex • European governments and the European explanations on interinstitutional agreements by Union must take a firm stand against any politicians. People don’t start to feel European individuals or groups who attack our rights because European decision-makers tell them to. and the values on which they are based. People want to be inspired by new concepts • We must strengthen the vital role of education of cooperation. People demand European in transmitting values and improve mobility solutions to transboundary problems. People in Europe. People, ideas and knowledge are want European political leadership. still not circulating enough. • There is still an urgent need to ‘communicate Where do we go from here? How do we put this Europe’ to our citizens. new dynamism into daily practice? The maxim of the European Union is “unity in diversity”. All these issues are currently high on the This implies that Europeans are united in European agenda. I would like to present a working together for peace and prosperity general overarching approach as a basis for our despite their many different cultures, traditions joint actions in the future. and languages. The scholar Amitai Etzioni, whose ideas I agree with firmly, compares it to From unity in diversity towards diversity a mosaic, with many different colours within a within unity? single frame. This framework consists of shared core values. Values are an element that binds. The former Polish foreign minister and current Values are guidelines, which must not be taken member of the European Parliament Bronislaw for granted. Democracy, freedom, solidarity, Geremek once said, “We have Europe. Now we respect, equity and tolerance are at the heart10 European View
    • Jan Peter Balkenendeof my view of our future Europe: a European have partly shifted their focus to the regional,society with peacefully coexisting minorities transboundary level. National boundaries aresharing a common set of core values. tending to fade, and European concepts are considered to be at least one step too far. ThisIn other words, to uphold these common values, development has influenced both national andwe need to invest in serious community building. European political parties. A perfect example:We have to actively translate these values into the committee that will write the CDA electionconcrete proposals and actions. These proposals programme for next year’s national electionsand actions will create the necessary equilibrium. no longer consists solely of Dutch ChristianThe EU should make ‘diversity within unity’ the Democrats. We take great pride in the fact thatcentral theme of its communication strategy for Mr Peter Altmaier of the German CDU willEU citizens. We will only see a coherent and actively take part in the drafting process and isunified Europe in the twenty-first century if all a full member of our election committee. It’s justconcerned—politicians, companies, NGOs, civil an example, but to my mind a highly revealingsociety and academics—invest in and endorse one. This is the way forward in Europe: sharedEuropean values. As Etzioni has said, if the values within transnational groupings, basedEU is not to deteriorate into little more than a on core values shared by other minorities, allfree trade zone, serious community-building accepting European values as their commonmeasures are essential. These measures would basis.aim ultimately at ordinary people transferringto the European community and to their regionmore of the kind of commitment, loyalty andsense of identity they now attach to their nation. Jan Peter Balkenende is the Prime Minister of theUntil this is done, the current structure will not Netherlands.be able carry the heavy loads being imposedon it.1This is where transnational cooperation comesinto play. European citizens are increasingly beingconfronted with transnational developments.Transboundary cooperation in a growingnumber of policy areas can be seen. Europeanintegration has enabled people to cross internalborders extensively. However, their values don’tchange when they cross the border.European citizens seek a new kind ofrepresentation that coincides with their interestsand demands. National parties no longer havea monopoly, or the authority to act as the solesource of representation. On the other hand,people don’t feel European yet. Europeanpolitical parties are still considered distant—notwithstanding the excellent work of ourEuropean People’s Party in and outside theEuropean Parliament. In other words, people1 Amitai Etzioni, “How to build a European Community”, U.S.-Europe Analysis Series, July 2005. 11 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Luciano Bardi EU Enlargement, European Parliament Elections and Transnational Trends in European Parties By Luciano Bardi This article aims to assess to date of other important party components, the impact that the direct such as central and territorial organisational elections to the European structures. Especially the latter are completely Parliament (EP) have absent from the Europarty literature, not only in had on the development empirical analyses (which is hardly a surprise, of genuine European, given that such structures are non-existent), buttransnational political parties (Europarties also in more prescriptive works. In this case thehenceforth). Our focus on Europarties is justified omission is more serious, if it is accepted thatby the fact that they have been considered Europarties should be a link between Europeanimportant actors in the European Community’s citizens and EU institutions.(EC) and subsequently in the European Union’s(EU) development; this has been true at least Transnational federations are undoubtedly verysince Ernst Haas suggested that the growth of weak institutions in terms of visibility, numberEuroparties provides an essential analytical focus of members, professionalisation and financialfor an assessment of the EU’s political system.1 resources. Far more than the parliamentaryEspecially since the EP’s first elections based on groups, the transnational federations haveuniversal suffrage were held in 1979, scholarly suffered from the need to respect the specificitiesinterest in the development and potential role of and objectives of their national components.EU-specific parties has been conspicuous. Within the two largest federations, the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Party of EuropeanAcademic books and articles on the topic are Socialists (PES), the national components oftentoo numerous to be individually discussed here. seem to be concerned about justifying theirOn balance, however, we can affirm that most actions at the national level. This limits theirhave found a positive association between EP ability to act decisively at the European level.elections based on universal suffrage and thedevelopment of Europarties. The important role played by federations, above all in working out common positionsSuch views are often based on the simple at intergovernmental conferences, hasconsideration that elections are the necessary overshadowed their growing internalprerequisite for the development of a democratic differences. Their lack of cohesion is due tosystem and, consequently, also of the elements, the ever-larger number of delegations of whichsuch as political parties, that are essential they are composed, the result of successive EUcomponents of democratic systems. As a result, enlargements and the extension of membershipmost authors do not elaborate on the desirable to parties of diverse traditions. This is particularlycharacteristics of would-be Europarties; others true of the EPP, which has added a largelimit themselves to considering the EP party conservative component to its original Christian-groups, that is, the party structures directly and Democratic nucleus. The European Liberals,visibly produced by EP elections. This certainly is Democrats and Reformists (ELDR), now thean important limitation that has led to the neglect group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats1 E. B. Haas, The Uniting of Europe: Political, Social and Economical Forces 1950–1957 (London: Stevens & Sons, 1958). 13 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • EU Enlargement, European Parliament Elections and Transnational Trends in European Parties for Europe (ALDE), have also had problems EP elections are a necessary prerequisite, of cohesion as a result of diverse ideological but they are certainly not sufficient for orientations and the general weakness of Europarty development, that is, for their their national components. For the Greens- effective transnationalisation; moreover, in EFA, on the other hand, the widespread anti- some circumstances, they can also disrupt the bureaucratic attitude and the clear preference for process of Europarty institutionalisation. There decentralised, more grassroots decision-making is agreement in the literature, albeit sometimes of many of its delegations have translated into only implicit, that the institutionalisation of the an evident reluctance to create a full-fledged Europarty system requires very stable, inclusive transnational party organisation. This has made and cohesive EP party groups; that is, EP party it easier for the Green federation to maintain groups exhibiting a durable composition and a pan-European nature, that is, its openness to structure, capable of attracting the largest Green parties in countries outside the EU. possible number of national party delegations from individual Member States and displaying More generally, however, the difficult growth of a homogeneous ideological orientation and transnational federations can be explained by voting behaviour. the lack of a ‘demand for Europe’ from the base. Aware of this, the national parties that make There is evidence that EP party groups have up the basic components of the federations proven capable of great progress in response find it more productive to represent their to the incentives (material resources as well as electorate directly through representatives at the better positions in parliamentary committees European level (ministers) than to strengthen and other components of the EP) provided for the federations. At the moment, this is the main their formation and functioning.2 Positive trends obstacle to the rise of Europarties able to carry in the consolidation of EP party groups have out effectively the representative function at the indeed been observed in the course of the first European level. five terms following direct elections to the EP, but the process of party group consolidation When the focus is on EP party groups as seems to have also suffered interruptions and a whole, however, the general impression even reversals resulting from EP elections one gets from the literature is a positive one. results.3 Since the direct elections, we have witnessed the strengthening of EP party groups, which There are several possible explanations for appear to be more lasting and more inclusive these reversals. For one thing, the fragmentation than their pre-elections predecessors; this is of the electoral arena permits the survival at the taken to indicate that direct elections have European level of practically every relevant—and been good for Europarty development. Here, sometimes even not so relevant—component of consistent with a research focus that I have most national party systems. This makes the EU been following for several years, I will present a party system very sensitive to individual national slightly different view, which takes into account party system realignments and to Member State the discontinuities that EP elections may cause specific voter opinion trends. Moreover, the in Europarty institutionalisation. I will also try to very high proportionality of many of the 25 extend my analysis, albeit briefly, to the extra- electoral laws contributes to this phenomenon. parliamentary components of Europarties. Even parties with negligible support on an EU- 2 F. Attinà, ‘The voting behaviour of European Parliament members and the problem of the Europarties’, European Journal of Political Research, 29 (17), 1990, pp. 557–79; F. Jacobs, R. Corbett & M. Shackleton, The European Parliament, 5th ed. (London: Cartermill, 2003); T. Raunio, The European Perspective: Transnational Party Groups in the 1989-1994 European Parliament (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997). 3 See L. Bardi, ‘Parties and party systems in the European Union’, in K.R. Luther & F. Mueller-Rommel (Eds.), Political Parties in a Changing Europe: Political and Analytical Challenges (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) pp. 292–322.14 European View
    • Luciano Bardiwide level can obtain seats in the EP because of for the first time, will give a strong impetus tothe over-representation of the smaller Member the development of the extra-parliamentaryStates. Second, the continuing expansion of organisational structures of the Europarties.the EU can be either a positive or a negativefactor for Europarty evolution. Previously EU Enlargement and the 2004 electionsisolated national delegations may find allies toform a party group among the representatives As we had anticipated, the 2004 elections wereof newly incorporated Member States. But the an unprecedented event in the history of theincorporation of new delegations into existing Europarty system in terms of the sheer numericalparty groups can prove to be problematic. In impact of the delegations from the new Membersome cases, EP elections can be very disruptive, States on the existing party groups, and alsoespecially for the more recent and smaller EP because of what we could broadly define asparty groups; as a result, elections can be a qualitative differences between the newcomersnegative factor in party system consolidation. and the longer-established parties from the older Member States. Both factors could haveOn balance, however, these two sets of factors, an impact on Europarty development. Whilstwhich have their effects during the parliamentary we can only speculate on the consequencesterm as well as at election time and both favour of the latter, we are able to study empiricallyand potentially hinder Europarty development, the effects of the former. We know from thehave produced an overall positive trend in EP literature that the institutional development ofparty group consolidation. EP party groups can be assessed by monitoring their inclusiveness and cohesion.In the last two years, the general context inwhich Europarties are developing has undergone The inclusiveness of the groups in the EPsome significant changes. With the sixth direct can be observed from diachronic changes inelections to the EP held in June 2004, the group membership and, more specifically, fromeffects of the latest EU enlargement from 15 to trends in the number of members and number25 countries came to bear on the EP and on of countries represented. The cohesion of thethe Europarty system. The 732 member strong groups, on the other hand, can be observedEP now represents approximately 455 million from the degree of agreement shown in roll-European citizens whose cultural and political call votes by the MEPs composing the groups.milieus reflect unprecedented diversity. As a Empirical studies of these phenomena haveresult, it was anticipated that the disturbances cumulatively produced a positive assessmentto the party system normally associated with of EP group institutionalisation.5 Here we willelections would be even greater than in the perforce limit ourselves to updating the analysispast. Furthermore, although the implications of of inclusiveness as it is too early in the termthis were contested, Europarties were for the to collect sufficient data for an assessment offirst time regulated by a new statute defining cohesion. We will also consider, through antheir role and organisation, even outside of the analysis of appropriate indicators, the impact ofEP.4 It is expected that the new statute, perhaps the 2004 elections on the Europarty system.4 Statute for European political parties, EP and Council regulation No 2004/2003, 4 November 2003.5 For a summary of these results, see L. Bardi, ‘Parties and party systems in the European Union’ (see n. 3). 15 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • EU Enlargement, European Parliament Elections and Transnational Trends in European Parties tABLE 1 Europarty system indicators 1979–2006 % of non- PES, EPP-ED, No EP One- Effective attached MEPs ELDR/ALDE No Parties party Party Term Parties** or in One-Party Total Seat groups* Groups*** Groups**** percentage EP I 1979–1984 54 58 8 8 5.2 5.0 3 3 33.9 19.6 63.4 64.5 EP II 1984–1989 76 88 9 9 5.3 5.2 4 3 29.3 18.5 62.4 63.1 EP III 1989–1994 99 101 11 9 5.0 3.8 4 2 20.8 11.4 67.6 77.8 EP IV 1994–1999 88 106 10 9 4.6 4.3 6 4 21.2 11.8 70.2 73.0 EP V 1999–2004 122 122 9 8 4.2 4.2 0 0 1.3 5.1 73.9 73.5 EP VI 2004–2006 169 8 4.4 0 4.4 75.7 Adapted from (Bardi, 2002). The last update reflects EP composition in March 2006. Note: For EP I – EP V, the first figure in each cell refers to the beginning and the second to the end of the relevant term. * Non-attached counted as one group 1 ** N = ------- where si represents the seat shares of the i parties in the system ∑ si2 (Laakso and Taagepera, 1979). *** In 1994–1999 the non-attached AN and FN delegations are included as individual one-party groups. In EP V no non-attached delegations had enough members (10) to qualify as one-party groups. **** Includes non-attached MEPs. tABLE 2 Number of Member states represented in the five largest EP party groups 1979–2004 1979 1984 1989 1994 1999 2004 EPP-ED 7/9 9/10 12/12 12/12 15/15 25/25 PES 9/9 9/10 12/12 12/12 15/15 23/25 ELDR/ALDE 8/9 7/10 10/12 10/12 10/15 20/25 EUL/NGL 4/12 5/12 10/15 14/25 7/12 7/12 12/15 13/25 GREENS-EFA EP official sources16 European View
    • Luciano BardiThe groups connected to the three historic A general indication emerging from the datatransnational federations—the PES, EPP-ED and is that the Europarty system is on the path tothe ELDR/ALDE—certainly represent the core of consolidation. Despite the large number ofthe Europarty system; their overall inclusiveness national parties that obtain representation in themust be considered a positive indicator of its EP, the number of EP party groups has remainedinstitutionalisation. The figures in Table 1 clearly fairly stable. In fact, the party/EP-group ratioshow the ability of these groups to absorb the has risen constantly over the years: 21.1:1 innational party delegations from old and new 2004, as compared to a low of 6.8:1 in 1979. TheMember States, even as they more than tribled party groups are thus demonstrating the ability(from 54 to 169) between 1979 and 2004. Above to incorporate new parties. The Europarty coreand beyond the absolute number of MEPs has grown, even if not dramatically, from slightlybelonging to the three groups, of significance is under two thirds to just above three quarters ofthe percentage with respect to the total number the EP’s total membership. At the same time,of MEPs: close to 76%. the relative weight of the larger party groups has increased, as demonstrated by the effectiveTable 2 shows that the EPP-ED has MEPs from parties indicator, which declined markedlyall Member States, while the PES and the ELDR/ between 1984 and 2004. The disappearance ofALDE, penalised in some countries by electoral one-party groups and the impressive declinethresholds that they find difficult to surpass, are since 1979 in the percentage of MEPs thatrepresented in 23 and 20 respectively of the 25 belong to one-party groups or are non-attachedMember States. These figures also indicate an confirm this impression. Within this fairly clear-overall positive trend towards inclusiveness. The cut picture, a contrast can be observed betweenGreens-EFA and the EUL/NGL have grown out the values immediately following an electionof two groups that have a long history in the EP, and those registered at the end of each term.the Rainbow group and the Communists. They Generally, all party-system institutionalisationhave gone through innumerable changes and indicators are much more positive at the end ofin some cases real transformations. In general, each term than at its beginning.they include fewer national components thantransnational groups. Nonetheless, the figures Overall, these findings, based on post-electionrelative to these groups in Table 2 point to and end-of-term data for the first five electedreassuring levels of inclusiveness. EPs and only post-election results for the sixth, confirm the research hypotheses suggested byTable 1 also provides data for a discussion of the literature. The hypothesis that institutionalthe evolution of the Europarty system. The table and political pressures in the course of theincludes values for five measures of EU party legislative term favour inter-group cooperationsystem institutionalisation. The operationalisation and eventually foster group integration is indeed consistent with the data. At the sameof the number of parties and groups is self- time, the hypothesis that elections can produceexplanatory. One-party group scores and the very disruptive effects on the Europarty systempercentage of MEPs not belonging to transnational appears to be confirmed, although recentor multi-party groups, that is, one-party group elections show a possible reversal in this trend.members plus the non-attached, are included in Finally, single-party groups—for as long as theythe table as a measure of overall MEP resistance have existed—have represented a real obstacle toto Europarty incorporation. Conversely, total the institutionalisation of the Europarty system,seat percentages for the three transnational- as have the non-attached MEPs. They could re-party groups are included to monitor the size emerge in the future, but it is more likely thatof the Europarty system’s core. Finally, Laakso’s the category will become permanently extinct,index for the effective number of parties once even though a residual group of non-integratedthe total number of parties is known adequately national party delegations will probably survivemeasures the relative size of parties. among the non-attached. 17 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • EU Enlargement, European Parliament Elections and Transnational Trends in European Parties It would thus seem that the 2004 elections or at least maintain their numerical force in the have not had a measurable negative impact enlarged EP and, as we shall see in our discussion on the Europarty system. The quantitative of the new statute, a source of possible financial measurements of a number of indicators are in advantage. In the 2004–09 parliament, the new line with those of previous parliaments, when entries account for 158 out of the 732 seats or EU membership was much smaller. It might be almost 22% of the total—a percentage that no too soon, however, to discount the possible Europarty can afford to ignore. qualitative effects of enlargement. The majority of the countries involved had to simultaneously The statute for European political parties, convert to democracy, develop capitalist and approved in November 2003, is a concise pluralist societies, adopt full national sovereignty document that defines the role of European and meet EU conditions within a relatively short political parties and the requirements for period of time. From this perspective, the efforts receiving funding from the European Union. of Europarties to proactively bring the political Much space is dedicated to the aspects directly forces of future Member States into the European linked to financing, perhaps because the statute mainstream had important implications both was in part justified by the need to use public for themselves and for party and party-system funds to promote democracy in the new member development in the candidate countries. countries. Paradoxically, the success that Europarties have The statute’s provisions may well be able to demonstrated in attracting the overwhelming consolidate more effectively than has been the majority of the new national party delegations case up to now the various party components might cause a further weakening of their operating at the European level: transnational identity and cohesiveness. It is still unclear, in federations, parliamentary groups and national fact, whether such efforts have been able to parties. In fact, even if the statute practically overcome the cultural and value differences identifies Europarties with federations, the articulated in the parties and party systems provisions for their constitutions and for their of the new, developing Member States. These access to financing link them with the other may well spill over into broader EU political two components. The preamble reiterates the processes with unpredictable effects on wording of Article 191 TEC on the importance Europarty development. of Europarties in shaping a European consciousness and for expressing the political EU enlargement, the statute governing will of EU citizens. European political parties and Europarty federations The requirements for the recognition of Europarties, in addition to a desire to participate Whatever its effects on EP party groups, EU in the EP elections, are the following: legal enlargement may lead to a strengthening of status in the country in which the Europarty has the party federations.6 Because of the EU’s size its headquarters (almost inevitably Belgium); following the entry of the ten new members, representatives elected to the EP, the national or the federations may find new incentives and the regional parliaments in at least one quarter of opportunities for action. In fact, the federations the member countries or at least 3% of the votes see the inclusion of the parties coming from the in the last EP elections in at least one quarter of new member countries as a way to strengthen the Member States;7 and respect shown in the 6 Bardi and Ignazi, Il parlamento europeo, 2nd ed. (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2004) pp. 126-8. 7 This clause, and the fact that the total financing also depends on the party’s size, constitutes an incentive for Europarties to attract kindred parties from new Member States.18 European View
    • Luciano Bardiparty’s platform and actions for the principles statute is that it does not address the issue ofof freedom and democracy, respect for human how to effectively link Europarties to Europeanrights, the fundamental freedoms and the rule citizens and their societies, beyond the generalof law on which the EU is founded. These are statement that such linkage is the main reason fornot particularly restrictive conditions and, even the existence of the federations. This function isif the statute prohibits the financing of national still performed exclusively through the nationalparties with European funds, few will renounce parties, who therefore remain the principalthe financial opportunities offered by the new gatekeepers of EU-level representation. It isregime. This has already led to an increase in therefore unlikely that the federations, even ifthe number of Europarties. The Party of the more integrated, will play a primary role in theEuropean United Left was founded in Rome in Europarties in the near future.May 2004; others could follow suit. That such alarge share of resources—85% of the total—is In conclusion, both EU enlargement and theallotted to parties with representatives elected to statute for European political parties seem tothe EP should lead to the consolidation of links favour a further expansion of Europarties andto parliamentary groups. Greater integration of of the number of transnational federations.the various components should foster greater While this would be a positive outcome,institutionalisation. fostering greater integration among the various components of the Europarties, it is unlikelyThis undoubtedly positive picture is that this would challenge the primacy andcounterbalanced by two provisions, one reduce significantly the autonomy of nationalcontained directly in the statute, the other in its political parties, even at the European level.implementation rules, which keep the federations This is destined to be the state of affairs as longin a subordinate position with respect to their as national parties are able to reap the rewardsnational components and the parliamentary of the direct representation of the interestsgroups. In fact, the latter have been made of citizens through the intergovernmentaldirectly responsible for the management of the institutional circuit and to take the place offunds for party financing. This was done at the federations in linking civil society to Europeaninsistence of the EP since the funds are taken institutions.from the budget of the EP rather than that ofthe EU, as the federations would have preferred(this would have given them greater financialautonomy). Luciano Bardi is Professor of Political Science at the University of Pisa. He is the author ofFurthermore, the provision of the statute that several articles on European Parties. Recently hemakes the allocation of public funds conditional has been co-author of ‘Il parlamento europeo’on 25% co-financing from other sources makes (2004) and editor of ‘Partiti e sistemi di partito’national parties, above all the stronger and richer (2006).ones, decisive in constituting and maintainingEuroparties. These resources can only be foundat the national level, either directly throughcontributions from member parties—up to aceiling of 40% of the total, which is in any casemore than the amount needed for co-financing—or through the party’s contacts among the publicand in the business sector. These are in generalvery weak, a situation not likely to improve inthe near future. The biggest shortcoming of the 19 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • José de Venecia The Expansion of International Party Cooperation: CDI Creating Bonds among Asian Centrist Parties By José de Venecia The world’s centre of Muslim League. Alongside these historic parties gravity is shifting to there are also young parties—South Korea’s Uri the Asia Pacific. The Party, Thailand’s Thai Rak Thai and our own Centrist Democrat Lakas Christian-Muslim Democrats—which International (CDI) is are as new as Asia’s eminence in the global expanding into Asia community.because it recognises the continent’s increasingprominence in the global community. The other political parties are: UMNO of Malaysia; Funcinpec and the Cambodia People’sThe end of the ‘Cold War’ has not just seen Party, Cambodia; and the Party of the People’sa seismic shift in the configuration of global Unity of Kazakhstan.political power; it has also seen a revolutionarychange in the global economy. The emergence On this occasion, I think it fit and proper for ourof China, India, Russia, Brazil and other once- grouping to explain its motives, purposes andclosed economies has redrawn the map of ideals as forces of the middle and to proclaimworld trade. These emerging economies are the political principles that have brought usradically changing the relative prices of labour, together.capital, goods and assets around the globe. Andbecause the largest of them are Asian, they are Twelve political principlesalso shifting the world’s centre of economic andpolitical gravity from the Atlantic Ocean to the At the CDI Asia-Pacific and the CDI ExecutivePacific. Since early 2005, Asia has produced a Committee meetings in Manila last January,full third of the gross global product. I unveiled 12 major political principles that encompass initiatives through which theIn Asia today are to be found both the fastest CDI’s Asian parties and 110 political partiesgrowing economies and the rising powers of worldwide can hopefully make some significantour time. Well before 2040, China is likely to contributions to Asia and the world. I reiteratebecome the largest economy and India the third these 12 principles, which I hope the centristlargest, after that of the United States. Japan political parties will address in addition to theirshould then be fifth, after the European Union. existing programs and platforms:Moreover, today’s Asia has become the focalpoint of humanity’s fears of nuclear war and its 1. find common ground between the forceshopes for a hundred years of peace. of capitalism and the forces of socialism; 2. reconcile the forces of extremism andAsia’s first transnational party excessive fundamentalism with the forces of moderation as an antidote to terrorism;In January 2006, eight political parties from seven 3. reach out to the forces of the Extreme LeftAsian states met in Manila to launch the Asia and the Extreme Right;Pacific’s first centrist transnational party, whose 4. bridge the social and income gaps betweeneventual goal is to organise Asian solidarity. the rich and poor by creating an Asian middle class and ensuring opportunitiesAmong the CDI Asia-Pacific’s founding parties for all;are the nationalist icons of Asia’s struggle for 5. reconcile the principles of politics withindependence, represented initially by Pakistan’s the principles of religion—the role of the 21 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Expansion of International Party Cooperation: CDI Creating Bonds among Asian Centrist Parties state and the role of the Church must be in a state ruled by law. And we see our central delineated; task as making democracy in Asia work for 6. reconcile the forces of spirituality with ordinary people—by serving their needs, wants the forces of secularism; public life can and hopes. be empty without a moral purpose, and society can be rootless without some Defeating the forces of extremism transcendent foundation; 7. rationalise relations between strong central The historian Eric Hobsbawm has described governments, distant provinces and outer the period in which we live as “The Age of islands in the case of nations with pluralist Extremes”. And it is true that the twentieth and multi-ethnic societies; century was one of both great creativity and 8. rationalise the needs of development with great destructiveness. The past hundred years the need to care for the environment; have raised great hopes, but they have also 9. bring together the great religions, great destroyed many illusions and ideals. civilisations and great cultures to avert a clash of religions and a clash of civilisations We in the CDI Asia-Pacific do not see ourselves through Interfaith dialogues; as living in a world of binary opposites: in a 10. reconcile the forces of nationalism with world of mutually exclusive alternatives. On the forces of globalisation; the contrary, we believe that our work is to 11. rationalise the workings of the market confront the forces of extremism with the forces with the social responsibilities of the state; of moderation. and 12. build strong family values and faith in a There are two main extremist positions in living God to mirror the great Asian and our time. One is that of those who would use CDI community we envision. terrorism in the name of religion. And the other is held by those who would defeat terrorism Democracy must work for ordinary people even if it means deploying arbitrary police powers, curtailing the civil liberties of their As centrist political parties, we see our role as own people and even waging pre-emptive war. that of helping to broaden and deepen Asian The harsh response by Western powers to the democracy. We reject every type of extremist terrorist threat has helped create this frightening politics, whether on the Right or on the Left. We world we now find ourselves living in. are acutely aware that unrestrained zeal to make the world better could make it worse. And we Terror: a true crime against humanity accept that we cannot be for democracy only when the majority rule works in our favour. We regard the use of terror for political and military means as a true crime against We believe that it is through mutual tolerance, humanity—and terrorism as a barbaric act that conciliation and compromise that the business no appeal to religion can ever justify. But we of government is carried out, civic order agree with Pope John Paul II that the culpability maintained and the common purpose served. of terrorists is always personal—and cannot be And we believe democracy to be more than just extended to the nation, ethnic group or religion a set of procedures for holding elections and to which the terrorists may belong. passing laws. We regard democracy as a whole system of political and social values. Procedural We further believe that, while injustices existing democracy and formal entitlements for citizens in the world can never be used to excuse acts are a beginning. But they are not enough. We of terrorism, the anti-terrorist coalition is also believe authentic democracy to be possible only duty-bound to alleviate the poverty, oppression22 European View
    • José de Veneciaand marginalisation of peoples which facilitate with basic human needs. And because no singleterrorist recruitment. We condemn just as policy will spur development, the effort to growstrongly every arbitrary means that governments needs a comprehensive approach. Developmentresort to in their counter-terrorist campaigns, just must be both socially inclusive and flexibleas we condemn every form of discrimination enough to adapt to changing circumstances.and prejudice against minority and migrantpopulations. Making poverty historyReconciling the ‘two nations’ Since the eighteenth century, social reformers— inspired by scientific progress, the politicalWe believe that our urgent need is to bridge revolutions in Europe and the promise of thethe income and social gap between the rich new international economy—have believed itand the poor in national society—and between possible to protect people against the hazardsthe rich and poor countries in the international of poverty and insecurity. But until now, thecommunity. spectre of widespread want still haunts our countries.In Asia, Latin America and Africa, the ‘Privileged’and the ‘People’ are still culturally as well as Over these past 250 years, parts of the worldeconomically separate. Yet development, if it is have so improved their material conditionsto be meaningful, should leave no one behind. that they find it hard to imagine the poverty in which so many of their fellows still live. YetWe of the Asia Pacific must also speak out for even now, one-quarter of all the people in thefair global trade. We must oppose every form world still subsist on less than the equivalentof discrimination against migrant groups as well of one American dollar a day. What is worse isas minority religions and ethnicities in hybrid that some countries are growing even poorer—societies made up of a plurality of populations. relatively, and sometimes absolutely. Yet givenAnd we must do all we can to prevent the the revolution in information and communicationcollapse of weak states in the Third World, for technology, it has also become more and morefailed states will export their rage, their violence difficult to segregate poverty and wealth—toand their plagues to the rest of global society. prevent the poor from realizing the possibilities of modernisation. Thus, in the end, the peaceDevelopment must focus on basic human and prosperity of the rich depend on the well-needs being of all the poor.We recognise that, as Asia’s economies To remove poverty from among us, our overridingmature, governments must begin to make key concern must be to make the economy grow.development policies with more sophistication, Nowadays the poor benefit from growth just asand accuracy, than those based on the traditional much as everyone else because economies havemeasures of GDP growth and a rise in individual changed in ways that allow them to participateincomes. more fully during times of growth.We regard the task of reducing poverty as a Our national parties must help keep the Asiamoral challenge to political leaderships in the Pacific focused on development. Between 1990developing countries. Hence, we recognise that and 2002, more than 280 million East Asians—aour basic task must be to make our economies number equivalent to the entire population ofgrow, so that they can lift up the common life. the United States—pulled themselves out ofBecause growth trickles down too slowly, the extreme poverty: 233 million in China alone andstate’s efforts at development must deal directly 48 million in Southeast Asia. 23 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Expansion of International Party Cooperation: CDI Creating Bonds among Asian Centrist Parties Practical programs for the alleviation of Fair global trade poverty The poor countries’ proportionate share of global We believe that, in our interdependent world, trade has been declining, partly because of the peace and prosperity of the rich depend continuing protectionism in the rich economies. on the well-being of all the others. For this Yet an end to unfair trade practices, particularly reason we endorse the proposal for a Debt-for- in agriculture, by the rich countries could lift Equity Program that the Philippines has made millions of the world’s poorest peoples out of to the United Nations, the rich countries and the destitution. It would also strengthen the rules- international lending agencies. The UN Secretary based multilateral trading system if the rich General, Kofi Annan, gave this proposal his countries would give up the subsidies they pay endorsement as an imaginative approach to their farmers. fighting poverty, and the Italian government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was one of the This year these subsidies run to some one billion G8 powers to give it immediate support. During dollars a day; and they are, in reality, paid not a visit to Washington, DC in mid-September by rich-country treasuries, but by the farmers of last year, I gave senior officials of the World poor countries, in the form of lower prices for Bank and the International Monetary Fund their products. separate extensive briefings on the details of the Program. Finding common ground between capitalism and socialism The Program calls for the creditor-countries to plough back into the economies of the debtor- To establish the political and social stability countries, over an agreed period, fifty percent that we need to pursue our goal of eliminating of the debt-service payments they receive in poverty and building up our middle classes, national anti-poverty projects in accordance with we need to find common ground between the the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. These forces of socialism and the forces of capitalism. payments would be ploughed back—either as We must seek ways to bring personal interest equity or social investments—in reforestation, and the interests of the national community into mass-housing, safe water systems, hospitals, harmony. We must find common ground between school-buildings, infrastructure, micro-financing market forces and the social responsibilities of and other anti-poverty programs. the state. This proposal we endorse as a complement Capitalism triumphant to the agreement by the G8 countries to write off multilateral debt owed by the 20 poorest The fall of Communism and the failure of countries, mostly in Africa. state management of the economy have left capitalism as the remaining political-economic We also endorse the proposal for an Asian Anti- ideology. The failed Marxist experiment proved Poverty Fund and an Asian Monetary Fund made conclusively that the private and the individual by Cambodia and the Philippines. The Anti- cannot be banished altogether from human Poverty Fund will back up the micro-banks that life. Capitalism has been better able to adapt lend working capital to Asia’s entrepreneurial to changing reality, and to deliver a measure of poor. The Asian Monetary Fund will come to the political stability as well as material prosperity. aid of Asian countries in crisis—faster and more substantially than the World Bank-IMF was able Free enterprise has come a long way since a to do for Thailand and Indonesia in 1997. nineteenth-century British Cabinet debated whether it was right to restrict the import of24 European View
    • José de Veneciabeef known to be infected with foot-and-mouth while combining capitalism and the market withdisease. Governments in capitalist countries now a strong public sector and a clear governmentroutinely intervene in the economy: through role in the economy. Certainly the Europeanmacro-economic policy to prevent capitalism’s ‘Third Way’ is one path the world communitycycles of boom and bust, and through social might explore in connection with movinglegislation to mitigate the human costs of its toward a more benign global economy: one thatnatural drive to maximise returns. reconciles open market forces with a measure of social justice.Interventionism under socialist governmentshad been even more ambitious. It was guided Caring for the casualties of capitalismby the principle that the more complicatedsociety becomes, the more it requires central Unless some catastrophe befalls our world, theorganisation to avoid falling into chaos. But in age of closed political-economic systems seemsthe wake of the collapse of Communist regimes over. The central question of our time is howin the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, few to create, simultaneously, material wealth andpeople still subscribe to the concept of the state social cohesion in free societies.as the administrator of all society. As the Austrianpolitical economist F.A. Hayek observed, “It was If we are to keep our societies stable andthe fatal conceit of socialism to believe that wise tranquil, we must find answers for thosegovernment bureaucrats could guide society to adversely affected by capitalism. Given thea better future.” growth of global interdependence, future booms and busts are likely to become muchThe European concept of a social market bigger. We need to minimise the intensity and frequency of capitalist crises. We must find waysAmong the market economies, America’s of preventing the speculative excesses inherententrepreneurial capitalism is the most vigorous. It in the way capitalism works: the manias andis proving the best able to cope with the demands panics, and the alternating waves of greed andof the modern world economy. America’s culture fear. And we need to find relief for the casualtiesof individualism is a weighty influence on the produced by its cycles of creative destruction.side of open markets and democratic politicalsystems. But the Rand Corporation also notes Even as we harness the vigour of self-interestthat unregulated capitalism has dramatically in the service of economic growth, we mustincreased inequality, effectively excluding from recognise its limits. We must never forget thatmainstream education and health care a larger the market is merely a tool that stimulates theand larger segment of America’s population. production of social wealth with the greatest efficiency. The mechanisms of the market cannotUnwilling for their countries to pay these social by themselves produce a decent, moral society.costs of growth, Europe’s Social Democrats Only by striking the balance between theare seeking the middle ground between pure market and the state can our societies combinemarket economies and the elaborate safety nets economic competitiveness with the well-beingof the ‘Welfare State’. They are turning away of ordinary people.from runaway entitlements which have invitedabuse and trying to bring people from welfare Equality of opportunity but not of outcometo work. In the idea of equality, we can discover theThe challenge that Europe’s new-type socialists common ground between socialism and thesee for themselves is how to modernise their capitalist ethic to which centrist democracyeconomies—by adapting to market forces— subscribes. 25 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Expansion of International Party Cooperation: CDI Creating Bonds among Asian Centrist Parties Historically, classical socialism’s most emotional enterprise can flourish. This framework has appeal has been its concept of equality. The four components. The first is political stability, strongest element in socialist thought has which guarantees peace and order. The second been its protest against the lack of means that is the rule of law, which assures the security of excludes some social classes from the heritage business contracts and a level playing field of of civilisation which others enjoy. competition. In the past, however, the promotion of social The third component is sound macro-economic justice has often been confused with the policy. Among other things, this should imposition of equality of outcome. The result guarantee the stability of prices and the integrity was a neglect of society’s need to reward effort of the currency. And the fourth is physical and responsibility. As centrist democrats, we infrastructure, which private industry cannot accept that there will be a natural amount of itself provide. The state should not only provide inequality in any community. People differ by highways and power plants, piers and irrigation nature in skill, health and strength, and unequal systems; it must also invest in ‘soft’ public fortune is the natural outcome of this social facilities such as health care, education, skills diversity. training and so forth for its human capital. We seek equality not in the Communist sense In a word, effective states and efficient markets of a forcible redistribution of wealth. We seek should be the key objects of our striving. The for every individual equality in political rights, connection between the two is plain. Without in access to procedural justice and in access government, there can be no private property— to basic education. And we seek equality of and therefore no markets. Only in a society opportunity, as far as this ideal is possible. But with clear and secure individual rights are there we do not seek equality of outcome, which is strong incentives for people to produce, invest impossible to guarantee. and engage in mutually advantageous trade. And the right to property and the security of Wealth as stewardship contracts, on which markets are founded, only an effective state can guarantee. We recognise the power of self-interest in generating economic growth. But we also We also need the state to provide the requisite believe that ‘free’ enterprise should not mean social protection for those groups in the national enterprise free from public accountability. community that globalisation might put at risk. And we need effective states to deliver the social Our political beliefs emphasise the dimension services such as primary health care and basic of duty and social responsibility inherent in education that equip people to pursue lives of the possession of wealth. We regard property great fulfilment. as a stewardship. Though wealth should be privately owned, we enjoin its owner to make The limits of state interventionism public use of it: to use his wealth to benefit the community. This concept expresses the mutual As Centrist Democrats, we also have an acute dependence between the free market and the sense of the limits to what the state can do. Our human community. first principle is still to leave to private initiative the day-to-day workings of the market economy. the state and the economy We also realise it is much easier to have impartial administrators once the state discontinues its We see the state’s basic role as that of providing involvement in large-scale economic regulation. the framework within which individual26 European View
    • José de VeneciaLimited government should also reduce be more beneficial than disadvantageous tothe incidence of corruption in office. As a the developing country whose leadership isdegenerative disease of governments, corruption intelligent enough to blunt its sometimes brutalcan cause legitimate authority to disintegrate impact on vulnerable communities and workingand the entire state to collapse. Deregulating people by balancing economic growth withthe economy—thus spurring competition—and social development.generally allowing the market more elbowroomshould limit the illicit opportunities of political The countries best able to take full advantage ofoffice. Limited government is much more likely globalisation are those with open societies andto be uncorrupted government. relatively open economies. Today the challenge before the Asia-Pacific countries is for them toThe proper role of government in the grasp, together, the opportunities globalisationeconomy is not to help business people avoid presents, while working together to minimisecompetition. The role of government is not to their shared vulnerabilities to its risks.award subsidies, protective tariffs, preferentialloans and other economic crutches. The role of Because it is focused on a specific community,government is to challenge national industry to nationalism is the perfect counterpoise to thestrive for excellence, to innovate and to measure universality that globalisation represents. Anditself against the best in the world. nationalism can adapt to this new age simply by cultivating a broader sense of the nationalWe hold no hard-and-fast theory about the interest. The nationalism of weakness that, in theextent, and the limits, of state intervention in Third World, has expressed itself in economicthe economy. The rule of thumb is to limit the protectionism and political xenophobia mustscope of state activities to those that are most give way to a new nationalism unafraid tocrucial, but to strengthen the state’s capability to measure itself against the best in the world.intervene decisively in these key activities. Development and the environmentReconciling nationalism andglobalisation We also need to reconcile the needs of development with our need to care for the‘Globalisation’ refers to the way trade, investment environment. As centrist democrats, we regardand industry are spreading around the world mankind not as the masters of creation but asin a uniform pattern, transcending political stewards of nature.frontiers and national cultures. In recent yearsits perceived disadvantages have generated an The earth is not ours to deal with as we please,ideological backlash, which has itself become because it is only temporarily in our care. Ita worldwide counter-movement. The common belongs not just to us but also to generationscomplaint made by the weaker states is their yet unborn. And as the Book of Proverbs says,perceived loss of autonomy in a globalised it is a wise person who ensures that there is anworld dominated by the rich nations. inheritance for his children’s children.But globalisation is not likely to be reversed the state and the citizenin our time. Not only does engagement in theglobal economy promise the best results as a The classical Greeks believed that the citizendevelopment model, but the only alternative— was educated and perfected by fully taking partautarky under the command economy—has in the civic life of his city-state. Participation inbecome discredited with the collapse of the politics, in managing public affairs, was a right,Soviet Union. On balance, globalisation can a duty and an education for every citizen. The 27 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Expansion of International Party Cooperation: CDI Creating Bonds among Asian Centrist Parties Athenians regarded the man who took no part John Paul II called an “idolatry of the market”. in public affairs not as one who minded his own The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most business but as a man good for nothing. Reverend George Carey, has deplored the “tacit atheism” of modern society. In the age of the nation-state, the individual citizen’s participation in managing public And we all know how empty public life can affairs has become severely limited. In the be without a moral purpose, and how rootless typical representative democracy, this is often society can be without some transcendent confined to voting in competitive elections foundation. We recognise that ordinary people and the occasional plebiscite. The difficulty need a ‘sacred canopy’ in order to make sense of of understanding the complexities of public the world, because meaninglessness is a threat affairs has also increased. Even the increased to our need for an orderly universe. availability of political information in the media may simply strain citizens’ capacities to keep The world’s need for interfaith dialogue up with the intricacies of electoral politics. As centrist democrats, we recognise the imperative As the forces of globalisation compel peoples need of democratic countries to improve citizens’ who once lived apart to interact, conflicts between capacities to engage intelligently in the nation’s them are liable to intensify unless we are able to political life. inculcate new rules of civic behaviour respectful of foreign cultures and religions. We urgently Most everywhere in the Third World, the raging need a dialogue between religions and cultures, popular struggle is the struggle for justice and a dialogue of civilisations, to restore the social human rights. It is not poverty or deprivation order shattered by the terrorist attacks, and to as such that compels ordinary people to rebel, achieve the multi-cultural understanding which but deprivation and a sense of injustice. Hence, is the only basis for the long-term security of government must be seen to deliver justice in the global community. These dialogues are best its most elementary sense to local peoples, to institutionalised through an Interfaith Council local communities and, particularly, to women, in the United Nations system. children and other vulnerable groups in the national community. The dialogue must start from the premise that, in the campaign against terrorism, force by itself the spiritual and the secular in human life is not enough. The campaign against terrorism must also be a war of ideas. We must not merely Most people accept that the secular state is aim to defeat terrorism; we must win people’s appropriate for our time, because of its respect allegiance by the power of our values and our for human rights, its ability to tolerate dissent ideals. We must not only isolate radicals and and the freedom of expression it allows. But extremists. We must help poor countries to they also recognise that the secular state has prosper; and we must aim to create a world not entirely lived up to its own promises of order that offers full participation to all the political freedom, economic prosperity and world’s peoples. For we can have peace only social justice. when Christian and Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu, Catholic and Jew can dwell safely side In post-modern society, the triumph of secularism by side: “every man under his vine and under has also resulted in the deconsecration of human his fig tree” (1 Kings 4:25). life. In the richest nations, society has largely cut itself off from its moral foundations. The pursuit Creating space for alternative faiths of economic wealth has degenerated into the worship of worldly things—into what Pope The former American president, Bill Clinton,28 European View
    • José de Veneciasays memorably that the twenty-first century whose pillars are Europe, America and Asia.will be defined by a simple choice the nations Already Europe and North America havemust make: whether to emphasise their ethnic, functioning, continent-wide economic andideological and religious differences or their political groupings. Only the Asian pillar mustcommon humanity. But nations can never make yet be completed and put in place. Helping tothe right choice as long as their peoples insist organise Asian integration is our primary reasonthat “Our faith must reign supreme!” since this for being.claim can only be affirmed by the negation ofall other faiths. So we must all reinterpret our Building peace that will enduretraditions to embrace pluralism in culture andin society. We regard peace as the only firm foundation for building prosperity in the poor countries.We must all learn to create space, in our nations To build peace that endures in the Asia Pacific,and in our hearts, for alternative faiths. After we must first, and most urgently, preventall, every great religion arose from the same confrontations between the great powers in thewellspring of faith: accepting as its central belief hemisphere. Then we must complete building anGod’s direct and decisive intervention in human Asia-Pacific community: a ‘federation of nations’history by revealing Himself to mankind. Thus incorporating all those states with legitimatereligious pluralism is a vital ingredient of the stakes in the continent.world we need to organise for those who willcome after us. This vision is not as utopian as it sounds. We have before us the example of Western Europe,An Asia without dividing lines which has put an end to its civil wars and come close to realizing the philosopher’s ideal ofFor us, the vision of an Asia without dividing “perpetual peace”.lines has become a possible dream. We willencourage the rise of regional groupings as the And the groundwork has been laid for thisbuilding blocks of an Asian community. effort: in the networks of regional organisations that are beginning to link our separate countries.In Southeast Asia, unification has already enabled These networks will strengthen as economicASEAN to safeguard the region from continuing cooperation among the Asian states extends toto be an arena of great-power competition, as it culture, politics and mutual security.was for most of the last 150 years. South Asia,too, is moving toward community. The South Thus the foundation stones for an Asia-PacificAsian Association for Regional Cooperation community have already been laid. CDI Asia(SAARC), incorporating eight neighbouring Pacific will dedicate itself to ensuring that theseeconomies in a regional free-trade area, came bonds of solidarity grow stronger and endure.in force into 2005. Making a road to the futureWhile free-trade agreements will not endnational enmities, economic disparities and We have no precedent on which we can modelreligious-ethnic rivalries, economic integration our hope of community for our giant, complexwill enable neighbour-states to begin looking and fractured continent. But as Lu Hsun, thebeyond the armed peace of the balance of most brilliant writer of modern China’s earlypower to the unforced peace of the balance of revolutionary period, reminds us, “Hope cannotmutual benefit. For the international community, be said to exist. Nor can it be said not to exist.Asia’s rise will begin to balance the tripod of It is just like roads across the earth. For actuallyglobal interdependence in this new century— the earth has no roads to begin with, but when 29 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Expansion of International Party Cooperation: CDI Creating Bonds among Asian Centrist Parties many people pass one way, a road is made.” By organizing Asia’s first transnational political party, we in the Centrist Democrat International Asia-Pacific have begun making that road. And we are travelling together, on behalf of the Asian future, toward our hope of peace and community—for ourselves and for those who will come after us. José de Venecia is the President of the CDI Asia-Pacific and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Congress of the Republic of the Philippines.30 European View
    • Afonso Dhalakama Political Parties in Africa as Instruments of Democracy By Afonso Dhalakama Any examination of the seize and retain power. During this period, current political context political parties were little more than a means in Africa must start with of obtaining power. They were not used as the recognition that, with democratic institutions. very few exceptions, democracy has been a Dictators rose to power, capitalising on areality in Africa for only a few years—and even certain illusion of freedom and independencethis has been democracy in its initial stages. I and manipulating ethnic imbalances. Theywould like to begin this analysis by reviewing pursued their own personal interests ratherthe way in which democracy and political than advancing the development of the country.parties have developed in Africa. I will then go These new leaders had little contact withon to reflect on the emergence of CDI Africa their communities and little or no politicalin the current context and on the responsibility liability. Again, it was a period without muchthat centrist political parties and their associated development—and in some cases the little thattransnational organisations have and the role had been achieved previously was destroyed.they are destined to play on the continent. In the great majority of countries, when thePrior to the colonial period, the history of Africa colonial powers negotiated independence,was one of continuous conflict between the they handed over power to specific politicaldifferent ethnic groups, who fought to control movements or a single political party, thusresources and to seize land and power. There giving these groupings an advantage over otherswas very little development in Africa during founded later. In the vast majority of cases—this time: destruction of infrastructures and the Kenya is one of few exceptions—and especiallytaking of life formed part of everyday reality and in Southern Africa, power was handed overnaturally there was no democratic process or to communist movements or parties. Togetherdevelopment. these parties created a strong axis of power, ensuring continued power through the creationThis was followed by the colonial era, and of the single-party system and keeping tightwhile this period did see some development, political, social and economic control throughthis was largely focused on meeting the needs their ideological principles. For many yearsof the colonial powers. Very little power was this situation prevented the creation of newdevolved to local leaders and no elections were parties, with such initiatives being banned as anheld with participation by local Africans. There ‘attack on communism’ and on the establishedwere no political parties—or at least none with principles.any significant participation. The ruling communist parties in different AfricanThe advent of independence brought much states created a special line of collaboration—frustration for local populations. Conflict ‘Frontline’—founded on the fight againstand destruction were widespread, with the apartheid, especially in South Africa. It was veryresult that there was very little development: active among political movements and partiesdemocratic processes held out no guarantees and continues to operate to this day despite theand were instead used by a small minority to fact that apartheid has now been completely 31 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Political Parties in Africa as Instruments of Democracy eradicated and South Africa is a democratic, prevails, only the parties in power have any multi-racial country—one of the few working chance of developing partisan relations with democracies in Africa. other parties. There are two clear areas where relations exist between the ruling parties: French- With the end of the wars in countries such speaking Africa and countries in the Southern as Mozambique, Angola and Namibia in the African Development Community (SADC). With 1990s and later, new parties emerged and rare exceptions, these relations consist largely guerrilla groups were transformed into political of mutual support to help keep their members groupings. in government. An added problem is that when the parties— The creation in January last year of the regional created after power had been obtained through organisation of the CDI (Centrist Democrat political movements—lose power, either International), CDI Africa (which now has (exceptionally) through elections or (more sixteen member parties), offers new prospects commonly) through a coup d’état, internal for collaboration between our associates and any struggles ensue that cause the party to splinter future members. This new collaboration, which or simply disappear. These parties only survive includes both ruling and opposition parties, will on the basis of the political and economic well- be of great value in developing democracy in being they are capable of providing. They have Africa. no real foundation that would allow them to remain in opposition once the benefits have run On the one hand, plans have been made to set out or the ideological basis on which they came up a team of delegates to the African parliament to power has been transformed, with more from member parties, who will work together, personal interests prevailing. speaking with a single voice and defending positions which would be difficult to maintain Wars in countries such as the Democratic in isolation. A committee will be created to Republic of Congo and Rwanda and continuous support parties in their election campaigns coups d’état and violent overthrows of and to monitor electoral processes. Here, the governments all hinder the stability of political experience gained in recent elections will be parties. Opposition parties suffer continuous of great use. Apart from the regular meetings, pressure and persecution because the which will be useful for exchanging ideas established governments view them not as and experiences, we also want to establish the opposition but as an enemy, which might collaboration and personal relations between seize their power and its associated privileges the various parties. (especially the economic ones). At the same time, in most countries that lack a democratic One essential area to which the European system that allows rotation of power (the Union cannot continue to turn a blind eye is majority), the economic treasury of the state is the lack of transparency in African elections. too closely linked to the economic treasury of Ongoing electoral fraud—manipulation in the the party. The line of separation is so fine as to preparation of the electoral census (which is be at times invisible, giving ruling parties more where fraud begins) and in voting and vote- privileges and opportunities for widening even counting—creates conflict, despite the presence further the gap between themselves and the of international observers, whose reports, either opposition parties. through ignorance, convenience or conformism, do not always reflect the real situation. All these circumstances and difficulties mean that in certain areas of the African continent, There can be no development in Africa if there is and especially those where a socialist ideology no democracy, and there will be no democracy32 European View
    • Afonso Dhalakamaif the political parties—in government and in power. This is why it is necessary, withinin opposition—are not strengthened. It is the CDI, to augment the close collaborationtherefore essential that the European Union between CDI Africa, which I have the honourcreates programmes of support for these parties, of chairing, and the European organisation, thecovering not only ideology, but also practical EPP, chaired by former Belgian prime minister,issues (organisation, preparation of leaders Vice President of the CDI, Wilfried Martens.and media presence) as well as supervisedeconomic support to allow greater democratic It is important to understand that all Africandevelopment. states need collaboration and an understanding with their European colleagues, and this mustNone of the funds that Europe earmarks take place within the CDI, in collaboration withmultilaterally or bilaterally will achieve the the EPP. African leaders need EPP’s experiencedesired results if we do not achieve stable and its international weight, especially in theirand true democracy. This is the challenge the fight against the anti-democratic abuses thatEuropean Union must face in the coming years. exist in many African countries. We need to workAchieving this aim requires freedom of the press, together to defend human rights and freedom ofas well as solid and capable political parties. the press, to strengthen political parties and to bring about true transparency in elections. OnlyThe discovery of oil (or its recent availability) in this way can we work together to changemakes democratic change all the more difficult. Africa’s future.Oil interests often accept entirely unsustainablesituations, as is the case with Equatorial Guinea CDI Africa must set its sights on creating strongand its continuous violations of human rights. links among all African member parties, basedQuite simply put, this is immoral. If we do not on dialogue and cooperation. This will make ittake effective action and advance with clear, firm possible to address the African Parliament, thesteps in the democratisation of Africa, we face African Union and the various governments withserious problems, which will have indisputable a single powerful voice, denouncing abuse andrepercussions, especially in Europe. human rights violations and working to develop and reinforce democracy.Chinese expansion into Africa poses a furtherthreat. Particularly striking are the words of the Our most pressing political mission in Africa isChinese President, who said last year during to form modern political parties and associatedan official visit to Gabon, “Chinese cooperation think-tanks. If we are not successful in thisdoes not depend on good governance and task, we run the risk of contributing to thedemocracy in African countries.” It was a clear disintegration of democracy, political chaos andstatement of support for abuse by dictators and economic collapse in Africa. With this task ina great disappointment for parties striving for view, we are going to create a work group thisdemocracy in their countries. China’s attitude year to spearhead relations with the Africanis based on its need for raw materials such as Parliament and coordinate all delegates from theminerals, oil and wood to power its ongoing CDI Africa group. I have no doubt that the EPPdevelopment and, at the same time, its need will be eager to let us benefit from its extensivefor less demanding markets on which to sell its experience in this highly important project.products. Other vitally important matters for CDI Africa areHowever, this whole development is enormously to work to make free and transparent elections adamaging to European interests and offers the reality in Africa and to ensure rotation of powerfalse democracies of Africa a chance to gain in government. We know this is no easy tasktime and their leaders an opportunity to remain and that it will require great effort and much 33 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Political Parties in Africa as Instruments of Democracy work. It may take many years before we see African citizens serious projects articulated by promising results, but it is very important that honest, prepared and responsible parties. The we start work now on this task that is so crucial time has come to rekindle citizens’ faith in for the fate of the continent. democracy and their hope for a better future. The bad example of populism in Latin America We in CDI Africa are committed to meeting those could all too easily spread to Africa, setting expectations and to making our centrist parties back many years a continent already beset an answer to Afro-pessimism, an answer to by problems. To avoid such scenarios, we corruption, an answer to imperfect democracy, must commit ourselves to achieving five basic to fraudulent processes, to a lack of democratic objectives: participation, to unstable governments and institutions, to the unpunished violation of 1. strong, stable, effective and responsible human rights and to underdevelopment. democratic institutions; 2. sustained and equitable economic growth; Only in this way can political parties become 3. the defence of human rights; true instruments of democracy. Only in this way 4. the prevention and resolution of conflicts; can Africa look to the future with hope. 5. greater strengthening of democracy, with increased participation and more political and social commitment on the part of the citizenry. Afonso Dhalakama is the President of CDI Africa. For all of these reasons, it is essential to strengthen our parties within CDI Africa. In doing so, we have the backing of the EPP and all the regional organisations, the ODCA-CDOA in Latin America and CDI Asia-Pacific. Through our regional organisations, we want to make the parties more responsible to the citizenry, proposing specific programmes that involve a real commitment to the electorate, reflect their real concerns and offer concrete solutions. CDI Africa’s member parties are eager to become instruments of communication between institutions and voters, reinforcing the former’s role in democracy in their countries and strengthening the latter’s conviction that democracy is the foundation of both their own development and that of their country. Paradoxically, political parties in Africa are seen on the one hand as the key institutions for representative democracy and at the same time as absolutely incapable of performing their functions, which are essential for the effective functioning of democracy. The time has come to end this paradox. The time has come to offer34 European View
    • David Hanley Keeping it in the Family? National Parties and the Transnational Experience By David Hanley Discussion of trans- the basis of locating these organisms within national parties (TNPs) the context of their own national states. Parties focuses heavily on arose out of the famous cleavages, moments their activities at the of high tension within European societies as level of the European they began to modernise economically and Union (EU), whether as politically. Parties reflected the social interestsactors in the European Parliament (EP), or as of groups polarised on either side of thesepolitical entrepreneurs outside the EU. All such cleavages. Thus most countries have ended upanalyses use a top-down approach. The TNPs with a party system where property owners areare considered actors in their own right, more represented by conservative or liberal parties,or less unitary, and operating in a distinct space, and workers by socialists or communists; innamely the peculiar competitive environment of some cases, Christian parties arose to defend thethe EP.1 Less attention is paid to the bottom- Church against the attacks of liberal, rationalistup approach, that is, looking at the TNPs from modernisers. A further fault-line in modernthe point of view of the various national parties societies, the territorial cleavage associated withwhich created them and still sustain them to a state-building, would pit centralising partieslarge extent. against parties which defended the periphery: those outlying parts of the newly consolidatedOfficially, the EU endorses the concept of TNPs states, often with cultures or languages ofbecause, according to Article 191 of the Maastricht their own, that resisted being drawn into theTreaty, they are important factors for integration modernising orbit of strangers in the capital. Thein that they help raise citizens’ awareness of modernisation of agriculture, with its consequentEurope. Even supposing that all national parties urbanisation, would pit town against country,are in favour of such a development, there are a parties of the urban interest—be they liberalnumber of questions which supporters of TNPs or conservative—against agrarian or peasantmust answer with regard to national parties. parties.Why should a national party invest in a TNP?What can it hope to gain? What are the costs? In short, then, parties belong to familiesCan we answer such questions simply and associated with cleavages, but these cleavagesdirectly? In particular, might not different party took place within distinct nation states. Partiesfamilies vary in evaluations of and approaches could only be supremely national organisations,to the TNPs? Building on an ongoing research rooted in the history and culture of theirproject, this article suggests preliminary answers nation state, and as much a part of the familiarto these questions. institutions as the national museum, broadcasting service or football team. Parties could only takeParty and nation root in a ‘Westphalian’ nation state which had developed a certain level of economic, politicalParties are contemporaneous with their nation and cultural cohesion, or which, as Bartolinistates. Our understanding of party, nourished insists, had managed to draw its boundariesby the models of Rokkan, has proceeded on clearly.1 Some scholars dismiss the TNP summarily. For Daniel Seiler they are not true parties while Peter Mair believes that there is no true competition in the EP because this body does not sustain an executive. We do not share these views. 35 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Keeping it in the Family? National Parties and the Transnational Experience Parties as institutions: a logic of themselves and represent their supporters, and selfpreservation these two processes are intimately connected. If therefore these tasks might need to be carried As well as having deep national roots, parties out partly beyond the national territory, then developed structures and needs which span parties should not, as rational, self-preserving any national boundary. Panebianco has focused actors, have difficulty with this notion. All this on the material basis of party. His stressing depends on precisely what opportunities or of the egotistical dimension of party activity pressure for transnational action might arise. is a necessary corrective to much writing that takes party ideology or self-description at face Party beyond the frontiers value.2 We know that parties tend, if successful, to institutionalise (to use his terminology), i.e. One could develop an argument about the they build up an infrastructure and resources prehistory of transnational collaboration between of their own. This then becomes a stake in parties—going back to the nineteenth century, the calculations of political actors, as the party and especially the Socialist International—and can now offer careers (administrative and discern long-term trends which may be relevant representative), honours, prestige, etc. The to today’s national parties and their transnational party exists as an actor in its own right, with relationships. Bearing in mind spatial constraints, its own interests, which it will obviously seek we will simply point out that all party families felt to enhance. compelled to invest in transnational structures long before the advent of a political regime such One consequence is that a party must be as the EU, and will restrict our remarks to the constantly on the lookout for new opportunities period of European integration. to extend its influence, both to enhance its own base and to satisfy its voters. The life of modern European integration is generally perceived by parties is a continuing search for sources of parties as an opportunity and a threat. It forces influence, in the widest sense. As the field of them to make choices. Parties in government possible influence expands, so the party must (hence involved in the European Council) spread into it; parties follow opportunities as continually have to decide on what bases to trade once followed the flag. Every new arena pool decision-making power, previously their sets new challenges for parties: how do they own (in theory). respond in a way that enables them to keep control of the agenda, the voters and, if possible, Parties in opposition have to decide how far the decisions? Long before the concept of ‘multi- to oppose or agree with the governing party. level governance’ came into vogue, parties had Additionally, though, whether in government been operating at many different levels. or opposition, parties are involved in the European Parliament (EP), a key stage in the Modern parties first spread out of parliaments EU legislative process. Its structures have from into the new institutions of local government the beginning been transnational, starting which rapidly arose across Europe. But if parties with groups in the ECSC Assembly, organised spread easily to sub-national levels, why should according to classic party families.3 These they not spread outside national frontiers, if structures have grown from ad hoc coalitions in the occasion arose? Parties are rooted in their the Assembly, through informal steering groups own state, but there is nothing unconditional and then confederations of party families with about their link to this state. They must preserve an existence separate from the parliamentary 2 A. Panebianco, Political Parties: Organisation and Power (Cambridge: CUP, 1988). 3 A. Kreppel, The European Parliament and the Supranational Party System: A Study in Development (Cambridge: CUP, 2002).36 European View
    • David Hanleygroup, to the self-proclaimed TNPs of the 1990s: parties would become subordinate organs of athe PES, the EPP, the ELDR, etc. Experts see TNP.this process as driven from outside. Nationalgovernments signed up to integrated structures, A more realistic option for national partieswhich then developed institutional logics of might be to create a less ambitious vehicle. Intheir own (e.g., the Common Assembly); then Niedermayer’s terms, it would not go beyondin a later stage, they increased their power cooperation; to borrow from a popular currentwithin the decision-making triad of the EU, theory of institutional analysis, it would bethus becoming a more attractive investment an agent controlled by its various principals,proposition for national parties. At every stage the national parties. Principal/agent theoryof this process, national parties had to frame is mostly used to describe the relationshipan institutional, transnational response to this between national governments and non-electivechanging landscape of governance and did so regulatory bodies to which they have made overas shown above. a certain limited number of powers (these can include bodies as variegated as the EuropeanUnderstanding national parties’ responses Court of Justice or regulators of water supply). Purists can argue about whether such theoriesBroadly speaking, national parties had a fit exactly the relationship between nationalrange of options for the construction of their parties and TNPs, but at a basic level theytransnational vehicles. Oskar Niedermayer set capture the fundamental logic of this situation:out a ladder of collaboration, with his famous only give up what is strictly necessary and maketriptych of contact/cooperation/integration. The sure that what powers you have conceded arefirst stage implies a low level of contact between well policed.parties, while the second implies recognisablestructured cooperation between them. Party The mainsprings of principal/agent theoryInternationals, or some of the bi- and multi-level are widely understood. Typically, a principalactivity that neighbouring parties of the same (usually a national government or anotherfamily might pursue in a given region, would state-level institution) entrusts, alone or incount as an example of the mid-to-lower end of concert with other principals, a function orthe cooperation scale. set of functions to a notionally subordinate actor, the agent. Adequate resources have toToday’s TNPs, or the older ones at least, might be provided for the function to be discharged.be seen as stronger examples of cooperation. The principals may in some cases create thisFew, however, would dare to regard them as real agent directly. The latter, usually an institutionexamples of the highest stage, viz. integration.4 in its own right, is expected to carry out theseFor this involves a significant re-ordering of the functions for the benefit of the principal(s), or,structure of national parties: they would have as the formula has it, to save the principal(s)to become (to an extent that one could argue a number of transaction costs. Transposed toabout) parts of a wider transnational organism, the EU framework, this theory has been used toto which they would have abrogated their most study the delegation of functions by principalsimportant powers (such as the ability to draft (national governments) to supranational agentstheir own programme, select their own leaders (the Commission or ECJ), but also, increasingly,or candidates, dispose of their own resources, to a host of new, secondary institutions.5pursue alliances and so on). Integration inNiedermayer’s sense really means that national Principals have one main concern, to stop their4 An exception is K. M. Johansson and P. Zervakis (eds.) European Political Parties between Co-operation and Integration (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2002).5 M. Pollack, The Engine of European Integration: Delegation, Agency and Agenda-Setting in the European Union (Oxford: OUP, 2003). 37 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Keeping it in the Family? National Parties and the Transnational Experience agents from acquiring any autonomy. They do Niedermayer’s cooperation, or of a weak agent not want them to develop their own policies carrying out limited functions for a strong or to begin to interfere with areas that are the national principal. principal’s responsibility. The best way to assure this is to give the agent comparatively few But other transnational functions need to be powers and have the means of checking him addressed, and here the party comes into its should he step out of line. Such an eminently own. Today’s TNPs have assumed the symbolic, clear and rational framework can in our view identity-consolidating roles which Internationals easily be applied to TNPs and their national traditionally performed for party families, by a member-parties or principals. process we term decantation. This consists in regulating the admission of new members to the From the time of the Internationals to today’s family. In newly emerging polities, such as the TNPs, there has been a process of delegation countries of Eastern and Central Europe after by national parties to a transnational organism, 1989, the party situation is fluid, with many new which they have created. All the problems parties emerging, old ones re-emerging and associated with principal/agent relationships existing ones, such as the communists, striving have surfaced at various times within the history to readapt themselves. of the TNPs and their predecessors. What benefits are expected from delegation? What functions The TNPs played a decisive role in clearing up this and resources should be delegated? What confused scene. Building on contacts established mechanisms are there to prevent disobedience? by the German and other foundations, they were What sanctions? It should be clear from the able to identify sustainable members for their above that we think that the logical step for family, excluding the dubious or short-lived, national parties is to create an agent that is and sometimes encouraging rivals to merge. adequate but not strong, in the shape of a TNP, The TNPs could help with expert advice and and to keep it on a tight rein. training, as well as symbolic encouragement such as visits or seminars by leading politicians. EU the uses of tNPs for national parties membership for these countries was the catalyst which permitted such activity; decantation was National parties obtain clear benefits from these not immediately successful in every case, though structures which they have created. We will the overall results are impressive when we see study the EP groups and the TNPs successively, how far party families have been consolidated. as they are by no means the same animal. This decantation still continues in the Balkans and on the eastern fringes of the EU. There is a clear division of labour between the two. The group is adequate for coordinating This was a function which the old Internationals the parliamentary activities of member parties. first began to carry out late in the nineteenth It is the locus of compromise, where national century. Another was the think-tank function, if delegations can discuss ongoing legislation, one can so describe the rich debates which the agree on amendments or, in extremis, when the Socialists conducted on the nature of socialism national interest of a delegation leads it to differ and how to attain it. Today’s TNPs have resumed from the group line, accept that difference. this think-tank function much more. And given Such instances are comparatively rare since the their new resources, they are likely to continue trend has been towards increased homogeneity apace, providing new options for their family, of voting, as Simon Hix’s European Parliament alongside the input from member parties and Research Group has shown. If parliamentary EP groups, which are necessarily narrower in collaboration were all that was necessary, their focus. This capacity to paint broad pictures EP groups would be a good illustration of might become a more valued function of the38 European View
    • David HanleyTNPs over time. The TNPs might build more registered sympathisers rather than membersactively on their think-tank function. They could in the classic sense). National parties still makecoordinate campaigns on given issues on a cross- their own policy on EU and other matters, beingnational basis. Some families are particularly free to use TNP output or not. And within theattracted by this possibility. The most important decision-making of the TNPs, national vetoesrole is, however, generally agreed to be that of still prevail on all matters except those for whichelite coordination, mainly via the pre-summits the European Council uses QMV. Nationalwhich TNPs increasingly hold prior to European parties still have a financial say in the operationsCouncil meetings. Heads of government and of the TNPs, as the first 25% of their financeheads of opposition parties can discuss issues, has to come from outside the EU budget—inagree a line or at least find out where they other words, they need donors. Finally, thecan afford to differ. Such close networking has operations of the EP groups depend not on theproved highly effective in terms of Council TNPs, whose names they (sometimes) bear, butoutcomes; Simon Hix and Christopher Lord on consensus between national delegations,demonstrate in particular the effectiveness of which are supervised with varying degrees ofthe EPP in the run-up to monetary union.6 There rigorousness by parties back home.is an increasing tendency, therefore, to see theTNP as an elite network or club. All this bespeaks TNPs with limited functions, subjected to strong controls. Further developmentThe advantages of a weak TNP for national of the TNPs is certainly feasible, though itparties are, then, considerable. It can perform depends on the institutional evolution of thesome symbolic functions of identity-building and Union, or more accurately, on whether nationalsocialisation of new members. It can be asked parties in government are willing to adopt moreto be a ‘blue skies’ thinker on policy options supranational ways of doing business (e.g.,or broad future trends. Its parliamentary group having some of the MEPs elected on genuinely(by no means coterminous with the party) can transnational lists, having agreed candidates forbe used to carry out precise legislative work Commission President run by TNPs, and so on).in a body, the EP, which plays a growing role For now, the TNPs can be understood as weakin the EU policy process, albeit more limited agents supervised by strong national principals.than that of national parliaments. To enable thisagent to discharge these functions on behalf of Such are the benefits which strong nationalits national principals, it can even be put on a parties might expect from the creation of TNPssound legal and financial basis, as was done and associated groups in the EP. Yet even a veryunder the European Party Statute. general model of the national–transnational party relationship such as this allows for wideThis represents only a limited transfer of variants in the way national parties can constructsovereignty from national parties, however. their transnationality. Of the possible variablesThey still control the major functions associated which may affect their choice, the most obviouswith political parties. National parties choose seems to be the party family: does the cleavagecandidates for EP elections; they are free to from which a party stems bear heavily on theuse TNP manifestoes or not. Membership is way it envisages its transnational action?still usually in the control of national parties:few TNPs have individual members, thoughsome are moving towards the idea (some have6 S. Hix and C. Lord, Political Parties in the European Union (Basingstoke: McMillan, 1997). 39 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Keeping it in the Family? National Parties and the Transnational Experience the family dimension of tNPs: patterns who never got beyond an increasingly semi- and variants detached membership of the EP group. It seems at present that they will end their alliance with How do the different families make use of their EPP and try to reconfigure the old European TNPs? At this stage, it would seem that there are Democrat group. One wonders if they will gain some common uses, and some practices specific by so doing, even in the domestic political to different families. arena at which their gesture is aimed. From the perspective of TNPs as identity builders, however, All families without exception value the the Conservatives’ story illustrates the limits of symbolic functions of the TNPs. They, like family belonging: if there are certain issues that the Internationals before them, actually define you cannot accept, then you cannot, in the end, who is a member of the family; they check belong. As a national party, the Conservatives credentials and act as gatekeepers through the clearly think that this is a price worth paying. process of decantation described above. By The limits to transnational commitment in the being a locus of interaction among members, face of clear priorities in domestic politics could they help keep alive a sense of common not be better illustrated. purpose and belonging. Any social organisation or community needs identity props of this kind; Other EPP parties have found the networking members need to be reminded who they are function extremely useful. Most are regular (and, by the same token, who they are not, i.e. members of government and have clearly rival groups). Political parties are no different learned how to coordinate their activity. One from any other organism in that respect; any can argue that the movement of the economy analysis that forgets this identity dimension does and society towards a more deregulated and so at its peril. Thus all TNPs help, by their very free-market approach, together with the rise of existence, to ‘keep it in the family’. consumerism and individualism, have made it easier for the EPP’s members to converge. But That said, some TNPs have more difficulty the existence of the TNPs has helped make that than others in defining the family and keeping convergence faster and smoother. it together. Paradoxically, the EPP is a case in point. We know how skilfully this formation The other major TNP, the Party of European has expanded beyond its original Christian Socialists (PES), shows a different trajectory. Democrat core to embrace numerous like- While it apparently has had little difficulty minded (“geestesverwante”, in Wilfried Martens’ in integrating members (even the reformed phrase) centre-right parties, whose combined communists of Eastern and Central Europe), it weight today outnumbers that of the original experiences difficulty in developing common Christian Democrat core. The EPP has cleverly positions. Robert Ladrech and Simon Lightfoot used membership of the parliamentary group as have shown that the PES has already struggled a staging post to full membership; in this way to frame a common approach to employment, parties such as Forza Italia or Partido Popular while on environment, another key priority for were inducted relatively easily. socialists, it has never got beyond very general policy orientations.7 Some powerful parties, The growth of the EPP as biggest party, with notably in Southern Europe, cannot agree to the high voting cohesion, confirms the success of strict sort of norm pioneered by their friends this policy of federating the centre-right. The in, say, Scandinavia. Another tension inside the exception is, of course, the British Conservatives, party, which soon turns up in any interview 7 R. Ladrech, Social Democracy and the Challenge of the European Union (Boulder: Lynne Riener, 2000); S. Lightfoot, Europea- nising Social Democracy? The Rise of the Party of European Socialists (London: Routledge, 2005).40 European View
    • David Hanleywith a national official, is that between statists/ Thus the networking functions of leaders’regulators and deregulators, exemplified by meetings were for a long time activities in whichBritish Labour on the one hand and the French they under-invested. This is beginning to change,or Walloon Socialist Party (PS) on the other. as Greens and ex-communists of the Party ofFor the French PS, now that it is in opposition, the European Left (PEL) increasingly embark onincreased investment in PES activity is a way these activities. Particularly attractive to moreof winning over to one’s ideas colleagues who activist parties of this type are the Europe-widemight be future interlocutors at the European campaigning possibilities which their TNPs canCouncil, once they return to government. In coordinate.many ways, little has changed for the socialistssince the old International: they value the Both Greens and ex-communists have strongPES as a locus for the confrontation of ideas roots in civil society, the Greens via the social(its think-tank function is undergoing a major movements out of which their party came anddevelopment under the energetic leadership the communists thanks to their connectionsof P. N. Rasmussen), but are as yet reluctant to with unions and other working class groups.see it develop more integrative policymaking Green officials have told us of their keennessfunctions. to use the European Green Party (EGP) to coordinate Europe-wide campaigns on issuesThe smaller families tend to value TNPs more, such as climate change. Ex-communist partiesalbeit with qualifications. The Liberals have have to find a role for themselves now thatprobably the highest level of agreement on the days of the ‘vanguard party’ are over; theyEuropean integration, and even though there focus increasingly on campaigns of extra-are tensions between pure market liberals and parliamentary mobilisation, merging theirsocial liberals, these tend to be manageable. efforts with, among others, the anti-globalisationPerhaps, given this high level of accord, national movement. National party officials are keenparties have under-used the ELDR as a resource. to use the PEL as a coordinator and amplifierHowever, the current president, Annemie of such work. Such campaigning fits in easilyNeyts, has plans to revive the party as a forum with the PEL membership’s general hostility tofor debate; in her view, member parties have further integration and its arguments in favouravoided addressing squarely the question of of a more social Europe.how to take integration further, and this must beended.8 Members should thus see the think-tank If the PEL is mainly dealing with older partiesfunction of the party strengthened. The other which are being recycled, so to speak, thekey function of the ELDR must be to strengthen Greens are concerned to build up parties of athe liberal presence in Eastern and Central new family. The European Green Party is seenEurope. Struggling parties, such as ODA in the by parties from Eastern and Central Europe inCzech Republic, badly need help from Brussels particular as a means of support and legitimation.to build up a party machine, train cadres, drive Of particular interest is the close cross-frontiermerger negotiations with other small groups cooperation which, under EGP aegis, existsand so on. between the Czech Greens and their more experienced and better resourced sister-partiesSmaller TNPs usually have less experience of in Austria, Bavaria and Saxony. The cases of thegovernment. This may explain why they were Greens and ex-communists thus reveal anotherthe most reluctant to adopt the form of a TNP paradox. The Greens generally favour moreand make full use of the European Party Statute. integration (with notable exceptions, such as8 Interview with author, November 2005. 41 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Keeping it in the Family? National Parties and the Transnational Experience the English or Scandinavians), including within Panebianco’s ideas about how parties grab any their own TNP. The ex-communists strive to opportunity to survive or grow. They show the resist such developments, believing they can importance of political opportunity structures. best exert influence at national level. Yet both Here are national parties seizing a transnationally are able to use the new opportunity of a TNP generated chance to fund actions whose ultimate to press their strategies, countervailing though purpose is to counter transnationalism! these may be. conclusion The smallest party of all, the European Free Alliance–Democratic Party of the Peoples of These few selected and generalised examples Europe (EFA-DPPE), has the most difficult task. only hint at the complex ways in which national Its members are by definition active not at state- parties can relate to their TNPs. We have treated wide level but within regions of nation-states, the problem at the party family level. Obviously whose legitimacy they challenge to various if one went down a further level and looked at degrees. For such parties—with few MEPs and, individual national parties inside each family, an in most cases, little opportunity to share in even wider variety of cases would arise. regional government—membership of a TNP is about belonging to a shared community of For the present, we can offer limited conclusions. minorities, about mutual support and publicity, All party families find membership of a TNP and learning from each others’ experiences. useful for various basic functions. The primary Once they had seen, after initial coolness, that one is identity-building and consolidation, via the EU could be an opportunity to outflank the decantation of new members; TNPs are the or gain leverage on those nation-states whom major means of ‘keeping it within the family’. they contested, regionalists were among the But networking and providing fora for reflection earliest to invest in transnational structures. In are also important. Beyond that, divergences the Europe of Regions to which most of them begin to creep in. We may briefly speculate aspire, such collaboration seems more natural. about some of the reasons for this diversity. A final, intriguing case is the Eurosceptic family, Size is not all-important: there is no automatic incarnated in the Independence and Democracy correlation between how big a TNP is and Group in the EP. On the face of it, such a group how its members view it. The PES is one of is an accidental coming together of parties who the biggest and, on the level of identity, best want either to quit the EU or to downsize its integrated, but members seem reluctant to let it activities considerably. It might be thought that develop. The EPP has also built up its bulk, but such parties would simply form an EP group in that does not attract automatically, as the UK order to play a spoiling role. Certainly, many of Tories show. And, arguing a contrario, smaller them disapprove on moral or political grounds parties like those of the PEL long scorned the of the idea of public money being used to idea of a TNP, seeing no advantage in joining finance European parties. Recent developments their efforts. Yet the even smaller regionalists suggest a change in attitude, however. At time were always keen. of writing, two would-be parties from this group have applied for registration under the Closeness to government does not always affect Statute. Interviews with officials suggest that parties’ attitude to TNPs in the same way. Most the eventual TNP structures (if the applications members of the centre-right EPP are ‘natural are accepted) will be minimal, with the funding parties of government’ and have found the being used to fuel anti-integration campaigns in networking of the EPP—even (especially?) when Member States. This runs parallel to what the they are in opposition—to be highly useful. PEL is doing. Both cases powerfully demonstrate Yet the UK Conservatives are an exception to42 European View
    • David Hanleythis rule. The age of parties is no guide, either.The ex-communists belong to an old family buttook a long time to accept the idea of a TNP.The Greens, much younger, have gravitated totransnational solutions much more quickly. Theradicalism, real or presumed, of party familiesis no guide either to their transnational postures.Both the ex-communists and Greens are radicalin quite different ways but arrive at opposingconclusions so far as the purpose of TNPs isconcerned.One could develop all these lines of argumentfurther, but a preliminary conclusion might runas follows. For the present, TNPs exist for all thefamilies; limited but real use is being made ofthem. Within this very general parameter, thereare, as we have seen, some variations acrossparty families and, though this is outside thescope of this paper, between different nationalparties in the same family. Such genuinelytransnational activity as there is has developedbecause national parties have at different timesdecided to let some of their functions go to theselimited transnational agents. Given the presentmood of mistrustful intergovernmentalism inEurope, it is likely to be some time before thissituation develops and the TNPs move on to afurther stage of development.David Hanley is a Professor in the School ofEuropean Studies at Cardiff University. 43 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Thomas Jansen The Emergence of a Transnational European Party System1 By Thomas Jansen Public political debate will of Union citizens.” Article II-72/2 (in the and decision-making are Charter of Fundamental Rights) develops the basic to a democracy, a idea by stating: “Political parties at Union level system that enshrines the contribute to expressing the political will of the citizen’s right to become Union’s citizens.” personally involved if heor she so wishes. It is fundamental that people But what are these political parties at Europeansee the community in which they live as their level, or as we call them, ‘European parties’?business and feel comfortable with that fact. Any definition must be based on observing theThe same goes for the European Union, whose political structures that have called themselvessuccess depends on its citizens’ participation European parties since their appearance duringand consent. There are arguments about what the final decade of the twentieth century, thoughshape the Union should take and competition in fact their origins go back to the 1970s.for power in and between EU institutions. It istherefore essential that these debates take place We are speaking about federal associationsout in the open. This public debate is carried of national or regional parties from severalon by the rival political parties. As European Member States of the European Union. Theyintegration deepens, such parties represent a are in agreement about their orientation andvital social force. But if they are to be effective objectives, and are committed to permanentthey need to organise themselves to represent cooperation on the basis of an agreed statutethe will and the interests of their constituents and to a political programme decided by theamong Union citizens. relevant political bodies. Their terrain is the political system of the Union, and their deputiesWhat are European parties? belong to the same groups in the European Parliament.Article 191 of the Treaty on European Unionstates: “Political parties at European level are This definition of European parties coversimportant factors of integration in the Union. the federations of traditional political familiesThey contribute to developing a European organised at Union level: the Social Democrats,consciousness, and to expressing the political the Christian Democrats and Liberal Democrats,will of the citizens of the Union.” the European Greens, and the European Alliance Party. In terms of their structure andFormulations along these lines can be found modus operandi, as well as their ambition andin the draft European Constitution solemnly field of operations, they are transnational. Howsigned in Rome on 28 October 2004 by the they see themselves and also how they behaveEuropean Union heads of state and government. is an indication of their importance as actorsUnder the rubric ‘Democratic Life of the in the Union’s political system—a system theyUnion’, Article 46/4 reads: “Political parties at take responsibility to shape and develop. OtherEuropean level contribute to forming European political forces represented in the Europeanpolitical awareness and to expressing the Parliament have not been able to organise1 This contribution is based on the introduction of the author’s book The European People’s Party: Origins and Development (Brussels 2006). Published by the EPP; also available in German, French, Italian and Spanish. 45 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Emergence of a Transnational European Party System themselves effectively thus far, either because The opportunities afforded by this kind of they have been fixated on national politics or confederation in Community politics were because they have not wanted to merge into obvious, even at this early stage. a supranational alliance for reasons of political ideology. The intensive work done by party confederations on political programmes during the run-up to the rise of European parties the first European elections4 continued and intensified with subsequent EP elections (held Already at an early stage, the main political parties at five-year intervals). EP deputies cooperating in the six European Community founding states in the various groups increasingly came to rely had begun to cooperate with like-minded sister on jointly developed programmes. All are either parties in other countries. From the late 1940s individually or personally connected to the and through the 1950s, European party families party federations. began to form, trying to reach agreement among themselves and increasingly acting in concert. The implied harmonisation process between the different member parties had implications One of the fruits of this gradual integration for the identities of national parties, and also came in the mid-1970s, and the approach of the for how they presented themselves to the first direct elections to the European Parliament voters. This process of coming together had an (EP) in 1979 saw the establishment of the first observable effect on how national parties and/ properly constituted federations of parties. or their leaders saw the European parties and how they projected that identity outwards. The challenge of the European elections pushed the Liberals, along with the Social Democrats If they were to arrive at common views and and the Christian Democrats, to set up pan- positions, more and more national party leaders European organisations.2 Notable enthusiasts recognised that they needed to discuss general were those Members of the European Parliament political issues with partners beyond their own who, as early as 1952, had formed parliamentary national borders. Important issues could not groups in the Parliamentary Assembly of the be dealt with in the context of the respective European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), European Parliament groups: issues such as the and again in the European Parliament of 1958 agenda of the European Council, the fundamental following the foundation of the European direction of foreign and security policy, socio- Economic Community (EEC) and the European political developments and their implications for Atomic Community (EAC). These groups all their party programmes, and how to organise felt an increasing need to be able to rely on transnational cooperation itself. ‘European’ parties. 3 More or less systematic cooperation between With the approach of direct elections, the like-minded parties brought with it progressively national parties had an interest in running a elaborate organisational and communications coordinated European election campaign. The structures. In this context, it was logical to national parties also hoped to benefit from the include in the Maastricht Treaty of the early publicity which might possibly accrue from 1990s a clause (mentioned above) ascribing belonging to a supranational organisation. a special role in the integration process to 2 Cf. Institut für Europäische Politik (publ.): Zusammenarbeit der Parteien in Westeuropa. Auf dem Wege zu einer neuen poli- tischen Infrastruktur? (Vol 43/44, Institut für Europäische Politik), Bonn 1976; Theo Stammen: Parteien in Europa. Nationale Parteiensysteme. Transnationale Parteienbeziehungen. Konturen eines europäischen Parteiensystems, Munich 1977. 3 Cf. Norbert Gresch, Transnationale Parteienenarbeit in der EG, Baden-Baden 1978, see pp. 23ff. 4 Cf. Martin Bangemann et al., Programme für Europa. Die Programme der Europäischen Parteienenbünde zur Europawahl 1979, Bonn 1978; Eva-Rose Karnofski, Parteienbünde vor der Europawahl 1979, Bonn 1982. Cf. Eberhard Grabitz & Thomas Läufer, Das Europäische Parlament, Bonn 1980, see pp. 295ff.46 European View
    • Thomas Jansen“political parties at European level.” up in the summer of 1993 as a pan-European association but one whose framework wasThis was the first constitutional recognition that supposed to permit bringing these like-the development of European party structures minded parties together at Union level; 9was necessary to the process of continuing • the European Free Alliance/Democratic PartyEuropean integration and a functioning of European Peoples, which evolved in thetransnational political system. Soon enough this second half of the 1990s into a federationled to the expectation (fully justified, as became of parties committed to ethnic and regionalclear a few years later) that fully developing the issues. 10European Community’s political system wouldinvolve the rise of a transnational party system. At the same time, new alliances were graduallyThis would be a key element in shaping the formed. However, it was not until the politicalintegration process, as well as in the future and ideological sea change of 1989 that theseconstitutional order of the Community. were formalised. Both British and Scandinavian Conservative parties felt increasingly drawnIn anticipation of the European Community to the EPP and eventually joined the EPPbecoming an authentic political union, the parliamentary group. The former Liberal partydevelopment of transnational party families in Portugal—though actually called the Socialin the early 1990s led to the creation of the Democratic Party—followed, and after themfollowing European parties5: the French Liberals and Gaullists11. The Italian Communists found their way into the European• the European Social Democratic Party, Social-Democratic Party (ESP). The Reformists established in 1992 when the Federation of and Radicals sought an alliance with the Social Democratic Parties in the European European Liberal and Democratic Reform Party Community (founded in 1974) rewrote its (ELDR). statutes; 6• the Democratic Party (ESP), formed when the the parties in the European Union’s Reformists and Radicals sought an alliance political system with the European Liberal and Democratic Reform Party (ELDR); That the European parties are not—or do not• the European People’s Party (EPP), which had appear to be—as relevant and effective as declared its intention of becoming a European national parties in the Member States derives party from the start, when it was founded in from the fact that power in the Union did not 1976, agreed on new statutes in November and still does not derive from the European 1990 that made this ambition crystal clear; 7 Parliament, but from national governments who• the European Liberal and Democratic owe their legitimacy and power to national Reform Party (ELDR), formed in 1993 out parliaments. This means that political parties of the Federation of European Liberals and will, for the foreseeable future, remain more Democrats (founded in 1976); 8 effective in influencing constitutional and• the European Federation of Green Parties, set legislative developments at a national rather5 Cf. Thomas Jansen, ‘Zur Entwicklung Supranationaler Europäischer Parteien’, in: Oscar W. Gabriel et al. (Eds.), Der Demokratische Verfassungsstaat. Theorie, Geschichte, Probleme. Festschrift für Hans Buchheim, Munich 1992, pp. 241ff.6 Cf. Pascal Delwit: Les partis socialistes et l’intégration européenne, Brussels 1995; www.pse.org.7 Cf. Thomas Jansen: The European People’s Party. Origins and Development, Brussels 2006; www.epp-eu.org.8 www.eldr.org.9 Cf. Thomas Dietz: Die grenzüberschreitende Interaktion grüner Parteien in Europa, Cologne 1997, www.europeangreens.org.10 www.efa-ddp.org. These European Parliament deputies have been members of the European Greens’ group since 1999.11 Cf. Karl Magnus Johansson: Transnational Party Alliances. Analysing the Hard-won Alliance between Conservatives and Christian Democrats in the European Parliament, Lund 1997; Thomas Jansen: ‘The Integration of the Conservatives into the European People’s Party’ in: David S. Bell & Christopher Lord (Eds.): Transnational Parties in the European Union, Aldershot 1998. 47 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Emergence of a Transnational European Party System than transnational European level. National of the leading figures in national party politics. governments acting as constitution and law- To political parties operating at Union level, it makers in the European Council have been fairly became obvious that political parties needed adept at preventing the European Parliament to be present if they were to look after their from being able to exercise much influence or interests there, have an influence or actively help control. This has essentially been achieved by shape the political architecture of Europe. 12 exploiting the fact that European affairs have remained a matter for foreign ministries, and The result is the blending of parties that had European policy has therefore been conducted formerly been exclusively national organisations by the governments like foreign policy. and their political work as European parties. Bodies are created that operate in much the What has changed is that the political parties are same way as most of their member parties. A now developing their structures and deploying congress of delegates decides on the political resources in line with the Constitution. Their programme; an executive committee deals efforts are therefore confined to building up with current issues and day-to-day business; a their own joint, transnational structures and chairman (supported by a party presidium or their own capacity to act effectively at Union board) speaks for the party and represents it; level. All this takes place within a framework a secretary-general (supported by a secretariat) progressively defined by what is required is in charge of internal communication and the of them by European integration and its technical and organisational work necessary to institutionalisation. Yet looking back over the ensure the party bodies can operate properly; this process of Europeanisation to which national individual is also responsible for implementing political parties in the EU were subject during the what these bodies decide. 13 1990s, it is nevertheless clear that the rhythm of their development and what resulted was in fact Following the example of similar structures largely something that they—the parties or their adopted by some of their member parties, the political alliances—determined themselves: European parties have gone on to establish transnational cooperative associations for • by the degree to which they accepted or certain categories of members. These include rejected the process of Europeanisation, in youth associations and organisations for itself a measure of their capacity to shape this women and for workers. The aim is to give the process; European parties a broader social base and to • by the role of their political groups in the root themselves among their memberships by European Parliament and how vigorously disseminating their political programmes within they articulated a common political will; the various milieux of the national parties. • by their political programmes and their ability to shape a supranational consensus while The European parties do not only have political including specifically national social forces. groups in the European Parliament. They are also present in the Committee of the Regions and in The gradual emergence of a European political the Council of Europe Assembly, endeavouring culture and the sensibility that goes with it in each case to promote the programmes of their helped accelerate the Europeanisation of the respective parties. This was also the case at the party system. The transnational cooperation European Convention (2002/2003). Members institutionalised in the European parties, had that belonged to the different European parties its effect, too, on the mentality and behaviour or were politically close to them developed 12 Cf. Oscar Niedermayer: Europäische Parteien? Zur grenzüberschreitenden Interaktion politischer Parteien im Rahmen der Eu- ropäischen Gemeinschaft, Frankfurt am Main and New York 1983. 13 On the activities and development of European parties, see the contribution on party alliances and/or European parties in: Werner Weidenfeld & Wolfgang Wessels (Eds.): Yearbook of European Integration, Bonn. Published regularly since 1980.48 European View
    • Thomas Janseninformal political groups. Their contributions, European People’s Party (EPP), and the Unionand above all their success in integrating across of Socialist Parties of the European Communitynational lines, contributed substantially to the (USP). The letter called for a clause on the role offact that a consensus was reached on a draft European Parties in shaping political consensusConstitution. and political will to be written into the Treaty on European Union. 14 The initiative for this letterMoreover, European parties regularly bring came from the president of the EPP, the Belgiantogether national party leaders (as well as heads prime minister Wilfried Martens. It proved easyof government and foreign ministers who belong enough for him to convince his two colleaguesto their member parties) for consultations on and compatriots, the Liberal Willy De Clerqthe European Council agenda or other issues and the Socialist Guy Spitaels, of the proposal’srequiring top-level discussion and decision- significance. As the letter said, the intention wasmaking. Over the course of the 1990s, these “explicitly to emphasise the role of Europeanmeetings became increasingly important, in parties in the process of integration and ofitself testimony to the growing significance of democratising the European Union’s politicalEuropean parties as they become more adept at system.”organising joint action by their members. The chairmen of the three European parties (orThe European parties are neither capable of party confederations) proposed the followingcopying any particular national model nor willing clause be included in the Treaty in order to maketo do so, because they are not organised in the it possible “to establish a European legislativesame uniform way at each level (state, region system in the medium term ... which would giveand municipality). They respect the maturity European parties a context for their work.”and proven qualities of member parties’ existingstructures, building on them and depending onthem. In other words, we are discussing federal European Parties are essential to integrationparties seeking to organise the joint activities within the Union. They are integral to buildingof their members at European level and ensure consensus and expressing the political will ofthat their efforts are politically effective. the citizens of the Union. European parties are the federative associations of nationalThe definition of the European parties as parties with a presence in the majority offederal associations of national parties describes EU Member States, sharing the same aimsdevelopments until now. European parties and political direction, and forming a singleare indeed federations whose members “are group in the European Parliament. Theycommitted, in order to realize common political must give a public account of where theirgoals, to permanent cooperation on the basis of funding comes from.an agreed statute, and to a political programmedecided by the relevant political bodies.” On 6 December 1991, the eve of the meeting of the European Council, an EPP ‘Summit’ ofthe Maastricht treaty: Article 138A party and government leaders took place in The Hague. On the basis of a report by RuudOn 1 July 1991, a joint letter was sent to the Lubbers, there was a detailed discussion aboutpresidents of the European Council, the the aims of the Maastricht Treaty and how farCouncil of Ministers, the European Parliament preparations had got. 15and the European Community Commission bythe chairmen of the Federation of European Wilfried Martens, who chaired the EPPLiberals, Democrats, and Reformers (ELDR), the Summit, proposed a series of points that had14 Party leaders’ letter, from W. Martens, D. Spitaels and W. De Clercq: EPP General Secretariat archive.15 Communiqué 12 December 1991: EPP General Secretariat Archive. 49 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Emergence of a Transnational European Party System remained open during preparations for the leaders did not fall out of the sky. It matured Intergovernmental Conference and which the over a fairly long period, thanks to joint efforts. EPP regarded as essential. He presented these In 1989 the secretaries-general of the three party to the meeting, in each case making sure he had federations had begun meeting from time to time the expli- cit backing of the heads of government to talk about common problems and to exchange in the room.16 Among these points was the draft experiences. The result of these conversations article on European parties. Martens got the was the idea of bringing their party presidents green light: all the Christian Democratic leaders together and starting joint discussions on “the agreed to insist that the clause be in the text of development and role of European parties or the Treaty. party federations in the Community’s political system”, and on “relations with the groups in the There was no resistance to Martens’ proposals European Parliament.” 18 at the Maastricht European Council. Only the Portuguese prime minister, Anibal Cavaco Silva, The first meeting of the party leaders Wilfried asked for clarification, and he was satisfied Martens, Guy Spitaels and Willy de Clercq with the answer. The European Council then was on 18 September 1990. They agreed to agreed without further intervention. However, talk again and to hold a joint press conference the wording of the article remained open. It just before the European Council met in was supposed to be left to the conference of Rome on 12 December 1990 to convene the diplomats entrusted with editing the decisions Intergovernmental Conference on the Treaty on and agreed texts of the Maastricht ‘summit’. European Union (in other words, the further development of the Community’s political Article 138A of the Treaty on European Union, system). The three explicitly wanted to make finally signed on 7 February 1992 by 12 foreign a joint statement on this issue, to ensure their and finance ministers, reads as follows: demand for a role for the European parties was firmly on the agenda. The communiqué released Political parties at European level are on 12 December following their second meeting important as factors for integration within declared that the Union. They contribute to forming a European awareness and to expressing the Since their foundation in the mid 1970s, the political will of the citizens of the Union. European People’s Party and the Union of Social-Democratic Parties in the European It is worth noting that the definition contained Community, and also the European Liberals in the party leaders’ proposal was not taken and Democrats, have all in their own way up, thus avoiding the laying down of a specific made major contributions to European party model as the norm. 17 integration. Despite their political rivalry, and their opposed positions on numerous the European parties’ common questions, both as regards content and responsibility method, all three European parties or federations of parties stress their common The successful initiative by the three party responsibility for the proper functioning 16 The following heads of government took part in the EPP ‘Summit’ in The Hague and in the meeting of the European Council in Maastricht: Ruud Lubbers, Helmut Kohl, Konstantine Mitsotakis, Guilio Andreotti, Jacques Santer and Wilfried Martens. 17 Tsatsos, op. cit. p. 49, regards this as a decision “against the pure confederation model” which he saw as the intention of party leaders’ proposal. The EPP’s consistent ambition has been to become a federative “European party”, an aim more recently echoed by the Socialists as well as the Liberals. The party leaders’ definition indirectly refers to this. But it does not refer to a confederation model. Rather—and this is quite clear, as Tsatsos rightly states—it is a reference to the same model one finds in Article 138A: “...one having its own European institutional subjectivity, and also permitting individual membership, either directly or indirectly through membership of a national party.” 18 Agenda for the meeting of 18 September 1990: EPP General Secretariat Archive.50 European View
    • Thomas Jansen of democracy and for the success of the will of the citizens of the Union”. It is a matter of European Union. To that end, they are “a framework of rules which allow for a number working closely with their different political of concrete possibilities.” 20 groups in the European Parliament. These groups play a major part in the continuing Following the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in efforts to create a transnational consensus 1992, several meetings of the three party leaders inside the different political families. took place over the course of that year. Also present were the chairmen of the political groups They take it as read that, without parties and the president of the European Parliament. to express the political will of the citizens, Everything turned on the question of what was there is no democracy! This holds good at to be done to breathe life into Article 138A, and all levels of political representation, and who was to do it. Two sets of problems loomed logically for the European Community as large, inextricably bound together but perhaps well, and above all for the European Union. needing to be dealt with separately. These were completing the picture with a law or statute on The federal and democratic union which parties, and the possibility created by the new is the goal of Social Democrats, Liberals, treaty situation of financing European parties and Christian Democrats, must be a vital with Community funds. community, one in which the citizens feel at home. So the European parties or Establishing a legal status for European transnational federations of parties have parties an indispensable role which only they can fulfil. It is a role which is essential if a It soon became clear to those taking part that broad consensus is to be created, and if the because of legal uncertainty, and also for reasons effectiveness of the European institutions of political culture and morality, the financial themselves is to be guaranteed. 19 question could not be posed until a number of conditions had been met. Unambiguous, legallyFurther meetings between the party presidents binding rules about the organisation, activityand secretaries-general during 1991 served to and behaviour (including the conduct of publicprepare the 1 July initiative and to spread the finances) of European parties had to be in place.word about it; the follow-up was also discussed Even leaving aside the question of financing theon these occasions. parties, it was felt that rules of this kind had become an urgent necessity.Article 138A of the Maastricht Treaty articulatesthe recognition that if the further unification of Such a European parties statute would haveEurope is to be successful and a transnational to define such concepts as “European parties”government system is to be effective, then the and “political parties at European level.” Exactlyfurther development of European party structures what are their tasks? What rules apply to theiris crucial. At the same time, this constitutional structure, working methods and finances? Thisrecognition of the role and function of the parties statute would have to define the essentials clearlyserves as an important basis for future efforts. enough for an independent, inter-institutionalThe existence of political parties at European authority or the European Court to be able tolevel is recognised. Parties are accorded the task identify a political party at European level underof advancing the process of integration, building Article 138A.a European consciousness, and expressing “the19 Communiqué 12 December 1991: EPP General Secretariat Archive (author’s translation from the French original).20 Tsatsos, loc. cit. p. 52. 51 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Emergence of a Transnational European Party System The European Parliament’s Institutional Affairs regulations should apply equally to all political Committee felt these issues were its business forces represented in the European Parliament. and in May 1996 requested the MEP Dimitros Th. Tsatsos to prepare a report. By the summer The origin of this proposal was a joint effort by it was ready, and after debate and amendment in the transnational party families represented in committee, it was approved by a large majority the European Parliament. From the sidelines of in the December 1996 plenary session. the European Council summit in Feira, Portugal, in June 2000, they agreed to call for the following The resolution accompanying the report calls passage to be inserted into the Treaty: for directives about both the legal status and the financial circumstances of the European par- On a proposal by the Commission, the ties. 21 This demand was in vain, at least for the European Parliament and Council will time being. However, the report did encourage decide on regulations on recognising the more rational debate in the European Parliament political parties, on a statute for them, and between the political groups and parties. This in on their financing. turn contributed significantly to the agreement reached a few years later, when discussion about It was generally supposed that the heads of the future European Union Constitution had state and government had given their blessing become both more lively and more profound. to the party leaders’ agreement, and so there were good grounds for supposing that the IGC In December 2000, at the instigation of the would accept a proposal from the Commission European Commission, EU heads of state and along these lines. government decided, within the framework of the Nice Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) Exactly why were the party leaders able to reach and on the basis of a Commission proposal, to agreement and act together? They ranged from introduce a clause in Article 191, Paragraph 2 the European People’s Party (EPP), the Party of the EU Treaty with the following regulation, of European Socialists (PES) and the European which could serve as the basis for agreement on Liberals and Democratic Reform Party (ELDR) a statute for European parties: to the European Federation of Green parties and the European Free Alliance/Democratic In accordance with the procedures set out Party of the Peoples of Europe, along with their in Article 251, the Council is setting out the parliamentary groups. The reason was simply regulations for political parties at European that they all found themselves in the same level, and in particular rules about their quandary: all had received a warning from the financing. European Court of Auditors. An explanatory statement appended to the final The court had stated in a report that the parties act of the IGC states that this regulation does were being financially supported, in part directly, not justify the transfer of any competencies from the parliamentary groups’ budgets, i.e. out whatsoever to the European Community; that of the budget of the European Parliament. This it does not compromise the validity of rules was out of order and had to stop. deriving from national constitutions; that the direct or indirect use of funds from the Suddenly the question of rules on European Community budget for national political parties party finances became very urgent. But first the is prohibited; and finally, that the financial legal status of the parties within the European 21 Commission proposal, 21 June 2000 on the institution IGC. COM (2001) 343 final. See also EP resolution A5-0167/2001 (Schlei- cher report).52 European View
    • Thomas JansenUnion’s political and institutional system had to The statute creates a framework for financingbe resolved. And until that happened, questions European parties with a right to such support:about party finances could not be decided those with deputies in the European Parliament,either. or which are represented in at least a third of the Member States in either national or regionalIn January 2001, the European Commission parliaments. Parties that have won at least fivehad already drafted a European party statute per cent of the votes in the previous Europeanand finance rules based on the new regulation elections also qualify. Those parties that take upin the Treaty. This provided for a budget line such public financing from the Union budgetof seven million euros. However, the parties must prove that their values correspond towere not to be allowed to benefit from such those of the European Union. Strict rules governfunding unless all their financial dealings were donations and financial dealings, which cansubject in their entirety to the scrutiny of the be inspected by the Court of Auditors. TheCourt of Auditors. This would apply even if only European Parliament is responsible for ensuringpart of their spending came from Community that the rules governing eligibility for financefunds. Conditions were also set out for a party are kept. It has the right to disqualify partiesto qualify as a European party under the terms that disobey the rules from receiving furtherof the Treaty. funding.In May 2001 the European Parliament agreed a the relationship between European partiesposition based on a report by Ursula Schleicher and member partiesMEP. The proposed amendments were for themost part included in a Revised Draft Council The vitality of a European party and itsDirective on a statute and financing for political possibilities for substantial development dependparties. 22 on its national (or regional) member parties’ ability to articulate a common political will,After the Council of Ministers failed to reach as well as on their willingness to act together.agreement, the European Commission proposed Indeed, a European party cannot be morea Draft Directive by the European Parliament than what its member parties make of it. Andand the Council for a statute and financing for that will not automatically correspond to whatEuropean political parties in February 2003. individual member parties would like it to be.This accounted for what had been said in Ideas about what a European party should be orthe discussions over the two previous years. achieve will vary considerably between memberMeanwhile, the Nice Treaty had come into force. parties. People normally orient themselves byThis meant the Co-decision Procedure could be what they know—their own national party andapplied, and the unanimity requirement for a whatever European or transnational sensibilitydecision by the Council fell away. Within only they happen to possess. There are also variousa few weeks, a working document report by the conceptions of what ‘party’ means. Memberrapporteur Jo Leinen MEP set out the arguments parties’ internal organisation reflects not onlyfor the European Parliament to consider when their respective histories, but also the constitutionthey debated the draft directive. And at the June of the national state in which they work. Forplenary session, the statute for European parties instance, it makes a difference in the attitudewas duly adopted; the Council of Ministers agreed of delegates from member parties towardson the text at the same time. 23 their European party if their domestic tradition and culture are federal. The role of the party22 Proposal of 21 June 2001—COM (2001) final. See also EP resolution A5-1067/2001 (Schleicher Report)23 Proposal COM (2003) 77; working document of the Committee on Institutional Affairs—DT488199DE.doc; Directive (EG) No. 2004/2003 of the European Parliament and Council of 4 November 2003 on regulation governing political parties at European level and their financing—EU Official Journal L 297/15 November 2003. 53 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Emergence of a Transnational European Party System chairman allows for many different possibilities. The number of journalists reporting on what is He or she can be managing director, moderator, going on in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg cheerleader, president or party boss. The role of is unhealthily small compared to the number of the secretary-general also varies. In some parties radio, television and print correspondents in this person is an official, an administrator or a national capitals. This numerical imbalance has supervisor, in other parties a political leader. direct consequences both for how European politics is perceived, and the extent to which For these reasons ‘actually existing’ European it is accepted. Public opinion is still shaped by parties cannot conform to the ideal imagined by national perspectives. Procedures on the EU some. The parties develop in an open force field political stage are extraordinarily complex. To and are subject to a kaleidoscope of different understand, to gain insight, to be able to make influences. An element of all these different judgements—all these require knowledge and kinds of national party will leave a trace in experience which, as a rule, are not acquired the European parties. Eventually, they must be by politicians working in a national context. something essentially different. Moreover, those politicians and officials working at European level inevitably develop other Yet to a greater or lesser extent, member parties priorities than those whose area of responsibility expect the European parties to conform to the is either national or regional—and vice versa. preconceptions they have brought from home. So there is often an inclination to adjust their The European sense of responsibility, which image and achievements according to domestic must take into consideration situations in criteria. This explains the tendency to exploit several countries at the same time, means the European parties to advance national that European politicians often take positions party interests, or to measure their value by that put them into real or apparent conflict their direct usefulness in particular situations. with party friends in their own country. The These reflexes are typical during the transition willingness to compromise, necessary for any to a new political system, a phase when new serious or effective European political work, kinds of behaviour are still unfamiliar and old is often greeted with incomprehension. And experiences remain the model. it is only very gradually becoming natural for national parliamentarians and politicians to take One of the principal problems for the European into account the European dimension of the parties is the difficulty of communicating problems with which they are engaged and on between the European and national levels. which they have to make decisions. The reason This is a fact, and it is also determined by for this is simply that national and European their different structures. It affects the parties’ politics are more and more interwoven. political effectiveness and their possibilities for organisational development. The number of The European parties often feel they have been politicians and officials working at European level left in the lurch by their member parties. The is still fairly small. National party headquarters fact that they are scarcely mentioned in the have many times the personnel, operational national media means that the contribution of capacity and financial resources available to ‘the Europeans’ is often ignored and therefore the European party secretariats. Inadequate unrecognised. That in turn encourages the equipment makes regularly supplying tendency on the part of some national politicians comprehensive information and communication to dismiss any commitment to a European with member parties in the various languages party and its activities as a kind of luxury and impossible. As for spreading the word to the the transnational party structures as merely wider public, this is not yet feasible. decorative.54 European View
    • Thomas JansenProspects interests of national parties whose voters share the views or interests of the EPP and PES. If theyThe tendency to underestimate the potential of are to operate at European level, then they mustEuropean parties is dwindling as political life belong to a multinational parliamentary group,becomes more Europeanised. This especially one that is as supranational as possible, one thatgoes for national and even regional politics. can implement changes.Increasingly, European solutions are expectedfor the kind of knotty internal and social issues On the agenda is the development of people’sthat burden Member States. And that is changing parties that are essentially free of ideology.the way people see the role and significance of The key point of these parties is no longer theEU institutions. ideologies of the elites, but the politico-cultural needs and economic and social interests ofThe European Parliament has been able to those who vote for them.strengthen its position substantially over the lastfew decades. It can deal with and articulate the The progress made over the last decade inconcerns of European citizens. It can also speak establishing a legal basis and proper role ofplainly, since it makes decisions by majority European parties in the EU political systemvoting, and—beyond mere diplomacy—come to needs to be seen in the wider context of theagreements on concrete measures and policies. new arrangements agreed to in the treaties ofIt will steadily become more meaningful and Maastricht (1992), Amsterdam (1996), and Niceinfluential as the European Union’s constitutional (2000). One example is the Union’s obligationdevelopment continues, notably through the to be democratic and to respect human rightsproposed European Constitution. and freedom, and the rule of law (Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union). TheseThe political class, primarily in national provisions, agreed upon at Maastricht, were aparliaments and national parties but eventually milestone on the road from a union of states toalso in the public life of Member States, is a union of citizens. The regulations on freedombeginning to realise that the European parties of movement and on asylum and immigrationare indispensable. They have very particular have a similar significance. Taken together withmeans of influencing and acting politically. the concept of guaranteeing internal security within the European Union, these are furtherThe Europeanisation of the party system is vital elements in creating a union of citizens.advancing in step with the Union’s constitutionaldevelopment. The two main camps, the Social Equivalent comments could be made aboutDemocratic/Socialist PES and the Christian regulations aimed at giving the EuropeanDemocratic/Conservative EPP, continue Parliament more rights of co-decision; orto be poles of attraction for like-minded about simplifying decision-making procedures,forces. Moderates on the Left/Centre-Left are which promises greater transparency; or finally,progressively gathering together under the about tightening up the rules about who in theumbrella of the PES, and those of the Right/ Union does what, at which level—and takesCentre-Right under that of the EPP. responsibility for it—which is a guarantee of greater subsidiarity.This corresponds to what European politicsneeds, a broad supranational consensus. Only All these elements were systemically taken up andtransnational parties or parliamentary groups with consolidated in the draft Constitution drawn upsuch a broad social and cultural rootedness are by the European Convention. Profound changesin a position to organise that kind of consensus. can be expected over the next few years in theMoreover, bringing in political forces is in the EU’s political system. These are likely to produce 55 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Emergence of a Transnational European Party System a much more democratic and transnational kind of debate. The European Parliament’s position will be greatly strengthened as a result. And it is evident that the role of the European parties will also grow as a result of this process. This debate, and the process of reaching agreement and consensus, will be played out through the structures made available by the transnational parties. The statute adopted in June 2003 gave formal shape to the European parties. It gave an enormous boost to their significance. But another longer-term effect is likely to be the normalisation of the European Union system, which we can expect to become both more democratic and more federal. Thomas Jansen is a former Secretary General of the European People’s Party (1983–94).56 European View
    • Kostas Karamanlis European Parties and Their Role in Building Democracy: The Case of the Western Balkans By Kostas Karamanlis The transition process in reconciliation processes, through which the countries of Central coexistence between former rivals must be made and Eastern Europe that possible. Inter-ethnic tensions, extreme political started after 1989 has tendencies, corruption and organised crime are undoubtedly been an the common denominators and major obstacles extremely complicated to building democratic institutional capacity intask. Indeed, the political leadership and the these societies.citizenry of those states were faced with agreat number of political, economic and social the importance of a stable party systemproblems that had to be solved in a relativelyshort period of time. The vision of establishing A stable party system is essential for botha free democratic society has been the main the emergence and the consolidation ofdriving force. However, the complexity of liberal democracies. Conversely, a strong andthe issues involved and the heavy burden of consolidated democracy is dependent to a largedecades of undemocratic rule led to many extent on well-functioning political parties andbacklashes. It would be no exaggeration to their role in sustaining democratic procedures.claim that the developments in the Western Political parties are crucial in representingBalkans epitomised in the most dramatic way the people and expressing their demands;the difficulties of creating functioning political aggregating interests, needs and aspirationsand economic institutions in a stable societal within society and translating them into politicaland state framework. programmes; presenting political alternatives and different ideologies; nominating candidates;Democratisation is not a clear-cut process that forming a link between the voters and thoseleads from an authoritarian to a democratic elected; and forming a government or holdingregime. It is a multifaceted challenge that governments accountable. Essentially, politicalrequires the synergy of many interdependent parties help to educate and socialise the peopleelements and processes on the basis of a into pluralistic political processes.culture of citizen participation in public affairs.Democracy building, even if assisted by external Political parties can also play a very significantactors—as is the case in the Western Balkans— role beyond domestic politics. In post-conflictmust primarily be the work of those most regions like the Western Balkans where inter-directly involved. ethnic tensions have resulted in many problems in the recent past, it is very important that socialBuilding sustainable democracies necessitates an actors discuss and develop common strategiesunderstanding of the functioning of formal and and approaches to regional problems. Theseinformal state and social structures. It requires discussions will help overcome suspicion anddeep experience and thorough knowledge of promote understanding. They can reinforce thelocal contexts, cultures and traditions and the conviction that, regardless of their differences,dynamics of a country’s politics. There are these social actors have a common future and ano ready-made models. Each case is unique duty to move ahead.and should be an essential part of the overallstrategy. Democracy building also includes Today there is an increasing understanding in 57 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • European Parties and Their Role in Building Democracy: The Case of the Western Balkans Western Balkan countries that their cooperation there were shared goals: to put an end to is indispensable for regional stability and a isolation, to put in place strong safeguards for prerequisite for their EU aspirations. Good the consolidation of democracy, to achieve neighbourly relations complement the well- economic and social convergence with the rest known Copenhagen criteria. The comprehensive of the EEC Member States and ultimately to fulfilling of the abovementioned preconditions join the European family. The parallels with the is the passport for accession to the European challenges that faced the former communist part Union, and, conversely, the prospect of of Europe in the early 1990s are obvious. accession to the EU is the major driving force for the achievement of democratisation. In this Hence for Greece, an immediate neighbour to context, multilateral cooperation among parties the region with keen interest in its reconstruction at regional level can also prove very beneficial. and uninterrupted development, her own experience could thus serve as the guiding Acknowledging the indispensability of political force to assist and support similar processes parties to the democratisation process in these in its neighbourhood. Particularly for Nea societies, European transnational parties sought to Demokratia, the party that took on the burden offer their assistance to educate and reform parties of and the historical responsibility for sealing from post-conflict societies and those in transition the end of the dictatorship and establishing as a contribution to democracy building in these democracy in Greece, support for its political countries. The aim was to assist political parties partners in the region was a historical debt and to become effective agents of representation and duty. More importantly, the role of the European democratisation. This was particularly important People’s Party was to prove instrumental in this since major problems in the functioning of matter. political parties had impeded the democratisation process. Engaging in this process would in return the EPP and the Western Balkans benefit transnational parties in that it would help them become acquainted with their future The European People’s Party (EPP) has promptly partners within the EU, advance understanding realised that the future of the Western Balkans between them and local parties, and promote lies within the EU and that the transformation their ideas to these groups. of these societies into well-functioning democracies should be our foremost priority. For Greece, this was not an unfamiliar process. In this context, the EPP has maintained that Although from very different starting points European transnational parties could play and in different circumstances, Greece has also a pivotal role in building and consolidating experienced a democratisation process in its democratic institutions in these countries, and it modern history. For the EU, too, this was not the has steadfastly assumed its responsibility. Since first time that it had to assist such a process of parties are major actors in democratic processes, democratisation of prospective Member States the EPP, the biggest European transnational and to support the consolidation of those states’ party, stands ready to contribute to this effort democratic structures. For the EU countries of in every way possible. More than any other the South, namely Portugal, Spain and Greece, European region, the Western Balkans need the early 1970s saw the collapse of authoritarian our assistance in order to overcome, as soon as regimes, the end of political underdevelopment possible, the traumas inflicted by a decade of and the beginning of a new era for their conflicts, social unrest and economic instability. societies. To that end, the European People’s Party adopted Differences in historical and political a focused and multi-dimensional policy on the developments among the three notwithstanding, region at a very early stage. Responding to this58 European View
    • Kostas Karamanlisgreat challenge, the member parties of the EPP almost a year before, which offered the EPP anand the European Democrat Union (EDU) set up opportunity to have a stronger political presencethe Western Balkan Democracy Initiative (WBDI).1 in the region and to contribute even moreThe Initiative was launched in Thessaloniki in concretely to its integration into our politicalJuly 1999. Representatives from all EPP and EDU family, as well as that of the EU. Until then, like-member parties and their foundations as well as minded parties coming from the Western Balkanfrom like-minded parties in the Western Balkans region had not been institutionally eligible toagreed to work closely for the promotion of acquire an EPP status. The EPP had embraceddemocracy in the region and the strengthening them through bilateral contacts and a numberof inter-party relations. The Initiative’s main aim of projects of its sister parties’ foundations, butwas (1) to establish a channel of communication basically in the framework of its WBDI. Three ofand cooperation between the EPP-EDU parties, them also acquired EDU status. The EPP Berlinon the one hand, and like-minded political forces Congress of January 2001 amended its Statutesfrom the Western Balkans, on the other, and (2) in a way that, for the first time, permittedto assist and encourage the strengthening of them—if they fulfil the relevant criteria—to joindemocratic structures and institutions and the our political family.party-building process. In 2002 the first applications from parties fromthe Western Balkan Democracy Initiative the Western Balkan countries were accepted.in action More of our WBDI partners were soon to follow, further enriching our EPP family. More recentlySince the launching of the WBDI, three more this effort has become even more concrete.conferences have been held: in Banja Luka Today our political family embraces observersin December 1999 and again in Thessaloniki from Albania, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro,in February 2000 and April 2002. During the and Bosnia-Herzegovina, some of which haveFebruary 2000 meeting, the Thessaloniki been upgraded to associate members. In thisDeclaration was adopted. It called for providing way the EPP is spearheading the reform of thetangible support to our Western Balkan political life in these countries, and these partiespartners and for comprehensive measures to will pioneer the advancement of Europeanadvance democratisation. For this purpose, the ideals in the region as the EPP parties are doingparticipants decided that a WBDI Secretariat at European level.should be established in Thessaloniki. At theenlarged EPP Summit in Sofia in April 2001, it The main task of the WBDI was to assist thewas decided that the EPP would pay special moderate centre and centre-right parties inattention to the development of democratic the region in building a stable and functioningforces in the Western Balkan region. During democracy, and to promote regional andthe April 2002 meeting, a second Thessaloniki international cooperation. More specifically ourDeclaration was adopted. It emphasised our activities aimed at:support for a European future for the countriesof the region and stressed our commitment to • strengthening the democratic structuresreview developments regularly and strengthen and institutions in the region;our cooperation with the like-minded national • assisting the party-building process in theparties. It also encouraged those fulfilling the Western Balkans;criteria to apply for an EPP observer status. • establishing a regional cooperation networkAn initial step in this direction had been taken in the region;1 See The Western Balkan Democracy Initiative Report: Working Together, Moving Forward, European People’s Party, Athens, September 2002. 59 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • European Parties and Their Role in Building Democracy: The Case of the Western Balkans • encouraging moderate political forces have been organised. In January 2001, four to take part in the collaboration among foundations of EPP-EDU parties agreed to European and international political coordinate systematically their activities in the organisations. region. More specifically, the Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy (Greece), Our strategic goal has been to continue bringing the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation (Sweden), the the countries of the region closer to EU standards Political Academy (Austria) and the Westminster and to prepare them for eventual participation Foundation for Democracy (UK) agreed to in the EU family. design and establish a common Training Programme. The programme consisted of a series In the framework of the WBDI, the EPP as a of seminars and visits to the region that aimed whole, as well as its parties and foundations, at providing our Western Balkan partners with engaged in a wide range of activities. These educational and technical support. The issues activities enabled us to gain valuable experience covered included media and campaign training, and to become acquainted with the parties political communication and the development of the region, and this has brought about a of ideological profiles for political parties. The better understanding among us. The result programme also included helping participants has been the creation of an extensive party become acquainted with EU and EPP policies. network. For the most part, four instruments Meetings of the foundations cooperating with the were used: fact-finding missions, seminars, WBDI were held in Rhodes in August 2001, in interregional conferences and publications. Brussels in September 2001 and in Thessaloniki Within this context, the political education of and Vienna in April 2002. party employees and activists and elected party officials, as well as city and regional councilors The development of democracy in the Western and MPs, has been an important tool for Balkans needed a systematic information effort promoting an understanding of and adaptation which aimed at (1) helping the Western Balkan to the rules and instruments necessary to parties organise themselves more effectively strengthen the newly created party system of and (2) making them familiar with the positions the states in the region. Experts from all Western and practices of the EPP-EDU and their member Balkans countries received party training, local parties. In addition to our training seminars, our government training and national government initiative provided an information campaign. training on political communication, democracy, This included publications in the target countries free market structures, internet technology, etc. designed to provide an overview of activities The main invitees to our training activities and and to summarise and present the different seminars were leading members, activists and topics, e.g. in the form of training handbooks deputies of moderate democratic centre and for further activities undertaken by our project centre-right parties from the local to the national partners. and international levels, representatives of the parties’ youth and women’s organisations, media The long-term target of the WBDI and, as I and e-media experts and editors, and party mentioned, our strategic goal was to bring representatives to international organisations the countries in the region closer to the EU. such as the CoE, the OSCE, the EU and the UN. The WBDI offered the member parties of the The aim was to establish contacts, assist in the EPP and the EDU a platform for bilateral and party formation process, cooperate with NGOs multilateral contacts to strengthen the ties and bring all parties concerned together at between established European centre and international level. centre-right parties and its partners in the region. It also offered them a channel to transmit EU Since the launching conference in July 1999, a experience and practices. number of international meetings and seminars60 European View
    • Kostas Karamanlistowards a stronger south-East Europe understanding, and we can ensure the success of further cooperation and engagement in theToday, with the accession of the 10 new region. Certainly, the countries of the regionMember States to the EU, a pivotal step for the need to take their own future in their own hands.European integration process has been taken. However, the example of the EU has provedHowever, we should keep in mind that the that closer cooperation is the only way forward.process is by no means over. We encourage The need to expand regional cooperation isBulgaria and Romania to strengthen their efforts paramount. This goal can only be achieved ifto meet their target date of joining the EU in we all work towards the alleviation of harmful2007. Nevertheless, we should not forget that and unjustified suspicion. The Europeanfor some countries this process is still at a very People’s Party can keep up the momentum ofearly stage. A clear message needs to be sent cooperation and consultation, offer solutionsthat the integration process is still underway and that have been tested in the EU countries andthat South-East Europe should profit from and enhance the bonds between the EU and anfollow the example of our 10 new partners. important part of our continent.Particular emphasis has to be put on cooperationbased on good neighbourliness, the inviolabilityof borders, the peaceful resolution of disputes, Kostas Karamanlis is the Prime Minister ofand respect for democratic values and the Greece.rule of law. The main aim of the next roundsof enlargement should be to make both warand the use of force unthinkable in South-East Europe. It is crystal clear that contributingto regional stability and promoting ‘goodneighborly relations’ are critical preconditionsfor any aspirant country.Despite all the efforts that have been made sofar and the undoubtedly substantial results, thereis still a lot that needs to be done. Indeed, thestruggle for an even better and well-functioningdemocracy is a never-ending process, and theefforts required are never ending as well. Weshould therefore continue to help the regionin any way we can. Crime, human trafficking,corruption and, of course, the great burdenof unemployment continue to plague thesesocieties and to undermine the prospects forstability and growth. Our conviction, however,is that we can effectively meet the challengesand tackle the problems.The EPP has, on numerous occasions in thepast, stressed the importance that it attachesto the Western Balkans’ European perspective.The EPP’s valuable legacy and its experienceis that different perspectives can powerfullyenrich our family. We have achieved a common 61 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Ernst Kuper Towards a European Political Public: The Role of Transnational European Parties By Ernst Kuper A central precondition on European integration; the rejection of for a political public is ratification has shown that progress towards the existence of politi- integration will not occur automatically. The cal actors (politicians, crisis of integration in the EU was intensified parties and lobby by the political position of the heads of two groups) who have more new Member States which had entered the EUor less clear positions on political questions. in 2004, the Czech Republic (President VáclavThey act within a framework which allows Klaus)3 and the Polish Republic (President Lechthem to give information, whether facts or Kaczyński).4 They stressed the fact that, on theopinions, to the people via the intermediary basis of their historical experience with thestructure of a political unit.1 In our case this Germans and the Soviet Russians, they couldpolitical unit is the European Union. It is not not give up more of their sovereignty to a supra-sufficient to say that there are political publics at national organisation. They emphasised the rightthe level of the Member States. Of course these to national self-determination, which their statespublics are helpful for the political discussion had regained in 1989/90 after a long period ofof European problems. But for a democratically repression.based European policy, it is necessary todiscuss European problems not only from the These positions have been discussed in theperspective of national points of view but also media of the EU Member States. The result isfrom the perspective of the EU as a community. a very differentiated picture of what Europe should be. The demand for a European identityOn a more abstract level, there is the question produces answers which show the differenthow to gain legitimacy for EU policy.2 During visions of Europe found in the Member States.the final years of negotiations for the European Weiler described the situation thus: “It is arguedConstitutional Treaty, a very specialised (correctly in my view) that integration is notdiscussion on European issues took place. But it about creating a European nation or people, butwas an elitist top-down project on how to give about the ever closer Union among the peoplesthe people more opportunities for participation of Europe.”5in European affairs on the basis of a Europeanidentity. The argument shows us that a European demos does not exist yet. But when they tryThe results of the 2005 referenda in the to find out what it means to be European, theNetherlands and in France reflected not only peoples (in the person of their political actorsthe position of the public in these countries and their media) look at others and find that1 F. Neidhardt, R. Koopmans & B. Pfetsch, ‘Konstitutionsbedingungen politischer Öffentlichkeit: Der Fall Europa’. In: H.-D. Klingemann & F. Neidhardt (Eds.), Zur Zukunft der Demokratie. Herausforderungen im Zeitalter der Globalisierung, WZB- Jahrbuch 2000, Berlin: Sigma 2000, 263–93.2 T. Banchoff & M. P. Smith, ‘Introduction: Conceptualizing legitimacy in a contested polity’. In: T. Banchoff & M. P. Smith (Eds.), Legitimacy and the European Union: the contested polity, London and New York 1999.3 Interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), 15 March 2005: ‘Eine Gefahr für Freiheit und Demokratie in Europa. Ein Gespräch mit dem tschechischen Präsidenten über die Verfassung der EU, die Regierungskrise in Prag und das Verhältnis zu Deutschland’.4 Interview with the FAZ, 8 March 2006: ‘Ist das der europäische Geist? Der polnische Staatspräsident Kaczyński über Vertreibung, Rußland und die Ostsee’.5 J. H. H. Weiler, ‘European Democracy and Its Critique’. In: West European Politics, Vol. 18, No. 3, July, p. 13. 63 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Towards a European Political Public: The Role of Transnational European Parties there are different ways of thinking about this question. At the end of World War II, when subject in the societies of the Member States. German aggression in Europe had been If there is to be public discussion of European defeated, the peoples yearned for peace and questions, it is very important to understand the prosperity. The different parts of the European differences between the political cultures and movement came into being and organised positions of others. If there is to be a bridging inter-societal cooperation between European of differences, they first have to be understood societies, politicians, trade-union leaders and and acknowledged. media. They developed a new structure for the system of nation states. The congress of Are the different languages of the European The Hague (1948) gave rise to very important peoples so great an obstacle to an effective results, not least the Council of Europe, founded public that includes two or more societies? in 1949, the first international organisation for The answer seems to be self-evident. There are building the structure of an integrated Europe. states, however, with a strong common public Here we find the roots of an institutionalised on the basis of two or more languages: Canada European public: the Parliamentary Assembly of and Switzerland,6 for example. the European Council would organise a debate among the representatives from the national II parliaments of the European nation states on political, legal and economic questions. It Despite the appearance of a fragmented should also be noted that the congress of The multicultural Europe, it is clear that the European Hague sought to create an institution in which Union exists. It is a politically functioning body. all European states would be represented. But It has its own decision-making system. The because of the beginning of the Cold War at the Union combines national (nation-state) policies end of the 1940s, the organisation included only with community-wide ones. The Union is not the West European democracies. a federal nation state like the United States of America; rather, the Union is built on the The structure and tasks of the Parliamentary foundation of nation states and works on the Assembly were formalised in the international basis of a structure that combines supra-national treaty of the Council of Europe and in the many elements with cooperative intergovernmental decisions of the assembly made, because of politics. the organisational structure of the council, in cooperation with the Committee of Ministers, In the view of a traditional political realist, the group made up of the foreign ministers of this structure contains the explosive forces the national states. of conflicting national interests. From this perspective a structure like NATO or the EU III cannot function.7 In contrast to this expectation, however, the Union does function, and the At the same time, at the end of the 1940s the politics of deepening and enlargement show members of the different political families that the system has an inner dynamic. How can (Liberals, Socialists and Christian Democrats) we understand and explain this fact? tried more informally to organise cross-border political cooperation. Normally political parties Perhaps a short history of the European and movements are part of a national political integration process can help to answer this system. Their frame of reference for political 6 A. Ernst, ‘Vielsprachigkeit, Öffentlichkeit und politische Integration: Schweizerische Erfahrungen und europäische Perspektiven’. In: Swiss Political Science Review, Vol. 4, 1998, 225–40. 7 H. J. Morgenthau: Politics Among Nations, The Struggle for Power and Peace, New York 1973. J. Mearsheimer, ‘Why we will soon miss the Cold war’. In: The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 266, 2, 1990.64 European View
    • Ernst Kuperplanning and decisions is their own nation. groups in the European Parliament (EP) andThe foreign policy of a state is in the hands of in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Councilits government. In this situation, transnational of Europe. In 1965 the European Union ofparty relations are of a dubious nature. Christian Democrats (EUCD) was founded. With its foundation, the principle of Équipes forSocialist politicians from different countries who membership was rejected. The EUCD was thehad cooperated since the second part of the organisation of Christian Democratic parties innineteenth century in the Socialist International Europe.were defamed by centre or rightist politicians forbeing unpatriotic. In 1947 a Christian Democratic In 1972 the Political Bureau of the EUCDinternational was founded, the Nouvelle Équipes established a Political Committee, which wasInternationales (NEI).8 The name was chosen founded because of pressure from the politicalbecause in many countries there were at that group of the Christian Democrats in the EP astime two or more Christian Democratic parties. a core part of the EUCD but comprising onlyFrench and Belgian politicians had to avoid the parties from Member States of the Europeanimpression that they were founding a ‘black’ Community. The Political Committee wasor ‘clerical’ international. When the Liberals planned as the nucleus of a political party forfounded the Liberal World Union in 1947, the the European Community. In 1976 the Europeanuse of the word ‘international’ in the name People’s Party was founded as the Federation ofwould have been suspect in the context of the the Christian Democratic Parties of the EuropeanSocialist International or the former Communist Community.11International. In the time after World War II,these new party federations were primarily In particular, the prospect of the first directeuro-centric organisations, but since the 1960s elections to the European Parliament—firstthey have been organised on a global level: planned for 1978, then held in 1979—seemed tothe Liberal International (LI), the Christian create the conditions which would allow directlyDemocratic International (CDI)9 and the Socialist elected representatives to have more influenceInternational (SI). on the politics of European integration. It was believed that the representatives should beTwo international developments have led to selected from the national political parties inthe foundation of West European regional party cooperation with the parties of the same politicalfederations: first, the politics of decolonialisation, leanings, because they would have to cooperatewhich led to the emergence of new sovereign in the European Parliament. This problem putnation states worldwide, and second, the process pressure on the Liberals to cooperate moreof political and economic integration in Western within their party federation. For a long time theEurope.10 LI was not interested in deepening European integration because the member parties had veryFor the Christian Democrats, the NEI was now an different positions on the question concerningineffective instrument for transnational political the future of European integration. That is whycooperation. In the context of the 1960s, it in the LI and the Liberal political group in the EPseemed necessary to organise links between the the political positions on questions of Europeanparties and the Christian Democratic political policies diverged widely and could not become8 R. I. M. Irving: The Christian Democratic Parties of Western Europe, London 1979. D. Hanley (Ed.), Christian Democracy in Europe. A Comparative Perspective, London 1994. H.-J. Veen (Ed.), Christlich-demokratische und konservative Parteien in Westeurope, Paderborn 1983–1994.9 The CDI, founded in 1961 under the name Union Modiale Démocrate-Chrétienne, was the umbrella organisation for cooperation between Christian Democratic parties and the regional federations NEI and the Organización Demócrata Cristiana de América, founded in 1947 in Montevideo.10 N. Gresch, Transnationale Zusammenarbeit der Parteien in der EG, Baden-Baden 1978.11 H. A. Lücker & K. J. Hahn, Christliche Demokraten bauen Europa, Bonn 1987. 65 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Towards a European Political Public: The Role of Transnational European Parties the basis for a common Liberal policy.12 in the political groups of the Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), In 1972 the existing Liberal Movement for a founded in 1952. After the foundation of the United Europe was accepted as a regional European Economic Community in 1958, the organisation within the LI. Since 1974 the Liberals enlarged Assembly took the name ‘European have organised conferences for the chairs of the Parliament’ (EP), although at first only in Dutch Liberal and radical parties in Europe, Liberal and German. In these languages, the ‘Parliament’ members of the EC Commission and the head is the legislative body on the national level, of the Liberal Group of the EP, so that they can like the Parliament of Westminster in the discuss the problems of European unification United Kingdom. By using the name ‘European on an informal basis. In 1976 they founded the Parliament’, they claimed the same function for Federation of Liberal and Democratic Parties their work. In France, the Assembly (Assemblée in the EC, later renamed the European Liberal, National) is the legislative body.13 Democratic and Reform Party (ELDR). The Socialist representatives in their political For nearly all of the members of the Socialist group of the EP and those in the Council of party family, internationalism is an important Europe tried to find common political positions, issue for the party programme. In the tradition but this was in many cases impossible without of the labour movement, some of them have the cooperation of the Socialist parties of cooperated since the last decades of the their nations. In practise they did not form an nineteenth century. But in contrast to their basic independent body. To be a powerful voice in the common attitude, the politics of the socialist EP, they needed a common political programme parties are strictly oriented to their national from their parties. The representatives pressed frame of reference. Up to the 1970s, the Socialist their national parties for closer communication (Social Democrat, Labour) parties had tried to and cooperation.14 transform the political and economic structures of their own nations on the basis of national The Socialist political grouping in the EP was programmes. Although these programmes successful. On the basis of cooperation between might include the goal of European unification, the political group and the national Socialist differences between the various states parties, the Liaison Office was founded in overshadowed the consensus on the value of 1957—within the context of the emerging EEC. internationalism. A political programme for the socialist parties IV of the EC was worked out and presented in 1962. This programme was elaborated mainly But the coming together of the first six nation by representatives of the EP in cooperation states in the European Economic Community with the international secretaries of the national (EEC) required a new orientation; there was now parties. In some cases the national parties put a new political framework for the programmatic their members of the EP in charge of negotiating and practical activities of the parties. By that the programme. The result was a strongly federal time some parliamentary representatives vision for a united Europe, which gave direction from the six national parliaments had already for a European policy to the political group in obtained experience in political cooperation the EP. But the programme formed here was 12 E.-R. Karnofsky, Parteienbünde vor der Europawahl 1979. Integration durch gemeinsame Wahlaussagen? Bonn 1982. 13 E. Kuper, ‘Transnationale Versammlung und nationales Parlament. Einige Überlegungen zu Funktion und Leistung des Parlamentarismus in den internationalen Beziehungen’. In: Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen 4/1991, 620–38. 14 N. Gresch, ‘Zwischen Internationalismus und nationaler Machtbehauptung – Die europäische Zusammenarbeit der sozialdemokratischen Parteien’. In: Zusammenarbeit der Parteien in Westeuropa. Auf dem Weg zu einer neuen politischen Infrastruktur? Bonn 1976, 143–249.66 European View
    • Ernst Kupernot the common programme for Europe of the The politics of the Socialist International in thisSocialist parties.15 period did not strengthen European cooperation in the framework of the EC, because manyEvery party16 followed its own national approach influential Socialist parties would not take ato programme formation and cooperated only position on the integration process, especiallywhen it seemed to be in its own interest. In the Scandinavian parties and the Britishthe national public arena of the member parties, Labour Party. This situation was the basis forpolitical problems dominated which created an interesting protocol on membership andtensions between the parties on the European decision-making in the Federation.level of the EC and allowed no productivesolution. Federation members from the EC had full voting rights. Parties from countries which had appliedIn 1966, for the first time in the history of for membership in the EC had the same right.the German Federal Republic, the Social Observer status was granted to parties fromDemocratic Party formed the government. The states like Austria, Sweden, Norway, MaltaNeue Ostpolitik of the Socialist-Liberal coalition and Israel. It is interesting that later most of(1969) changed the position of Germany in the parties with observer status were brought,Europe. Some partners reacted with suspicion: through dialogue, to a more open position withwould the government continue to play a respect to European integration, thus freeing thestrong role in the West or not? In France the way for their countries to enter the EC. This was1960s saw the decline of the traditional socialist also the case with respect to the Portuguese andparty, the Section Française d’Internationale Spanish Socialists.Ouvrière (SFIO). The SFIO stood for a policyof European unification. The position of the With the approach of the first direct elections tonewly founded Socialist Party on this issue was, the EP in 1978/79, the Socialist parties tried tounder F. Mitterrand, quite different. To gain elaborate, if not a common programme, then athe presidency in France, he had to enter into common political platform in the office of thea coalition with the Communist Party,17 which federation. The members of the office acceptedwas opposed to European integration. Such a draft of the platform in June 1977, but onlya position was unthinkable for the leaders of a few member parties agreed to it. In thisthe German Social Democrats. In the United complicated situation, the chairs of the partiesKingdom, the Labour Party radically changed its published a Political Declaration on 23 Juneposition on European integration between 1964 1978, to show that there was a minimum degreeand 1972.18 of consensus between the Socialist parties on the eve of the direct elections. The earlier declaredIn autumn 1973 the Liaison Office decided to aim of creating a federal socialist Europe wasprepare a draft of a programme of cooperation given up.between the Socialist parties. In April 1974 theFederation of the Socialist Parties of the EC Cooperation was now the central principle forreplaced the Liaison Office. The Federation the work in the Socialist Federation and for thewould not be the umbrella organisation of the work of the parties in the EC. This principledifferent parties but the framework for pragmatic allowed the members of the federation tocooperation between the parties. accept their programmatic heterogeneity and at15 E. Kuper, Transnationale Parteienbünde zwischen Partei- und Weltpolitik, Frankfurt am Main and New York 1995, 162–67.16 The Dutch party was the only exception.17 S. Baron, Das Volksfrontbündnis und die Entwicklung des Parteiensystems in Frankreich, Köln, Berlin, Bonn and München 1977.18 M. Newman, Socialism and European Unity. The Dilemma of the Left in Britain and France, London 1983. 67 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Towards a European Political Public: The Role of Transnational European Parties the same time to discuss pragmatic solutions to towards Germany. It was influenced by the the differences. In this process the meetings of general European movement from a policy of the chairs of the parties and the Socialist Prime divide and control to a policy of control by Ministers of the EC and EFTA states19 played a integration. This change led to the development very important role in the development of a of a transnational group of people in European common programme for the Socialist parties. states cooperating in different fields of societal, It was believed that cooperation between the economic and political engagement. The Socialist parties should be the basis for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe greater influence of the European states in the (1949) was the first institutionalised place for a world. common public discussion. The representatives in the Assembly were seated in alphabetical At a meeting of the chairs of the Socialist parties order of their names.21 At the time, political in May 1991, it was decided to found a European groups were not recognised in the Assembly. Socialist Party. Finally in November 1992, at a This first happened many years later. conference of the delegates of the Federation of Socialist Parties, the Socialist Party of Europe The situation in the Common Assembly of the was founded. A basic principle for the work of original six members of the ECSC (1952) was the new party was to allow Scandinavian Social different. This organisation was founded in Democratic parties full membership, and to give order to secure the delivery of steel for the the same status to the Partito Democratico della reconstruction of the destroyed industries and Sinistra (PDS), the former Communist Party of energy for industry and households. The second Italy. reason for the foundation of this supranational organisation was not European idealism but In 1993 the European Federation of Green the desire to have long-term influence over Parties was founded.20 Before that, it had been German industry and the opportunity to control very difficult to bring together ecologists and its development by sharing decision-making regionalist groups from different countries. and information through a joint authority (the predecessor of the European Commission). For V the representatives to the Assembly, it was clear that the decisions of this joint authority would When we look back on the history of the events impact the politics and the social structure of described, we see that initially there were only their countries. If they wanted to have influence, a few states in Europe, and their societies, that they had to organise themselves politically, participated in the integration process. For the and that meant in political groups. So they peoples in the constitutional democracies, it was organised, from the very beginning, the work clear that they wanted to organise a peaceful of the Liberal, the Socialist and the Christian future. They believed that there should be no Democratic groups. possibility of war between these states. For this reason, it was necessary to include Germany These representatives had a seat in the national in the European system of states by binding legislatures as well as one in the Assembly. In Germany to its neighbours. the Assembly they formed a special transnational group; their loyalty was oriented toward what France especially changed its security policy they thought Europe (the ECSC) was and should 19 EFTA is the European Free Trade Association. 20 D. H. Tsatsos & G. Deinzer (Eds.), Europäische politische Parteien. Dokumentation einer Hoffnung, Baden-Baden 1998. 21 The goal was to avoid national delegations sitting together in the Assembly.68 European View
    • Ernst Kuperbe. At home, in the national parliament, the proved better to exclude the controversial pointframe of reference for all decisions was the in the interest of making progress on a broaderindividual nation. The representatives had, like level.all representatives in parliamentary assemblies,22a complex combination of loyalties: they had to The political groups of the EP have been able,combine loyalty to their own nation and their in cooperation with important party leaders, tonational parties, on the one hand, with loyalty influence the agenda of the European Council.to the new political entity, Europe, and to their Through consensus they have successfully builttransnational political group in the Assembly, on a strong foundation for European Parties withinthe other. the framework of the basic treaties of the EU. Article 19124 of the EU Treaty of AmsterdamIn many cases the national loyalty of one member gave the European parties an important roleof the group resulted in tension with members of in forming a European public. At this time, aother national parties because they had—despite European party cannot be a party comparablebeing members of the same political family— to the national parties in the Member States;quite different political programmes. For this rather, it is a federation of cooperating partiesreason, it was very important for the members with the goal of transforming Europe politicallyof the political groups to get the national into the EU. The most important result of thisparties to cooperate by working out common cooperation is the building of a trans-Europeanprogrammes. In all the political groups, pressure network to carry out the common political will.on the national parties grew to organise thiscooperation quickly. As we have seen, however, For a long time the European party federationsit could break down, if the political group in the (and thereafter the European parties) have beenAssembly or Parliament reached a consensus dominated by their political group in the EP,on their own and the national parties had not because it was the group that mostly financedaccepted the programme of the group as part of their political work. The position of the grouptheir national programme. became stronger with the incorporation of the European political parties into the basic treaties.In this process national parties learned to avoid Now the European parties have financialconflicts with their transnational partners. They support from the budget of the EU. They canlearned that they could have different points of use it to organise support for their positions inview on many questions but still work together the European political public. In the long runpragmatically on many other questions. During it might be the basis for a growing Europeanthis process, especially in times of serious conflict, party system.the chairs of the member parties played a veryimportant role. The meetings of the chairs led The development of such a system isto progress in the discussion of programmatic important because an effectively organised andand pragmatic differences. In the discussions institutionalised system for the representationconcerning points of controversy, meetings of of specific interests is currently dominant inthe party secretaries were replaced more and the EU. One could legitimise this structure onmore by meetings of high-ranking party leaders. the basis of a theory of democracy founded onIn many cases they tried to bring the different the participation of group representatives in thepositions closer together.23 In some cases it decision-making process of the EU. But a central22 E. Kuper & U. Jun (Eds.), Nationales Interesse und integrative Politik in transnationalen parlamentarischen Versammlungen, Opladen 1997. S. Marschall, Transnationale Repräsentation in Parlamentarischen Versammlungen. Demokratie und Parlamentarismus jenseits des Nationalstaates, Baden-Baden 2005.23 S. Hix, ‘The Emerging EC Party System? The European Party Federations in the Intergovernmental Conferences’. In: Politics, London, Vol. 13, No. 2, 1993.24 Art. 191 Treaty of Amsterdam. 69 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Towards a European Political Public: The Role of Transnational European Parties problem of the EU is the lack of organised groups and then the PDS had usually voted together for bringing these specific interests together in a with the Socialist group. A traditionally very comprehensive vision for European integration. important part of the EPP group, the Democrazia The growth of the European party federations Cristiana, split into new parties. The Forza and now the European Parties shows that there Italia wanted to join the EPP group. All of these are now political forces which combine political changes created problems for the groups. interests within complex structures to form the future of transnational societies in Europe. One of the biggest challenges to the integration of national parties came during the preparations, The political groups of the EP have shown on the level of transnational party cooperation, enormous flexibility in reducing the diversity of for Eastern enlargement. The political the positions of the national party representatives transformation in the formerly communist states coming into the EP. The party delegations are had not led to stable party systems which were integrated into the structures of the political well integrated into a national public and which groups. At this point the divergent positions must could be good vehicles for the dissemination be integrated into the daily work of the political of European issues. Even at the national level, group in such a way that the group can maintain most of these parties find it enormously difficult a distinct profile. The political group in the EP to integrate divergent positions. But there is no has to represent the political family to which alternative to the cooperation of the parties. it belongs in the European arena; its policies No other social power can replace functioning must be compatible with the positions of most transnational cooperation within the systems of of the national member parties, especially with party federations. the positions of the most important member parties. Each enlargement of the EC/EU made VI it necessary to integrate more parties into the political groups. In the beginning, the political groups of the transnational assemblies tried to find common For the Socialists, the membership of the Labour positions in order to realise their own agenda. representatives from the United Kingdom (UK) It was thought that broad consensus would was difficult because at first they did not want to strengthen the authority of the new institution. cooperate with the group. But then the position But for the political public in Europe, consensus of the Labour Party towards an integrated positions are not interesting. Europe changed and membership in the group became possible. Conflicting positions between the large groups attract much more interest. When the goal was to For the Christian Democrats (Group of the have more influence, the question was whether European People’s Party) the question was it was helpful to have differences between the how to integrate the Conservatives from the UK political groups in order to establish a distinct so as to have, with the additional members, a political profile in the eyes of the European stronger position in the EP. The Conservatives public; or was it better, if the goal was to do not support European unification whereas achieve the political will of the largest number the EPP group does. Other problems arose for of the members of the EP, for there to be conflict the political groups because of changes in the with another central institution of the EU, the party systems of Member States; for example, EU Commission or the Council, for example? the Italian Partito Democratico della Sinistra The near failure of the EU to vote in favour of (PDS) entered the Socialist group. In the last the Santer Commission shows how contentious years before that decision, the representative of these questions remain within the European the former Partito Communista Italiano (PCI) public.70 European View
    • Ernst KuperThe transnational political parties made it the body in which the citizens of the EU arepossible to organise networks of cooperation equally represented?between the national parties belonging to thevarious party families in Europe and to build However, the European parties have madethe structure of a party organisation at the EU progress in the field of European integration.level. These networks enabled political and They have over time established democraticcultural discussions on the current situation and control over the EU Commission by the EP.the future of the EU and its nation states by Although the direct elections to the EP seem topolitical actors from the different levels and the be national events, organised by the nationalintervening organs of political communication. parties, the elections themselves are occasions when the media draws attention to the EU itself.At the same time, it must be acknowledged that Certainly, the situation remains ambiguous forthese networks and formalised links are very the voters.weak. There are several reasons for this: As we suggested at the beginning of this article,1. There is the structural problem of the EU: re-nationalisation of the public is a danger for Specific interests are very well organised the European integration process. The European and represented in the institutions of the parties have been successful in fostering political EU. They dominate European policy in the loyalty to the EU. But this loyalty is secondary. It so-called government by committees.25 The has not replaced the existing national loyalty.26 presentation of a comprehensive political Politicians from the European parties and the vision with the same degree of influence is national parties can try to combine both. not possible.2. The conditions for transnational cooperation In dramatic situations, for example during in the EC/EU have changed permanently. the outbreak of a war, people ask who can Every enlargement of the EU changed the safeguard their security. Then people’s loyalties structure of communication between the can become divided. If the EU is perceived in a old and the new partners. The basic treaties country only as an economic institution which of the EC/EU were drafted by the national is not related to security or which is perceived governments and changed the framework in to have no relevance in this matter, then the which the party federations function. But the people look elsewhere for an institution which party federations had virtually no influence can ensure their security. This was the case on the changes. during the break-up of Yugoslavia and the wars3. Following the 2004 enlargement, the new in south-east Europe and again at the beginning members, the former communist countries, of the war against Iraq. have found it very difficult to build stable party systems. This means that the federations In the first case the EU failed and support lack strong partners from these states. from outside was needed: The USA intervened4. The European Parliament has failed to have in Bosnia. In the second case there was a a debate about its own role in the context split between the Member States of the EU: of a European public. Should it be the Some supported the USA; others were against institution in which the different peoples intervention in Iraq. The consequence of of the EU are represented, or should it be this very difficult situation was that the EU25 A. E. Töller, Komitologie. Theoretische Bedeutung und praktische Funktionsweise von Durchführungsausschüssen der Europäischen Union am Beispiel der Umweltpolitik, Opladen 2002.26 This position stands in contrast to the integration theory of E. B. Haas (The Uniting of Europe. Political, Social and Economic Forces. 1950-1957. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1958). 71 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Towards a European Political Public: The Role of Transnational European Parties strengthened its structures and competences in the field of military security. This was done at the intergovernmental level; the EP was not directly involved. Is this the reason there is no public debate in the EU on this subject? This question leads to a central point: the national publics are dominated by questions of vital interest to the people—security matters, for example. Can we say that there is public debate at the European level about questions of vital interest? The vital interests of Europe can only be discussed by a European public if there is a common identity, the feeling that a common interest is at stake if Europe does not act or react. Both transnational party cooperation and party politics are needed to work on these issues—to generate answers from the public for the public. Ernst Kuper is former Director of the Center for European and North American Studies at the Georg-August University of Göttingen and former Director of Studies in the international and interdisciplinary MA Study Programme, Euroculture, in Göttingen.72 European View
    • Robert Ladrech The Promise and Reality of Euro-parties By Robert Ladrech The main European analyses of EP elections have not fundamentally transnational party changed this characterisation. Analyses of Euro- federations (hereafter party election manifestos have also pointed out referred to as Euro- the broad nature of the documents; in other parties) established in words, they contain nothing too specific that the mid-1970s are now might antagonise a member party.approaching the end of their third decade inexistence. Enough time has elapsed for a By the 1990s, then, the promise of Euro-partiesconsideration not only of their performance, but as key actors in mobilizing national electoratesmore precisely of their purpose. In this essay I and coordinating with member national partiesshall briefly consider the role that Euro-parties a transnational manifesto providing real choiceshave played in European politics over the past for Europe’s citizens seemed to have faded. Thethree decades, and then turn attention to what reasons for this are not difficult to understand.I see as the major constraints on the future Varying degrees of attention to Europeandevelopment and, consequently, the relevance matters by member parties did not help inof Euro-parties. forging common positions. Despite some modest institutional enhancement in the 1980s,the early promise the EP did not play a crucial role in the policy- making process in Brussels, and in fact its imageIt is not surprising that Euro-parties—the Liberal, in some Member States was one of irrelevance:Socialist, and Christian Democrat parties—were it was merely a talking shop.established when they were, in anticipationof the first direct elections to the European Organisationally, Euro-parties remained veryParliament (EP) in 1979. As has been argued dependent on their respective EP groups; theirelsewhere (Pridham & Pridham, 1981), the direct decision-making statutes emphasised the clearelection of the EP was an opportunity to mobilise supremacy of the national parties. That this stateand coordinate national parties for European of affairs began to change in the early 1990s canelection campaigns. It became clear by the time be explained by the general resurgence of beliefof the third set of elections in 1989 that diversity in the promise of European integration. Fromamong national parties on the issue of the the late 1980s, Euro-parties began to serve adirection of European integration prevented the new purpose; they shifted from their early focustype of organisational coordination that would on electioneering to policy development on thehave given the Euro-parties a greater role in the European level. Euro-parties also began to becampaigns (an acute problem at this time for the perceived by some national parties as importantSocialist party family). Moreover, elections to to their own fortunes.the EP had not generated the interest or depthof mobilisation that had been hoped for in the Developments in the 1990s1970s. The Single European Act (SEA) was a watershedIndeed, Reif and Schmitt (1980) argued as far back event in the history of the European integrationas 1980 that these elections were second order project. Not only was the Single Marketin nature—and impact. Subsequent academic programme launched, but institutional changes, 73 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Promise and Reality of Euro-parties such as the introduction of qualified majority for national party actors. In other words, voting (QMV) in the Council of Ministers and they can serve to lower transaction costs for an enhanced role for the EP (fully leading to co- national politicians wishing to build alliances or decision in the 1990s) signalled wider changes coalitions with similar parties in other countries in the way Europe began to be perceived both belonging to the same party family. Euro-parties by political elites and by ordinary citizens. By are understood therefore as network facilitators, the time of the ratification of the Maastricht and their organisational capacity can serve as a Treaties in 1992, party politics had evolved. means by which to develop, disseminate and The Confederation of Socialist Parties of the EC possibly mobilise—from the top down—national (CSPEC) became the Party of European Socialists party leaderships. Johansson (1999, 2002; see (PES), with new statutes suggesting an element also Ladrech, 2000) has documented this type of majority voting (the EPP also strengthened of activity for both the PES and EPP. its internal decision-making rules at this time), and in 1993 the Green parties established the In both of the cases analysed, the activities and the European Federation of Green Parties. outcome find their place within the framework of competition between the two opposing camps The Maastricht Treaty was the first to include described by Hooghe and Marks. Both cases a ‘party article’, Article 138A, recognizing the demonstrate the capacity Euro-parties have potential of European Parties to link the public to organise intra-party family relations. In the with European level decision-making. But more first case, Johansson (2002) describes how EPP important than these technical changes, I argue, party leaders were able to employ EPP summits was the development of a new role for Euro- and other internal discussions to establish parties and the perceptions national party leaders and coordinate national government positions came to have of the Euro-parties. Hooghe and on monetary union, leading to the Maastricht Marks (1999) have argued that the SEA, in terms Treaty. In the second case, Johansson (1997) of both policy and institutional changes, has and Ladrech (2000) demonstrate how the PES led to the evolution of two opposing political was utilised as a network facilitator leading to projects; European integration is the means to the development and adoption of the European their respective ends. A ‘neo-liberal project’ is Employment chapter in the Amsterdam Treaty. opposed by a ‘regulated capitalism’ alternative. In both cases, Euro-parties must be considered The two camps, they argue, are composed of a part of the panoply of actors—national and variety of national and European actors: certain European—who have mobilised to promulgate national parties (e.g. the British Conservative the various projects that make up the ideological Party), a variety of business associations, competition in European-level politics. trade unions (some national as well as the ETUC), particular members of the European Euro-parties have also served as a means for Commission, etc. Thus the struggle of a centre- certain national parties to acquire externally left (regulated capitalism) versus a centre-right generated legitimacy, in other words, ‘legitimacy (neo-liberal project) has come to structure the by association’. In each of the following three European political space. examples, the national party in question was either in its early developmental stage, or else Although Hooghe and Marks did not dwell engaged in a fundamental transition. In the specifically on the role of Euro-parties in this first two examples, Forza Italia in Italy and “contested polity” (Banchoff & Smith, 1999), the Partido Popular in Spain (Van Hecke & we can nonetheless see how Euro-parties have Matuschek, 2003), membership in the EPP was managed to adapt to (or have been employed part of a conscious attempt to demonstrate to in) this political contest. If Euro-parties have not its own national public the wider acceptance of managed to be a critical element in EP elections, each party. Membership demonstrated that older they have come to be viewed as a useful tool and certainly democratic organisations such as74 European View
    • Robert Ladrechthe EPP, made up of prominent parties such as Some movement towards putting this role intothe German CDU, were willing to acknowledge practice is found in the drafting and adoption ofthe democratic credentials of the two parties in the Party Statute of the Nice Treaty, which callsquestion (this of course occurred at different for more transparent financing and relationsperiods of time). between Euro-parties and their respective EP party groups. Furthermore, Jo Leinen, a MemberThe third example is the transformation of the of the European Parliament (MEP), has called forItalian Communist Party (PCI) into a social a party statute that would enable Euro-parties todemocratic party and its intent to demonstrate its have a European, rather than a national legalnew ideological commitment to parliamentary basis. These technical steps towards normalisingdemocracy by its acceptance in the PES. In all the Euro-parties’ very existence and ability toof these cases, the European level of activity operate at the European and national levelswas seen as a means to legitimacy. Each party reflect the intention of those party leaderssought to link itself with a Euro-party in order supportive of these modest advances to provideto strengthen its national position vis-à-vis a platform for expressing partisan views onpotential critics. This particular role for Euro- important European issues. However, as weparties has been seized on, for different and shall see in the next part of this essay, creatingunderstandable reasons, by parties in the post- a more assertive or significant role for Euro-communist Eastern European states. parties is more easily said than done.To end this section on the role and relevance constraints on the development of Euro-of Euro-parties to date, it is worthwhile to partiesconsider briefly some proposals as to theirfuture contribution. Simon Hix has proposed Hix and Lord wrote in 1997 that “even theover the past few years a possible solution to intensification of transnational party activitythe democratic deficit and legitimacy problem in the EU in the 1980s and 1990s did littleof the EU. For him and others, providing a focus to remove the national foundations of partyfor EP elections, that is, making them relevant politics. In many ways, it is national, rather thanfor European publics, could be accomplished transnational, parties that function as the ‘carriersif there were a direct link to the choice of of European integration’” (15). Nearly ten yearsCommission president. In other words, the later, this picture of the relationship betweenEuro-parties would decide on a candidate for national party control and transnational partythe Commission presidency, and this emphasis marginality in the articulation of EU issues hason personality plus policy orientation would go arguably not changed much. Some insightfula long way to engage Europe’s citizens because research on the development of transnationalthey could much more easily see the choice parties has employed Niedermeyer’s framework.presented to them. He posits a three-stage developmental trajectory, beginning with a loose form of cooperation,Indeed, Hix argues that the “candidate-centred then advancing to coordination, and finallyas opposed to party-centred nature of European reaching a level of autonomy from memberelections [can] strengthen party competition” national parties. Recent work in this area (see,(2004: 7). Thus the role of Euro-parties would be for example, Johansson & Zervakis, 2002) findsto present rival candidates for the Commission that, allowing for degrees of change within eachpresident, and in so doing they would fulfil the stage, the PES and EPP are the most advanced,Treaty’s party article concerning the role of Euro- but still within the coordination stage. In the restparties as “forming a European awareness and of this article, I wish to explore one dimensionto expressing the political will of the citizens of of the constraint on Euro-party development,the Union” (TEU, Art. 138A). namely the relation of Euro-parties to member national parties. 75 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Promise and Reality of Euro-parties One can imagine a number of barriers to Euro- leaders to promote more-vigorous and party development from the level reached by higher profile Euro-parties? Apart from the the late 1990s. On a very basic level, there is the fact that national party leaders differ on the question of their own organisational capacity. supranational/inter-governmental divide over The rules governing this have been changed EU development, and this is manifest within all by the Party Statute; less dependence on EP the major party families/Euro-parties, the issue groups means that Euro-parties have to find at hand is more the potential effect stronger their own resources, for example contributions Euro-parties would have inside their respective from member national parties, plus EU money national member parties. In other words, some based upon EP election performance. Second, party leaders could view stronger Euro-parties if we consider transnational parties as the in a zero-sum perspective, i.e. more influence extra-parliamentary wing of Euro-parties, then for Euro-parties means less for national parties. greater definition and organisational capacity Party leaders would be disinclined to open may result in changed relations within their their parties to outside actors in the first place respective EP groups. Third, some proposals, because of the potentially disruptive dynamics such as Hix’s that the Euro-parties put forward that could ensue, e.g. regarding the re-alignment candidates for Commission president, may of internal balances of power. Ultimately, require either institutional change or else new however, when it comes to the strengthening of inter-governmental agreements at the European European actors, party leaders follow the same level; once again Euro-parties would not be logic as the most inter-governmentally oriented setting the agenda. national government: support for strengthened institutions if it enhances the national interest. Finally, there is the relationship between Euro- parties and their respective member parties, the Consequently, we have to consider in what topic I wish to focus on. To a certain extent, ways stronger and more highly visible Euro- as most commentators have pointed out, Euro- parties would benefit their respective national parties are virtually unknown to the national party leaderships to the extent that they would electorates. But more crucially, they are also far share a bit of their ‘sovereignty’. Considering from the minds of most national party actors. that the main focus of national parties is to control or influence national governments, and Given the presence of avowedly euro-sceptic that it is through national government action in parties in several EU Member States, the recent the European Council and Council of Ministers referenda on the EU Constitutional Treaty and that initiatives are launched or blocked at the the divisions within some major parties on the European level, the price of supporting stronger future of the European integration process, Euro-parties does not seem justified by the it may seem surprising that some space has benefit (itself intangible). The reticence, then, not opened up for Euro-parties, for instance of national party leaders to grant more power in organising transnational debates among to Euro-parties is tied to their estimation of the national party activists. In the end, however, it is costs and benefits, and the costs are easier to national parties, and more specifically national imagine than the benefits. party leaders, who hold the keys to Euro-party development. There are two items to consider: This brings me to the second point, the question (1) incentives for national parties to allow Euro- of to what extent national parties are actually parties greater visibility and organisational engaged on the European level of policy and capacity, and (2) national party engagement decision-making. On the one hand, the easy with the European level in general. answer to this is to look at the European level of activity of national party actors, that is, What incentives are there for national party government ministers and MEPs. However, if76 European View
    • Robert Ladrechwe were to ask how integrated the decisions Finally, how do national parties organiseof government ministers in Brussels and the themselves such that they become aware of andgeneral activities of MEPs are into internal party can take positions on EU policy? If the EU nowmechanisms of accountability, then we would looms so large in domestic policy-making, andsee a different picture emerging. if indeed there has been institutional and policy adaptation due to the influence of the EU (i.e.First of all, not all government ministers are Europeanization), then might we not expect toparty politicians (there is widespread use see some organisational adaptation on the partof experts or technocrats). Second, not all of national parties? In fact, a recent researchgovernment ministers are accountable to a project (The Europeanization of Nationalnational parliamentary party, i.e. they do not sit Political Parties) has shown that the actualin the parliament and in cabinet government, organisational changes in major centre-left andas in the UK. Third, and significant for my centre-right parties in the 15 Member Statesargument, national executives in general are before the 2004 enlargement were extremelyautonomous from their parliaments—and by modest. Put differently, there has not beenextension, from their national parliamentary much in the way of new positions or changes inparties (here the literature on the so-called decision-making rules to suggest that EU mattersdemocratic deficit points to national parliaments are now processed more systematically or in aas ‘losers’ in European integration; see inter more visible manner than before the late 1980s.alia Maurer and Wessels, 2000). Finally, national For example, in terms of the party central officeparties—the extra-parliamentary wing—do not (the extra-parliamentary party organisation),have the mechanisms to hold their members it remains the International Secretariat thatin government accountable in any meaningful maintains relations both with foreign partiesway, as this would require vast organisational internationally as well as strictly within Europeresources and expertise. Thus, parties in and with the party delegation in the EP. In somegovernment delegate to their members in parties, a distinct European Secretary positionexecutive government positions the freedom to has been created, but this is more the exceptionact on EU matters (the exception being issues than the rule. Resources to monitor EU issuesof a more historic nature or ones that achieve and to liaise with EU party actors such as MEPsa high political profile and come into conflict have not grown substantially.with core ideological positions). As for MEPs,their integration into their national parties varies In other words, in an environment of limitedconsiderably, from the link-MEP system of the resources, national parties choose to continueBritish Labour Party to what is more the norm, to devote the vast bulk of their resourcesthe situation where the delegation leader has and capability to the domestic scene, evenex officio membership on a mid-level leadership though intellectually many party actors willcommittee. acknowledge the greater influence of EU issues on domestic policy development. As for theVoting rights for MEPs at party congresses are relationship between national parties and theirnormally those of a party’s elected officials; again respective Euro-party, the overwhelming numberthis varies from party to party. However, the of national representatives to a Euro-partydistance of MEPs collectively from their national bureau or executive committee are Internationalparties’ consciousness in terms of knowledge secretaries; the responsibility is one addedof activities and appreciation for those matters to others in their portfolio. The election ofwhere MEPs may make a difference in EP delegates to Euro-party congresses is extremelydecision-making has narrowed only marginally limited, with the vast bulk of delegates eitherover the past decade or so. ex officio, such as MEPs, or else appointed. In most cases, Euro-party working groups are 77 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Promise and Reality of Euro-parties composed of individuals appointed by the party for the greater profile of Euro-parties in national leader. Thus the picture that emerges is not that party politics are counterbalanced by practical Euro-parties have no relationship with national issues of party management and, yes, power. parties; they do, but at the level of the leadership. As long as Euro-parties serve as networks for What is interesting is what is missing, that is, a interaction between national party elites, they deeper interest in EU matters and a consequent do not challenge anyone’s prerogatives, and the organisational adaptation to allow more input status quo continues. All of this is not to suggest by ordinary party members. it is impossible for Euro-parties to eventually play a greater role in linking citizens to the EU; conclusion it is simply to point out that national parties themselves may also have to change in some What I have tried to do in this brief article is to ways for this to occur. point to the complexity of the situation in which Euro-parties find themselves, which inhibits further progress in making them more relevant to European citizens. If their own national Robert Ladrech is Senior Lecturer in Politics in member parties are themselves detached from the School of Politics, International Relations European decision and policy making, what and Philosophy in Keele University, UK. incentives are there for national party leaders to alter the situation and thereby open a Pandora’s Box of potentially divisive dynamics over Europe? It follows that allowing Euro-parties to References gain greater stature, and thus more input into the policies of a national member party, can be Aylott, Nicholas (2002). Let’s discuss this viewed by some party leaders as a challenge to later: Party responses to Euro-division in party stability. Scandinavia. Party Politics 8 (4): 441–61. As one can imagine, the more the EU is itself a Banchoff, Thomas & Smith, Mitchell (Eds.) politicised issue in a nation’s politics, the more (1999). Legitimacy and the European Union: potentially disruptive might opening the party to The Contested Polity. London & New York: wider debate on EU issues be. In some cases— Routledge. for example, the debate within the Swedish Social Democratic Party over the referendum to Hix, Simon (2004). Possibilities for European join the EU—the leadership felt it had no choice parties: 2004 and beyond. Working Paper, other than to allow opposing factions within the London School of Economics. party to organise for the referendum campaign (Aylott, 2002). More recently, the French Socialist Hix, Simon & Lord, Christopher (1997). Political Party conducted an internal referendum to Parties in the European Union. Basingstoke: determine the official party line on the 2005 EU Macmillan. Constitutional Treaty, but despite the 60% vote in favour of the Treaty, party discipline declined Hooghe, Liesbet & Marks, Gary (1999). The during the national referendum campaign. making of a polity: The struggle over European integration. In Kitschelt et It is not enough, therefore, to imagine greater al (Eds.), Continuity and Change in development in Euro-party organisation and/or Contemporary Capitalism. Cambridge: public visibility if we do not understand what Cambridge University Press. a profound challenge this prospect can be for national party politicians. Intellectual arguments Johansson, Karl Magnus (1999). Tracing the78 European View
    • Robert Ladrech employment title in the Amsterdam treaty: Uncovering transnational coalitions. Journal of European Public Policy 6 (1): 85–101.Johansson, Karl Magnus (2002). Another road to Maastricht: The Christian Democrat Coalition and the quest for European Union. Journal of Common Market Studies 40 (5): 871–91.Johansson, Karl Magnus & Zervakis, Peter (2002). European Political Parties between Cooperation and Integration. Baden-Baden: Nomos.Ladrech, Robert (2000). Social Democracy and the Challenge of European Union. Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Maurer, Andreas & Wessels, Wolfgang (Eds.) (2001). National Parliaments on their Ways to Europe: Losers or Latecomers? Baden- Baden: Nomos.Pridham, Geoffrey & Pridham, Pippa (1981). Transnational Party Co-operation and European Integration. London: George Allen and Unwin.Reif, Karlheinz & Hermann Schmitt (1980). Nine second-order national elections: A conceptual framework for the analysis of European election results. European Journal of Political Research 8: 3–44.Van Hecke, Steven & Matuschek, Peter (2003). Europeanization and political parties: The case of the Spanish People’s Party and the European People’s Party. Paper presented at the meeting of the European Consortium for Political Research. 79 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Doris Leuthard The Swiss Referendum: A Political Model for the European Union? By Doris Leuthard In Switzerland, citizens’ decision. A successful referendum therefore rights have been evolving has far-reaching consequences. A referendum since the foundation of triggers national discussion of a bill, whereby the Swiss Confederation supporters and opponents must attempt to and are based on a long- convince the electorate of their arguments. standing tradition. The Thus the referendum is also a right to demandreferendum and initiative rights influence the explanations and discursive justifications fromdirect democratic decision-making process and the parliamentary majority.1 The majority doesallow the people to play a determining role in not always manage to convince the people,the formation of parliamentary and government and the people do not always support the pathpolicy. Transferring these rights to the European chosen by Parliament. The people have the finalUnion would bring benefits; however, this word and therefore exert a corrective influence.would require internal discussion within each For some parliamentary acts, a referendum isindividual member state. mandatory according to the Federal Constitution (compulsory referendum); other acts are onlycitizens’ rights in switzerland submitted to the people if requested by 50,000 voters or eight cantons within 100 days of theirThe Swiss state is characterised by the basic official publication (optional referendum). Anvalues of constitutional legality, federalism and optional referendum was held in June 2005 todemocracy. Of these three, democracy takes oppose Switzerland’s signing of the Schengenprecedence and ensures that all state power is Agreement—it was not, however, successful.2based on the will of the people. In Switzerland,democratic rights have given rise to a culture of the initiative rightpower-sharing between institutions and citizens.The country’s participation rights, referred to as The initiative right entitles voters to present thecitizens’ rights, reflect this principle of power- Swiss Federal Council and Parliament with asharing. Since 1848, Switzerland has continuously request to change the Federal Constitution andexpanded and refined these rights, based on to hold a referendum after their responses andconcepts arising from the Enlightenment and debates. The initiative can take the form of acorresponding movements in France and the general suggestion or a completed text, theUnited States. In addition to universal suffrage wording of which cannot then be changed byand voting rights, citizens’ rights also include the Parliament or the Swiss Federal Council. It isright to hold referenda and initiatives. generally instigated by an initiative committee. In contrast to the 50,000 voters or eight cantonsthe Referendum needed to generate a referendum, an initiative requires the signatures of 100,000 voters, whichIn Switzerland, the referendum represents have to be gathered within 18 months. This is noa core political right for citizens. It entitles easy task, since the signatures must be collectedthem to vote retrospectively to approve or and authenticated by local authorities.reject parliamentary acts, or to reverse a1 Andreas Gross, NR (ZH), Colloquium in honour of Werner Hauck, University of Bern, 3 March 2006: http://www.andigross.ch/.2 Federal decision of 17.12.2004 approving and implementing bilateral Association Agreements between Switzerland and the EU about the Schengen and Dublin areas: http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/pore/va/20050605/det517.html. 81 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Swiss Referendum: A Political Model for the European Union? Recently introduced citizens’ rights in initiative was withdrawn on 10 January 2006 as switzerland the result of an indirect counter-draft.4 In the past, the absence of any legislative types of referenda and their effects initiative at the federal level resulted in the frequent use of constitutional initiatives for An obligatory referendum must be held for all issues that actually belonged to the legislative changes to the constitution, for joining collective level. One classic example is the so-called security organisations and supranational absinth ban, which found its way into the organisations, and for urgently declared federal Swiss constitution in this manner. The ‘general laws that do not have any constitutional basis popular initiative’ was therefore introduced in and apply for more than one year. For an 2003. This new citizens’ right entitles 100,000 obligatory referendum to be successful, the voters to propose changes to, or even the repeal Ständemehr, i.e. the approval of a majority of of, legislative or constitutional provisions.3 The cantons, is required in addition to the approval creation of such an initiative allows citizens to of a majority of the voters. Optional referenda instigate a discussion at both political and social are held for federal laws and acts. They are also levels. For example, Switzerland joined the UN used for international law contracts that are as the result of a citizens’ initiative that won a non-terminable and unlimited in duration which majority vote in the Swiss Federal Council, the provide for joining international organisations, Parliament and in the subsequent referendum. contain important legal provisions or require The Swiss people were therefore the driving the enactment of federal laws in order to be force behind Switzerland’s entry to the UN. implemented. In this case a majority of votes is sufficient. National debates for referenda In addition to their effect on the decision- Like a referendum, an initiative triggers national making process, referendum rights mean that discussion after a parliamentary debate. However, policy-makers must consider a possible public the full range of discussion only takes place in rejection of their laws at any time. As a result, the event of a referendum. In this case, political great care is taken from the very start of the parties, business associations and trade unions legislative process to ensure that those political conduct campaigns, the scale of which depends forces in a position to win a referendum are on the significance of the bill. In referendum involved in preparing the contents. Business campaigns, political players who support the associations such as trade unions and other same line generally join forces across party influential organisations therefore play a key boundaries. The tradition of concordance, a role in the political decision-making process. distinctive feature of the Swiss political system, Their opinions are heard at an early stage, and also plays a part here. the concerns of various interest groups are taken seriously. This process also crystallises Not all initiatives are submitted to a public the contentious issues and objectives of a referendum. Sometimes Parliament finds a bill. A referendum can often be avoided if the solution that resolves the key concern and issues can be successfully resolved or concerns convinces the instigators to withdraw their addressed during the parliamentary debate. If initiative. One specific example of this is the the bill turns out to be one-sided, Parliament Swiss citizens’ initiative ‘Promoting contemporary risks defeat in a referendum. animal protection: Animal protection—Yes!’ This 3 Sonderegger & Stampfli, 2004 (see below under ‘Sources’). 4 http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/pore/vi/vi306.html and http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/ff/2006/355.pdf.82 European View
    • Doris LeuthardThis opinion-forming process promotes comparison with Europedemocratic awareness, sensitivity to minoritiesand the involvement of a wide range of interested In most European Member States (for instance,parties in the discussion. It also increases France), a referendum takes the form of acohesion within a country with different cultures, plebiscite. In other words, the head of state orlanguages and opinions. Finally, involving the parliament is the key focus of a referendum,main interested parties also helps to increase rather than the contents of a bill as it is inthe stability of the government, which in turn Switzerland. The defeat of such referendaincreases the attractiveness of Switzerland as a (for example, the rejection of the Europeanbusiness location. Occasionally organisations or constitution in France) suggests a protest by theparties use a referendum to raise their profile and people against the government or parliament,to block government policies. The referendum is and therefore becomes a question of confidence.therefore generally a restraining and restricting The democratic value of such referenda ispolitical instrument, as it can defer the adoption debatable, since plebiscites are usually carriedof new laws or amendments. Switzerland’s long out without having originated as a citizens’experience with referenda and initiatives has initiative.allowed for their ongoing refinement. Referenda at the EU level?Referenda help ensure stability Since the discussion of the EU constitution,Direct democracy is firmly established in if not earlier, there has been growing interestthe mindset of the Swiss population and is throughout Europe in a Swiss-style directan integral part of the political culture, an democracy. There is now a rather rudimentaryembodiment of the saying, “The soul of direct transnational European public. However, theredemocracy is discussion.” Citizens’ rights remains a great distance between Europe’sgenerate social discussion and debate every day, politicians on the one hand and its citizens oneither supporting or reversing political actions. the other. It is therefore hardly surprising thatDecisions approved by the people clearly have turnout for European elections is often very low.greater legitimacy. Intensive discussion of political This in turn gives a comparatively low legitimacyprojects reduces the likelihood of political error. to European legislation. The European ParliamentHowever, discussions can also take the people and the Council of Ministers can work out anddown the route to reform, often involving them implement reform projects relatively quickly;in painful change processes. An example is the however, in the absence of a referendum processcurrent review of the social security system. there is no way to determine the level of public support for such projects.Swiss pension schemes must be amended to takeaccount of demographic changes and to ensure While they regard themselves as Europeans,the continued financial stability of the social many people in Europe feel little connectionsystem. This reform will bring both consolidation with the European Union and its institutions.and the partial dismantling of existing services. This suggests that citizens’ rights should beImplementing this reform successfully is one of introduced at a European and transnationalthe greatest challenges facing the Swiss welfare level. In my opinion, it is not a question ofstate over the next few years. Finally, involving whether one can do this but of whether onethe population in the reform process can help to wants to! In view of the geographic scale ofreduce the potential for conflict within a society. the European Union, I believe that introducingSwitzerland’s good labour relations and social direct democratic rights would be a mereharmony can also be regarded as a product of formality. In particular, Article I-46 of theconcordance and the political culture. European Constitutional Treaty already contains 83 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Swiss Referendum: A Political Model for the European Union? a kind of transnational participative civil right. and alienation. To increase direct democracy, For the first time in the history of democracy, we need objective sources of information that this would give one million citizens from at least can be accessed by all. This should be taken eight countries the right to present a legislation into account when civil rights are introduced request to the EU commission. There has been at a European level. We need to be aware of little opposition to this positive and far-reaching the effects of civil rights as described above concept. and start by gathering the experiences within each member state. To implement public Effects on European identity co-determination rights, Parliament must be prepared to give up some of its political power Transnational rights must not be restricted and control to the people and to unconditionally to parliamentary elections. Direct democracy accept the result of a referendum. This calls for requires ongoing social communication under a different way of dealing with minorities and the framework of a constitution, and therefore would extend the period of time required to minimum participation rights for citizens. As has implement a decision. been the case in Switzerland, this should increase cultural and regional integration, and provide A force for centralisation greater legitimacy for European legislation. In my opinion, an obligatory constitutional referendum In Switzerland the introduction of the referendum must be a priority. As well as increasing the process has increased centralisation. Giving legitimacy of both the constitutional Treaty as a citizens a greater say also increases federal whole and individual changes to it, this should jurisdiction. Transferring this process to the also promote integration. Moreover, extensive European Union would promote centralisation discussion of the EU constitution throughout and increase the power of EU institutions. We Europe would increase understanding between must assess this potential effect in detail and the different cultures of Member States. This is discuss whether or not it is desirable. We must the only way to create a true European identity. also assess whether we can find a simple method to introduce a referendum right or initiative right Political discussion at a national level for all EU citizens, or whether these rights should be limited to strictly organised associations or Before we can consider the concept of a European major bodies. This would not be desirable from referendum, this idea must be discussed within a democratic perspective, since making these each individual member state. The debate on rights too selective would result in opposition. transnational implementation cannot succeed until the conclusion of national debates, where conclusion the effects of democratic participation can be discussed in relation to each individual country. We must strive to increase the involvement Media coverage and information would also be of citizens in decision-making processes. To required. At the moment, there is little coverage achieve this, we need a political commitment in European newspapers of the debates held to increase and extend the legitimacy of the in Brussels. National issues take precedence or decisions made in Brussels. This means sharing generate more interest. Citizens therefore lack political power and including citizens in the information and play little part in these matters. decision-making process. Discussions must be As a result, social development does not take held on the constitution, its core values and their place as part of a concerted process or in parallel development—the foundations of the European discussions, but is generally the preserve of the Union. Citizens must become a political force interested intellectual and political parties. This in deciding and carrying out EU reforms. This promotes feelings of distrust, powerlessness is the key to success for the transnational-level84 European View
    • Doris Leuthardprocesses of change to be implemented by theEuropean Union.Doris Leuthard is National Councillor andthe President of the ChristlichdemokratischeVolkspartei (CVP) of Switzerland.Statistics for federal referenda in Switzerland since 1848: Accepted and rejected referenda5 1848-1950 1951-1980 1981-2005 Total Obligatory 63 75 67 205 referenda Accepted 43 58 51 152 Rejected 20 17 16 53 Optional 54 37 65 156 referenda Accepted 20 19 44 83 Rejected 34 18 21 73sourcesBundesamt für Statistik, Abstimmungen und Gross, A. NR (ZH), Merits and limits of direct Kennzahlen (Swiss Federal Office for democracy, 28 January 2006: http://www. Statistics, Referenda and Key Figures): andigross.ch/. http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/de/ index/themen/politik/abstimmungen/ blank/kennzahlen0/eidg__volksinitiativen. Gross, A. NR (ZH), Visions for the future role html. of direct democracy in the EU, 27 January 2006: http://www.andigross.ch/.Chronological directory of Swiss citizens’ initiatives: http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/ Hangartner, Y. Emeritus professor of law, St. pore/vi/vishort.html. Gallen.Gross, A. NR (ZH), Colloquium in honour of Sonderegger, C. & Stampfli, M. (Eds.) (2004). Werner Hauck, Bern University, 3 March Aktuelle Schweiz. Lexikon für Politik, 2006: http://www.andigross.ch/. Recht, Wirtschaft, Gesellschaft.5 http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/de/index/themen/politik/abstimmungen/blank/kennzahlen0/eidg__volksinitiativen.html. 85 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Gutenberg Martínez Ocamica Party Cooperation between Continents: ODCA and a Proposal for the EPP By Gutenberg Martínez Ocamica Globalisation continues generating enough growth to reduce poverty to flourish in Latin and instead concentrated wealth even further, America, despite the were followed by a left-wing neo-populism stubborn attempts by that now runs through much of the politics of certain minority sectors Mexico and South America. to close the doors onthe process—which is yet another example of Against this backdrop, there is an ever-increasingtheir historical dislocation. need to create programmes throughout Latin America that will politically structure centristHowever, the process of globalisation is and popular Christian Democrat forces.advancing apace and is now beginning tomanifest itself in all areas of social life as well The Christian Democrat Organization ofas in politics. America (ODCA)1 is the strongest international organisation in the region, both because of itsThere is a clear trend towards the electoral representation (member parties attractinternationalisation of problems and challenges over a third of all votes) and because it is thein the region. The main scourge of Latin America only really functional organisation as regardsis poverty: around 40% of the population lives to political backing; effective solidarity; appliedbelow the poverty line and this proportion consultancy; high-level training; the articulationhas remained unchanged for a very long time. of the needs of young people, women andThis situation causes tension in the region’s workers; and—most relevant to this article—democracies, compelling parties to come up the formulation of a basic programme for thewith quick answers. It is an issue that ethically region.engages all of us who have made a publiccommitment to creating the material conditions The organisation Socialist International (SI)that will allow every man and woman to satisfy does not have a clear profile, given that ittheir material and spiritual needs. encompasses a multitude of very diverse—and even conflicting—positions, which preventsThe dictatorships of the 1980s are a distant it from acting with effective objectives. Thememory, and the continent is now seeing Union of Latin American Parties (UPLA), whichreal democracy—with the exception of Cuba encompasses other parties, some of which wereand with the current reservations regarding closely associated with the military dictatorshipsVenezuela. in Chile, El Salvador and Guatemala, lacks presence and activity in the region. All of theseWith the transition to democracy now complete, circumstances help favour the work and activitycitizens are beginning to demand that it offer of ODCA.solutions to their most pressing economic andsocial problems. In real terms, the growing coordination of left- wing neo-populism in recent years representsNeo-liberal policies, which were incapable of the other alternative in the region. However1 ODCA-CDOA—Organización Demócrata Cristiana de América (Christian Democrat Organization of America)—comprises 35 parties from Latin America. Founded in 1947, the group has enjoyed a major resurgence in recent years. 87 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Party Cooperation between Continents: ODCA and a Proposal for the EPP mistaken and irresponsible it may be in its role in many countries, participating in the approach, it has tapped into the popular will at governments of Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, important elections throughout Latin America. Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, as well as in several state governments of countries with The peoples of Latin America want to see federal systems, such as Brazil, Argentina and progress and an end to poverty, and we believe Mexico. Parliamentarians from the organisation that the coordination of political work in the preside over the Latin American Parliament and region will be a strong determining factor in on its behalf recently took over the presidency achieving this goal. Our position is clear: we of the worldwide Inter-Parliamentary Union stand at the centre, at a clear remove from (IPU). political extremes, committed to democracy and human rights. We promote equitable growth Particularly noteworthy are the achievements in which the social market economy creates that have been made in Haiti—where our more wealth, which is distributed in a manner associate party, led by L. Manigat, came second that eliminates poverty and improves the way in the elections—and our ongoing campaign of earnings are shared out. solidarity with prisoners in Cuba. There are essentially four difficulties in achieving An important part of ODCA’s success lies in its this task: historical agreement with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS). This agreement is a model 1. There is no political integration in Latin of political cooperation which respects regional America. There are plenty of very useful and local autonomy and is efficient in its use bilateral and sub-regional trade agreements, of resources, constant in its development of but no one has yet managed to set up cross- programmes, present and solid in dictatorship border community bodies with any real or democracy, and unwilling to involve itself in faculties. untoward demands or roles. 2. Political parties have a national culture, which To give just one example, for more than thirty tends to prevent them from incorporating years KAS has offered postgraduate scholarship international aspects into their platforms and programmes to Latin American countries, policies. enabling many world-class professionals and politicians from Christian Democrat parties to 3. The work of international organisations tends complete their studies at German universities. not to encompass the realities of regional political organisations, but falls into the It is not difficult to imagine what might be supposed neutrality of international relations. achieved if other foundations were to collaborate This does not always favour democracy and at the level of institutional policies and objectives policies for equitable growth. in Latin America. 4. The role of the political parties has been Any international movement that seeks to operate highly questioned; they are not undergoing in this region must have proposals that will the indispensable reforms and the prioritising answer the problems of Latin American society. of civil society needed. This further weakens Essentially, these consist of poverty, distribution the proper functioning of political parties. of earnings, economic growth, integration and social cohesion, and the consolidation of Despite these limitations, ODCA has managed democracy. to position itself as a real reference point in the region. Its parties now play a determining Any parties joining ODCA must therefore be88 European View
    • Gutenberg Martínez Ocamicaincontrovertibly situated at the political centre world as a community of communitiesand must be committed to democracy and and involves an effective commitmentequitable growth. to achieving better development and collaboration in the construction of aThe platform of ODCA prioritises seven areas multi-polar world, conceived as the bestthat apply to the entire continent: framework for ensuring human peace and security. 1. The humanisation of our societies: We want growth and development, but we These seven proposals have increased the also want to strengthen the family and the strength and cohesion of our activity in the community since we reject an individualism region and represent the convictions involved that hinders the full realisation of the in our primary challenges. person. We know that globalisation is not only an 2. Equity, distance from the ideological economic, financial and commercial process: It egalitarianism of socialism and the is also a cultural and political one. selfishness of neo-liberalism, as well as the end of all social discrimination based Latin America requires a regional policy that on race, religion, ideology or gender. will allow principles of cooperation and civic fraternity to be applied in the establishment 3. Commitment to a greater and better of common objectives for our peoples, with democracy: As humanists we view organisations that represent other doctrines but democracy as a system that needs to be which are willing to make a pluralist contribution constantly extended and improved. to the common good of Latin America. 4. The family as the central institution in Globalisation is a worldwide process, and any society: The family must therefore it would therefore be a mistake to see the be protected and empowered to face the challenges it poses only as regional ones or as increased demands being placed on it. limited to the most westernised or regulated areas of the world. 5. Humanly and environmentally sustainable development: For many of us, this Regional and international political organisations involves trying to maintain the order of require a global perspective, an interpretation of a creation that includes human beings globalisation, with views and objectives based and their needs, a creation that requires on that reality, and tasks and commitments a healthy environment rich in sustainable between regional associations and their global and renewable biodiversity. organisations. 6. The priority of education as the public If we see globalisation as a reality with a policy that characterises our best efforts: worldwide impact over and above the structural This is the optimum area in which to problems of our societies, it seems abundantly generate a space for cultivating values, clear that, like global realities of other eras, it and it will allow progress for all through should not be seen as a free and autonomous equal opportunities. process. We therefore believe that the first idea or value we must try to apply is that of 7. And finally, Latin American integration, the humanisation. great dream of Frei, Caldera and Pastrana: This is an expression of our vision of the To use the French term (adopted in Mexican 89 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Party Cooperation between Continents: ODCA and a Proposal for the EPP by Carlos Castillo), this task is mondialisation, Within this framework, the EPP and ODCA must whose aim is to humanise globalisation. consider a new agenda and a new procedure for political collaboration. Solidarity and political We believe this aim reflects our essential belief friendship in themselves are no longer sufficient; that any form of materialism ignores the person. joint work must be undertaken that respects the While it may result in physical progress, it does specific political challenges and profiles of each not always create societies or worlds in which region. freedom and solidarity are most deeply-rooted or enforced. This being the case, we would like to make a proposal, one that takes into consideration:2 This commitment to humanisation must characterise not only a form of cooperation, but 1. the objective, established at the first summit also a global attitude, present in all regions and of the European Union and Latin America continents. and Caribbean countries (EU/LAC; Rio de Janeiro, 28 and 29 June 1999), of setting It is not sufficient for our ideas to be present in up a strategic bi-regional association, Europe and Latin America; they must also be based on political and economic areas of spread to Asia, Africa and Oceania. This need cooperation; becomes all the more pressing in a context of globalisation. 2. the report adopted in the European Parliament on 15 November 2001 on Shared cooperation and structuring between the global association and a common strategy European People’s Party (EPP) and ODCA can be with Latin America; increased because of their historical relationship, their shared values and ideas, and because 3. the resolutions of the European Parliament of the need to show that our conceptions are (Brussels, 15 and 30 May 2002) regarding capable of achieving social equality, defeating the second EU/LAC Summit; poverty and strengthening democracy, with full respect for human rights, even in relatively less 4. the statement by the councils of the developed societies. Latin American integration parliaments (Parlatino, Parlandino, Parlacen and If we can achieve this goal, then our impact really the Joint Parliamentary Commission will be worldwide. False populisms of all kinds, of Mercosur) and the councils of the authoritarian menaces and narrow materialism delegations for relations with Latin America will be replaced by political, humanist, centrist of the European Parliament within the and democratic formulations. framework of the second EU/LAC Summit (Madrid, 17 May 2002); A Latin America that is engrossed in its own challenges; a Europe that is excessively focused 5. the communiqué of the Commission on enlargement and on its relationship with the to the European Parliament and to the United States—these constitute a restricted path Council (Brussels, 7 April 2004) on the which does not meet the global requirement for Commission’s objectives within the context political initiatives and proposals that will work of the relations between the European for all the nations of the world. Union and Latin America, with respect to the third EU/LAC Summit 2 Agreement of the ODCA Council communicated to the EPP.90 European View
    • Gutenberg Martínez Ocamica 6. the proposal from the Latin American arrangement and promoting the search for integration parliaments to provide the positions of consensus between Europe strategic bi-regional association EU/LAC and Latin America, to be expressed in with specific contents, issued at the EU/ various negotiations and resolutions of LAC inter-parliamentary meeting in Puebla bodies within the multilateral system; (26 March 2004); 4. Supporting the signing of a Euro-Latin 7. the conclusions of the seventeenth inter- American Charter for Peace and Security parliamentary meeting of the European by heads of state and government from the Union and Latin America (Lima, 16 June European Union and Latin America and the 2005); and Caribbean, which will allow coordination and cooperation in safeguarding peace in 8. the preparatory process for the fourth the two regions; EU/LAC Summit (Vienna, May 2006), a milestone which should mark new 5. Promoting the creation of a transatlantic advances in the process of strategic European-Latin American parliamentary cooperation currently underway between assembly, with a numerically balanced, the two regions. stable membership to ensure maximum representation of the two regions, toOur proposal: We strongly recommend that replace the mechanism of EU/LAC inter-the EPP and ODCA begin working together to parliamentary meetings.establish a common policy on priorities, witha view to advancing the strategic cooperation Economic and commercial areabetween the European Union and Latin Americain the following areas and tasks. 6. Backing the construction of a free trade area between the European UnionPolitical area and Latin America by the year 2010, the characteristics of which must be 1. Undertaking determined political action established through specific negotiations to provide specific contents and to with the different sub-regions of Latin extend the areas in which the strategic America; cooperation between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean is 7. Contributing to the creation of conditions being considered; to allow the Vienna Summit to advance the process of building an EU/LAC economic 2. Promoting a new bi-regional political association, through the conclusion of the agenda, prioritising issues such as EU/Mercosur agreement and the beginning social cohesion and the war on poverty, of negotiations on free trade between the democratic governability, the strengthening EU and both the Andean Community and of political parties, international security, Central America; respect for human rights, the situation of migrants, the fight against drug trafficking 8. Proposing the creation of an from a perspective of co-responsibility, institutionalised forum for dialogue, the reform of the United Nations system bringing together employers, workers and and the preservation of the environment; politicians from Europe and Latin America, in order to promote trade and investment 3. Reaffirming the supremacy of under conditions that will safeguard the multilateralism as a framework for global environment and the workplace. governance, rejecting any unilateral 91 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Party Cooperation between Continents: ODCA and a Proposal for the EPP social and cooperation area A shared project between the two organisations, the EPP and ODCA, would help strengthen 9. Promoting the creation of a bi-regional global action by centrist and popular Christian Solidarity Fund, with contributions from Democrat parties and would show how a the European Commission and other relationship of this sort can extend the bases of international bodies and donor countries, human rights, democracy and the social market which will allow a base of resources to be economy. In short, it would constitute a very maintained to meet urgent needs in Latin significant advance in the mondialisation of America and the Caribbean—principally international political activity by those of us the war on poverty and marginality, who belong to a single political family. healthcare, education and infrastructures in the most needy countries—in order Finally, it should be noted that the great strides to achieve greater degrees of social made in terms of ODCA’s growth, cohesion, cohesion; presence and political action are clear and ongoing, but will be even greater and more 10. Extending development cooperation, definitive as moves are made towards the increasing resources and focusing activity political integration of the region, through the on the most pressing issues for Latin formation of cross-border community bodies America and the Caribbean, specifically created and legitimised by the direct popular poverty, education, health, infrastructures vote. and—in terms of relations with Europe— responding to concerns over the living At that time, ODCA—with its organisational conditions of Latin American migrants; strength, its presence in all Latin American countries, the structure of its management 11. Promoting an exchange of experiences (especially among the younger generation), in sectors where the European Union has its established shared platform and its clear made greater progress, for example, in international commitment—will ensure that connection with certain systems of social Christian humanism will carry greater weight protection that allow decent employment in this new and long-awaited Latin American and fair pensions to be guaranteed; realm. 12. Providing incentives for a new model of development cooperation, involving issues typical of regional and bi-regional Gutenberg Martínez Ocamica is the President of integration, such as imbalances between ODCA. countries, increases in competitiveness for free trade and adjustments to national policies based on regional coordination; and 13. Encouraging programmes of scientific and academic cooperation targeted at exploring new forms of knowledge, exchanges between educational communities and access to specialist training in academic institutions, especially in Europe.92 European View
    • Annemie Neyts The Evolution and Function of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party By Annemie Neyts The European Liberal representation and its impact on the national and Democrats were the first European political environment and conclude to create a European by showing how the Party will continue to grow political family. The and exert its influence in the future. party was founded in March 1976 in Stuttgart, History and backgroundGermany, in view of the first direct electionsto the European parliament. The party was Thirty years ago, nine parties sharing Europeanestablished on the basis of the truly visionary Liberal Democrat values gathered in StuttgartStuttgart Declaration, which contains a number to create the European Federation of Liberalof targets and objectives for a more liberal Parties. Many of the goals outlined in theand united Europe that are still relevant today. subsequent Stuttgart Declaration, the foundingOn 17 March 2006, members of the European document of the European Liberal Democrats,Liberal family once more gathered in Stuttgart still remain to be achieved: the abolition of theto celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the remaining administrative restrictions within theELDR Party and to reaffirm the role that Liberal European Community on the free movementparties can play in shaping the future of Europe. of persons, goods, services and capital; thePolitical parties like the ELDR Party play a key adoption of a Constitution for the Europeanrole in building bridges between citizens and Union; the harmonisation of economic andEurope. financial policies; and the creation of a common foreign policy.In my view, political liberalism is not aboutbenevolent paternalistic politicians pretending The original federation of Liberal and Democraticto know best and polishing their own image; parties was made up of nine member parties:rather, it is about empowering the people andbuilding the indispensable institutions of civil • Parti Libéral Bruxellois, Belgium,society and political democracy; it is about • Parti de la Liberté et du Progrès (PLP),ensuring civil liberties and human rights; it is Belgium,about organising truly open economic markets • Partij voor Vrijheid en Vooruitgang (PVV),and keeping them open to newcomers; it is Belgium,about making possible and organising the free • Venstres Landsorganisation, Denmark,flow of ideas, goods and people; it is about • Parti Radical Socialiste (PRS), France,safeguarding all of these values for the future • Freie Demokratische Partei (FDP),of Europe. Germany, • Partito Liberale Italiano (PLI), Italy,During my presidency, I will focus on • Demokratesch partei (DP), Luxembourg,consolidating the ELDR Party and making it a andtruly transnational political party. In this article, • Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en DemocratieI chart the evolution of the ELDR Party from its (VVD), the Netherlands.creation in 1976. I describe its composition, its 93 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Evolution and Function of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party Membership and structure vote. An affiliate member can ask to be granted full membership after two years. ÿ types and rights of membership An application for full or affiliate membership The members of ELDR is sent to the Bureau, which passes on the application and its recommendation to the Continually growing in size and significance, Council. The Council determines whether or the ELDR Party now comprises 47 political not the application meets the membership parties from the EU and neighbouring countries. requirements and makes its decision with a Specifically, the ELDR Party is composed of majority of two thirds of the votes cast. Liberal and Democrat parties from Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, E-membership Bulgaria, Catalonia, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Following the decisions of the Ljubljana Congress Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, in 2002, the ELDR Party has implemented a new Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, the section on its website reserved for electronic Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia (or individual) members of the ELDR Party. and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Such members are entitled to receive privileged Switzerland and the United Kingdom. information concerning the activities of the ELDR Party, propose debates on specific issues The ELDR Party is striving to increase its relevant to European liberalism and take part membership base, particularly in Central and in working groups established and moderated Eastern Europe. One example of this is the fact- by ELDR Party Bureau members or appointed finding mission to the Ukraine which took place delegates. An application for individual in March 2005, shortly after the success of the membership is sent to the Secretary-General. Orange Revolution led by Victor Yushchenko. The application is then processed and sent to The aim of the visit was the coordination of the Bureau. The Bureau makes its decision by European Liberal efforts in the Ukraine to simple majority. explore the possibilities of a joint EU application for Ukrainian projects. A level of cooperation ÿ ELDR Party statutory bodies was established with several parties in the Ukraine and a template or precedent has been In 1993 the ELDR Party became a party rather created for establishing contact with parties in than a federation, with the aim of developing other European countries where there is not a statute and identity as a European political currently an ELDR Party member. party. The ELDR Party has continued to evolve and the statute was updated in 2004 when the Full and affiliate membership party was registered as an international non- profit organisation (AISBL) under Belgian law. ELDR Party membership is open to all political The bodies of the Party are the Bureau, Council parties in Europe that satisfy the requirements, and Congress; these are explained in greater notably accepting the Stuttgart Declaration (ELDR detail below. founding document). There are two levels of membership. Full members pay a membership The ELDR Party Presidency fee, which gives them the right to take part in the meetings of the ELDR Party Council and the We are fortunate to have a rich history of Congress, to voice their opinion and to vote. dynamic and energetic presidents. Former Affiliate members also pay a fee and have the presidents of the Party include Gaston Thorn, same rights as full members except the right to former Prime Minister of Luxembourg (the first94 European View
    • Annemie Neytsparty president); Colette Flesch, former Deputy of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament.Prime Minister and Leader of the Democratic Participants also include Foreign Ministers,Party in Luxembourg; Willy De Clercq, former Commissioners and others attending the summit.Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium; Uffe The group discusses and reviews the six-monthEllemann-Jensen, former Deputy Prime Minister presidency of the Union. This networking isof Denmark; and Werner Hoyer, former State especially important in increasing the politicalMinister for Foreign Affairs of Germany. influence of European Liberal Democrats. The meetings are held ahead of European CouncilIn September 2005, at the Congress in Bratislava, meetings, usually in the Palais d’Egmont in theSlovakia, I was elected ELDR Party President by centre of Brussels.delegates representing Liberal and Democratparties from all over Europe. In my vision The first ELDR Party leaders and ministersstatement for the party presidency, I declared: meeting in connection with an EU summit took“The most fundamental tenets of ELDR, place in Helsinki on 9 December 1999. Theliberalism, the spread of freedom, democracy most recent summit was in December 2005.and economic development by virtue of Ministers, Commissioners and party leadersintegration into the EU and the EU herself are expressed their hope that a budget that is futurebeing questioned as seldom before. The need oriented and shows solidarity with the newfor a strong, well-articulated, future-oriented Member States would be agreed upon. Greateranswer from ELDR, the European political party spending should be provided for research andthat embodies liberalism has never been greater. development in order for the EU to play anI intend to spend a large amount of my time enhanced role in this area on a global scale.helping ELDR meet the huge challenges it is The participants also unanimously called for thefaced with.” granting of candidate status to Macedonia.I also said I wanted the ELDR Party to come up The next leaders and ministers meeting will takewith a liberal vision for the future of the EU by place on 15 June 2006.June 2006. We have started to stir up real debateamong European liberal democrats to come up The Councilwith a vision that is broadly shared. The ELDR Council is the body responsibleThe Bureau for approving the budget and membership applications and is empowered to speak andThe ELDR Party receives its day-to-day guidance act on behalf of the ELDR Party. The Councilfrom a small, directly-elected Bureau presided comprises representatives from memberover by the President of the Party. parties, ELDR Party members of the European Commission, a LYMEC representative andA Brussels-based secretariat facilitates the work members of the Bureau ex-officio.and projects identified by the Bureau. Since 2000,the secretariat has been under the leadership of Congressesthe ELDR Party Secretary General, Lex Corijn ofBelgium. The annual Congress is the supreme decision- making forum. Those who attend includeLeaders and Ministers meetings delegates from ELDR Party member parties, members of the parliamentary group of theThe ELDR Party leaders and ministers meetings ELDR Party, ELDR Party members of theconnect Prime Ministers with the broader European Commission and representatives ofnetwork of ELDR Party leaders and the leadership LYMEC. Every two years, the Congress elects 95 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Evolution and Function of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party the President, Vice-Presidents and the Treasurer resolutions have addressed topics such as the of the party. following: The most recent ELDR Party Congress took place • sustainable development: the ELDR Party in Bratislava, Slovakia, in September 2005. The “welcomes in particular the lead taken by resolution ‘Working together for a competitive the European Union in promoting goals and Europe’ was the most important document to actions to achieve sustainable development be adopted at the Congress. It lists 10 objectives through reduction of poverty and protection to make Europe more competitive. ELDR of the environment”; parties also adopted a common stance on the EU Constitution and further EU enlargement. • The European constitution: the ELDR Europe’s Liberal Democrat parties call on Party “calls on Member State governments governments to make the Council legislate in to use the foreseen time of reflection wisely public, introduce the subsidiarity check and for a process where governments and involve national parliaments earlier in the EU opposition parties engage in serious two- legislation process. way discussions with citizens, NGO’s and social partners”; Further resolutions were adopted supporting the controversial services directive, the country of • terrorist attacks in Europe and the rest origin principle, the democratisation process in of the world: “We are all under the threat Azerbaijan, the rights of the Kurdish population of terrorism, and our common answer to it in Turkey, the full participation of women must correspond with the challenge we face in politics, Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, and with the demands of our citizens”; appropriate responses to terrorist attacks, Kosovo and the freedom of scientific research. • security and cooperation in the Middle-East: the ELDR Party “expresses Previous Congresses have been held in a its commitment to a peaceful solution of number of European countries. Of particular the Middle East conflict on the basis of note is the 2001 Congress which was held in negotiations between the conflicting parties Ljubljana, Slovenia. By holding the meeting consistent with decisions already taken by in Slovenia, the ELDR Party became the first the United Nations”; European political party to organise its annual congress in an accession country. Furthermore, • contributing to third world 2006 will see the ELDR Party Congress take development: the ELDR Party “urges the EU place in another accession country: it will be to work in the WTO to increase preferential held in Bucharest, Romania. market access for developing countries to industrialised countries and to try to include Resolutions the fight of poverty in the objectives for WTO”; and The Secretariats of the member parties and the ELDR Party are responsible for proposing • Freedom for growth—Building resolutions to the ELDR Party Congress. economic success in Europe: the ELDR Amendments to resolutions are discussed and Party encourages “the further completion voted upon during the Congress. The ELDR Party of the single market, notably in financial has passed a number of resolutions to draw services, and the further liberalisation of attention to issues that the member parties feel monopolies in transport, postal services, need to be addressed, and to begin to mobilise energy and telecommunication with respect the membership to participate in activities. Past to public service obligations”.96 European View
    • Annemie Neytsthe role of the ELDR Party its youth movement, LYMEC, must work to help Liberals of all ages and especially young Liberalsÿ connecting with citizens to develop an affinity with the Union.European political parties play a key role in ÿ Building channels of communicationdeveloping political opinions. They contributeto the forming of a European awareness by The Party uses a number of communicationgetting the citizens of Europe involved in issues tools. These include formal means such as theat the European level. This function of political main website, the e-newsletter, the ELDR Partyparties has been officially recognised by the EU newspaper Insight and additional information/in regulation 2003/04 of November 2003. This promotional leaflets about the Party and itsregulation helps to give greater influence and aims.purpose to political parties. Other methods of communication, which couldIn many countries with a long history of be termed informal, include my presence anddemocracy, citizens have grown up with liberal that of other ELDR Party representatives atideas that are taken for granted and are not congresses and events organised not only bydirectly associated with a Liberal party. At the the ELDR Party but by our member partiesnational level, liberal ideas and liberalism are as well. Even on occasions when an ELDRprevalent in almost every country across Europe. Party representative is not able to attend anA truly Liberal party stands out, however, when event held by one of our member parties, itit comes to promoting and defending civil is often the case that representatives of otherliberties. member parties are in attendance, which further encourages communication and the exchangeThe European Union is also built on liberal of information.principles, notably when it promotes thefreedom of movement of goods, services, Communication with our members is a two-waylabour and capital. I can only agree with what process. I have encouraged ELDR Party membersLex Corijn, our Secretary-General, said on the to promote the fact that they belong to the ELDRthirtieth anniversary of our youth movement, Party, for example, by putting the ELDR PartyLYMEC, on 10 February 2006:“Neither the ELDR logo on the home page of their website andParty nor its member parties changed Europe providing a link to the ELDR Party website.all alone during the past years. But it is alsoclear that the enormous achievements made in ÿ Building a Liberal platform for Europeanintegrating and uniting Europe since 1976 have electionsbroadly followed liberal democrat lines.” In the early days of 1979, the sky was the limit;There is an urgent need to reconnect the the future looked bright. The liberal vision of acitizens of Europe, and particularly the youth free, democratic and peaceful Europe, with aof Europe, with the EU. This does not mean strong Parliament at the heart of the Europeandiscussing how to reform European institutions; democracy, seemed within reach. This visionit means outlining a new vision of what the EU is reflected in the ELDR Party logo, the bird ofstands for and reconnecting people with the key liberty and progress. Liberals set off by trainfounding principles: peace, cultural diversity and on their first campaign, travelling throughouteconomic prosperity through sustained growth. the nine Member States of the European Community.2006 is the European Year of Workers’ Mobility.This is another area where the ELDR Party and In 1982 a campaign committee was formed to 97 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Evolution and Function of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party develop a common approach to tackling the ÿ Representation in European 1984 European elections. The core purpose Institutions was to enhance communications and bridge- building and to bring together secretaries- Political parties play a key role in communicating general, i.e. the political managers, from ELDR with and building bridges between citizens at the Party member parties. The committee helped national and the European level. Representing to foster a common identity by using the same millions of European voters, the ELDR Party colours and logos on promotional material. At is increasingly well represented in the EU the time the ELDR Party logo was an intertwined institutions. tree, which was designed to show the unity of the member parties. A comparison between the election results of 2001 and 2004 shows the success the ELDR The June 2004 European parliamentary elections Party has had in spreading liberalism across marked the 25th anniversary of the first direct the European political landscape. In 2001 the elections to the European Parliament. The EU had just two Liberal Commissioners and EU has changed dramatically, but the Liberals one Liberal Prime Minister. In the European in the European Parliament are still making a Parliament the ELDR Party Group (as it was difference in actualising Europe’s potential. known then, prior to the creation of ALDE) consisted of 52 members out of a total of 626 The ELDR Party rally and had no representatives from Austria, France, Germany, Greece or Portugal. In April 2004 the ELDR Party organised a big political rally to bring together ELDR Party In the European Parliament today, the ELDR political leaders and European Parliament Party’s interests are represented by the Alliance candidates from across the newly enlarged of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), Union. The leading European Parliament which is composed of 90 MEPs and is led by candidates from member parties across the Graham Watson, MEP and member of the Liberal Union were presented to an audience of Democrat Party in the United Kingdom. parliamentarians, party members, candidates and the press. Then ELDR Party President In the European Commission there are currently Werner Hoyer and the leader of the ELDR Party six Liberal Commissioners: Janez Potocnik, Group, Graham Watson MEP, outlined the ELDR Marianne Fischer-Boel, Neelie Kroes, Louis Party’s policies to ‘Free Europe’s Potential’ and Michel, Olli Rehn and Siim Kallas. Former Liberal highlighted how the ELDR Party has made a Commissioners include Fritz Bolkestein and difference in the European Parliament. Keynote Martin Bangemann. In the European Council, speakers at the rally included Belgian Prime the summit of heads of State and Government, Minister Guy Verhofstadt, Finnish Prime Minister the ELDR Party counts five Prime Ministers: Matti Vanhanen, former Slovenian Prime Minister • Ansip Andrus (Reformierakond), Prime Anton Rop as well as the then President of Minister of Estonia, the European Parliament, Pat Cox, and former • Calin Popescu Tariceanu (Partidul National Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein. Liberal), Prime Minister of Romania, Also present were the former Liberal Democrat • Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Venstre), Prime leader Charles Kennedy (UK) and FDP leader Minister of Denmark, Guido Westerwelle (Germany). Today there are • Matti Vanhanen (Suomen Keskusta), Prime 105 Liberal and Democrat MEPs and observers Minister of Finland, and in the Parliamentary group of the Alliance of • Guy Verhofstadt (Vlaamse Liberalen en Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). Democraten), Prime Minister of Belgium.98 European View
    • Annemie Neytsÿ co-organising and funding political The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for and information activities with member Europe (ALDE) parties The ALDE is represented in the EuropeanIn order to play a role in society at the European, Parliament, the Council and the Committee ofnational and local level, the ELDR Party supports the Regions. It is common for the ELDR Partya variety of political activities. Member parties to cooperate and jointly organise events withare encouraged to propose an activity (often our partners. An example of this is the Aprilin their respective countries, but sometimes at conference on the future status of Kosovo thatthe European level) and are invited to apply we are co-hosting with the ALDE in the Councilfor funding from the ELDR Party. Specifically, of Europe and the ALDE in the Europeanthe Party will finance decentralised political Parliament as well as the Liberal International.and information activities about the EU, the The ELDR Party and the ALDE have also builtELDR Party, and its member parties and partner up a fruitful collaboration with other politicalorganisations. Funding has been given to groups in the European Parliament.projects which do the following: The European Liberal Women’s Network• promote liberalism and the role, function and purpose of the EU and its institutions; The European Liberal Women’s Network (ELWN) this can take the form of advertising brings together women politicians and activists campaigns or holding conferences and from Liberal, Democrat and Reform parties in seminars; Europe who are members of the ELDR Party.• mobilise party members at EU referendum The current President of the ELWN network campaigns; is Mrs Androula Vassiliou (United Democrats,• encourage members of parties at the grass- Cyprus). roots level to get involved in politics and help to shape policies; The European Liberal Youth—LYMEC• suggest effective and efficient ways for better communication between the media The European Liberal Youth (LYMEC) is a pan- and political representatives; European youth organisation seeking to promote• improve the relationship between citizens liberal values throughout the EU, particularly and the state with Liberal proposals at local, through and as the youth organisation of regional and European level; and the ELDR Party and its parliamentary group.• tackle globalisation from a Liberal Comprising about 210,000 members from 72 perspective. organisations in 40 countries, LYMEC is made up of member organisations and individualÿ cooperating with partner organisations members and is active across the breadth and diversity of the European continent. The centralLiberal International aim of LYMEC is the creation of a liberal and federal Europe. Like the ELDR Party, LYMECLiberal International (LI) is the world federation was founded in 1976 to represent its memberof Liberal political parties. Founded in 1947, organisations in the institutions of the Europeanit has become the pre-eminent network for Community, the ELDR Party and the Liberaladvocating liberalism, strengthening Liberal Group of the European Parliament.parties and promoting liberal democracy aroundthe world. The LI and the ELDR Party have LYMEC and the ELDR Party have enjoyed aparticularly strong ties; the idea of creating a very productive collaboration over the years,federation of European Liberal parties was born with the shared purpose of spreading liberalin and implemented by the LI. ideals across Europe. For a number of years, 99 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Evolution and Function of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party LYMEC and the ELDR Party existed as one body. Reconnecting with Europe’s citizens is, therefore, Although LYMEC has become an independent vitally important; and developing an effective organisation, the two still enjoy a high level method of communication with young people of cooperation and teamwork. LYMEC, like is going to be a crucial part of spreading the the ELDR Party, has just celebrated its thirtieth liberal message across Europe. The ELDR Party anniversary. and LYMEC will therefore continue to work together to promote the values and ideals that the Future they have shared for the past 30 years and will share for the next 30 years to come. European Liberal Democrats are determined to uphold their ideals, today and in the years to conclusion come. Whether in parliament or in government, they are striving to remove the barriers that Establishing and consolidating the party has prevent the internal market from being a true long been the aim of many past presidents and economic area and to reform Europe’s economy secretaries-general. What we have achieved to to make it more prosperous and competitive. date is part of that aim. We have established They believe in a fair, free and open Europe a well-structured party that is able to stand on which enables all of its citizens to fulfil their its own and to operate independently, as is potential, free from poverty, ignorance and demonstrated by the fact that the ELDR Party discrimination. has moved out of Parliament and now has its own offices. Our work has laid the foundations Of the practical initiatives that the ELDR Party on which we must continue to build. is undertaking, one of the most important is the debate that I have launched about the There is still a lot of work to be done to create a future of Europe. The initiative follows the truly united and liberal Europe. This is something ‘No’ votes on the European Constitution in that the ELDR Party and its members and France and the Netherlands. The first stage associates will continue to strive to achieve. of this project involved collecting information such as speeches, resolutions and background documentation from our member parties. The next stage of this debate is now under way; a Annemie Neyts, Member of the European questionnaire has been sent to all ELDR Party Parliament, is the President of the ELDR Party member parties as well as to representatives in and Minister of State. the European Parliament and Commission. The data we gather from this exercise will contribute to producing a liberal and democratic vision for a modern and dynamic EU. Furthermore, through supporting political activities such as those mentioned earlier, the ELDR Party will continue to promote and foster liberal ideas and values at both the national and European level. The role of a European political party is to inform the people of what is happening at the European level and help to develop a truly European identity among the public.100 European View
    • John Palmer The Future of European Union Political Parties By John Palmer The suspension of the alternative political programmes and alternative proposed European leaderships of the EU institutions? Union Constitutional Treaty, following the How can EU democracy be strengthened in ‘no’ vote results in this way unless the embryo EU political parties the French and Dutch become genuinely transnational Europeanreferenda last year, has disoriented EU political parties capable of offering voters these choices?leaders and left the European integration processin a temporary limbo. But the crisis created by the roots of the present crisisthe French and Dutch rejection of the treaty hasat least stimulated a long overdue debate on What passes for public debate on the futurejust what kind of union the European peoples of Europe in so many Member States iswant to see evolve in the twenty-first century. itself a chilling judgement on the health ofFor the first time since the foundation of the transnational democracy in the Union. This is(then) European Economic Communities nearly reflected in the destructively short-sighted way50 years ago, some fundamental questions are in which the political elites in the majority ofbeing asked about the future of the European Member States tend to conduct EU discourse.integration project. Quick to demonise the EU and its institutions when unpopular decisions are taken—veryConfronting these questions will assist—not often at the instigation of the Member Statesobstruct—the eventual but essential reform themselves—governments have unsurprisinglyand revitalisation of the European institutions. found it difficult to mobilise public support forOnly when there is clarity about what the the Union and its objectives when they haveMember States and the citizens of the Union desperately needed to.want to achieve together on issues rangingfrom economic and social strategy to foreign The lesson that Member State political leadersand security policy can sensible decisions be should draw is clear. It is not possible to speakreached about how to advance the treaty. of the European Union as little more than a battlefield over which ‘national interests’ areThere is, however, a parallel question—or fought for six days of the week and then on therather set of questions—the answers to which seventh ask the public to vote in support of themay determine whether or not European same battlefield with conviction and enthusiasm.integration—in whatever form—advances or Fed by the media and by politicians on a diet,regresses in the years ahead. at best, of euro-indifference and at worst, of outright euroscepticism, far too many citizensWill the European Union face a crisis of feel an unacceptable distance—even a sense oflegitimacy unless EU voters are given effective alienation—has developed between themselvesownership of the key political decisions that will and the European Union.determine future Union strategy? The roots of the current malaise in EuropeanHow can voters take ownership of the process public opinion go deeper, however. We live inunless they are given the power to decide between times when national governments themselves 101 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Future of European Union Political Parties almost everywhere are held in low public Although global competitive pressures on esteem. International opinion polls across Member States may narrow the range of Europe reveal a startling decline in public alternative policies that governments believe confidence in their national democratic systems possible to pursue at national level, choice has irrespective of the political orientation of not entirely disappeared—as can be seen in the specific governments.1 The recent EU referenda diversity of socio-economic models within the have provided an irresistible opportunity for EU. But when they act in concert, the same 25 voters to pass judgement on deeply unpopular (or more) EU Member States can surely exploit administrations—in many cases over domestic a greater range of policy options than would issues quite unrelated to the treaty or even the be available to them at a purely national level. European Union in general. The global marketplace will always impose some restrictions on the choices available to its Why should voters feel disenchanted with the participants, although it also provides important institutions of their national political lives? One new economic opportunities. But the sheer size explanation stresses the apprehension felt by and relative self-sufficiency of a Union of 25 large sectors of public opinion at the apparent or more EU states must generate wider policy impotence of national governments in the options in pursuit of European economic, social face of globalisation. In this perspective, even and sustainability objectives. governments in some of the larger EU Member States are seen to be increasingly marginal actors At present the focus of most policy-makers and in the dramas played out when global economic decision takers in EU Member States remains pressures lead to painful adjustment being made trapped within the shrinking horizons of purely to national economies, patterns of employment national debates. Voters have not been given any and traditional social and welfare policies. reasons for thinking that—by acting together at the European level—it may be possible to Constricted in the choices they might wish achieve objectives that otherwise remain illusory to make, political parties feel obliged to fight at the national level. In the absence of a sense of elections in an ever-diminishing political place democratic purpose behind the development of in the electoral middle ground. There is a European integration, it is hardly surprising that consequent perception that mainstream political public attitudes to the EU have become more parties are being pushed into more or less the cynical. same ideological telephone box. Only populist parties on the fringes of the political system the limits of information and seem likely to benefit from this trend over time. communication These developments may explain why The sense of alienation between voters and membership of political parties and—in many their national politicians is reinforced by the countries—voter participation in elections is conviction that decision-making at the EU level in decline. This is not a universal trend in all is itself too remote, too esoteric, too technocratic Member States, for reasons which should be and too elitist. Many citizens believe they are more closely examined and understood. But denied the information they need to adequately unless electorates feel that their votes make understand (let alone pass judgement on) what a tangible difference in terms of political is being done in their name by their governments outcomes, they do risk becoming increasingly and by the EU institutions. detached from the democratic process. 1 Eurbarometer: http://europa.eu.int/comm/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb63_en.pdf (p. 25).102 European View
    • John PalmerMuch can and should be done to improve public consensus that the European Union involvesknowledge and understanding of how the too great an element of ‘rule by unelectedUnion functions and about the key policy issues bureaucrats’. The public is unsure about who theit faces. However, even the most professional ‘bureaucrats’ really are. Some wrongly believeEuropean Union communication strategy that the European Commission has the power tocan only become really effective if and when make laws. Few have a clear understanding ofMember States take shared ownership with the the precise functioning of the institutions.EU institutions (notably the Commission) for themessages delivered to the public. Messages to The Constitutional Treaty would strengthenthe public delivered by ‘Brussels’ alone cannot the democratic accountability of the Council offill this void.2 Ministers—not least by requiring it to pass all laws in public instead of behind closed doors.The current democratic malaise has deeper In recent years the Council of Ministers has beenroots than poor or inconsistent information and required to act in a more transparent fashion.communication. There is a widespread feeling But further reforms are urgently needed. Thethat EU decision-makers are not being held treaty also extends the European Parliament’sto a properly democratic account. Voters are law-making rights as the legislative partnerunderstandably confused about the division of of the Council of Ministers. By enshrining theresponsibilities between regional, national and Charter of Fundamental Rights the treaty alsoEuropean levels of governance. They have no indirectly ensures important citizens’ rightsclear understanding about who is responsible become legally judiciable in the European Courtfor what—and who is accountable to whom— of Justice. MEPs also have more influence in thewithin the EU decision-making architecture. pre-legislative policy debate than most national parliamentarians.In this vortex of confusion and ignorance, itis easy to sow myths about the way the EU In modern European democracies, the publicfunctions. Populist politicians paint a picture of expects not only to be consulted but also toan EU run by a quasi-authoritarian Commission help directly shape the future direction ofwhich is beyond democratic control. It is a decision-making bodies. Within Member Statesmyth that has been given too much currency by voters do this primarily by exercising choicemainstream political leaders who have found it between competing party political programmes,convenient on occasions to borrow the language and potential leaders in elections at local andand prejudices of outright euroscepticism for regional—as well as national—elections.their own purely tactical purposes. As formerFrench prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin put This is not the situation in elections to theit: “Mon premier devoir, c’est l’emploi et non European Parliament. At present citizens arepas d’aller rendre des équations comptables et powerless to determine the political leadershipde faire des problèmes de mathématiques pour of either the European Commission or theque tel ou tel bureau, dans tel ou tel pays soit Council of Ministers—the two parts of the EUsatisfait.”3 double-headed executive. It is no longer credible to point to the indirect democratic mandate thatOnly relatively small minorities among the Presidents of the Council and the President ofEuropean Union public feel outright hostility to the Commission receive as a result of beingthe Union as such. Even fewer want to reject appointed by the leaders of elected Member Statemembership outright. But there is a growing governments. The responsibilities the EU has2 See Europe: Whose Europe? An Address by John Palmer to the European Union Informal Ministerial Conference on ‘Communicating Europe’, April 7, 2004 – European Policy Centre (www.theepc.be) Full address: http://www.theepc.be/en/ default.asp?TYP=SEARCH&LV=279&see=y&PG=TEWN/EN/directa&AI=355&l=.3 Cited in Le Monde, 6 September 2003: “M. Raffarin ne veut pas rendre de compte à l’Europe.” 103 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Future of European Union Political Parties now been given by its Member States demand endorsed financial reforms to assist the parties that Presidents of the Commission should have a in developing beyond umbrella organisations direct democratic mandate of their own. for national parties. MEPs called for an increase in the €8.4 million shared between European The political elite may imagine that information parties last year, to take account of EU or more professional communication with enlargement and increased operational costs. citizens will suffice to close this gap between Other measures approved by the European the public and the EU institutions. This, I fear, Parliament include the development of European will not be the case. There has to be a radical political foundations and support for European change in the relationship between voters and parties’ youth organisations. the EU institutions. This process of change can only be begun if the embryo European Union It is true that—on paper—European political political parties develop the self-confidence to parties have existed for a long time, albeit in offer voters a genuine choice, not only about the shadow of the European Parliament political strategic policy but also about the political groups. Today, there are eight political parties leadership of the Commission—hopefully by that receive public support on the basis of the time of the next elections to the European current EU legislation. But they all fall well Parliament in June 2009. short of being a ‘European party federation’ or a ‘fully fledged party’. It remains to be seen now the evolution of European parties whether the Council of Ministers—representing Member State governments—will agree to these At present we cannot say with confidence that modest but vital reforms. European political parties really exist. Until very recently the most that could be said about those There are obstacles in the way of European political groups in the European Parliament that parties becoming serious players in the political described themselves as “parties” was that they life of the EU. It is not clear whether or how were loose confederations of national parties individual membership of such parties should with (a greater or lesser) ambition to become best be constituted. National parties have already fully fledged transnational parties. There are had to confront a similar issue in the context indications that at least some of the major of regional devolution. This led to the creation EP political groups are at last serious about of specifically ‘regional’ parties—linked to their achieving full party status—a development that political family at the national level but with a the Constitutional Treaty would encourage by considerable degree of autonomy. Catalonia and giving European parties their own legal identities Scotland are cases in point. There appears to be and by providing funding.4 no valid reason why individual members joining parties that are simultaneously active at the Indeed in a major development agreed on by regional, national and European levels should the European Parliament in March of 2006, not enjoy specified rights at all levels. voters in all 25 countries would in future choose from the same lists of candidates put forward by More important is the need for European parties European political parties. Individuals would be to establish their autonomy and their own able to join the European parties—which would identity—vis-à-vis their constituent national have a central role in European referenda and parties—in those policy areas that are properly in the election of the Commission President. the business of the European Union. Again, the The Parliament called for EU legislation and experience of Member States with constitutional 4 The positive proposals for strengthening the role of the European Parliament, and its parties, are well set out in The Struggle for Europe’s Constitution by Andrew Duff, MEP, published Federal Trust, London.104 European View
    • John Palmerdevolution demonstrates that it is perfectly on the initiative of the Parliament itself, shouldpossible for parties within the same political decide upon the composition of the Europeanfamily (Christian Democrat, Social Democrat, Parliament. The EP has an unprecedentedLiberal, Green or whatever) to forge distinctive window of opportunity to design a uniformprogrammes and policies at the different levels electoral system. Such a system would bringof governance. Europe closer to its citizens and at the same time, enhance the European dimension of theAt present the lopsided balance of power within electoral campaign by making the performancemost political parties, as between national of European parties pivotal to success at theleaderships and European representatives, allows national level.5the latter little opportunity to establish themselvesand their policies in the consciousness of voters. Developments have not all been negative,Worse still, in some parties national leaderships however. The European Parliament has acquiredthreaten independent-minded Members of the significant (if still too limited) powers as aEuropean Parliament with loss of political favour result of successive EU Treaties. The role of theeven when those members are seeking to act in Parliament as co-legislator with the Council ofsolidarity with their European party colleagues. Ministers would be further enhanced under the proposed Constitutional Treaty. Since the lastOne of the more pernicious features of the European elections EU political parties havepresent system is the ‘top–down’ fashion in attempted to establish themselves as distinctwhich some national parties select candidates political entities. There is evidence that at leastfor European party election lists. My colleague at in their voting behaviour, EP political groupsthe European Policy Centre, Guillaume Durand, are motivated now less by national interestshas proposed a more constructive model based and more by transnational political/ideologicalon the German federal party election system. differences.This combines the advantages of a first-past-the-post system with an even distribution In a study of this striking shift in votingof seats assured by the proportional system, patterns, Simon Hix, Professor of Europeanwhile encouraging parties to wage an electoral and Comparative Politics at the London Schoolcampaign at the European level. Each citizen of Economics states: “… on the positive side,would vote for an individual candidate in his and potentially far more profound, is theor her local constituency and would also cast a emergence of a genuine ‘democratic partyvote in support of a party list presented at the system’ in the European Parliament. First, votingnational level. The proposal for establishing a in the Parliament is more along transnationalthreshold at the European level deserves further and ideological party lines than along nationalexploration. Only those parties affiliated with lines, and increasingly so. The main Europeana European party that attains such a threshold parties in the Parliament—such as the Europeanwould benefit from the proportional distribution People’s Party (EPP), the Party of Europeanof seats at the national level. Socialists (PES), and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)—are nowThis would undoubtedly encourage European more ‘cohesive’ in their voting behaviour thanand national party formations to work much the Democrats and Republicans in the USmore closely together. The Constitutional Treaty Congress. Second, competition and coalition-does not allocate seats to different Member States. formation between the parties in the ParliamentHowever, it foresees that the European Council, is increasingly along left-right lines, with the5 ‘A European Parliament really closer to the people’: An Ideas Factory European (December 2004) publication produced by the European Policy Centre (www.theepc.be). 105 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Future of European Union Political Parties ‘grand coalition’ between the PES and EPP European elections are simply not about gradually giving way to shifting centre-left or enough at present to capture the imagination centre-right majority legislative coalitions. and enthusiasm of the electorate. A vote in the European Parliament election has no executive These developments are quite remarkable when outcome. National and regional assembly voters one considers that voting in the other main EU can elect or dismiss governments. A vote in the legislative institution (the Council) is primarily EP election elects neither the President of the along national lines, and that the parties in Commission (one key part of the European the European Parliament are not forced by a executive) nor the President of the Council of ‘government’ to ‘back them or sack them’, Ministers (the other part of the EU executive). which is why parties in national parliaments are The real wonder is that voting turnout in generally highly cohesive.” 6 European elections has remained as high as it has. There will be a price to be paid if European political parties are encouraged to develop If there is to be any reworking of the agreed a more coherent transnational European text of the Constitutional Treaty, it should character. There will be painful adjustments to include clearer wording about the election be made by the national constituent parties if of future Commission Presidents through the the European parties are to espouse common European Parliament. The emerging European European policies and strategies. Those bold Union political parties (which are hopefully enough to take the lead within the European now evolving from being mere collections of parties may find they fall out of favour—in the national parties) should nominate their preferred short term at least—in the eyes of the national candidate for the post of Commission President leaderships. But the incentive for parties to take as part of their European Parliament election this path is precisely to enable them to tap into campaigns in 2009. The European Parliament the political legitimacy and influence within would then take the final decision on who is the EU institutions, which fighting and winning made Commission President. The job of the elections on a clear policy mandate would give European Council (the EU heads of government) them. should be to ensure that the process is carried through constitutionally and then ratify the Giving substance to European elections decision of the Parliament. There are other substantive problems to be All of this will involve an unambiguous tackled. Voter turnout for the European Parliament politicisation of the Commission. Understandably, elections has also shown a worrying decline. It some insist that the Commission has been most may be worrying but it should not be surprising. influential when it has acted consensually and A more relevant question might be: why do voters above party politics. Historically this is true. But participate in the numbers they do when the the European Union has now evolved to the consequences of voting in the EP elections appear extent that citizens must be able to make their so marginal? European elections are fought almost strategic political choices knowing how this will exclusively on second-hand domestic issues. In affect the kind of leadership the Commission practice voters are asked to pass judgment about will seek to offer. their national administrations, although European elections have no impact on who governs in any The European Union has, without doubt, been Member State. built primarily through a process of cross-party 6 ‘The European Parliament – stocktaking and challenges’ by Professor Simon Hix in ‘After the annus horribilis – a review of the European institutions’, EPC Working Paper No.22 – January 2006 (www.theepc.be).106 European View
    • John Palmerconsensus. It probably will always be the case the future of the European economic and socialthat major decisions will only be taken by model, the services directive and the weightthe institutions, including the Parliament, by to be given to environmental sustainability indrawing on broad elements of consensus. In the EU economic strategy. Defining strategic policyfuture there will still be powerful political forces options by European parties will be a complexat work in all the institutions—including the business given the interplay with ideologicalParliament—making broad eventual consensus territories occupied by the same parties aton decisions necessary. But there is all the national level.world of difference between a process begunthrough policy debate and confrontation and But these problems are already evident withinleading to a negotiated consensus, and one the different European ‘political families’ atwhich rests on some pre-determined consensus present. There are, for example, profoundreached by diplomatic negotiation. As far as the ideological differences within the EuropeanEuropean Parliament is concerned, it is essential People’s Party dividing the great majority ofthat such consensus be arrived at only after a constituent Christian Democratic parties andprocess where clear-cut policy alternatives are their more recent affiliates from right wing and—presented by the parties for debate—drawn increasingly eurosceptic—conservative parties.from the differing strategies already put for Disagreements about the extent of Europeanvoters’ approval in the five-yearly elections. party political autonomy from Member State parties are also observable within the EuropeanThis ‘politicisation’ process is already starting to social democrat, liberal and green parties. Thebe reflected within the European Commission. discussion about EU strategy is only beginningParadoxically this may be being made easier among left wing socialists.by the more overtly political character of thepresent Commission led by Jose-Manuel Barroso. It is also unclear is whether the increasinglyThe electoral shift to the right and centre-right important area of foreign, security and defencein elections across the EU in recent years is now policy (which is likely to be a major driving forcesreflected in the composition of the Commission. behind the next phase of European cooperationIndeed the cross-party ‘coalitionism’ that has and integration) will be susceptible to debatetraditionally characterised the Commission has between the European parties. In the pastbeen further weakened by the abolition under external policy has quite often been consensualthe Nice Treaty of the second Commissioner at national level and with most cleavages beingappointed in the past by the larger Member between Member States, not between politicalStates. This has had the effect of radically families. But with the ever-closer coordinationreducing Commissioners drawn from centre-left of national foreign and security policies withinparties in the present college. In the longer run, CFSP (in spite of the Iraq split), this may behowever, this de facto politicisation will be a changing.healthy (and in any case probably irreversible)development. Foreign and security policy is primarily a matter for inter-governmental cooperation betweenIt is too soon to be sure whether the emerging Member States and does not fall within theEuropean political parties will be able to classical legal scope of EU ‘Community law’define their respective ideological territories (although other important elements of externalwith sufficient clarity on issues of sufficient policy do). However, as EU governmentsimportance to give voters a real sense of political increasingly act together in the field of foreignchoice in the 2009 European Parliament election. and security policy (including some areas ofImportant divisions are beginning to emerge defence) neither national parliaments nor thebetween the major EP parties on issues such as European Parliament have proved effective in 107 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Future of European Union Political Parties holding Member States governments properly to in determining how EU revenue is spent, but no account. powers to raise revenue. The present system for financing Union policies is opaque, unbalanced How should EU decision-makers be held and open to charges of foul play by Member to account when they are not acting under States. However, the planned midterm review ‘Community law’ but through looser forms of the 2007–2013 financial perspectives due to of inter-governmental cooperation? Foreign be held in 2008/9 will provide the European and security policy is a case in point. More political parties with an important opportunity can surely be done to strengthen the role of to open a long overdue debate about European national parliaments in scrutinising the policies taxation and expenditure and voting positions of their governments within the Council. But at present, there is a There is also a case for the direct election of the worrying grey area for democratic accountability proposed President of the European Council. where governments avoid effective scrutiny by It partly depends on what exact functions are both national parliaments and the European attached to this job. If it is primarily to better Parliament. Indeed, this failure of accountability coordinate between Member States in the may also be a problem in the new and rapidly Council of Ministers, appointment might suffice. growing field of European justice, policing and But if the post is seen as the constitutional internal security policy. Member State cooperation head of the Union, a direct election would and joint policies on the fight against terrorism, be essential. Whereas the election of the for example, have very significant implications Commission President would be via the elections for human rights and civil liberties. to the European Parliament, the election of the President of the Council/European Union could One possibility in these areas of hybrid be direct. responsibility shared by national and EU governance might be to give representatives Sooner or later the two Presidencies should be of both national parliaments and the European merged (in much the way that the Constitutional Parliament real powers of invigilation and policy Treaty rightly proposes to merge the functions approval. The parliaments could be collectively of the High Representative for CFSP and the and jointly empowered to amend or reject Commissioner for External Relations in the post policies advanced by the Council of Ministers of European Foreign Minister). At this point when they are acting outside the Community any attempt to appoint rather than elect such legal framework. Unfortunately no convincing an ‘integrated’ EU President would become a models of how this could be done have yet democratic scandal. emerged. Of course the process of creating a true European towards a European demos demos will not be accomplished overnight. It will be objected that the public will not The existing provisions of the EU Treaties, readily vote for candidates for the Commission including the Constitutional Treaty, do mark Presidency even when they are attached to the an important advance in the powers and role lists of transnational European parties. There of the elected European Parliament. But if were similar fears before the introduction of democratic politics at the European level is elections for the Presidency of the United States to become a reality, the elected European when it was thought voters in one state would Parliament must be given eventual equality in not elect a candidate from another state. They terms of co-legislative powers with the Council proved transient difficulties. of Ministers. It is also profoundly unhealthy that the European Parliament has an important voice It will take years—maybe decades—before a108 European View
    • John PalmerEuropean demos comes to full fruition. But a startto the creation of a European Union transnationaldemocracy cannot be delayed. Of course, thecreation of a European demos will not threatendemocracy at the national, regional or local level.Rather, it will reinforce the accountability of alllevels of governance. All the available evidencesuggests that whatever the doubts about thecurrent decision-making system in the EuropeanUnion, citizens do recognise the importance ofthe EU acting through shared sovereignty areaswhere Member States would be incapable ofacting effectively on their own.John Palmer is a member of the Governing Boardof the European Policy Centre—the Brussels-based think-tank. He was Political Director ofthe EPC from 1996 to 2005. From 1975 to 1996he was the European Editor of the Guardian. 109 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Hans-Gert Pöttering The EPP and the EPP-ED Group: Success through Synergy By Hans-Gert Pöttering This year we celebrate The positive impact of the Party’s formation the thirtieth anniversary was not initially reflected in the number of of the European parliamentary seats gained. After the first direct People’s Party (EPP). elections to the European Parliament, the Group The undeniable political lost ground to the Social Democrats. Between success of the EPP—the 1989 and 1994, with a 23% share of the seatsoldest Europe-wide political party—is rooted (compared to 50% in 1950), the EPP Groupprimarily in the close and fruitful cooperation held the lowest number of seats at any timethroughout this period between the EPP and in its history. This all-time low was, however,our political group in the European Parliament, overcome in the 1990s when the EPP and thethe Group of the European People’s Party Group adopted a new direction and increased(Christian Democrats) and European Democrats their joint efforts to include and integrate other(EPP-ED). European centre and centre-right parties. In 1999 the EPP-ED Group became the largest group inIn discussions, I am often asked whether, and to the European Parliament for the first time sincewhat extent, the existence of a transnational party the introduction of direct elections.influences the success and the dynamism of ourMEPs’ political work. In reply, I draw attention Over the years, the EPP and the EPP-ED Groupto those political groups in the European have undergone a transformation from a ChristianParliament—such as the Greens (Greens/ family that was tailored to fit the ‘Europe of theEFA), which operated for a considerable time Six’ into an open political family encompassingwithout a counterpart in the European party all of Europe and including moderate and laylandscape, and whose appeal and influence are parties. This transformation process clearlythus undoubtedly less than that of the EPP-ED demonstrates that our key strength lies in ourGroup. ability to adapt to social change and to new circumstances, whilst maintaining our coreThe founding of the EPP in 1976 was the response values and principles based on the Christianto a need felt by the Christian Democratic vision of humankind. In this respect theparliamentarians appointed to Strasbourg. From cooperation between the EPP-ED Group,the start of the European unification process, which concentrates on practical policy-basedthese politicians worked together as a political or legislative work, and the EPP itself, whosegroup, at first in the Common Assembly of the mission and activities are more long-term inEuropean Coal and Steel Community in 1953 focus and address key strategic issues relatingand later in the European Parliament. As the to the development of the Union and society asintegration process intensified, they felt the need a whole, is of fundamental importance.to draw upon the support of a European partyorganisation. Following the first direct elections In many respects, thirty years after the foundingto the European Parliament in 1979, the national of the EPP, the expectations of this cooperationparty leaderships also recognised the political have been fulfilled and synergies greatlyand practical opportunities that such integration increased. In the 2004 European electionscould afford. —the culmination of our continent’s historic reunification process—our political family was 111 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The EPP and the EPP-ED Group: Success through Synergy able to achieve a dual success. Firstly, thanks our family’s ability to shape the political agenda. to the preparatory work undertaken by the In this context, I will conclude with a number of Party, our Group succeeded in maintaining suggestions for further deepening our successful its status as the largest group in the European cooperation in the future. Parliament, admitting members from all the new Member States: from the Central and Eastern common values and political links: the European countries, as well as from Malta and basis for effective cooperation Cyprus. Secondly, with the support of the EPP, a Commission President from our political family ‘March separately, strike together’: this phrase was elected. The 2004 European elections and could vividly describe the relationship between subsequent developments have demonstrated the EPP and the EPP-ED Group. Under the that the EPP-ED Group’s record of success and European parties’ new legal status—which we its ability to shape the political agenda and decisively shaped—the Party and the Group are priorities at European level are due to effective legally separate entities. But we both work for and successful interaction between the Group the common goal of asserting shared values and and the Party. deepening European integration. This community of fundamental values, with its common political Today the EPP-ED Group is the only political programme, is the real starting point for our group in the European Parliament comprising manifold links and strong cooperation at the MEPs from all 25 EU Member States. But its European level. This co-operation is reinforced political strength does not lie solely in its status in practical terms through close personal links. as the largest group, with 264 MEPs. Whilst its The EPP President, Wilfried Martens, was, for significant size ensures considerable influence instance, my predecessor as Chairman of the over Parliament’s decision-making processes, the EPP Group in the European Parliament, whilst I EPP-ED Group’s far-reaching political influence am the ex-officio Vice-President of the EPP and also reflects the fact that decisions are based Member of the Presidency of the Party. on common values and a broad transnational consensus. United values Ensuring the broad representation of all the EU The EPP draws its identity from a set of core Member States and a transnational consensus values based on Christianity and a personalised within the Group would not have been possible view of humankind—as enshrined in the without the preparatory and programmatic work Basic Programme adopted in 1992 in Athens. undertaken in the EPP. Over the years, close co- In political terms this is reflected in a resolute operation and mutual support have developed, rejection of the socialist conception, in which based on strong and manifold political links. the state dominates. In this respect, the EPP These have made it possible for the political and our Group in the European Parliament family of the EPP to play a part in all the stages constitute an open, Europe-wide political family of the European unification process, not least in of the centre, whose identity is based on the the drafting of a European Constitution in the reconciliation of what are in fact only apparent framework of the European Convention. opposites, namely freedom and responsibility, market efficiency and social justice, the nation Precisely as decision-making within the EU is state and Europe. becoming more challenging due to the larger number of Member States, critical importance These principles set forth in the Basic Programme is being awarded to consensus-finding within still remain the values of both the Party and the our political family and to fostering the EPP’s Group. And here it is important to note that the proactive role. We must maintain and strengthen progressive opening up of the Group and then112 European View
    • Hans-Gert Pötteringof the EPP—after 1989 and during the course of parties and of the EPP-ED Group in the EuropeanEuropean Union enlargement—to parties that, Parliament were participating in the drafting ofhistorically, did not come from the traditional this Congress document, entitled ‘A Europe ofChristian Democratic spectrum has in no way Citizens: Priorities for a Better Future’.taken place at the expense of our identity.On the contrary, every step of integration has The EPP-ED Group has three representativesoccurred in adherence with the principles and in each of the Party’s working bodies and isobjectives enshrined in the Basic Programme. thus involved in drafting all documents andAdmission to the EPP is, after all, contingent resolutions—providing a specific contributionon not only recognising this Programme and by introducing its practical experience of thethe EPP Statutes, but also accepting democratic European legislative process. For example, indecision-making. preparing the Congress document for Rome, the Group has made substantive contributionsThe diversity of traditions and the very short on issues like the future of the Europeanhistory, to date, of some of the newly formed Constitution and the financing of the Europeanparties in the new Member States inevitably Union.caused tensions within both the Party andthe Group. Here the process of agreeing to All members of the Group who belong to onea common programmatic basis plays a key of the EPP member parties can attend the EPProle in overcoming differences. As a former Congresses as delegates and have a say in theEPP Secretary-General put it, “Programmatic Party’s political direction and programme. Thiswork is integration work.” Although the Basic progressive development of a common politicalProgramme of Athens has by no means lost its identity, along with the ongoing programmaticvalidity, the EPP is nevertheless engaged in an work involving the Group, the EPP and itsongoing programmatic process. Over the last member parties, has been—and remains—a keyfew years the EPP has been very successful in factor in creating consistency in the work ofits endeavours, through a variety of working our political family at the European level. Thisgroups and think-tanks, to give utmost priority is particularly so for the EPP-ED Group, sinceto democratic debate within the Party, and thus the joint work is key to the Group’s ability toto work towards a common political identity. play an innovative and effective role in shaping legislation in the European Parliament.Ahead of every EPP Congress, a joint WorkingGroup on ‘European Policy’ (currently chaired Institutional integrationby Wilfried Martens, EPP President andformer Prime Minister of Belgium) drafts a Alongside our political identity, institutionalcomprehensive programme. This happened integration and cooperation also provide aahead of the EPP Congress in Brussels in major contribution to consistency, cohesion andFebruary 2004, with the aim of preparing a consensus in our political work. This integrationcomprehensive Action Programme that could be facilitates, beyond the individual memberendorsed by all member parties in an enlarged parties, inclusion and coordination at all levels.European Union. A similar process was underway in advance of the EPP Congress in Rome The Rules of Procedure of the EPP-ED Groupin March 2006. Its objective was to determine establish in Article 4a a simple but very precisethe EPP’s position on the debate over the rule: all Members of the European Parliamentfuture of the European Union, with the goal who are members of one of the member partiesof giving fresh impetus to the EU. Under the of the EPP automatically belong to the Group.Rapporteurship of the German CDU politician This rule creates a particularly close link to thePeter Hintze, representatives of the EPP member Party. Effectively, membership in the EPP-ED 113 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The EPP and the EPP-ED Group: Success through Synergy Group in the European Parliament runs through National Delegations of the EPP-ED Group, and the Party and, consequently, presupposes the the EPP Members of the Bureau of the European recognition of the values and the programme Parliament are also ex officio members of the of the EPP. Furthermore, other members of the EPP Political Bureau. Finally, I should add at European Parliament who belong to a party this point that the number of delegates to the which is not a member party of the EPP may also Political Bureau, and the number of votes each become members of the EPP-ED Group so long of the national parties has, depends on the as they subscribe to the political programme of number of members elected to the European the EPP and accept the Rules of Procedure of Parliament. the Group (Article 4b). These numerous links offer scope for an intensive Finally, Members of the European Parliament exchange of information and an efficient who have become ‘allied members of the Group’ coordination of political work. Alongside the under Article 5 of the Rules of Procedure are mechanisms just described, the close practical affiliated with the EPP through the European cooperation between the Group and the Party Democratic Union (EDU), which merged with in the framework of the Party organs is further the EPP in 2002. Starting with William Hague reinforced through equally close personal and in 1998, the leaders of the British Conservative inter-personnel links. During the party’s growth Party have also attended the EPP party summits. period from 1994 to 1999, for instance, Wilfried The introduction of Article 5 has thus created Martens held both the post of EPP President and an additional possibility to ally with the Group. that of Chairman of the Group. MEPs belonging It enables parliamentary cooperation with those to the Group have always played a key role in parties whose positions are concordant with the work of the Party. The Vice-President of the those of the EPP members of the Group on European Parliament, Ingo Friedrich (CDU), for most legislative issues, whilst maintaining the example, is the longstanding Treasurer of the right of our allied Members to promote and Party, whilst the former Secretary-General of the develop their distinct views on constitutional EPP, Klaus Welle, subsequently became a recent and institutional issues. The admission under Secretary-General of the EPP-ED Group. Article 5 of members to the ‘ED part’ of the Group requires approval by majority vote of the Under one umbrella: Harmonising Party EPP members of the Group. and Group memberships The new EPP Statutes, which recently entered At first, the Group of the EPP faced a steady into force, also foster close cooperation between decline in the number of its MEPs following the Party and the Group by establishing a range the successive enlargements of the European of statutory points of contact. All members of the Union. Its political fortunes began to change in EPP-ED Group who are elected on the list of an 1989 and this process has continued unbroken EPP member party are ad personam ‘Individual until today: from 1989 to 1999, there was an Members’ of the EPP. The Chairman of the EPP- upward trend based on progressively opening ED Group is ex officio a Vice-President of the up to parties beyond the traditional Christian EPP and a member of the Presidency of the Party, Democratic family. These efforts bore fruit in the which—bearing in mind that this body meets at 1999 European elections. For the first time, the least eight times annually—offers an important European Parliament witnessed a clear majority opportunity for coordination. Furthermore, the of centre and centre-right parties. The reason report of the Chairman of the EPP-ED Group is why the EPP-ED Group has now emerged as a regular item on the agenda of every meeting the most politically influential group in the of the EPP Political Bureau. The members of the European Parliament is that it has succeeded, in Presidency of the EPP-ED Group, the Heads of close cooperation with the Party, in uniting the114 European View
    • Hans-Gert Pötteringcentre and centre-right forces in the European 2004 ‘enlargement’ European elections. DuringUnion—and, looking ahead, in the future EU these years, the Working Group on EnlargementMember States—within a major people’s party. became the political forum for cooperation in theWith this successful policy of openness, which form of seminars, conferences and informationwas also the result of effective interaction exchanges. It thus prepared the ground for thebetween the Party and the Group, the Group future success of our political family and securedwas able to acquire the structural capacity to the Group’s position as the largest politicalachieve majorities and set a course towards group in the European Parliament.becoming the largest political group. Alongside the work of the EPP, which focussedThe joint efforts to integrate new political on party connections, the EPP-ED Group workedforces of the centre and the centre-right were hard as early as the 1994-1999 parliamentarysuccessfully carried out both by the Group and term to establish dynamic convergences at theby the Party. With the accession to the EPP- parliamentary level. The Group established jointED Group of the Members of the European working groups with politically close groupingsParliament of the French Rassemblement pour la in the parliaments of the candidate countries;République (RPR) in 1999, the French Gaullists latterly, similar working groups were establishedset out on the way leading to their inclusion in within the framework of the Convention onthe EPP family, which was completed in 2001 the Future of Europe. As the dates for thewith their membership in the Party. Similarly, national accession referenda approached, thethe good cooperation with the MEPs of Forza Group stepped up its efforts and developed aItalia within the Group since 1999 led to comprehensive information and political trainingmembership in the Party. Doubts that had at strategy for these countries. The 2004 Europeanfirst been expressed within the EPP about the elections highlighted the success of this politicalmembership of Forza Italia could be cleared up work undertaken in the accession countries,not least due to the reliability of the new Italian and demonstrated the key importance of amembers of the Group. The latest example of coordinated approach by the EPP and the EPP-successful integration is that of the Portuguese ED Group to ensure the dynamics and abilityCentro Democratico Social - Partido Popular, of our political family to secure parliamentarywhose MEPs have been part of the Group since majorities.2004 and have recently joined the EPP partof the Group, whilst the party itself will soon As a result of this coordinated process ofbecome an EPP member party as well. opening up, which was carried out in parallel by the EPP and the EPP-ED Group—a politicalAs in the case of the 15 ‘old’ EU Member Group which embraces all 25 countries of theStates, there was a need, ahead of the historic enlarged EU—the membership of the Party andaccession of ten countries from Central and the Group is, in all but a few exceptions, theEastern Europe and the Mediterranean, for same. In essence, the difference in membershiprenewed cooperation—tailored to the specific of the Party and the Group is limited to thepolitical circumstances—and for the integration British Conservatives and the Czech ODS, whichof the parties of these countries into the EPP are members of the Group under Article 5 of theand the EPP-ED Group. The preparatory work Rules of Procedure of the EPP-ED Group, butwas undertaken inter alia within the framework not members of the EPP Party.of the European Union of Christian Democrats(EUCD), which has been part of the EPP since Practical approaches to successful1996 as the Working Group on “Enlargement cooperationand EPP Membership”. This work was of criticalimportance for our political family ahead of the The last thirty years of shared history has 115 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The EPP and the EPP-ED Group: Success through Synergy resulted in cooperation mechanisms that have there was consensus in the EPP political family created and reinforced the strong links between that the existing intergovernmental opinion- the Party and the Group. forming and decision-making process had reached its limits. Political and substantive coordination, as mentioned earlier, is achieved through the The 2001 EPP Congress in Berlin took up the framework of the EPP Political Bureau, the proposal, put forward by the EPP-ED Group, EPP Congresses and the five permanent EPP that the European Constitution be drafted by working groups. A further aspect of our unique a Convention, akin to the successful model relationship deserves special mention. The EPP previously established to draft the EU Charter of Summits of Heads of Government and Party Fundamental Rights. The idea gained strength Leaders, customarily held in advance of the in the political opinion-forming and decision- European Council meetings, are particularly making process across Europe, with the important for the coordination of the political result that in late 2001 the Laeken European work within our family. Here too, the Council decided to convene a constitutional involvement of the EPP-ED Group in the person convention. of its Chairman and its Secretary-General has proved essential. As the role and rights of the In response to this decision, the EPP at its European Parliament progressively strengthen, 2002 Congress in Estoril presented a draft it makes sense to involve Parliament from the constitution for Europe. Entitled A Constitution outset, particularly regarding legislative matters for a Strong Europe, it was based on a paper and in relation to institutional or budget-related produced by Wilfried Martens, President of the topics. After all, it is Parliament which must EPP, and Wolfgang Schäuble, with substantial ultimately participate in the implementation of input from a number of Group members. The the decisions of the European Council in the EPP thus became the first European party framework of the legislative process. to present a comprehensive concept for a European Constitution. In short, the Constitution concrete examples of successful cooperation should aim to clarify in a clear, transparent and between the EPP and the Group comprehensible manner the respective areas of competence of the European Union and Drafting the Constitution for Europe the Member States, incorporate the Charter of Fundamental Rights on a legally binding basis, Cooperation between the Party and the Group, and define a new institutional framework for the and the relationship between these two key European Union. pillars of our political family, does not always follow a prescribed or rigid pattern. Therefore, As the national governments prepared for new and innovative ways of cooperating have the Convention, the key task became to been pursued. A good example of this was influence the constitutional proposal, as well the successful partnership between the Party as its implementation. It was the EPP which and the EPP-ED Group on the drafting of the seized the initiative and established contact Constitution for Europe in the framework of the with the Convention members belonging to European Convention. or associated with the EPP. In February 2002, before the Convention began its work, around In December 2000, the Nice European Council forty Convention members with links to the EPP agreed to the revision of the Treaties in order were brought together under the chairmanship to prepare the EU institutions for enlargement. of Elmar Brok, a member of the Convention and However, in light of past experiences and the way the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee the European Summit in Nice was conducted, in the European Parliament.116 European View
    • Hans-Gert PötteringThe EPP ‘Convention Group’ convened for a clause stating that the results of the electionsnumerous coordination meetings ahead of the to the European Parliament must be taken intoConvention’s meetings and also organised five account in the nomination of the candidate forstudy days to focus in detail on the drafting of a the Commission Presidency. This demand is nowconstitutional text. The Convention Group also reflected in Article I-27 of the draft Constitution.elected a Praesidium which met before each At its Congress in Brussels in February 2004meeting of the Convention’s Presidency. before the European elections, the EPP also endorsed a resolution tabled by the EPP-EDThanks to the close cooperation initiated by the Group insisting that the June 2004 EuropeanEPP, the Convention Group fostered an excellent Council respected the spirit of this article.mutual understanding and, above all, a commonpolitical line between the representatives of the However, German Chancellor Gerhard SchröderEPP Group and the representatives appointed and French President Jacques Chirac ignoredby the national governments and parliaments. the demand presented by the EPP and proposedDue to the united stance of the Convention Belgium’s Liberal Party Prime Minister GuyGroup members in the constitutional assembly, Verhofstadt as their favoured candidate for thelarge parts of the original document adopted top post in Brussels.in Estoril are reproduced in the current draftconstitution. Both the EPP and the Group mobilised substantial opposition to this ‘go-it-alone’ approach, and theElecting the Commission President Group took advantage of its links to Europe’s political leadership. Representatives of the PartyA further example of new and successful and the Group had one-on-one conversations inapproaches to cooperation between the EPP-ED which they were able to persuade leading figuresGroup and the EPP was their influence over the in the EPP family to support the EPP’s solidelection of the Commission President in 2004. case. As a result, at meetings held in advance of the Summit, a number of key politicians openlyThe nomination in 1999 of Romano Prodi, a refused to support Guy Verhofstadt’s candidacy.Liberal, by the heads of state and government,in a process which did not involve the European The EPP Summit of Heads of Government andParliament and ignored the outcome of the Party Leaders, customarily held the day beforeEuropean elections, conflicted with the EPP the European Council meeting, offered both thepolitical family’s endeavours to make the Party and the Group the best opportunity todecision-making processes in the European influence the election process of the Commissioninstitutions more democratic and transparent. In President. The meeting in Meise, attended by tenthe EPP’s view, peoples’ votes in the European heads of government from the EPP party family,elections should also be able to influence was the appropriate forum in which to agree onthe nomination of the Commission President a joint approach. At the Meise meeting, as theand thus the direction taken by the European Chairman of the EPP-ED Group in the EuropeanCommission. The Commission President should Parliament, I emphasised our political family’scome from the political family that won the demand that, because of our success in theEuropean elections. European elections, the Commission President must come from the EPP family.The need to reflect Europe’s political landscapein the appointment of the new Commission after United behind this common goal, the delegatesEuropean elections was widely recognised. The attending the EPP Summit in Meise agreed toEPP members of the Convention also lobbied nominate their own candidate for the post ofsuccessfully for the draft Constitution to contain Commission President. On June 17, 2004, just 117 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The EPP and the EPP-ED Group: Success through Synergy hours before a dinner for the EU heads of state In view of these increasingly complex and government at the EU Summit, several challenges, our key task must be to develop heads of government proposed the British new ideas, approaches and solutions. In the Conservative Chris Patten as the next President globalised twenty-first century, we must expand of the European Commission. Verhofstadt’s our structures for opinion-forming and the nomination was promptly withdrawn due to development of ideas. lack of support and its inability to secure a majority. The quest for a joint candidate had The establishment of the European Ideas to begin anew, this time in a process which Network (EIN) in 2002 was an innovative step by involved the EPP. the Group to utilise the opportunities afforded by modern communications and networking The search finally resulted in the nomination via the Internet and to promote new thinking of José Manuel Durão Barroso, the then Prime beyond the narrower confines of the Party. The Minister of Portugal, who is a member of the EIN is not designed to be a decision-making PSD and thus comes from our political family. body. It acts as a platform for fresh ideas and His nomination was a clear victory for us and provides a stimulus which can be developed was the outcome of the interaction between the through the party’s programme before feeding Party and the Group. into the Group’s legislative initiatives at a later stage. strengthening our political family’s ability to set the agenda Joint thematic conventions of the EPP and the EPP-ED Group Forward thinking One possible option for widening cooperation is All the examples I have cited make one thing to develop strategies on future key topics such as clear: as long as there is close cooperation internal security, water shortage or energy policy between the Group and the Party—with the through joint thematic conventions involving the Party playing a coordinating role or, at its own EPP and the Group. It is particularly important to initiative, liaising between the EPP’s member have good cooperation and coordination within parties and the Group—our party family can our political family on topics which fall within carry out important and substantive European the scope of the co-decision procedure, where projects. We should continue to pursue this Parliament shares legislative power equally with course since it was and remains the pathway the Council. Joint study days or conventions to success. could be held to offer an early opportunity for decision-makers in the Council, the Commission, Together we should be playing an active role in the European and the national parliaments, the major reforms in Europe, in the constitutional as well as the parties, to form common EPP process and in implementing the Lisbon strategy. positions on specific issues and promote a joint Likewise, the Party and the Group should be position in the further legislative process. mindful of their strong position when it comes to implementing our policies on individual Preparing Council of Ministers meetings issues. More than ever before, we must address the major political challenges facing the EU: Once a Council of Ministers’ decision on a the development of a forward-looking energy specific topic is pending, another option—in and resource policy, the issue of the EU’s the interests of further developing the outcomes borders, the EU’s internal and external security, of the thematic conventions which I have just environmental protection, promoting innovation described above—would be to offer decision- and our continent’s demographic development. makers a forum for exchange and coordination118 European View
    • Hans-Gert Pötteringat a preparatory meeting in advance of the European history for half a century.Council meetings. Our political family offers a credible, coherentFrom the EPP’s side, this informal meeting could and value-based policy programme. Throughinvolve the relevant ministers belonging to the the interaction between the EPP and our GroupEPP, the spokespersons on the committees and in the European Parliament, we are enhancingthe rapporteurs from the EPP-ED Group in the our ability to successfully assert our politicalEuropean Parliament, as well as—if they are family’s ideas. Conscious of this strength and,allied with the EPP—the relevant Commissioners above all, trusting in the validity of the values weor cabinet representatives. The Party could thus represent, the EPP family will work resolutelyform a link between the Council and Parliament in the years and decades ahead for the furtherin the practical legislative work. integration of our continent and for the future of all Europeans.Linking the EPP working groups to theEuropean agendaIt would therefore be entirely consistent for Hans-Gert Pöttering is the Chairman of the EPP-some of the EPP working groups to focus over ED Group in the European Parliament.the long term on issues which are suitable topicsfor thematic conventions. This new emphasis,combined with stronger input from expertsnominated by the national parties, would resultin the greater involvement of the workinggroups in the European agenda and, in turn,enable the EPP to bring its influence to bearmore effectively on European decision-making.the right messageThrough our united programme and clearpositions on the major issues in EU politics, weare already sending out the right signals to theCommission and the Council. I am convincedthat through close and coordinated cooperation,the Party and the Group are well on track tofurther politicise the European decision-makingprocess and thus make the EU more democraticand accountable.For thirty years, the EPP and the EPP-ED Group,which can look back on more than fifty yearsof successful parliamentary work, have led theway at every major stage of our continent’sunification. Through its resolute commitmentto a more strongly integrated community basedon democratic institutions, and its emphaticsupport for the enlargement of the Union, ourpolitical family has helped to develop and shape 119 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Poul Nyrup Rasmussen The Future of the Party of European Socialists By Poul Nyrup Rasmussen The Party of European affairs have been the objectives of the ever Socialists (PES) is the closer cooperation between the members of the child of European European socialist party family since 1957. integration. Each step from the European That Europe is a project that requires patience Economic Community is demonstrated by a resolution of the Partyto the European Union was accompanied Congress in Paris in 1962. It says: Europeanby closer cooperation between socialist and socialist parties “deem it specially urgent tosocial democratic parties. Initially this was a introduce efficient economic planning on areaction to the development of new European Europe-wide scale; to introduce an incomesinstitutions. Today the transnational organisation policy which will ensure a fair division ofof European socialists and social democrats is a wealth; to substitute gradually the presentdriver of European integration. coordinated currency policies of the Member States with a Community currency policy andIt was the existence of European institutions that a federal European currency organisation; [and]created the need for political cooperation. In a to establish a common market and a commonresolution adopted at the Congress of socialist commercial policy in the energy sector”.and social democratic parties in Strasbourg in1958, the member parties agreed that “the aim The idea of efficient economic planning seemsof this cooperation is to strengthen relations outdated today. Modern Social Democratsbetween the parties and to freely reach common have refined it to a demand for coordinated,agreement in particular on the problems simultaneous investments in infrastructures,arising from the existence of the European networks and skills. However, Europe’s socialistsCommunities”. and social democrats still call for markets which are guided by long-term political considerationsCooperation was never an aim in itself, however. and democratic decision-making. No one wouldAll democratic parties in post-war Europe felt seriously claim that the present coordination ofthe need to cooperate peacefully to create a the European currency or organisation of theEuropean civil society. For Europe’s socialists energy markets meets our standards of efficiencyand social democrats in particular, Europe was and democracy.always more than a mere economic project,more than just a market. For our party family, The idea within the democratic left that economicEurope was and still is a project for its citizens, and social union have to develop side-by-sidean area which needs peace and prosperity for is as old as European integration. Europeanall. socialists and social democrats worked together successfully to achieve this objective. On thisThe simultaneous development of an economic long journey to a Social Europe, the Europeanand social union was the prime political alliance of socialists and social democrats hasobjective of socialist cooperation from the start. been transformed. From a small secretariat thatThe democratisation of the new European coordinated meetings of national parties, itCommunity and a decisive vote for the developed into a transnational party in the wakeEuropean Parliament in European legislative of the Maastricht Treaty. There is no reason to 121 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Future of the Party of European Socialists believe that Europe’s integration, and thus the policies which deal with their worries, hopes development of the PES, has reached its final and concerns. After a bad year for Europe, the destination. Europe’s democratic left wants a EU decided to go into a ‘period of reflection’. European Union which takes the concerns of Europe’s socialists and social democrats are its citizens as the starting point for its political convinced that a European Union that acts on strategy. This is the driving force for the future people’s concerns will always be welcomed by of Europe’s most important transnational force European citizens. All European political parties on the Left. have the responsibility to listen to its citizens and to help the people of Europe regain confidence Today the PES has developed into a relevant in the European Union. The current crisis is also political organisation which can make a the first big test for the European transnational difference in Brussels and in the Member States. parties. Since 2004 it has worked under a new legal framework for transnational parties that was It is not a question of bringing the EU closer created in 2003. It changed the political role to its citizens. It is about taking the concerns of the PES. The party statute created in 2003 of citizens as our point of departure for new, marks a new stage of European integration as popular policies for the European Union around well as political cooperation between Europe’s which people can unite. Europe’s socialists socialists. Clearly, Europe has reached a degree and social democrats are convinced that the of integration that can no longer exist without people of Europe primarily call for more and democratic structures. better jobs, for a better environment, for more security in their daily lives, and for more peace The new era in the development of the Union is and development in the world. This must not marked by a date such as the adoption of the be our point of departure. Neither the nation Maastricht Treaty. However, the new European states nor the European Union will be able to party statute in 2003 was part of a process deliver alone on these issues—the same holds which created a draft European Constitution, for many others. Therefore, there is a real need the development of European armed forces, the for clear interaction between national parties in introduction of the euro as currency for 12 of a transnational structure which must be focused the then 15 Member States of the Union, and the on delivering effective policies for the people enlargement of the Union beyond the former of Europe. Iron Curtain. Transnational political parties do not have to common challenges require common sell Europe to the citizens. However, the EU answers in Europe cannot develop without being connected to the concerns and hopes of its citizens. Political There are strong doubts about the future of parties are a central element of democracy. the European Union after the referenda on the Ideally, they link the competing opinions and draft constitution in the spring of 2005. These interests of citizens and organisations to the doubts point to the fact that integration has to European institutions. It is our responsibility as be accompanied by more democracy. Europe, parties to offer political choices to the people. however, is not in a crisis: Europe’s citizens do not oppose Europe as such; rather, the European More and more European citizens have lost trust Union faces a crisis in its politics. in politics. They do not believe that politicians are able to create social security, economic After the referenda in France and the prosperity, and social and political stability under Netherlands, it is clear that Europe needs a new the conditions of globalisation. For too many direction. It needs support from its citizens for people, reform means a race to the bottom.122 European View
    • Poul Nyrup RasmussenFor Social Democrats, it is not only a question European citizens can expect clear choicesof responding to the effects of globalisation but for Europe’s futurealso of managing globalisation for the benefitof everyone. Our societies need reform—and In Europe there are many people on the Leftso does globalisation. Here European Social who have resigned themselves to the effects ofDemocrats have a unique role. Our ability to globalisation and demographic change. Nationcombine a free market economy with a caring states, it seems, can no longer protect theirsociety in the coming years and decades will citizens against social dumping and the sell-be watched carefully throughout the world. out of their social standards. National policies,Workers from China to Brazil are hoping that however, can clearly make a difference. Sweden,the Social Europe will prove to be a dynamic for instance, has a much better record in fightingmodel that brings them hope and eventually unemployment than Germany. Denmark’sbenefits. labour market is more flexible than France’s. Globalisation should not be an excuse for a lackThe European Union itself is in danger of being of political imagination and initiative.seen as part of the threat of globalisation—if itliberalises markets without bringing new social It is true that the ability of nation states to manageguarantees. We are convinced, however, that globalisation and demographic change is limited.Europe has the potential to be a central part of There can be no doubt that the single Europeanthe answer to the challenges of globalisation. market offers a chance to maintain the EuropeanOne precondition is the closer integration of social model, while being competitive andour political families. There is a growing danger dynamic at the same time. Europe is sufficientlythat the integration process will be adversely strong to deal with the effects of new challengesaffected when citizens are confronted with the like globalisation. Yet it has to act in a unitedresults of European policies. Political parties and effective way. Europe has to deliver on jobs,need the coordination of answers, of strategies, growth and stability. It lacks, however, the meansof ideologies. of achieving these objectives. Neither its current institutional structure nor the political objectivesWhat are the challenges Europe as a whole of the European Union favour coherent policies.faces today? How can European Parties help Reform might prove difficult after the referendato meet these challenges? Some of them are in France and the Netherlands. The ‘No’ toeffects of fundamental global change: the ever the draft European constitution demonstratedcloser integration of the global economy, which unmistakably that without its citizens’ support,clearly calls for strong and democratic elements reform of the European Union is impossible.of global governance; the new threats tosecurity such as terrorism and organised crime; Here European political parties come into theenvironmental threats, and in particular, climate picture. I am convinced that strong politicalchange; and the increase in poverty and in the parties at the European level are essential forunequal distribution of wealth worldwide. overcoming the European Union’s current problem of legitimacy. Europe can only work ifThere are at the same time internal European a sufficient number of citizens understand andchallenges: in particular, the rapidly changing support the way it works. This is not a questiondemographic structure of most European states; of information or communication. It is aboutthe effects of the structural change from industrial democracy, about choice, about transparencyproduction to a knowledge based economy; the and about familiar lines of political arguments.social, economic and political consequences of Political choice is essential for a democraticthe political revolution of 1989/90; and sluggish institution. This is what transnational Europeaneconomic growth. parties have to ensure: Europe’s citizens have to 123 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Future of the Party of European Socialists recognise that they are able to choose between the regional and national level, at the level of political directions. They have to feel that their the European Union and at the global level. The choice at the ballot box makes a difference in goal is a strengthened and modernised ‘social the European Union. This is what democracy Europe’ with individual national welfare states, is about. The PES wants to be a driving force different in organisation but united by common behind a truly integrated and democratic principles, that can meet the social and economic European Union. That is the only path open for challenges of the twenty-first century. the PES as a truly European party. An important element of the social democratic What are the choices? answer to these challenges is the Lisbon strategy. It demonstrates how effective a united political Europe now finds itself at a crossroads. Not least force can be at European level. The Lisbon goal due to the work of European political parties and is to make Europe into the most competitive their national member parties, Europe’s citizens and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the have a choice of two directions. One path lies world, capable of sustainable economic growth on the left, the other on the right. Neo-liberals with more and better jobs and greater social claim that Europe can no longer afford current cohesion. Socialists were at the heart of bringing levels of social protection and workers’ rights. it into being. We were in government in 13 of Some forms of social protection—such as highly the 15 Member States at the time. protective labour market regulations—are even said to hinder economic growth. Where Liberals and Conservatives advocate downsizing the state, we demand coordinated Social Democrats, on the other hand, are united investment in growth, in people and in their in our fundamental belief that the welfare security. The key to the social democratic states we built are not a burden but the basis modernisation agenda in Europe will be to of our prosperity and social cohesion. Strong protect people rather than protect existing jobs. competitiveness and strong social security are not We must enable people to benefit from change contradictory but complementary. This is basic to through new forms of security and flexibility. Social Democratic principles. Social Democrats Social Democrats must help people move from utterly reject the idea that our welfare states are the jobs of the past to the jobs of the future. the cause of Europe’s problems. Europe’s most ‘Flexicurity’—a combination of flexibility and competitive economies—Denmark, Sweden and security developed in Denmark and Sweden— Finland—offer some of the best social protection is a successful Social Democratic approach to and workers rights. modernising Europe’s economy and welfare states. Of course Social Democrats know that reform is needed. Reform is necessary to meet the Substantial investment has to accompany challenge of globalisation, liberalised trade structural reforms to kick-start economic growth and an ageing population. The real question is in Europe. Reforms alone will not create the what kind of reform? This is the debate that is jobs Europe urgently needs. Public and private raging in most European countries and within money needs to be put into research and the European Union. Social Democrats firmly innovation, upgrading skills and qualifications, reject neo-liberal reforms aimed at rolling back childcare, sustainable transport and renewable Europe’s welfare states. After twenty years of energy. Europe needs focused, intelligent neo-liberal reforms, we see that this does not investments in tomorrow’s jobs. work. Our aim is a new social Europe: an active and inclusive society with full, quality For Europe to be more competitive, we must employment. Reform is needed at all levels: at use everyone’s talents and skills—we cannot124 European View
    • Poul Nyrup Rasmussenafford to exclude migrants from the workplace appropriate benefits and fiscal incentives.or make it too hard for many women to work. By investing in quality childcare, EuropeanFor this, European countries must become more countries can create jobs, benefit children andsocial democratic, not less. Our societies must enable their mothers to work. Putting real effortbe more inclusive, giving better opportunities to into a drive for greater equality between mennew disadvantaged groups such as single parents and women is also essential. The gender payand immigrants, in addition to traditionally gap is a significant obstacle to making Europeexcluded groups like the disabled. more competitive.Social Democrats must make it easier for young Sacrificing strong welfare states in the name ofpeople to make the transition from education to competition is self-defeating. An example of thiswork. Education and training, career guidance is child poverty, which is on the rise today inand work experience schemes all need to be many European countries. Children who growmore relevant. In some countries, they need up poor are the most likely ones to fail at school.to be brought into existence. Companies need They run the greatest risk of growing up to fillto collaborate with schools, colleges and other the ranks of the low-skilled and unemployed.‘social partners’ such as trade unions and Europe can no longer afford to waste theyouth organisations to bridge the gap between potential of its citizens.education and work. In short, the common social democratic answerAn ageing population need not only be a to our common European challenges is that theproblem for the pension system or for health only economic growth that is right for Europecosts. Older people are remaining healthier is one that creates more and better jobs, allowslonger, and many want to remain in work or more investment in education, eliminates povertytake on new roles in the community. Although and develops cleaner methods of production andin some countries a lot of attention is focused consumption. The PES wants to achieve growthright now on raising retirement ages, a more that enriches, not growth that impoverishes. Forimmediate problem is to raise the number of this, a strong and democratic Europe with strongpeople in work aged 50 plus. Work has to be political parties is a precondition.made more attractive to older workers, withmore opportunities for skills to be updated and What will this party look like?their experience better appreciated and valued. Even though I advocate a strong EuropeanIt is not acceptable that many European women party, it will not necessarily look like nationalmust choose between pursuing a challenging parties. The PES will be a party of parties for thecareer and having children. Public policies that foreseeable future. It will, however, have moreenabled women to combine motherhood with and stronger European-wide elements like directwork would tackle the shrinking workforce members—though with limited membershipboth now and in the future. Falling birth rates rights—working groups, mailing lists, web-basedcould be a thing of the past. Research shows debating platforms and European campaigns.that working women in countries with lowfertility rates would like more children, and European parties like the PES will investwould have more children if they had more more in the implementation of media andsecurity: employment, improved parental leave, communication strategies. Without adequatebetter childcare and equal pay. communications, a truly European debate about political choices will remain an illusion. WhileGetting more women into work means national parties will remain the key elementbetter education and training, but also more in the media coverage of political events and 125 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • The Future of the Party of European Socialists processes, this has to be supplemented by pan- Whereas the integration of the new members European messages and activities. into the European institutions went smoothly, party systems in most new democracies are still European parties have a small staff, compared not entirely stabilised. The integration of the to national member parties. At the same time, socialist and social democratic parties into the we face an enormous task. If we want to European party family is an important element achieve our ambitious goals, the PES needs in securing democracy in countries that lack a closer and more structured links between long democratic tradition. socialists and social democrats in the European Union at different levels: in the European Democracy at the European level requires Council, the Commission and the European responsive and popular political leadership. Parliament. Europe will always have a multitude This is what parties are for. Europe’s political of political centres. Coordination between them class must not be formed in the offices of the requires strong ideological ties and efficient European Commission, but in European election coordination. Among many other things, the campaigns and political struggles for a strong PES needs intellectual support from think-tanks and social Europe. In the long run, we cannot and political support from its member parties to fight the disenchantment of European citizens achieve these objectives. without political choice and leadership. It is merely a vision at the moment, but at a possibly The development of a strong European level not-so-distant point in the future, Europe needs of party politics does not necessarily imply a political leaders who are elected directly by the hierarchical structure. There is little or no need European electorate. for a transfer of areas of competence from our member parties to the European level. Demand Citizens, who are called to vote in European exists, however, for an intensified coordination elections, rightly expect their representatives of European questions and national political to have a say in governing Europe. This must debates. A growing interdependence of political involve more than just veto powers. A truly decisions at European and national levels means responsive political system in Europe requires that national parties will seek consultation with elements of direct democracy as envisaged in the each other as well as with members of their draft European constitution. Equally important party family in the European institutions. Shared are common European election campaigns and political responsibility for European legislation sooner or later a European government elected by will be a major driving force for the development the European Parliament. This seems impossible of transnational European parties. right now, and nobody can say precisely what this will look like in the end. European political What are the challenges for democracy in parties, however, already play an active part in Europe? European democracy. They offer the unique chance to contribute to a democratic, peaceful We who are promoting European parties and socially just future for Europe. need to be visionaries because Europe’s democracy is developing without a master The purpose of politicising the European debate plan. It requires bold ideas and continuous is to create the same understanding of Europe political efforts to bring Europe’s people closer that people already have of national politics together. Institutional change, pressing policy and their national parliament. It is to create that questions and enlargement are challenges we ‘ah ha’ feeling which ordinary citizens will get have to find new answers to. In particular, when they realise Europe is just another room the enlargement of May 2004 is proving to in the same house of democracy where their be a difficult task for Europe’s party families. national political debate is situated. It is through126 European View
    • Poul Nyrup Rasmussenbeing offered European political choices that thecitizen will give Europe its political legitimacy.This is why the Party of European Socialists willhave an increasingly important role…Poul Nyrup Rasmussen is the President of theParty of European Socialists. 127 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Fredrik Reinfeldt European Parties and Party Cooperation: A Personal View By Fredrik Reinfeldt Every time period has their basic values. In this respect, Conservatives its unique challenges. and Christian Democrats have a long tradition to This is particularly true fall back on. With leading representatives such of European politics. as Winston Churchill, Konrad Adenauer and At the same time, some Robert Schuman, we have been the political challenges are timeless. force that, more than any other, has seen theThese, like perspectives, are transported forward value of bringing European democracies andas we move forward. In politics, it is just these peoples closer together.timeless challenges that remind us we shouldnever take anything for granted, but instead The initial driving force was the desire toconstantly safeguard the values and principles secure peace following WWII and to facilitatewe hope will characterise our times. reconstruction after the devastation of the war. But this mission would change withDuring the history of European cooperation, time. Western Europe met the challenges ofone thing has bound together the Conservative the post-WWII period. Sights were then setand Christian Democrat parties that make up on new tasks, such as paving the way for thethe European People’s Party (EPP): faith in the internal market and establishing institutions toidea that people have the right to shape their support continued and increased cooperation.own lives. We often summarise this in terms At the same time, work promoting democracyof democracy, governance by law and market continued. These efforts brought Greece, andeconomy, and in terms of politics that serve then Spain and Portugal, into the communitycitizens instead of placing obstacles in their of Western European democracies during theway. 1980s.When I became involved in politics as a student, In this process, what is today the EPP was ait was relatively easy to see the conflicts around driving force. In fact, proponents of our valueswhich political disputes revolved: West against have played leading roles during the entireEast, democracy against dictatorship, market period extending from the Schuman Planeconomy against planned economy. Such was and establishment of the European Coal andthe political landscape that developed after Steel Community in 1952 to the present. OurWWII and that for decades shaped the debate in collaborative structures have long been in placeSweden as well as on the Continent. It was in this and given us a leading role in the Europeanpolitical context that the precursor to today’s EU political debate. This has occurred despite theemerged, not primarily as a political actor, but fact it is only during recent years that someas a means of economic cooperation—though of our parties have been able to play a directthe political component would grow with time. political role in various EU institutions.Given European cooperation and other elements With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse ofof cross-national collaboration, it became the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War,natural for political parties to look beyond our part of the world changed almost overnight.their own national boundaries with a view to A long succession of new countries were to findforming partnerships with parties that shared themselves at home in Europe. Democracy, a 129 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • European Parties and Party Cooperation: A Personal View market economy and governance by law were into the EU of the ten new member countries, to replace former communist dictatorships. This most of them from Eastern and Central Europe, posed, without a doubt, great challenges to marked the completion of the project to heal both our established structures and our working the wounds caused by the previous division methods. A new and open Europe was to of our continent. Europe is once again whole, replace a post-war Europe marked by imposed although the expansion process must continue divisions. and we face a number of new challenges. During this period, the EDU/EPP and its youth There is no doubt that the EPP has derived organisation the DEMYC/YEPP played a vital new energy from the expansion. Backed by role. We helped our new neighbors in Central 37% of the voters, we are the largest political and Eastern Europe create functioning party family in the European Parliament. Moreover, structures. We established cooperation with of the Parliament’s seven party groups, we are them and supported them at every step on their the only one with members from all 25 EU way to joining our existing party collaboration. member countries. Naturally, this is significant for our political legitimacy and means we have For my part, I was able to follow these efforts strength as well as representative breadth that close up. During much of the 1990s, I was other groups lack. We may forget it at times, entrusted with managing these endeavours, but, given this foundation, what we can achieve first in the DEMYC and then in the YEPP. We jointly, within the framework of the EPP, is and placed great importance on creating bonds will remain greater than what we can achieve of friendship with kindred parties in Eastern individually on the European political scene. Europe. Looking back on this period, I believe that the innumerable study visits and seminars Conservative and Christian Democrat forces we arranged were crucial, not only as support in Europe can look back on a long period of for the development of ideas and political party cooperation. The fact that we are strong today construction, but also for forming a community also reflects our past ability to come to the front of values between countries once divided into lines of the political debate with well-grounded West and East. analyses and solutions to the social problems of the day. However, many factors that have Efforts to create bonds of friendship with sustained our political power are now part of our new sister parties were partly made on a our history rather than our present and future. national basis, between two or three parties and countries. Few would deny, however, the great In our work, we have often used history as an value inherent in our well-established structures argument. We have emphasised the significance for broader cross-national party cooperation of European cooperation, which brings European within the EDU and the DEMYC, which enabled peoples and countries closer together. We have us to bring together our experience, energy stressed the importance of uniting Europe and resources in common projects. We had not politically and economically to preclude future only the strong ties that existed between us, but wars on a continent that has been so afflicted also previously established contacts in the new by strife. democracies. Accordingly, the results of our efforts were greater than they otherwise would We see today that this goal has largely been have been. realised. With the completion of EU expansion, West and East have been joined together. In With the eastward expansion of the EU in 2004, Sweden, just as in the rest of Europe, the question much of the work for which we had together of how EU membership should be utilised in the laid the foundation was finished. The entry future is emerging with increasing clarity. For us,130 European View
    • Fredrik Reinfeldtthe parties forming the EPP, this means it is time In several EU countries, weak economic growthto take the next step in the development of our due to over-regulated economies prevails.outlook on Europe. History may be important, Moreover, on the heels of globalisation, webut to maintain our legitimacy, we, as a political are experiencing increasing pressure from theforce, must take on the new challenges facing surrounding world. Countries such as India,Europe. China and, for that matter, the US are challenging major sectors of European trade and industry. InEmerging today is a new generation that has not the wake of this, we see established industriesbeen marked by war and cannot accept the idea cutting back or moving their production,of Europe remaining the same. People demand resulting in lost job opportunities.to know what we, in our own countries andwithin the framework of European cooperation, Owing to these developments, a new era of evercan do to make their everyday lives easier. They stronger subjugation has dawned in Europe. Thiswant to believe that cooperation has a purpose: is the subjugation of social exclusion, whichnot merely a historical purpose, but one for the results from millions of people in our countriesfuture. This is what our mutual challenge for the finding themselves outside the labor market.future must be about. They have been deprived of the opportunity to earn their own wage and of the independenceWorking together within the framework of inherent in being able to support themselves.European cooperation, we have derived muchof our legitimacy from the conflict between Every person living in social exclusion andfreedom and subjugation, democracy and unemployment today is a reminder of one ofdictatorship. With the fall of the Iron Curtain our times’ greatest human and social tragedies.and the end of the Cold War, this conflict is Work is closely associated with values such asperceived as less and less relevant to people’s self-confidence and human dignity. These valueslives. This is understandable. Although our are undermined when people are excluded. I doregion still contains countries that are waiting not believe that people who have the privilegefor their freedom as well as those that have of holding a job can fully understand this feelingjust begun their long journey toward a stable of exclusion—the feeling of having workeddemocracy, the majority of people in Europe years or perhaps a lifetime, toiling so as not tofeel that other issues, which are more important be a burden to others, only to experience howto them, are missing from the debate. everything is taken away.I began by establishing that every time period has I also believe it is difficult for many of us toits unique challenges, but that some challenges understand how demeaned many people inare timeless. Our timeless challenge—to secure this situation feel—how unemployment, fromdemocracy and freedom in Europe—continues, day one, works as a destructive force, depletingnow focused on further expansion, establishing people’s energy and making it harder and harderstability in the Balkans, and supporting the for them to pull themselves up again. With timestruggle for liberty in Belarus and other countries. comes the risk that this will lead to alienation,Another of our common responsibilities is to not only from the labor market, but also fromplay a security policy role that supports peace social life, family and friends.and freedom in the world outside Europe. At thesame time, as I pointed out, every period has its Unfortunately, this is a reality for many people,own challenges. If we look around at our own and we know that their everyday experiencepart of the world today, it is quite clear what the may soon be shared by many others. This willgreatest of these challenges are. have far-reaching consequences for every EU country and for Europe as a whole. The fact 131 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • European Parties and Party Cooperation: A Personal View that people are being excluded from the labor cause of our national problems and cooperation market to the extent we see now will not only could solve them. Naturally, this is not the case. affect our combined economies, but also create The responsibility for jobs falls primarily on us a breeding ground for alienation and fear of the as citizens of particular nations: it is something world around us. Such a situation, in turn, fuels we must deal with at the national level. We political extremism. may get a boost if the EU does the right things, but our success is ultimately dependent on the Someone once wisely said that the question kinds of reforms we put through in our own of being for or against globalisation is countries. misconceived. It is not a matter of being for or against. It is not possible to choose between At the same time, inherent in this national the two. Globalisation is here to stay: There is challenge is a great need for cross-national no turning back. The questions we must ask cooperation. We have a great deal to learn ourselves, therefore, are how we should take from each other about how we should tackle advantage of globalisation’s opportunities and the challenges of globalisation. Using our how we should tackle the challenges inherent in joint strength is also essential if we are to win increasingly tough international competition. support for the right political focus in addressing globalisation at the European level. This is a It is clear that this is one of the greatest challenges question of paving the way for reforms in the of our times, but it is equally clear that the areas of jobs, enterprise, free trade, research and majority of Europe’s political leaders have not development. Here the cooperation we have been able to confront this problem. Instead of within the EPP will play an important role if we taking forceful measures to ensure more jobs, use our joint strength in the right way. make work pay, encourage businesses to stay in Europe and encourage the growth of new We who form the EPP constitute a fairly diverse businesses, we see that much of the European group of parties. We find the entire varied political debate revolves around matters of spectrum of conservative, Christian Democrat form. and middle-to right-wing politics that marks the focal point of the non-Socialist parties in We see proud declarations about growth and Europe. We come from different cultures, with jobs, but when it is time to put them into action, our separate national histories and traditions very little gets done. Regarding issues such as free that cannot always meet without causing trade, research and entrepreneurship—in which friction. And we certainly all feel, at times, that the EU could play an important part—proposals our positions on current political issues are not are often discussed endlessly. Cooperation is in complete agreement. used as a scapegoat for the failures of national policy. In light of this, I find it understandable Yet there are also things that unite us. We that many citizens are suspicious of European share values in our views on freedom, people cooperation and of the political forces that and politics. Moreover, history has shown us see the EU as an arena for tackling common that, together, we are a force to be reckoned challenges. Many people feel that the European with when it comes to improving conditions debate has very little to do with them and their for Europe and for the people who live here. problems. We stand united in our diversity: In varietate concordia, to borrow the motto of the European At this point, I wish to admit that the EU cannot Union, to which we all belong. solve the issue of jobs and globalisation for us. We sometimes wish it could, as though the lack Today the European Union brings together over of cooperation among Europeans were the only 460 million people from 25 countries. This is the132 European View
    • Fredrik Reinfeldtresult of the voluntary economic and political Fredrik Reinfeldt is the Chairman of theintegration of nation-states. We may all have Moderate Party of Sweden.opinions about aspects of this cooperation, butnone of us can deny the fact that the EU hasshouldered the work for peace, stability andwelfare on our continent.At the same time, the EU is in many ways acontinual construction site. Someone once said,regarding cooperation, that it is the journeythat is important, rather than some distant finalstation, far in the future. I believe there is muchto this notion. Europe and the EU will developalong the path we choose.This construction site is also multifaceted. Thereare many tools and many building blocks. Notall of them are usable, and some are downrighthard to put together. Yet this is one of thestrengths of cooperation. In a democratic EU,there must be different political wills that areallowed to move in different directions.At the same time, there is great strength inseeking cooperation with others in order tomake a political impact.We must never take European integration forgranted. We should be more worried abouta weak Europe than a strong one. It was thisinsight that once brought European Conservativeand Christian Democrat parties together andlaid the foundation for today’s EPP. It was alsothis insight that caused our values to become aforce to be reckoned with during the post-WWIIdecades, during the collapse of communism andduring the ongoing reunification of Europe.We expect new challenges alongside our oldones—challenges posed by globalisation andthe subjugation caused by social exclusion. Ifwe want our ideas to make an impact today aswell, it is up to us. And if making an impact isour intent, we would be wise to cooperate. “Noman is an island, entire of itself; every man isa piece of the continent.” Likewise, no party isan island. 133 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Ivo Sanader Transnational Parties in Regional Cooperation: The Impact of the EPP on Central and South-East Europe By Ivo Sanader The European People’s illustrated by the HDZ’s associated membership Party (EPP) has played a of the EPP. The HDZ belongs to the international pivotal role in bringing family of centre-right people’s parties that Central and South- subscribe to Christian Democratic values and East European politics work for the cherished idea of a European into the European continent united and free. Following four yearsintegration process. After the fall of communism in opposition, the HDZ has been leading thein Eastern Europe, the new democracies that Croatian government since 2003. Within the firstdeveloped gained strength and stability through half of the new government’s mandate, Croatiatheir cooperation with the European Union’s achieved candidate status for EU membership,transnational parties. The EPP was active from and since autumn 2005, the country has beenthe beginning of this process, and was the party negotiating EU accession. The successes of themost successful in recognizing the new needs of HDZ government’s reform policy up to this pointEastern Europeans as they liberated themselves make us optimistic that Croatia will be ready tofrom dictatorship, building free societies and participate in the next elections to the Europeanstriving for participation in the unification of Parliament, which will be held in 2009.our continent. There are basically three key areas of EPPIn the aftermath of the Second World War, the impact on developments in Central and South-Christian Democrat and centre-right people’s East Europe in the aftermath of the break-up ofparties of various Western European countries the earlier ideological and geopolitical structureused the liberty gained, not only to help rebuild in this part of Europe. The first part of this articletheir national democratic systems, but also to lay explains how European centre-right parties havethe foundations for the integration of the whole similar values today, and how they have sharedEuropean continent. These political forces many similar historical experiences throughoutgathered strength at the European level by the last century. This has led to shared politicalfounding a pan-European party to embrace the aims for today and for the future. Their successfulproject of European unification while advancing cooperation in the EPP is a logical corollary ofChristian Democrat and centre-right values. In these circumstances.this sense, the organisations that preceded theEPP became the driving force behind the Western The second part shows how cooperationEuropean integration process. With the end of between the EPP and HDZ has played a relevantthe Cold War, these organisations embraced role in the modernisation of the political scenetheir responsibility for the whole continent with in Croatia, and how the EPP and its memberremarkable conviction and credibility, as did the parties, including the HDZ, have contributed toEPP itself at a later stage. the stabilisation of South-East Europe. The third part deals with how the EPP and its memberAs the largest Croatian political party, the parties have been instrumental in explainingCroatian Democratic Union (HDZ) recognised Croatia and the whole of South-East Europe tothe EPP as its natural partner on the European the EU institutions, as well as to EU Memberscale. Croatian Christian Democracy has its States, and how this endeavour has contributedplace in a unifying Europe, a fact that is well to the opening of EU accession negotiations 135 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Transnational Parties in Regional Cooperation: The Impact of the EPP on Central and South-East Europe with Croatia and given the whole of South- determination and individual freedom with the East Europe a clear EU prospect. Finally, the rights of national minorities, the principles of concluding remark gives a few suggestions on a social market economy and other Christian what the EPP could do in order to remain a Democrat values, and by having a decisive policy driving force in Europe’s future development. for the integration of Croatia and South-East Europe into the EU, the HDZ enjoyed majority shared values as the basis for support among Croatian voters throughout the transnational cooperation main period of transition, the homeland war, the times of international recognition and the In the first half of the twentieth century, profiling of Croatia. European centre-right and Christian Democrat political forces had comparable developments. The individual histories of centre-right parties in For the political platform of Central European Europe may encompass many national or party Christian Democrats, the Papal encyclical Rerum peculiarities, but there still remain crucial parallels. Novarum played a particularly relevant role. This These parallels are based on similar experiences letter of recommendations on how to proceed of authoritarian rule and totalitarianism in the in building a just society under the conditions twentieth century. The dramatic and disastrous of market economy and the accompanying experience with national-socialism, fascism social challenges remains, together with similar and—in Eastern Europe—communism had protestant teachings, a building block of devastating consequences for all Europeans, Christian Democracy up to the present time. In and helped to form strong convictions among the case of Croatian society between the two European centre-right politicians about the World Wars, Christian Democrat thought and ideas and values on which European societies ideas, stemming from societal visions typical of should be built in the future. Another common people’s parties in Central Europe, were voiced characteristic is the idea of developing a people’s by the Croatian People’s and Peasant Party, party that is deeply rooted in the societal fabric which at that time dominated Croatia’s political and open to all social groups, and that promotes scene. ideas of individual liberty and equality. The party leader, Stjepan Radić, used to Everywhere in Europe conservatives and emphasise messages from the Papal encyclical Christian Democrats have become people’s Rerum Novarum in public speeches. His party parties relevant in their societies. As strongholds was the strongest Croatian party between 1918 against fascism and communism, but always and 1941, since it opposed the hegemonic ready for dialogue and cooperation within the policies of the Belgrade Court in the Kingdom democratic spectrum, they have developed of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later called the into governing parties, which have often Kingdom of Yugoslavia), to which Croatia shaped Western European democracies and the belonged between the World Wars. Many European integration process. elements of Radić’s ideological platform, along with elements of the political heritage of Ante With the regained liberty of the 1990s, centre- Starčević and the Croatian Antifascist Movement, right and Christian Democrat parties, from the inspired the founders of the HDZ at the end of Baltic to the Adriatic, took on roles as important the 1980s. Thus, after 50 years of interruption as those that had been played by their sister through World War Two and Communist parties in the West in the years of the Cold dictatorship, centre-right political ideas regained War. The majority of these parties in the new a place of influence in Croatian politics. democracies underwent, or are still undergoing, a transformation process from a social or national By combining the rights for national self- movement to a modern centre-right party.136 European View
    • Ivo SanaderTherefore, the establishment of a professional organizing the necessary transfer of knowledge.party administration and a clear ideological Conferences and seminars organised by theprofile comparable to Western sister parties is EPP and its member parties helped the HDZstill, in many cases, an ongoing process. It is in to renew itself and re-emphasise its Europeanfacing precisely these challenges that the EPP, orientation. Furthermore, when it came toalong with its member parties from the West political campaigning, many new impulses cameand their think-tanks, will continue to play an through the EPP’s individual member parties. Allimportant role. This is particularly the case for this was conducive to the HDZ victory in thesome South-East European countries. 2003 parliamentary elections.The cooperation with the EPP and individual Immediately after the election success, the HDZWestern European sister parties proved to be proved itself to be a true member of the EPPindispensable for the successful development family, sharing the values and principles of thisof modern centre-right parties in the whole European people’s party. For example, in formingof Eastern Europe in the 1990s. From the the government coalition, the HDZ immediatelynew beginning of centre-right and Christian addressed one of the central questions for theDemocrat politics in Eastern Europe, the shared development of Croatian society, namely thefundamental values were already sufficiently successful integration of national minorities.present for a mutual recognition to take place All representatives of national minorities, mostbetween the EPP and its member parties on the importantly the representatives of the Serbianone side and the Eastern European centre-right minority, were integrated into this governmenton the other. The EPP enlargement to the East coalition. In the same spirit of reconciliation,and successful pan-European cooperation was just a few days after taking up my duties insimply the next logical step. government, I participated as the new Prime Minister in the Christmas celebrations of thethe role of EPP–HDZ cooperation for Serbian Orthodox community in Zagreb andprogress in south-East Europe expressed my Christmas wishes in the Serbian language to the assembled believers. ThisThe HDZ used the four years in opposition from gesture was a true eye-opener for a post-January 2000 to November 2003 to undertake war society, demonstrating, as it did, the newan internal party reform—one might even say it mindset in Croatia and symbolizing the policyreinvented itself—with the aim of bringing the that the HDZ and the new government wereparty in line with EPP standards and preparing standing for.it to take over Government responsibility onceagain. Now it was ready to give a leading impetus In line with the European vision shared by theto a new phase in the country’s development that EPP under its President Wilfried Martens and thewould be realised through Croatia’s integration HDZ, the Croatian government also embarkedinto the EU. on a two-track path in its political strategy. It is forging speedy EU accession throughThis re-orientation led to increased cooperation all-encompassing internal reforms and EUwith EPP member parties such as the German harmonisation, while establishing close contactsCDU and CSU, the Austrian ÖVP, the French UMP, with Brussels and all EU capitals. At the samethe Hungarian Fidesz, the Slovakian SDKU, the time, it is enhancing regional cooperation inItalian Forza Italia and the Swedish Moderates. South-East Europe and acting as an EU bridgeAnd it facilitated the support of their rank and towards South-East Europe. Croatia’s foreignfile members in the party modernisation process. policy activities have provided another exampleThe EPP functioned as an excellent transnational where the EPP, as a transnational Europeanparty network, which proved capable of party, has played a very useful role. Through 137 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Transnational Parties in Regional Cooperation: The Impact of the EPP on Central and South-East Europe the existing EPP structures, the HDZ has had the the EPP’s role model for many centre-right opportunity to successfully present the Croatian people’s parties in South-East Europe. How government’s EU ambitions to Brussels and to the HDZ tackled its alignment with the EPP the EU Member States. and how it subsequently forged reform politics for the benefit of all Croatian citizens has led The EPP’s network has also played—and many South-East European centre-right parties still does play—a relevant role in Croatia’s to think, “if the HDZ can do it, why can’t cooperation with its South-East European we?” Furthermore, the HDZ’s success and its neighbours, since many countries in South-East close cooperation with the EPP has made the Europe have governing parties which are already EPP a known and respected factor in both associated with the EPP. Beside traditional Croatian politics and the national politics of our bilateral communications, the EPP framework neighbouring countries. A corollary is that other and principles have enhanced cooperation with parties are now asking for a rapprochement the SDA, the HDZ-BiH and the PDP of Bosnia with the EPP. All this shows how much the and Herzegovina, and with the DSS and the European idea has gathered strength in recent G17+ of Serbia. years and how much the EPP-HDZ cooperation has contributed to stability and progress in In demonstrating regional cooperation, I was the South-East Europe. first Croatian Prime Minister to officially visit the Serbian capital of Belgrade. This historic event How the EPP explained croatia and south- took place at the end of 2004. I had fruitful talks East Europe to the EU with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica: we signed a number of agreements and decided Not only was the EPP instrumental in promoting to strengthen our economic cooperation. It was the European vision and European standards on this occasion that we adopted our “good among many South-East European parties, but neighbourly partnership on a European vision” the transnational character of the EPP made it as a long-term platform for relations between a much needed interpreter of Croatia and the our two countries. In the meantime, the Serbian whole of South-East Europe to EU institutions Prime Minister has also visited Zagreb. and EU Member States. This truly turned out to be a process which operated both ways and to The motive for these activities is our common our mutual benefit. conviction that a good relationship between Croatia and Serbia is central for stability and Many EU politicians were aware that one of the the EU prospect for South-East Europe as a greatest challenges the European continent faced whole. Therefore, it is very encouraging that this at the beginning of this century was the question regional process is being supported and assisted of stabilizing South-East Europe. However, by EPP sister parties. Traditional good relations many did not understand the tremendous with the Slovenian EPP member SDS under potential for meeting this stability challenge that Prime Minister Janez Janša are also conducive to lay in Croatia’s progress towards EU accession. deepening the long-lasting Croatian-Slovenian Croatia’s successful reforms, and the fact that the friendship and joint endeavours as European EU was ready to recognise them by granting the partners. prospect of EU accession (at the moment when the country has fulfilled the accession criteria), The modern and EU-oriented policy that the gave all the other reform forces in South-East HDZ has pursued in recent years has resulted Europe the incentive to make progress and to not only in Croatia becoming today’s role-model reason with their citizens that devoted reform for other South-East European countries on the politics would pay off. way to the EU, but also in the HDZ becoming Although the above is rather obvious, it was138 European View
    • Ivo Sanadernecessary to make it understood among decision had many opportunities to participate in thesemakers in the EU and its Member States. The Statutory Summits and to gain the support ofEPP played a central role in explaining at all EPP Prime Ministers for relevant EuropeanEU levels that Croatia is working as an agent of Council decisions, which had to be taken withstability in South-East Europe—which furthers regard to the EU perspective on Croatia andthe EU’s own interests—and that it therefore South-East Europe.deserves the Union’s support. To get thismessage across, the EPP opened all its channels In this context it is important to mention thatwithin the EU, proving itself once again to be an in September 2005, on the initiative of EPPinfluential transnational party. President Wilfried Martens, a letter from nine EU Prime Ministers was sent to British PrimeOn the level of the European Parliament, Minister and President of the European Councilmeetings with the EPP-ED group were Tony Blair asking for the opening of accessionsuccessfully organised, as were meetings with negotiations with Croatia.relevant representatives from other parliamentarygroups and with the European Parliament Now that Croatia is successfully negotiatingForeign Affaires Committee. As a consequence, EU accession, and given that each South-Croatian representatives were able to explain East European country—once it fulfils thethe country’s EU approach and its effect on the Copenhagen and other criteria—has a clearregion. prospect of joining the EU, we can draw the conclusion that the work done by the EPP hasThe EPP leadership, as well as reputable EPP been of historic importance for the overallmember parties such as the CDU and the CSU positioning of Croatia in the EU perspectiveof Germany, the ÖVP of Austria, the SDKU of and for keeping South-East Europe on the sameSlovakia, Nea Democratia of Greece, the SDS track.of Slovenia, the CSV of Luxemburg, Fidesz ofHungary, the ODS of the Czech Republic, etc., These EPP activities are representative of aused their influence to enlighten their friends multitude of undertakings through whichand partners in the EU with regard to the state the EPP has shown on various transnationalof affairs in South-East Europe. levels that it works as a truly European party, bringing together the different parts of Europe,On the level of the Committee of the Regions, and always having in mind the interests of thethe EPP also undertook many activities which continent it is working for.broadened the knowledge of Croatia and South-East Europe among EU Member States. In this Addressing the great questions ofcontext the conference which the EPP and the contemporary Europe with self-confidenceCommittee of the Regions organised in Dubrovnikin June 2005 also contributed significantly to the Now that liberty, democracy and national self-understanding of how compatible Croatia and determination have been achieved in nearly alltraditional EU members are. Central and South-East European countries, the focus is on seizing the historic chance for allFurthermore, the EPP Statutory Summits— Europeans to enjoy freedom and to jointly buildwhich regularly take place before the European a common European future.Council meetings and bring together all the EPPparty presidents and EPP heads of governments There is no doubt that the idea or the dream offrom various European countries—played an a unified Europe, a Europe of freedom, peace,extraordinarily relevant role. As the president tolerance and human solidarity, was greatlyof the HDZ and Prime Minister of Croatia, I inspired by centre-right and Christian Democrat 139 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Transnational Parties in Regional Cooperation: The Impact of the EPP on Central and South-East Europe thinking. Many of the politicians and academics at the forefront of tomorrow’s progress. that promoted and started the European integration process in the 1950s belonged to The EPP and its member parties need to be this strain of political thought. French Foreign alongside those who are able to explain to our Minister Robert Schumann, German Chancellor citizens in a convincing way that the increasing Konrad Adenauer and Italian Prime Minister insecurity and alienation which many feel while Alcide de Gasperi were devoted Christian living the Western lifestyle can be successfully Democrats, while the legendary British Prime countered with fundamental values that were Minister Winston Churchill came from the previously abandoned too easily. A policy which British conservative tradition. These men were combines societal progress with a number of all driven by the idea that in the aftermath of fundamental values coming from our Christian the devastating Second World War, faced with ethical heritage can give useful answers to the the deep division of the continent, everything challenges of our contemporary lifestyle. possible must be done to enable Europe to become a continent united and free. Furthermore, I believe that a political platform which is throughout the development of the European derived from this ethical heritage and which is project in later decades, centre-right politicians ready to apply the principle of subsidiarity will continued to make crucial contributions. win over majorities in Europe. Such a policy will be recognised as modern and progressive, Against the backdrop of these historic because it addresses the general loss of values contributions, both the European centre-right and the interconnected need for orientation and European Christian Democrats have every which is being felt by our citizens today. right to be self-confident. It is therefore essential to keep in focus the historic contribution this Finally, the misunderstandings between the political force has made to the great questions Western world and the world of Islam might also of contemporary Europe. Only if the EPP, as a be addressed through a dialogue which could transnational party, together with its member be based on the ethical similarities between our parties, continues to address those questions two civilisations. The ethical teachings stemming and give convincing answers to them will this from the Judeo-Christian heritage and from the political approach have a future. Islamic heritage are rather similar, and therefore offer the chance of a value-based rapprochement Post-modernity, which has been dominating and the opportunity to learn about each other Western European societies for some time and, step by step. Since the EPP is also closely more recently, Eastern European societies too, is connected with parties derived from an Islamic characterised by a disturbing loss of fundamental background such as the Bosnian SDA and the values. It is precisely because of the relativity Turkish AKP, there are great opportunities for and insecurity which are increasingly typical of the EPP to make an original contribution to the our post-modern societies that a rediscovery of very present need for dialogue between the some fundamental Christian values would be Western world and the world of Islam. helpful. There is a majority in European societies, beyond the traditional division between political As human beings, we cannot always understand, right and left, who feel that our societies are foresee or determine the complete picture of changing fundamentally, that too much emphasis our world. But we can make an effort to apply is being placed on the individual, and that a our system of values with a view to ‘doing the dangerous consumerist, profit-minded culture right thing’ in each particular case. This means is coming to dominate. Those who are able to being active in the interest of our fellow human give a convincing answer to this fundamental beings. If the European People’s Party succeeds question that our Western lifestyle poses will be in serving fundamental human and community140 European View
    • Ivo Sanadervalues, then the EPP will be of great importancefor the future of Europe.Ivo Sanader is Prime Minister of Croatia. 141 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Justus Schönlau European Party Statute: Filling the Half-full Glass? By Justus Schönlau Political parties are— European level a real and active element of a according to most defi- European democracy has been going on since nitions of advanced the foundation of the European Communities, systems of representa- which included from the outset an element of tion—an essential part nascent representative democracy in the form of the institutional fabric of an ‘Assembly’ of delegated national membersthat allows the democratic channelling of indi- of parliament. With the introduction of directvidual opinions in order to arrive at collective elections to the European Parliament in 1979, thedecisions. In this respect, they fulfil a two-way evolution of political parties beyond the nationalfunction of mediation between the citizens and arena clearly received a new impetus. This ledthe institutions of government. This is because to the emergence of various transnational partypolitical parties collect, assemble and channel federations in the 1980s,2 but it was not untilinput from the bottom up, while at the same the Maastricht Treaty in 1991 that the role oftime ensuring the communication and legitimi- political parties was finally recognised at thesation of decisions from the top down. Within constitutional level of the new polity.the European Union, the interest in political par-ties as actors in, and instruments of, the inte- Yet even after this important step, parties, andgration process has increased with the growing in particular those at the European level, haverealisation that the Union is a political system in so far played a less prominent role than onethe making. Like other elements of the new pol- could have expected in the debate on how toity which are rooted in the national systems and legitimise the European Union and its actionstraditions, the relatively recent phenomenon of politically. A lot of the debate has focussed onEuropean political parties is firmly based on the issues of output legitimacy, and more recentlynational example, though adapted to the special on questions of identity in the European context.circumstances of the EU. The analysis of input legitimacy in terms of democratic process has looked in particular atIn recent years, and more particularly since the the role of the European Parliament (and to someTreaty on European Union of 1991, the evolution extent at issues of democratic accountability ofof the EU into a political (and economic) entity governmental decisions in the Council) vis-à-vishas accelerated. It is significant that the Maastricht national Parliaments, but less at the contributionTreaty itself contained the first recognition of of political parties either as bodies of influencethe importance of the role political parties could on decision-making or as channels for feedingand should play in democratic integration, but back political decisions to the citizens.at the same time, the Maastricht ratificationcrisis provided the first tangible expression of This reflects the so-far rather weak institutionalwhat came to be known as the EU’s ‘democratic basis of political parties at the European level. Indeficit’.1 particular, it took a long time from the creation of a legal basis for parties in the Maastricht TreatyNevertheless, it is important to note that the to the carrying out—with the regulation on thedebate on how to make political parties at financing of European political parties from1 The article on European political parties was introduced at Maastricht as Article 138a, which became Article 191 with the Amsterdam Treaty.2 T. Jansen, Zur Entwicklung eines europäischen Parteiensystems, in: Integration 3 (1995), pp. 157–65. 143 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • European Party Statute: Filling the Half-full Glass? the EU budget in 2004—of the first concrete a clear mandate to the European Commission to steps towards establishing party structures make a proposal for the necessary regulations which can fulfil a distinct role at Union level. to govern political parties at European level, Even now, however, one key problem remains in particular to regulate their financing. In the fact that the existing European parties still response, the European Commission proposed have no sound legal foundation in the shape a regulation for the “statute and financing of of a European party statute appropriate to their political parties at European level”, on the basis European vocation. of article 308, without even waiting for the Treaty of Nice to come into effect. The attempt failed, The present article attempts to critically assess however, because of disagreement among the the current situation with regard to the legal Member States on the necessity and desirability and political position of the Europarties. After of political parties beyond the nation state, and briefly retracing the developments since the because of the requirement for unanimity under Maastricht debate on an article dealing with the rules of the chosen legal basis. Despite the European parties, it will focus in particular on efforts of the Belgian presidency in the second the 2004 regulation on financing and how this half of 2001, no common position was agreed has influenced the political role of the European in the Council, so the Commission proposal fell parties since it came into force two years ago. through. The article will then sketch out some of the issues under debate at the moment and try The European Parliament continued to call for to give some indications of where the current a clear legal basis for the work of European phase of reflection might offer new openings for political parties and their financing—especially the development of an EU-level party system. since the European Court of Auditors had It concludes by stressing that political parties criticised the practice by which the political will have to be one of the key ingredients if parties at EU level were cross-financed by their the European Union hopes to improve its respective party groups in the Parliament itself.5 democratic credibility—something which can This was the only realistic way of organising the only happen through an increased awareness political work of the parties at European level in at national level of the significance of the EU’s the absence of direct subsidies for their operation political processes and the opportunities that and of a firm legal basis for their status as multi- they offer. national non-profit organisations that could raise funds from membership fees or sponsorship. Yet the institutional, historical and legal the matter had come increasingly under public background scrutiny, and the parties concerned agreed that it was urgently necessary to clean up their After the introduction of a general article on image and achieve a solution that was legally European political parties in the Maastricht and politically ‘sound’. Treaty, the main question remained how this recognition of the role of political parties was The proposal for a statute for European political to be made effective. Following pressure from parties therefore aimed at solving two problems the European Parliament3 and a lively debate in at once: to give political parties which operate the Convention on the Charter of Fundamental within more than one national jurisdiction an Rights on the role of political parties4, the independent legal personality with some special Intergovernmental Conference of Nice introduced features to take account of the political nature an important addition to the party article, giving of their work, and to ensure a transparent and 3 European Parliament report on the constitutional role of European Political Parties, rapporteur D. Tsatsos, A4-0342/96. 4 See J. Schönlau, Drafting the EU Charter: Rights, Legitimacy and Process (Palgrave-Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2005) pp. 95-6. 5 Special Report of the European Court of Auditors No. 13/2000 (OJ of the EU, C181, 28.06.2000).144 European View
    • Justus Schönlauefficient system for their financing from the EU persisted when, in early 2003, the Commissionbudget. tabled a new proposal which eventually led to the adoption of the “statute on the financing ofThe difficulties in reaching agreement between political parties at European level”.the Member States in the 2001 negotiationsdid show, however, that the different national the 2004 regulation on party financingtraditions in organising and framing politicalparties meant that several Member States This new attempt was made under considerablywere opposed to the idea of creating a special changed circumstances: with the coming into‘European’ status for political parties. While effect of the Treaty of Nice on 1 February 2003,there was general agreement on the need to find the parameters for legislative action on the partya solution for the question of financing, views issue had changed. The formula of Article 191widely differed over some substantial issues like gave the European Commission a specific taskthe admissibility of donations, the best system to draft legislation to provide for the “statuteto ensure transparency of financing and, most and ways of financing” of European politicalfundamentally, the criteria used to define a parties, to be jointly decided by Parliament‘European’ political party. and Council with qualified majority voting in the Council. Thus there was a new legal basisWith regard to the first aspect (the legal status/ and a new window for opportunity, now thatpersonality), it is interesting to note that resistance no single Member State could veto the decision.was based on two main arguments. Firstly, some Consequently, the Commission acted veryMember States were wary of setting a precedent quickly, producing a draft statute for parties infor other organisations that had an interest in February 2003.6attaining a legal position beyond the nationaljurisdictions. Secondly, the legal consequences The declared aim of this move was to havefor the respective national systems were judged legislation in place in time for the Europeanto be unforeseeable. In its more ‘orthodox’ elections of 2004. It was also made in responseform, this resistance almost certainly has its to the admonition from the Court of Auditorsroots in a general distrust of an excessively to stop the cross-financing of political parties‘federal’ development of the Union into a more from other parts of the EU budget by then atand more ‘state-like’ polity, in which political the latest. Moreover, the estimation was thatparties—following the spirit and the letter of the Greek presidency (first half of 2003) had athe Maastricht Treaty formula—“contribute to much greater chance of achieving progress onforming a European awareness”. This, for many, the issue than the following Italian and Irishwas bound to be in conflict or competition with presidencies would have, since the latter hadany national awareness or loyalty. already shown themselves to be more sceptical towards a European Party statute in 2001.Similarly, but with a different emphasis, othermembers of the Council were worried about the Under these circumstances, the Commissionpractical difficulties of creating a transnational and the Parliament agreed to act speedily.status for European political parties and pointed Consultations with the European Councilto the twenty-year struggle to agree on a confirmed that the only chance of gettingEuropean statute for public limited companies. legislation before the June 2004 elections wasThe objections on political grounds against a to adopt the statute at the first reading, becauseEuropean legal personality for political parties still a second and possible third reading would6 COM (2003) 077 2003/0039 (COD). 145 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • European Party Statute: Filling the Half-full Glass? have pushed the adoption into the second trying to avoid the issue as much as possible. half of the year. While this common interest of Not surprisingly, it was precisely on these the legislative parties was clearly a key factor questions of definition that negotiations proved in making substantial progress on the issue a most tricky. The main bone of contention was decade after the article on political parties had the threshold of representation, that is to say, been adopted in Maastricht, it also gave the how widely a party has to be represented Council substantial bargaining power over the throughout the EU—and in what way—for it to Parliament, which was clearly more concerned be considered a ‘European’ party. This question with solving the issue before the elections. It touched on a number of separate and equally is therefore not surprising that the result was sensitive issues: on the one hand, it pitted small a statute which addresses only the question of or minority parties, who feared that it would be party financing, and contains merely an interim difficult for them to find like-minded allies in solution on the touchy question of a legal many Member States, against the larger party personality for political parties.7 families (especially the European People’s Party and the Party of European Socialists), who were The first draft of the European Parliament’s already present in virtually all current and future report on the Commission proposal by Jo Leinen Member States. (PSE), member of the Constitutional Affairs Committee, clearly indicated disappointment On the other hand, it raised the question of with this limited approach by the Commission whether, for the purposes of European party and set out the more ambitious approach of the financing, representation should only be based European Parliament (which it had also pursued on presence in national parliaments, or whether in 2001) in favour of a comprehensive statute on other political forums (i.e. regional parliaments the definition, legal status, modus operandi and and the European Parliament) should also be financing of political parties in the EU. taken into account—and if so, how. Of course, this latter question involved regionalist parties As noted previously, however, the Greek in some sub-national parliaments, who might presidency intimated very clearly that there was find it difficult to join forces with regionalists no chance of getting the agreement of a qualified from other Member States with whom they majority in the Council on such far-reaching share nothing but a regionalist focus. It also proposals, let alone achieving this within the tied in with the wider debate on the standing tight time-frame of the Greek presidency. The of regions and regional representative bodies in focus of discussion consequently shifted to the the overall struggle over the sharing of areas of financing aspect, as a crucial concern for the competence between the EU and its constituent Parliament. This was at least a first step towards parts. a more independent standing for European political parties. Yet it also became clear that The formula found in the end (parties have to in order to administer subsidies from the EU be represented in one quarter of the Member budget in a transparent way, and in order to States in regional or national parliaments, or decide which associations or groups would have to have won at least 3% of the votes in be eligible for such support, some criteria for one quarter of the Member States during the defining a European party would be necessary. last European elections)8 represents a hard-won Therefore, the question of clarifying what a battle from the point of view of the larger groups European party actually is had to be tackled, in the European Parliament, who wanted to set even though the proposed legislation was the threshold of representation at one third of 7 See also Jo Leinen & Justus Schönlau, ‘Auf dem Weg zur Europäischen Demokratie – Politische Parteien auf EU-Ebene: neueste Entwicklungen’ in Integration 03/2003, pp. 218–27. 8 Regulation (EC) No. 2004/2003.146 European View
    • Justus SchönlauMember States. In contrast, some members of in the interest of attaining an overall agreement.the Council, notably those countries whose Nevertheless, three countries did vote againstgovernments were coalitions that included the package in the Council, showing that nosmall or marginal parties (such as Austria’s agreement would have been possible under theFreedom party or Italy’s Northern League), unanimity requirement.wanted representation in the parliaments ofthree—or a maximum of five—Member States to The agreed compromise was duly acceptedbe sufficient. The settlement on one quarter as by the plenary of the European Parliamentthe representation threshold was finally agreed, on 19 June, by 345 votes to 102. Resistancealso because a relative level (rather than an came mainly from the smaller parties, for theabsolute number of Member States) means that reasons mentioned above.9 The regulationthe internal balance is not jeopardised by the was subsequently adopted by the Councilaccession of new Member States. and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 15 November.10 It came intoThe other very contentious issue in the effect three months later, that is, on 15 Februarydiscussions between Council and Parliament 2004.was the question of donations by public bodiesand private persons. Here the divisions in the The European Parliament (EP) then had toCouncil were along the lines of different national take the appropriate steps to implement thelegislations and traditions: while in some European party financing by adopting theMember States donations to political parties are executive rules setting up the infrastructuresgenerally prohibited, in others they are allowed for the administration of the funds in question:within strict limits, and in others again they are according to Article 4 and 5 of the statute, itregulated much more loosely. is the Parliament which executes the regulation and administers the funds. This role forGiven the number of quite recent party- the European Parliament was by no meansfinancing scandals in several Member States, the uncontested. An early version of the EP-report,issue was always going to be a very sensitive which proposed a number of very substantialone. At the same time, however, several of changes to the Commission proposal, madethe more critical Member States seem to have the Commission responsible for executing theassumed that, for the time being, it is unlikely budget on party financing by stating in Article 3that anybody (company or individual) will want that “…to obtain financing, a European politicalto make large donations to political parties at EU party shall file an application with the Europeanlevel, given their very limited political influence Commission…”.11 This attempt to move theand the availability of many other channels to execution of party financing to the Commissionpush individual interests in the European-level must be seen against the background of the ideapolitical process. Consequently, a solution was (notably in the German debate) of removing thefound on the level of donations allowed (up administration of party funding as far as possibleto €12,000 per year from any individual donor, from the political process itself, in order towith a requirement for the party to declare all ensure greater impartiality on the part of thosedonations exceeding €500), with France—which who hand out the money.had originally been the most intransigent on thisquestion—changing its attitude in the late stages In the EU context, however, this principle could9 The ‘no’ voters included numerous members of the group Europe of Democracy and Differences, several members of the European Left/Nordic Green alliance, but also members of the European People’s Party group (mainly UK and Swedish Conservatives).10 OJ L 297, 15.11.2003, p. 1.11 Draft Report for the Constitutional Affairs Committee (rapporteur Jo Leinen) on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation on the statute and financing of European political parties, Provisional 2003/0039 (COD), of 27 March 2003. 147 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • European Party Statute: Filling the Half-full Glass? not be upheld: the Commission went to great the legal status of political parties at European lengths to explain that it was the Parliament, as level contributes to a somewhat confusing (and the only political body in the EU, that had to potentially legally problematic) situation, which take this politically extremely sensitive matter does nothing to improve the legitimacy and in hand. The argument was that otherwise the visibility of political parties at EU level. Commission would be held responsible for a part of the budget over which it could not, In fact, the new party financing rules have also by definition, have final control. The Council been heavily criticised and legally challenged did not want to get involved in this struggle. from different angles since their implementation: Ultimately the Commission prevailed, so it was more specifically in Germany, where there has the EP which had to set up the structures to been a debate on how far support for European handle the new regulation. parties (most of whom do not, as yet, have established bases of individual membership) is the EU party-financing rules in action compatible with the aims of the parties article in the EC Treaty, and on whether the conditions With the implementation of the new regulation, for receiving party financing do not discriminate the political parties which had not already done against smaller parties and newer ones.13 While so had to establish structures outside of, and some of the critical points raised in this debate independent from, the European Parliament’s certainly merit deeper analysis (such as the political groups. Article 4 and 10 of the party- question of which criteria and mechanisms financing statutes (i.e. the actual provisions are useful or necessary in defining whether a for financial support) were to come into effect political party seeking EU financing complies with the constitutive meeting of the newly with the values and principles of democracy in elected political parties applying for funds for the EU, or that of the future development of new the remaining six months of the budgetary kinds of political movements and how they will year 2004. By this time, eight parties had been eventually ‘fit into’ the European party financing founded in accordance with the requirements of system), some of the more fundamental criticism the regulation. These parties received funds from seems to stem from applying national standards the European budget once their compliance too closely at the European level. with the conditions had been ascertained. In the absence of a clear provision for a European- In particular, the question of whether level legal status for the political parties, most organisations that do not yet have directly active of them decided to register themselves as non- individual members can legitimately be called profit organisations under Belgian law, with one ‘parties’ and whether, therefore, they should party preferring registration under Luxembourg be supported by public funds at all seems to jurisdiction. Recently two more parties have been ignore the fundamentally different development founded, one of which is registered in France and and role of parties in the European integration the other in Denmark.12 This development once process so far. This, of course, ties into the much more highlights how the lack of agreement on wider debate on whether the ‘top-down’ nature 12 The ten currently existing European political parties are: • The European Peoples’ Party • The Party of European Socialists • The European Liberal, Democratic and Reform Party • The European Green Party • The European Left Party • The European Democratic Party • The Alliance for a Europe of the Nations • The European Free Alliance • The Alliance of Independent Democrats in Europe • The EU Democrats. 13 H. von Arnim. The European Party Financing Regulation (Münster: LIT-Verlag, 2004). C.-C. Buhr: Europäische Parteien - die rechtliche Regelung ihrer Stellung und Finanzierung (Berlin: WVB Verlag, 2003).148 European View
    • Justus Schönlauof European integration can be made more report how the system is working and whetherdemocratic, and if so, how. It does seem clear, anything should be changed. In response tohowever, that political parties do have a role to this task, the General Secretary of the EP, afterplay in this. Supporting them in a transparent consultation with the political parties, presentedway, so that they can improve their contribution, an assessment of the financing operation as aseems to be a more appropriate response than basis for a report in the Constitutional Affairsdenying their legitimacy through a (somewhat Committee.15 The latter voted on a report byidealised) comparison with national parties. committee chairman Jo Leinen on 22 February 2006.16The other challenge to the party-financing statutehas come from a group of MEPs belonging to By stressing that financing political parties is justvarious smaller parties. This group, under the one (albeit important) part of firmly establishingleadership of Jens-Peter Bonde, filed a legal them as key actors in the democratic developmentrequest for annulment of the regulation mainly of the European Union, this evaluation of theon the grounds that it was discriminatory against party financing statute places the 2004 regulationsmaller parties (especially those not represented once more in a wider context. For this reason,in the European Parliament). They claimed the Constitutional Affairs Committee is calling forthat the regulation violated the fundamental further initiatives towards a genuine Europeanfreedoms of thought, expression and association party statute, which should also includebecause it required respect for the fundamental provisions on individual membership and thevalues and principles of European integration.14 democratic internal organisation of EuropeanThis submission was subsequently declared parties as well as an independent legal basis forinadmissible by the court on the grounds that them in EU law.the plaintiffs were not directly and individuallyconcerned. An appeal is pending against this The report also contains a number of practicalruling. suggestions for the improvement of the financing system on the current legal basis. The mainWhither European political parties? thrust here is the call for more flexibility in the administration of the money and the desire ofThis ongoing debate shows just how sensitive the political parties to move beyond EU subsidiesand politically charged the question of political granted on a strictly annual basis, which makesparties is—at the European level as in any it difficult for them to adapt to changing politicalmember state. In this sense, the passing of the priorities and react to unforeseen events. Theseregulation on party financing has contributed requests highlight a legal-technical problemto a ‘normalisation’ of the situation at EU level, which does have serious political implicationsbecause it has given the issue a clear focus for the future development of European parties.and a legal and political framework, in which As party financing is currently subject to thecontestation can take place. At the practical level EU’s financial regulations, which were devisedtoo, the new system has to prove its worth. for EU subsidies to a number of very different bodies in the framework of the EU policies, theIn order to keep up the political momentum rules do not seem to fit the needs of politicaltowards a more comprehensive agreement parties very well.on a party statute, but also to monitor theapplication of the 2004 regulation, the latter Consequently, the debate in the Constitutionalincludes a review clause stating that, two years Affairs Committee on the 2006 report raised theafter its entry into force, the Parliament has to issue of whether a different kind of financing14 CASE No T-13/04 BONDE and others v. The European Parliament and the European Council.15 Document PE 362.124/BUR/AN.2.16 European Parliament, (A6-0042/2006). 149 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • European Party Statute: Filling the Half-full Glass? framework, specifically tailored to the situation European issues, on the possibility of European that the political parties find themselves in, political foundations and on the role of European might be envisaged in addition to or beyond the party youth organisations) in the framework of current financial regulations. As yet, however, it the reflection period on the future of Europe is too early to say if the political will for such and its Constitution. It seems appropriate that a move exists in the European Council. In any this reflection, which was triggered by a clear case, the report recommends changing the signal of the persistence of democratic problems financial regulations on a number of points or in the integration process, is used not least to at least interpreting them flexibly with regard discuss what role political parties—as key actors to some of the special concerns of the political in any democratic system—can play in solving parties, such as the introduction of long-term these problems. planning, the building up of reserves by parties with their own resources, the transfer of financial conclusion appropriations between different categories of expenditure, and the timing and administration Political parties are, just as the other elements of of the application procedure.17 It remains to be the EU’s political system, still at an early stage of seen to what extent these suggestions will be development. As a system in evolution, the EU taken up in the ongoing process of revising the is under particularly close scrutiny and (rightly) financial regulations and in the administrative creates high expectations on the part of the practice of the European Parliament itself. citizens in terms of meeting its own standards of transparency, democracy, participation and, Apart from these technical issues, the 2006 Leinen not least, the efficient and effective delivery of report (which was adopted in the EP plenary concrete results. At the same time, it is clear on March 23rd, 2006) makes several broader that not all parts of the system are necessarily political suggestions in the form of questions, developing at the same pace. Until recently, which will determine whether the European political parties—as key actors in the democratic political parties can continue to become more process—seemed to be lagging behind in the visible and more relevant in the development evolution of the EU. With the 2004 regulation of a democratic Europe. A long-standing issue on party financing, an important step was taken in this context is that of a uniform electoral to consolidate their position and accelerate their system for the EP elections, which would further development. As has been pointed out include the distribution of a certain number of by both supporters and critics of the regulation, the MEP seats via transnational European party a financing statute is clearly only one part of lists. This would clearly be a great incentive for a more comprehensive legal and political the political parties to increase their political framework for EU parties. Yet, not least through coherence and would raise their visibility in its imperfections, the 2004 regulation has the election campaigns—especially if it were focussed the discussion on concrete steps which to be combined with a strengthened role of need to be taken to improve the situation, at the European Parliament in the election of the both a technical and a more political level. Commission president, as provided for by the Constitutional Treaty (Art. I-27). In order to improve the overall democratic credentials of the EU, however, the political The report clearly places this and its other parties must not simply sit back and wait for the suggestions (on the role of political parties arrival of the right institutional conditions for in future national referendum campaigns on them to function well. They themselves have to 17 ibid. point 11.150 European View
    • Justus Schönlaumake the most of the opportunities that alreadyexist, in order to become more representative,more visible and more active as disseminatorsof information and shapers of politicalalternatives.18 The active role of the parties in theassimilation process is a key part of the overalldynamics of European integration. The presentperiod of reflection offers the chance to moveforward by building on, not only the practicalexperience of the past two years, but also themuch greater debate on the part to be playedby political parties in European integration. Theconstitutional crisis of the Union and some of themore fundamental objections to the integrationproject show that this is now more urgent thanever.Justus Schönlau is an Associate Research Fellowat the Centre for European Policy Studies(CEPS).18 For an analysis of some recent activities in these areas by the European political parties, see Stephen Day & Jo Shaw, ‘Transnational Political Parties’, in R. Bellamy, D. Castiglione & J. Shaw (Eds.) Making European Citizens, Palgrave-Macmillan, Basingstoke, forthcoming 2006. 151 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Steven Van Hecke On the Road towards Transnational Parties in Europe: Why and How the European People’s Party Was Founded By Steven Van Hecke The European People’s were among its most active participants. The Party (EPP) did not Nouvelles Équipes Internationales (1948–65) was appear out of the blue founded after the Second World War, based on in 1976: its foundation the contacts of certain leaders of re-established and initial development Christian Democratic parties. From the outset were the combined there was controversy about the nature of theresult of various internal and external factors. organisation (about how much integration thereExplaining why and how the EPP was founded should be) and its name (whether it shouldshould therefore make explicit reference to be called ‘Christian Democratic’). Cooperationthese factors. This is precisely what this article was limited to the organisation of forums, inis about. First, we will analyse the wider which senior Christian Democrats from differentframework in which transnational parties were Western European countries discussed the futurefounded. Second, we will focus on the main of Europe. Representatives were grouped inpoints of the foundation of the EPP within this national équipes that represented one or moreframework. Finally, we will examine the way in parties from one country. Its most importantwhich these particularities have determined the political role lay in bringing together Frenchfurther development of the EPP. and German Christian Democrats. In this way, it contributed to the integration of the Germanchristian Democratic cooperation… Federal Republic in Western Europe.1The EPP is built on the ‘foundations’ of ways Gradually the role of the Équipes was takenof cooperation that have long existed among over by the group of Christian Democrats in theChristian Democrats in Western Europe. The Common Assembly of the European Coal andfirst institutionalised cooperation, although Steel Community (from 1952) and the Europeanvery weak, dates back to the early twentieth Parliament of the European Community (fromcentury. The Secrétariat international des 1958). Formally, the Christian Democratic Grouppartis démocratiques d’inspiration chrétienne was established on 23 June 1953. Due to the loss(1925–39) had its seat in Paris and, because of power of French Christian Democrats, whoof French concerns, did not explicitly refer to had to this point instigated Christian Democraticthe term ‘Christian Democracy’. The Secrétariat cooperation, the Équipes renamed itself thewas meant to be a ‘union’ or internationale— ‘European Union of Christian Democrats’modelled on that of the socialists—but was in (EUCD, 1965). German and Italian Christianfact nothing more than a bureau de contact. It Democrats dominated the organisation’s doings,was certainly not an example of transnational something they had not done in the Équipes.cooperation, the international activity of The EUCD’s confederal structure generated thenational political parties being limited to exchange of strategies and communicationsbilateral diplomacy. It was not so much parties as well as the writing of a common Christianthat the Secrétariat depended heavily on as it Democratic doctrine.was Christian Democratic politicians. Thosefrom the Benelux, France, Germany and Italy1 We refer to the talks of the ‘Geneva Circle’. See Michael Gehler, “Begegnungsort des Kalten Krieges. Der ‘Genfer Kreis’ und die geheimen Absprachen westeuropäischer Christdemokraten (1947-1955)”, in Michael Gehler (ed.), Christdemokratie in Europa im 20. Jahrhundert, 2001, pp. 642–694. 153 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • On the Road towards Transnational Parties in Europe: Why and How the European People’s Party Was Founded ...and European integration majority. Christian Democrats from the Benelux and Italy did not support this idea, while parties In the mid-1970s the situation changed profound- from outside the EC felt discriminated against ly. The prospect of direct election to the European by parties inside the EUCD, as the organisation Parliament by universal suffrage—decided by geared itself more and more to the agenda of the Hague Summit in December 1969 and fixed the Community in general and the Parliamentary for 1978 by the Paris Summit of December 1974 Christian Democratic Group in particular. Second, (but later delayed to 1979)—marked a new era in the establishment of transnational Socialist and the history of Christian Democratic cooperation. Liberal parties put pressure on the efforts of the For the first time, the establishment of a Christian Democrats. In 1974 the ‘Confederation federation of Christian Democratic parties was of Socialist Parties in the European Community’ being considered.2 It was widely expected that, had been created from the Liaison Bureau thanks to the direct election of the Parliament, (established by the Socialist International in 1957) European party politics would soon prevail to further cooperation between EC parties. over national party politics. For instance, it was believed that ‘European parties’ that still had The Liberal International decided in 1972 to to be established would play a dominant role examine ways of deepening cooperation between in the European Parliament election campaign. parties in the EC. In 1976 the ‘Federation of Furthermore, leading academics and politicians Liberal and Democratic Parties in the European openly predicted that these ‘European parties’ Community’ was formally founded; but in contrast would herald a new and decisive phase in the to its Socialist counterpart, it was independent democratisation of the European integration of the Liberal International. It is therefore no process. Further integration of like-minded coincidence that, immediately after the Socialists parties now seemed essential, given their and the Liberals decided to found ‘European potential role in European politics. parties’, Group Chairman and EUCD Vice President Hans-August Lücker urged the national parties to For the Christian Democrats of those days, two make the arrangements necessary to establish a other factors were crucial. First, the accession of similar organisation at EC level.3 The marked delay the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland in in doing this, due to internal disputes about inter 1973 led to a relative decrease in the power of alia the role of the EUCD, would paradoxically the Christian Democratic Group. As British and encourage greater efforts, so that the Socialists and Danish Conservatives established their own group Liberals fell victim to the dialectics of progress. in the European Parliament, it was only the Irish It is worth noting that the Conservative parties Fine Gael that joined the Christian Democrats. undertook no initiatives to establish an organisation Moreover, when, in 1975, Labour finally delegated that would bring them closer to each other within its MEPs to Strasbourg and consequently joined the framework of the EC. the Socialist Group, the Christian Democratic Group lost its relative majority for the first Founding a new party time in the history of the European Parliament. Licking its wounds, the EUCD debated the The first steps in the process that led to the idea of establishing a ‘Democratic Centre’ that establishment of the EPP were taken in the would bring together Christian Democrats and ‘Political Committee of Christian Democratic Conservatives in order to break the Socialist Parties from Member States of the EC’. This was 2 The first, albeit implicit, reference to the foundation of a Europe-wide Christian Democratic party dates back to 1971. See ACDP IX-007-001, Protokoll der Ständigen Konferenz (Christdemokraten) der Sechs am 26. Mai 1971 in Rom. The Italian MEP Giuseppe Bartolomei pleads for “einem Bewusstwerden der politischen Parteien..., die sich dann auf europäischer Ebene zusammenschliessen würden”. According to Papini, the term ‘European party’ was for the first time mentioned in 1972. See Roberto Papini, The Christian Democratic International, 1997, p. 148. 3 ACDP IX-007-001, [Vertraulich] Notiz über die Anpassung der Strukturen der christlich-demokratischen Parteien an die politische Entwicklung der Europäischen Gemeinschaften zur Europäischen Union – Brüssel, den 2. April 1975.154 European View
    • Steven Van Heckea body of the EUCD that had been founded to and elected the vice presidents.6 During the firstaccommodate the wishes of the non-EC member congress, held in Brussels on 6 and 7 Marchparties that formal EUCD procedures should 1978, the political programme was adopted, andnot be entirely dominated by EC matters. This the Frenchman Jean Seitlinger was elected asstructure d’accueil represented eleven parties secretary-general. One week later, on 14 March,from seven EC Member States: the Belgian the Christian Democratic Group in the EuropeanCVP and PSC; the Dutch ARP, CHU and KVP; Parliament decided to add to its name ‘Group ofthe CSV from Luxembourg; the German CDU the European People’s Party’. In 1979 the twoand CSU; the Italian Democrazia Cristiana; the parts of the name were switched, resulting inFrench CDS and the Irish Fine Gael. Sustainable ‘Group of the European People’s Party (Christiancooperation in the form of party political Democrats)’.organisation was, for the first time, officially setas an objective at the meeting of 2 February The quick succession of meetings in which1973. Despite the intention to establish working the EPP was founded concealed fundamentalgroups, most of the attention was initially paid disagreement about the organisation’s nameto drafting a common political programme. and membership, which arose before the party’sIt was only later that a twin track approach formal establishment and continued thereafter.was chosen: simultaneously founding a new These two issues of name and membershiporganisation and writing a programme for the concerned, in fact, a single basic question:future.4 whether or not the ‘European party’ would be open to non-Christian Democratic parties. TheThis new approach was utilised in September Germans were in favour of this sort of openness.1975 when an ad hoc working group called At any price, they wanted to prevent thethe ‘European party’ was established within European Parliament from being dominated bythe Political Committee. Hans-August Lücker the Socialists. Due to their absence in the Unitedand Wilfried Martens, then president of the Kingdom and Denmark, Christian DemocratsCVP, became rapporteurs.5 Between November were numerically too weak to counterbalance1975 and January 1976, several meetings of the the Socialists and should therefore enter intoworking group took place to discuss the statutes an alliance with Conservatives and Liberals.of the future European party of Christian Christian Democrats from the Benelux, FranceDemocrats. The draft statutes were presented to and Italy, however, were opposed to this idea.the Political Committee during its meeting of 20 They supported a ‘grand coalition’ with SocialistFebruary in Paris. Approval was reached at the forces, something they were familiar with andmeeting of 29 April 1976, resulting in the formal appreciated from their experience at nationalestablishment of the ‘European People’s Party— level.Federation of Christian Democratic Partiesfrom the European Community’. The official The role played by Lücker and Martens wasinauguration took place in Luxembourg on 8 crucial in solving the problems of the EPP’sJuly 1976, in a meeting of the Political Bureau of foundation. As a member of the Bavarian CSU,the EUCD during which Belgian Prime Minister Lücker supported a broad alliance of ChristianLeo Tindemans was elected president. The Democrats and Conservatives in principle, butfirst EPP meeting on 19 July 1976 unanimously personal convictions led him to give priority toadopted the party’s statutes and internal rules collaboration among Christian Democrats. Unlike4 ACDP IX-007-001, Kommuniqué – Sitzung des Politischen Komitees der Christlich-Demokratischen Parteien der Europäischen Gemeinschaften – Brüssel, 2. Februar 1973.5 ACDP IX-007-001: Procès-verbal de la réunion du Comité politique des partis démocrates-chrétiens des pays membres des Communautés européennes – Luxembourg, le 26 septembre 1975.6 ACDP IX-007-052: Procès-verbal de la réunion du Bureau politique le 8 juillet 1976 à Luxembourg. 155 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • On the Road towards Transnational Parties in Europe: Why and How the European People’s Party Was Founded many of his fellow countrymen, he had learnt After much debate and with time pressing, the during his European activities to understand Committee finally reached a compromise— and respect the feelings of the various Christian getting there had been an odyssey. The term Democratic parties. The Flemish Christian ‘people’s party’ was chosen both to accommodate Democrat Martens, on the other hand, had no the German wish for openness and to make connection with the anti-Socialist discourse of reference to the Christian Democratic party the CDU/CSU. He attached value to Christian names in many countries (it was thought that Democratic ideology, while at the same time the term ‘Christian’ would evoke papist and realizing that, by definition, a future European clerical associations in the United Kingdom and party could not exclude collaboration with non- Scandinavia). As Volksparteien, the CDU and Christian Democratic parties. If they did so, the CSU are open to Liberals and Conservatives; Christian Democrats would not count for much however, for historical reasons, their party names in an ever deeper and wider Europe. From the paradoxically refer explicitly and exclusively outset, both rapporteurs had acknowledged to ‘Christian Democracy’. The main Christian the opposing views on the foundation of a Democratic parties from the Benelux—the CVP, European party of Christian Democrats. By KVP and CSV—also use the appellation ‘people’s taking this into account, they prevented a split party’. The same applies to the immediate and finally contributed to a compromise that predecessors of the CDS in France and the was acceptable for all parties. Democrazia Cristiana in Italy. At the same time, and as part of the compromise, a reference to What’s in a name? the term ‘Christian Democracy’ was kept in the second part of the party’s name: ‘Federation Whereas a consensus was easily reached on of Christian Democratic Parties in the EC’. It the party’s statutes, during its meeting on 20–21 was a hollow victory, however, since this part February 1976, the Political Committee could not of the name was rarely used. Moreover, since agree on the party’s name. The European Party the 1990s the name ‘European People’s Party’ working group suggested different alternatives has facilitated—not to say made possible—the but never reached an agreement.7 The eleventh- enlargement of the party through the inclusion hour proposal ‘European People’s Party’ did not of like-minded parties. One could even argue help to settle the matter.8 The question whether that it is only since its rapprochement with to include the term ‘Christian Democracy’ along Conservative and Liberal forces that the EPP with ‘European People’s Party’ remained open. has—finally—become a true ‘people’s party’. The issue of what the party should be called The party’s name has in every way contributed was not without importance as it showed to its success in terms of membership. the profile the party wanted to have. Those supporting the entry of the British and Danish With or without the conservatives? Conservatives tried to prevent the use of the term ‘Christian Democracy’ whereas the opponents The issue of membership in the new European of their entry considered this reference to be a party was also of great importance in the early days. guarantee of the Christian Democratic character The central question of the debate was whether of their European cooperation. In September membership in the EPP should be restricted to 1975, Lücker had established a separate body to parties from EC countries or be open to parties deal with this issue. However, the ‘Democratic in non-EC Member States. In other words: was Centre’ working group was unable to contribute it possible for non-Christian Democratic parties to a settlement. to ally themselves formally with the EPP? The 7 Different names circulated. See ACDP IX-007-009: Parti populaire européen, Démocratie chrétienne européenne, Parti populaire démocrate-chrétien européen, Parti populaire (chrétien) social européen, Parti social européen pour le progrès. 8 ACDP IX-007-001, Procès-verbal de la réunion du Comité politique des partis démocrates-chrétiens des pays membres de la Communauté européenne du 20 et 21 février 1976 à Paris.156 European View
    • Steven Van Heckeargument was decided in favour of those who the European integration process shouldpleaded for restricting membership. Unlike the take. Lücker and Martens, who were also theissue of what to call the party, an agreement rapporteurs for the ‘Programme’ working group,had already been reached within the European could rely on the various Christian DemocraticParty working group, particularly in connection programmes that had just come into being: thewith the party’s statutes. What was then Article 4 Manifesto of Christian Democrats in Europe andstated that only parties from EC Member States the Political Programme of the World Union ofcould join the EPP. At the same time, the internal Christian Democrats (both had been approvedrules provided for ‘associated membership’ and by the Political Bureau of the EUCD, the first‘observer status’.9 However, at its meeting on 28 in Paris on 2 February 1976 and the second inOctober 1976, the Political Bureau decided that Rome on 6 July 1976). Furthermore, support forno party was eligible to become an associate the synthesis and comparison of the nationalmember or permanent observer. manifestos was given by both the Konrad- Adenauer-Stiftung and CEPESS, the study centreAs a result, Austrian and Swiss Christian of the Flemish Christian Democrats. As no otherDemocrats—who had long participated in the party federation managed to present a commonEUCD but, because their countries had not electoral platform, the programme provedjoined the EC, were not part of the European to be the most successful achievement of theinner circle—felt once again excluded. Wishing foundation of the EPP. In view of the campaignto be closer to the EPP, they asked in a common for the direct election of the European Parliament,memorandum of 23 December 1976 for an the political programme of the EPP was entitledamendment of the statutes, a review of the Together for a Europe of Free People.decisions taken by the Political Bureau and aformal procedure for cooperation between the fruit of initial discordthe EUCD and the EPP. Although the EPP wasfounded in the city where the EUCD had its Notwithstanding the outcome of the foundationseat, no official link existed between the two of the EPP, the German Christian Democratsorganisations. Austrian and Swiss Christian looked for ways to remain in contact withDemocrats therefore warned of separation Conservative parties. At first they tried to achieveand division between the various international this within the EUCD and the EPP by breathingorganisations. Their requests, however, were not new life into the idea of a ‘Democratic Centre’.granted. The opponents of ‘open membership’ A working group that had been founded forstuck to their guns. As this issue was settled this purpose met in December 1977 and Aprilrelatively easily, and before an agreement had 1978 under the leadership of the German Kai-been reached on the party name, there is little Uwe von Hassel, president of the EUCD. Thisreason to think that the ‘solutions’ for both working group proposed the establishment ofproblems—despite some striking similarities— a kind of platform on which all non-Socialistwere part of one overall compromise. and anti-collectivist Centre parties from Europe could cooperate. But the idea did not bear fruit.The issue of drafting a common political Opposition within the EPP was too widespread.programme was much less a subject of fierce Believing that things were not moving forward,debate than the party name and membership the Germans started to explore new ways toquestions had been. Among the founding parties institutionalise their contacts with Conservativeof the EPP, there was a broad consensus about parties. In their resistance to the ‘confinement’social and economic policies and the direction of the EPP, the German Christian Democrats9 ACDP IX-007-009, Ad-hoc-Gruppe ‘Statut’. Entwurf für das Statut einer europäischen Partei – Brüssel, den 16. Dezember 1975. 157 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • On the Road towards Transnational Parties in Europe: Why and How the European People’s Party Was Founded found allies, particularly the Austrian and Swiss European cooperation solely among Christian Christian Democrats who regarded themselves as Democrats had not prevailed. The timing of the being excluded from the new party federation. setting up of the EDU—only one month after The party leaders had already met in 1975 at the successful first EPP congress—was seen as Schloß Klessheim near Salzburg to establish a a provocation.10 However, by fiercely opposing broad alliance of European centre-right parties the ‘opening up’ of the EPP, they had contributed outside the EPP. Parallel with the process that to precisely what they had wanted to avoid: led to the foundation of the EPP, the Germans cooperation with non-Christian Democratic presented drafts of statutes and manifestos to parties that might lead to a weakening of the friendly parties. The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung ideal and the creation of a European federation. contributed by comparing party manifestos and Through the foundation of the EDU, it now putting protagonists in contact with one another. became redundant for the EPP to engage in a A special working group drew up a new formal dialogue with Conservative parties inside organisational structure in the course of 1976. and outside the EC. On a whole, mutual distrust dominated the relations between the CDU/CSU Due to the diversity among the parties and the other EPP member parties, something involved—anti-Socialism was de facto the only that seriously hampered the first years of the idea that bound them together—many obstacles newly founded ‘European Party’. had to be cleared away, with the result that the official foundation had to be delayed several Whither christian Democratic cooperation times. It was really only the determination of in Europe? the CDU/CSU that kept things going. That they took these initiatives towards non-EC or non- With the foundation of the EDU, the deadlock Christian Democratic parties did not mean was complete. The first victim was the EUCD: it that there were no attempts to accommodate became an empty shell since its most important the sensibilities of their Christian Democratic member parties were also members of either the friends. In turn, this led to irritation among those EPP or the EDU (see figure). To ease at least the parties that had no affiliation with Christian strained relations between the EUCD and the Democracy. In this regard, it should be noted EPP, the two general secretariats fused in 1983 that the Germans weakened the structure of the and a single secretary general was appointed, new organisation—which was originally very the German Thomas Jansen. At the level of close to that of the EPP—in an attempt to reach party organisations, particularly those involving a compromise with critics inside the EPP. both the EPP and the EDU, a long period of ‘armed peace’ started. The new organisation and On 24 April 1978, the ‘European Democratic bodies of the EPP were consolidated, but the Union’ (EDU)—an “association [not a party relationship with the EUCD remained unclear. It or party federation] of Christian Democratic, was only through practical activities and personal Conservative and non-collectivist parties”—was contacts that a common sense of belonging to founded in Klessheim by, among others, CDU one party federation emerged. In this respect, president Helmut Kohl; Margaret Thatcher, the Christian Democratic integration process that leader of the British Conservatives; and Jacques made a new start in 1975 continued slowly but Chirac, president of the neo-Gaullist RPR. steadily. This was not changed fundamentally The establishment of the EDU was a major by the development of the European Parliament setback for the Christian Democratic parties immediately after 1979 and the entry of new in the Benelux, France and Italy. Their idea of member parties in the 1980s. 10 ACDP IX-007-052, Procès-verbal de la réunion jointe des Bureaux politiques de l’UEDC et du PPE le 6 juin 1978 à Berlin.158 European View
    • Steven Van HeckeFigure: Member parties of the EUCD, EPP and EDU (1978)On the one hand, the EPP was founded on a the tone, it was those in the European Parliamenttradition of Christian Democratic cooperation and not the party federations.that had long existed; on the other hand, itconstituted a split: through the establishment of It was only in the 1990s—with worseninga party federation, the path of mere cooperation electoral results of Christian Democratic parties,was left behind. Instead, the EPP chose the the introduction of the ‘party article’ in thecourse of the integration and politicisation Treaty of Maastricht, a more powerful Europeanof European politics, a development that it Parliament and new waves of enlargement—both shaped and was shaped by. As already that a new opportunity structure of internal andmentioned, its foundation cannot be understood external stimuli was created. Overall, it led to whatwithout making reference to the external stimuli: one could call the ‘rebirth’ of transnational partythe 1973 enlargement, the direct election of the federations, particularly the EPP, in comparisonEuropean Parliament and the establishment of with both the national member parties and theSocialist and Liberal party federations. The EPP parliamentary groups. As a result, a relativelywas founded within this particular framework, stable ‘European party political system’ emerged.and the latter left its imprint on the party’s The EPP’s rapprochement towards Conservativeoriginal characteristics, including the choices and Liberal parties brought it face-to-face withthat were made regarding the party name and old sources of conflict: the party name andmembership. In other words, the EPP reflected membership issues. Old controversies alsothe opportunity structure of the time and the resurfaced in connection with the inefficientplace in which it was founded. At the same time, co-existence of three party organisations: thethe opportunity structure constituted the agenda EUCD, EPP and EDU. The final settlement ofof the party’s initial phase of development, these issues contributed heavily to the EPP’swhich can be described as consolidation, if not current status as the largest European party.stagnation. The latter, however, was also dueto the fact that national parties fought the firstdirect elections of the European Parliament withnational candidates campaigning on national Steven Van Hecke is a post-doctoral assistantissues. And after the elections, many ‘European’ at the Department of Political Science at thepoliticians left the Parliament and returned to University of Antwerp.their domestic arena. European party federationswere unable to play any significant role in thisprocess. If any groups can be said to have set 159 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • On the Road towards Transnational Parties in Europe: Why and How the European People’s Party Was Founded Bibliography: Khol, Andreas, Tobisson, Lars & Wintoniak, Alexis (1998). Twenty Years European Archiv für Christlich-Demokratische Politik Democratic Union. s.l. (ACDP). Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Teil Van Hecke, Steven (2004). A decade of seized Ix-007: Europäische Volkspartei (EVP) opportunities: Christian Democracy in the Gründung, Führungsgremien, Kongresse, European Union. In Steven Van Hecke Kommissionen und Arbeitsgruppen 1975- & Emmanuel Gerard (eds.), Christian 1993. Democratic Parties in Europe since the End Bardi, Luciano (2002). Parties and party of the Cold War (pp. 269–295). Leuven: systems in the European union: National Leuven University Press. and supranational dimensions. In Kurt R. Van Hecke, Steven (2005). Christen-democraten Luther & Ferdinand Müller-Rommel (eds.), en conservatieven in de Europese Political Parties in the New Europe: Political Volkspartij. Ideologische verschillen, and Analytical Challenges (pp. 293–321). nationale tegenstellingen en transnationale Oxford: Oxford University Press. conflicten. Leuven: K.U. Leuven. Chenaux, Philippe (1997). Les démocrates- Van Kessel, Alexander (2003). ‘Ruggen recht, chrétiens au niveau de l’Union européenne. heren!’ Hoe de Nederlandse christen- In Emiel Lamberts (ed.), Christian democraten het tegenover hun Duitse Democracy in the European Union (1945- geestverwanten aflegden in het debat over 1995) (pp. 449–458). Leuven: Leuven het profiel van de Europese Volkspartij. University Press. Hilversum: Uitgeverij Verloren. Hanley, David (2002). Christian Democracy and the paradoxes of Europeanisation: Flexibility, competition and collusion. Party Politics, 8, 463–481. Hix, Simon & Lord, Christopher (1997). Political Parties in the European Union. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Jansen, Thomas (1998). The European People’s Party: Origins and Development. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Johansson, Karl Magnus (2002). European People’s Party. In Karl Magnus Johansson & Peter Zervakis (eds.), European Political Parties between Cooperation and Integration (pp. 51–80). Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlaggesellschaft. Kaiser, Wolfram (2004). Transnational Christian Democracy: From the Nouvelles Equipes Internationales to the European People’s Party. In Michael Gehler & Wolfram Kaiser (eds.), Christian Democracy in Europe since 1945 (pp. 221–237). London and New York: Routledge.160 European View
    • Andreas von Gehlen Two Steps to European Party Democracy By Andreas von Gehlen The thesis of a Member States, the will of citizens is transferred ‘democratic deficit’ in via political parties at the national level; in the European Union this way decisions attain legitimacy. When it became a generally comes to European-wide decisions, however, acknowledged fact in citizens have practically no direct influence. the aftermath of the This disparity between the political system ofMaastricht conference.1 Criticism is aimed at all member nations on the one hand and thethe gulf between the law-making capacity of Union on the other hand became increasinglyCommunity bodies and the legitimacy they problematic with the increasing integration ofderive from citizens. policy fields that had originally been reserved for the individual countries. The incorporationThis gulf developed due to the continuous of these areas into Community law transferredtransfer of national sovereignty to Community decision-making power from the parties to thebodies, which therefore came to have ever executives and their administrative apparatuses,increasing jurisdiction over citizens of the with the consequent weakening of the nationalmember countries even though there was level and thus—in the absence of equallyno similarly increasing participation in the legitimate European bodies—of democracyCommunity system. Hardly any concrete itself.measures to deal with this democratic deficitwere implemented before the nineties. Thus the democratic legitimacy of the EUpredominantly critical voices have grown ever Member stateslouder; they still see a deficit in the legitimacyof all jointly made decisions of the Community Historically, consensus has developed in thein contrast to the legitimacy which member various European nation states that the legitimacycountries in the European Union enjoy. of the state depends on the recognition of the political system by the citizens living within it.Until a few years ago, academics from different This recognition is based on the fundamentaldisciplines and active participants in politics conviction of the liberty of all persons. Yetwere separately involved in researching this liberty is restricted in each state becauseEuropean questions; commonly, they were decisions must be made, and rarely do all partiesmotivated by the integration progress. The concerned agree with a particular decision.results of these originally isolated investigations Therefore, differentiating between divergingare now available to an acquis académique. So interests usually precedes decision-making. Infar, however, there is no agreement over what this process, all citizens (of age) in the countriesthe solution to the problem of the European belonging to the EU participate by electing theirdemocratic deficit might look like. representatives, thereby ensuring democratic rule.A reason for this is the different types oflegitimacy transfer at the national and the Political parties play a mediating role betweenEuropean levels: in each of the European Union citizens and states. They contribute to the1 Featherstone 1994: 149 et sqq.; Wallace & Smith 1995: 139 et sqq. 161 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Two Steps to European Party Democracy manner in which the national institutions arrive Necessity of European legitimacy at their decisions mainly through the recruitment of leadership personnel and the formulation of Contrary to other international organisations, party platforms. Thus they perform functions the European Community established itself on needed in any democracy; they long ago found the basis of a uniform legal order. Vis-à-vis its entrance into the political sciences under Member States, it is to a considerable degree the term ‘party democracy’. For all European autonomous4 and has legislative, executive Union Member States, it is to be noted that the and judicial power over the citizens of the legitimacy problem was dealt with to a large Community. With the constant expansion of its extent by this system of national parties. authority, Community rule has grown gradually in quality and degree. Considering the (almost) the integration process caused the undisputed democratic legitimacy of its Member European democratic deficit States, the Community has to face the question, in light of this transfer of powers, whether its Although the conviction that it was necessary decisions are likewise democratically legitimised. to have democratically legitimised rule in the This has increasingly been answered in the European Community was never in dispute, the negative in various studies since the end of the process of integration undermined this common sixties (and since Maastricht also by the public); foundation of the participants. Six Western European integration has been pinpointed as European national states had first established the the cause of the democratic deficit. European Coal and Steel Community. Since the supranational bodies were originally organised As a result of the debate on this issue in the inter-governmentally, their legitimacy could be nineties, the democratic foundation of the traced back to the national countries. There the European Union was contractually fixed in continuous intertwining of international politics Amsterdam: “The Union is founded on the and economics led to the realisation that the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for states could not fulfil their tasks isolated from human rights and fundamental freedoms, and each other, but rather—to put it plainly—“one the rule of law, principles which are common can only survive as part of a whole”.2 to the Member States.”5 Even though “no nation state with the democratic deficit of the EC would There were two options for a comprehensive ever have the chance to become a member of solution to cross-border issues. First, the various it,”6 to a large extent agreement prevails that states could have continued to collaborate in addition to these principles common to all in individual cases—the classical approach Member States, the decisions of the Union must to international affairs. However, the initial also meet the democratic test, inasmuch as they members of the European Economic Community affect the citizens of the Member States. opted instead for a “break with the European tradition”3 of intergovernmental cooperation, The treaty on the European Community has and chose instead the continuous surrender of accordingly been revised repeatedly in the sovereignty in favour of mutual dependence. past 15 years. The parliamentary Community body established as the “Assembly” in 1951 was equipped, as is the European Parliament, with the functions of its national counterparts. 2 Simson 1991: 14f. 3 Kipping 1996: 348. 4 “By contrast with ordinary international treaties, the EEC treaty has created its own legal system which, on the entry into force of the treaty, became an integral part of the legal systems of the Member States and which their courts are bound to apply.” European Court of Justice, Judgment of the Court of 15 July 1964, Case 6/64: 1269. 5 EU Treaty, Art. 6 (1). 6 Wolfgang Merkels; quoted in Höreth 1999: 17.162 European View
    • Andreas von GehlenTogether with the Council, it controls (at of the seventies. With respect to the transferpresent about 70% of) the decisions made by of democratic legitimacy, however, they dothe Commission; the Amsterdam revision of the not possess the basic tools which would allowtreaty has given to European parliamentarians them to express the political will of citizens,the same ultimate sanction enjoyed by their tools comparable to those possessed by theircolleagues in the Member States: the vote of parent national parties. Thus, citizens canno confidence (in the Commission as a whole). only express their overall agreement with theWith respect to the other executive body of European integration project in elections.the EU, the European Council, the European Public participation in individual decisions ofParliament still lacks the instruments of control European community bodies must be regardedenjoyed by national parliaments; control of as insufficient.individual councillors is still widely seen as theresponsibility of the national parliaments.7 The Political science has not yet come to a consensusEuropean Parliament has received only gradually on the question of to what extent the democraticthe third parliamentary function in representative legitimacy of the Community is necessary anddemocracies, legislative power. The relative from what sources it should be derived. Twoextent of its ‘nonparticipation’ has decreased trends are evident in academic publications.considerably, from over 70% at the time of the Oriented in the ideal type of national legitimacyEEC treaty to 35% with the taking of effect of transfer, the majority aims to legitimise thethe Treaty of Nice.8 Within the framework of European Union independently. Meanwhile,the legislation, jurisdiction over budgets is those who advocate a European legitimacy thatemphasised as one of the functions of national is derived via transfers from the Member Statesparliaments; here the areas of competence of are increasingly in the minority.the national parliaments correspond to those ofthe EP. The party systems in the EU member countries (British exceptionalism is to be noted) obtainThe expansion of parliamentary powers has democratic legitimacy due to their ability tonot been matched, however, by a re-evaluation express the political will of the citizens. Byof the role of parties at the Community level. representing those in the state organs, theThis stems primarily from the fact that European parties ensure the acknowledgment of theparliamentarians are elected nationally, which political systems, which is attached to severalreserves to the parties in the Member States determinants: they must be, among other things,(and/or regional administrative bodies) the lawful, guarantee the equal representation ofmain function of political parties, the selection citizens and maintain democratic organisationalof candidates. structures. To achieve this, parties are organised hierarchically: legitimacy flows from theFurther development of the existing individual member through the local, regionalEuropean party federations … and national levels of the party up to the European-wide level.It is clear, then, that the European level inparticular lacks the abovementioned link … no autonomous European party system!between citizens and the state. Europeanparties have existed by name since the middle The German expert in constitutional law Hans7 Huber 2001: 16; Maurer & Schild 2003: 27.8 Maurer 2002: 198; Nentwich & Falkner 1997: 2 et sqq. 163 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Two Steps to European Party Democracy H. Klein proposed, on the basis of a statement lack a clear role in the political system of the EU of the European Commission from 2000,9 a and, on the other hand, they have not yet done far-reaching reform of the electoral system, their ‘homework’. If one compares the role played which would involve a marked departure from by the European parties with that played by the current system of party federations. He national parties, then, taking into consideration proposed that, in addition to the national party the specific characteristics of European politics, systems, an autonomous European party system the following is worth noting. should develop with representation from as many Member States as possible.10 If we look at the membership of the European People’s Party (EPP) and the requirements However, it is unlikely that this model will ever for joining, it is obvious that a union of all be implemented. Furthermore, each citizen of larger centre-right parties in the EU is seen a European Union member country possesses, to be a priority. Even though it underlines its since the Maastricht treaty took effect, EU intention by its self-designation as a “people’s citizenship in addition to national citizenship; party”, the danger remains of a break-up due this “citizenship of the Union shall complement to unbridgeable policy differences. However, and not replace national citizenship.”11 Since the the EPP has prevented paralysis by the fact citizenship of the Community was coupled to that it makes decisions by a majority vote; that of a member state, no separate European its form of organisation also corresponds to party system could be created. It would national standards regarding the structure and correspond more to the logic of the European functions of party bodies. All in all, the EPP has Union if a European-wide system developed implemented all the characteristics of national along the lines of the national party systems— parties that would authorise it to participate in a which is exactly what is happening with the European party democracy. present party federations. The internal structure of the Party of European Preference is to be given to the existing model Socialists (PES), however, is shaped by the for another reason. The question that arises is desire of its member parties to surrender no to what extent parties that exist only on the sovereignty to the party federation. This desire European level would have legitimacy. The finds expression in the high hurdles to voting, already low level of participation in political the functions that the various committees are parties would certainly not increase if there assigned and above all in the fact that the were parties whose sole preoccupation was PES cannot pass resolutions binding on its with issues on a European level. It is moreover parliamentary group in the European Parliament questionable whether local and regional or on its member parties. Thus, its members in groupings of European parties could be the EP have—together with those of the EPP— organised all over the continent. quite substantial powers in the decision-making process; yet the ability of the PES to influence the situation of the European parties decisions on the European level is limited to the coordination of its member parties. This will The European parties are not comparable with remain the case so long as they will not transfer national parties because, on the one hand, they parts of their sovereignty to the PES. 9 “The Commission has also proposed looking at the possibility of electing a certain number of Members of Parliament on Union-wide lists.” European Commission 2000: Adapting the institutions to make a success of enlargement. Information note on the Intergovernmental Conference by Michel Barnier, Member of the European Commission. Brussels: 4. 10 Klein 2001: 57 (n. 105). 11 EC Treaty, Art. 17 (1).164 European View
    • Andreas von GehlenThe ability of the European Liberal Democrat influence on the politics of the Europeanand Reform Party (ELDR) to represent citizens Union. First of all, the EU lacks the institutionalin the European Parliament is limited by preconditions that would make it possible forone key feature: membership in the ELDR European parties in the various bodies of theis not limited to the EU. In all other areas, it Community to have an impact comparable to thatpossesses the characteristics widely regarded of their national counterparts; none of the partiesas requirements of any European party. In can offer to “its active participants [in the contextaddition to the concentration on European of the European institutions] ideal or materialissues, the organisational structure corresponds chances of the execution of impersonal goals orfunctionally to that of a national party and is the acquisition of personal advantages or both.”12therefore comprehensible to citizens. However, Consequently, the European parties examinedwhile the ELDR shows only slight deficiencies, above would at present not to be characterisedwhich could be self-corrected, due to its number as ‘political parties’,13 according to Max Weber’sof MEPs it has very little influence on the actual definition, despite their self-designation as such.political decision-making process. Secondly, the federations have all implementedThe Greens united much later than the other some of the characteristic functions of thethree party federations. Even though they became national parties. Despite the requirement thatinvolved in the issue of the EU’s legitimacy, they they represent citizens in the European Union,did not see themselves obligated, as did the EPP they have the shortcomings which result fromand ELDR, to implement measures regarding being federations attempting European-widetheir own organisation similar to those proposed cooperation. Most of these shortcomings couldfor the EU. For example, they demand simple be removed by the party federations were it notmajority decisions in all Community bodies, for the unwillingness of some member partieswhereas their own resolutions require at least a to hand over sovereignty to the European partytwo-thirds majority. A further hindrance to the federations, a move that would correspond totransfer of legitimacy to the European Union is the national transfer of sovereignty to the EU.the fact that the European Green Party (EGP) does While the minor defects of the EPP and ELDRnot limit itself to the present EU: parties from the could presumably be mended without majorentire continent have received membership in internal discord, the EGP has since 2004 alignedthe EGP because of its pan-European claim. The its internal organisation to its proposals for theGreens restricted themselves to the European dismantling of the democratic deficit of theUnion for the first time during the uniform European Union. The PES, however, will notEuropean election campaign of 2004. Thus be able to solve its internal contradictions inthe EGP might contribute in the future to the the medium term because its members—abovebuilding of a European party democracy in spite all those from Denmark and Great Britain—doof its present limitations. not want to create a European social-democratic party with all the powers possessed by partiesAll in all, since Maastricht the Community has on the national level.clearly needed parties that operate on theCommunity-wide level. However, two factors Since the respective weaknesses of the partyhave caused this clear need to have no noticeable federations lie in different areas, one can state12 Weber 1976: 167. See also the definitions in the Statute on European Parties, Art. 2.13 Regulation (EC) No 2004/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 on the regulations governing political parties at European level and the rules regarding their funding. 15.11.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union L 297/1-4 (cited as “Statute on European Parties”), Art. 2: “Definitions—For the purposes of this Regulation: 1. ‘political party’ means an association of citizens: - which pursues political objectives, and - which is either recognised by, or established in accordance with, the legal order of at least one Member State; 2. ‘alliance of political parties’ means structured cooperation between at least two political parties; 3. ‘political party at European level’ means a political party or an alliance of political parties….” 165 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Two Steps to European Party Democracy that European parties are generally qualified the party must be ensured (i.e. participation to perform the functions that can mediate must be democratic);17 democratic legitimacy. • only citizens of the EU may be involved in the decision-making process since only they step 1. the democratic functions of the are (directly) affected by the decisions of the European parties European parties; • the national member parties must be If the European party federations are to facilitate proportionally represented; the transfer of democratic legitimacy, they must • elections within the party which are general, have the same characteristics that are compulsory free, secret, equal and direct must be held for broadly based national parties. Since the task periodically; of reconciling social interests at the European • the majority principle should be used as a level would be shifted to the federations, (1) rule; there must be the same high level of internal • decisions must be binding vis-à-vis the party democracy that currently exists at the level national parties and the EP parliamentary of the Member States14 and (2) the democratic groups (but of course, they would not principle of party competition may not be establish a binding mandate for the undermined: the principle of an equal contest parliamentarians); and among several parties, which offer alternatives • the mandate to express the political will to the citizen, must be maintained.15 should be prescribed with respect to all structural and financial matters.18 1. The European parties have already partly reached a level of internal democracy 2. The establishment of a European party comparable to that of their national members. democracy on the basis of today’s federations They could be forced by law to adopt fully would offer several voting alternatives to democratic structures (which would be the citizens. In May 2004, in addition to the necessary for the transmission of democratic four established party federations (whose legitimacy) in the course of a reform of the programs exhibit clear differences), a union voting right, e.g. by appropriate penalties in of left-wing parties known as the “European an amended “Regulation of the European Left” was formed. A re-evaluation of the party Parliament and of the Council on the landscape on the European level could be regulations governing political parties at the the catalyst for the founding of additional European level and the rules regarding their federations. funding”. Hence, the implementation of the following points would be expedient: The principle of equal competition among the European parties, in particular with respect to • the governance of European parties must be media access, should be established, e.g. in legitimate (it must be based on recognised the regulation of the European Parliament and norms);16 of the Council. However, serious inequalities • the equal participation of all members within are not to be expected since, with only a few 14 Isensee 1992: 143f. (§ 162 n. 70); Leibholz 1960: 103. 15 Niclauß 2002: 28f. 16 This is already ensured in the Statute on European Parties, Art. 3: “A political party at European level shall satisfy the following conditions: (a) it must have legal personality in the Member State in which its seat is located”. 17 Statute on European Parties, Art. 3: “A political party at European level…(c) must observe, in particular in its programme and in its activities, the principles on which the European Union is founded, namely the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law”. 18 Statute on European Parties, Art. 8: “Appropriations received from the general budget of the European Union in accordance with this Regulation may only be used to meet expenditure directly linked to…administrative expenditure and expenditure linked to technical assistance, meetings, research, cross-border events, studies, information and publications.”166 European View
    • Andreas von Gehlenexceptions, the four parties are represented in of political parties was the consequence ofall Member States of the European Union. Thus systemic requirements: after the parliamentariansthey can also gain access to the citizens via their had gained their role in the formation andnational member parties. The Europe-wide, oversight of the government as well as theproportional distribution of the votes for the EP power to legislate, they usually united to formseats would ensure that the European parties parliamentary groups. These groups built upconsider candidates from the entire EU when extra-parliamentary organisational structurescomposing their lists of candidates. when, as a result of voting reforms, ever more citizens received the right to vote and,Nevertheless, conflicts with national parties in consequence, their approval of decisionscan arise. If the interest of the European Union regarding personnel and policy became crucial.conflicts with that of individual Member States,European parliamentarians could side with This (very brief) review of the genesis of nationalthe Union because their (re-)nomination is parties also holds true for the development ofdependent on the European party. Thus, they the European parties. Parliamentary groups inwould come into a conflict of loyalty between the Community first formed in the parliamentarytheir European responsibilities and their national meetings of the ECSC. These groups were (inparty attachment. Such conflicts, however, also the two large party families) deeply involved inarise every now and then between politicians the establishment of the European parties whenwho belong to different levels of the same party the prospect of direct voting to the Europeanwithin national states; for example, a city mayor Parliament was first put forward. Thus, the supportmay pursue other interests than those of the of citizens for a policy also became relevant atnational government. the European level. Nevertheless, elections still take place within the national framework, andstep 2. the uniformity of the European secondly, the range of responsibilities of thevoting right European parliamentarians continues to lag behind that of their national colleagues.The inconsistency of the voting right is (in viewof the continuing institutional deficit) only one The latter shortcoming is not a crucial hindrancefacet of the democratic deficit of the European to the development of a European partyUnion. The transformation of the present party democracy: although there are still certainfederations into a European party system could, gaps within the range of responsibilities, thehowever, offer a key. European Parliament has gradually received the three classical functions of national parliamentsIt is partly the failure of the four European mentioned above. Nevertheless, this was notparties themselves, due to way they are presently accompanied by the institutional integrationorganised, that today they hardly contribute to of the party federations, by which they couldthe reduction of the EU’s democratic deficit. They take on both of the main functions of politicalhave no effective role as intermediaries between parties: on the institutional level, it needs tocitizens and the Community bodies since they be settled what capabilities European partieslack the decisive characteristic common to all will have, through which they can have directtheir national member parties: the institutional influence on politics via their parliamentaryconditions for European parties to express the groups and member parties. The recruitingpolitical will and transmit it to the Community function can, however, be perceived onlybodies are not in place. vaguely, if at all. Since these two main functions of a political party do not presently exist, theIn the 15 EU Member States prior to the party federations can transfer legitimacy only tomost recent enlargement, the establishment a very limited degree. 167 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Two Steps to European Party Democracy Therefore, the European parties are at present voting system, their demand is also backed by the not capable of solving the problem of the EU’s studies of European integration. The democratic democratic deficit. The proposed solutions can principle requires, among other things, that all be divided into two groups. Proponents of citizens have an equal opportunity to participate the first group, who set forth various models, in the expression of the political will in the suggest reducing the importance of question Community. This is grounded in the legally of legitimacy; in other words, they ask whether protected equal treatment of all Community the democratic legitimacy of the Community citizens, which, however, conflicts with the fact must necessarily take place via the EP. Scenarios that contingents of the member countries in the were developed which give up the goal of EP are not allotted on the basis of proportional parliamentary legitimacy entirely and look for representation. other possibilities. Such solutions will not be discussed here since no convincing alternatives In order to promote the development of a to the present practice have been proposed European party system, the following fundamental which have the slightest chance of being principles would have to be integrated into any implemented. reform establishing a uniform right to vote: The second group of proposals for solving the • nominations of EP candidates would take problem of the European democratic deficit place within the European parties; points to certain political steps, based on the • the entire European Union would function following maxim: “member-state legitimacy as one constituency; and Community legitimacy cannot replace each • citizens would vote for European-wide lists other mutually.”19 Therefore, if one remains with and/or single candidates; and the present multi-level system in principle and • the votes would be distributed after the considers the prospects for the establishment of elections on the basis of proportional a European party democracy, one has to agree representation. with Rainer Stentzel: “the key to the entire re- evaluation of the functions of European parties Obstacles to be overcome is in the expansion of the parties’ recruiting function which would result from direct elections All in all, no fundamental obstacles lie in the way to the European Parliament.”20 of the implementation of a uniform European voting right and thus the establishment of a When it was adapted in September 1976, the act European party democracy. Nevertheless, plans concerning the election of the representatives to to implement such a right have never even the European Parliament stated that the voting reached the stage of draft agreements since regulations in force were to be only temporary crucial participants have thus far been held back until “the entry into force of a uniform electoral from discussing the topic, and this for at least procedure.”21 Such a uniform procedure has four reasons: always been a key demand of the ELDR and has been supported by the European Greens for ten 1. The smaller Member States of the European years. Even though it is obvious that the two Union would have to give up the super- smaller party federations hope to increase the proportional weight of the votes of their number of their MEPs in a uniform proportional citizens. 19 Grams 1998: 131. 20 Stentzel 2002: 411. 21 “Pending the entry into force of a uniform electoral procedure and subject to the other provisions of this Act, the electoral procedure shall be governed in each Member State by its national provisions.” Act concerning the election of the representatives the Parliament by direct universal suffrage, annexed to the Council Decision of 20 September 1976, Council Decision (76/787/ ECSC, EEC, Euratom), Art. 7 (2).168 European View
    • Andreas von Gehlen2. Likewise, the national (and partly regional) the European Parliament, the Council and the top officials of the parties would lose their Commission: since the double legitimacy of the strong influence on the compilation of national states and the European level is not the lists of candidates for the European subject to discussion, there are only a limited Parliament. number of options for the reform of these3. Since all Member States would have to give bodies which have a serious chance of being their approval to this step of integration, implemented. Other suggestions—for example, all party federations would have to agree to provide for the independent authorisation of on this matter. The two smaller federations the members of the Council—are therefore not have already demanded such a reform; the considered in the following remarks. EPP could join in based on both its federal internal organisation and its platform. This In order that European parties have the same step is not, however, to be expected from functions, and therefore the same powers, as all member parties of the PES because of their national counterparts, the Commission their reservations about a closer integration and the Council should be responsible to of their parties. the EP; the Parliament should also be able to4. Finally, the discussion of a uniform hold individual votes of confidence in every European voting right could lead to the fear Commissioner. The stature of the European that competing organisations of all national parties could be increased beyond that if the member parties might be established in the executive of the European Union were forced home country. to rely on a parliamentary majority and the formation of coalitions (the national pattern)However, political parties in the EU member were to be promoted. The European Parliamentcountries would be “short-sighted, if they were to should take part in the complete law-makingoppose such a development. Their influence on process; it should have the right of initiative asEuropean policy, which is growing continuously well as the power to pass emergency decrees.both quantitatively and qualitatively, is declining, Furthermore, the right of appointment of thebecause the decisions are taken mainly by the European Parliament could be expanded, e.g.executive branch. Within the executive, the to include the judges and attorneys general atpower of the bureaucracy has been increasing.”22 the European Court of Justice and appointeesTherefore, it should be considered necessary to both the European Court of Auditors and theto adapt the party system to the ongoing European Central Bank.development of European integration; nationalparties must transfer a part of their sovereignty Flanking measuresto the Community level just as has been done bythe national states in the last decades. Finally, the emergence of a European party democracy could be supported by flankingInstitutional reforms of the EP to enhance measures based on the Northern Europeandemocratisation policy of public transparency; this policy should be expanded to the entire European level.Following this discussion of changes to the Thus, freedom of information and access tolegal status of parties and of electoral changes, all documents and minutes of the Europeanadditional factors in the reduction of the EU’s Union would help the European parties drawdemocratic deficit by means of the development attention to corruption. This would enhanceof European party democracy can now be noted. their credibility among citizens.First, proposals for the institutional reforms of22 Klein 2001: 58 (n. 107). 169 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Two Steps to European Party Democracy Various other suggestions have been made in the Bibliography same direction: to encourage, for example, the expansion of European media by establishing Featherstone, Kevin (1994). Jean Monnet and multilingual radio and television stations. Such the “Democratic Deficit” in the European measures, however, cannot cause, but only Union. Journal of Common Market Studies, support—via the growth of a pan-European 32, 149-170. public—the emergence of a European party democracy. Grams, Hartmut A. (1998). Zur Gesetzgebung der Europäischen Union – Eine vergleichende European party democracy! Strukturanalyse aus staatsorganisatorischer Sicht. Neuwied/Kriftel. In the preceding paragraphs, measures were outlined which should be regarded as starting Huber, Peter M. (2001). Die Rolle der nationalen points for the reduction of the democratic deficit Parlamente bei der Rechtssetzung der of the European Union by a European party Europäischen Union – Zur Sicherung und democracy. They cannot claim completeness zum Ausbau der Mitwirkungsrechte des in view of the abundance of suggestions for Deutschen Bundestages. München. enhancing the legitimacy of the European Union, but they have been consciously formulated to Höreth, Marcus (1999). Die Europäische open up discussion. Union im Legitimationstrilemma – Zur Rechtfertigung des Regierens jenseits der This article claims that the debate over the Staatlichkeit. Baden-Baden. legitimacy of the EU should focus on the European parties. At the national level, English Isensee, Josef (1992). Verfassungsrecht als theorists were among the first to concern „politisches Recht“. In Josef Isensee & Paul themselves with the parliamentary system, long Kirchhof (Eds.), Handbuch des Staatsrechts before the transfer of legitimacy by political der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bd. VII: parties was an issue. Since the functions of the Normativität und Schutz der Verfassung – European Parliament have increased extensively Internationale Beziehungen (pp. 103-162, § in the past two decades, European parties have 162). Heidelberg. to follow this development of the EU and be prepared and empowered to play their part in Kipping, Matthias (1996). Zwischen Kartellen the manner in which Community institutions und Konkurrenz – Der Schuman-Plan und arrive at their decisions. die Ursprünge der europäischen Einigung 1944-1952. Berlin. A European party democracy can contribute to the reduction of the democratic deficit of Klein, Hans H. (2001). GG Art. 21, Lfg. 03.2001 the European Union if suitable institutional (expanded February 2004). In Theodor conditions are created that would facilitate the Maunz & Günter Dürig (Eds.), 1980-2004: adoption of appropriate functions. Grundgesetz Kommentar (Bd. III, Art. 17- 27). München. Leibholz, Gerhard (1960). Das Wesen der Andreas von Gehlen is the author of ‘European Repräsentation und der Gestaltwandel der Party Democracy? Institutional Preconditions and Demokratie im 20. Jahrhundert. Berlin. Functional Terms to Reduce the EU’s Democratic Deficit’.170 European View
    • Andreas von GehlenMaurer, Andreas (2002). Europäisches Parlament. In Werner Weidenfeld & Wolfgang Wessels (Eds.), 2002: Europa von A bis Z – Taschenbuch der europäischen Integration (pp. 192-201). Bonn.Maurer, Andreas & Schild, Joachim (Eds.) (2003). Der Konvent über die Zukunft der Europäischen Union – Synoptische Darstellung zur Konventsdebatte, Bd. 2. Berlin.Nentwich, Michael & Falkner, Gerda (1997). The Treaty of Amsterdam: Towards a new institutional balance. In European Integration On-Line Papers.Niclauß, Karlheinz (2002). Das Parteiensystem der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – Eine Einführung. Paderborn/München/Wien/ Zürich.Simson, Werner von (1991). Was heißt in einer europäischen Verfassung „Das Volk“? Europarecht, 1, 1-18.Stentzel, Rainer (2002). Integrationsziel Parteiendemokratie – Rechtliche Rahmenbedingungen für eine Demokratisierung der Europäischen Union. Baden-Baden.Wallace, William & Smith, Julie (1995). Democracy or Technocracy? European integration and the problem of popular consent. West European Politics, 18, 137- 157.Weber, Max (1976). Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft – Grundriß der verstehenden Soziologie. Tübingen. 171 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Alexis Wintoniak Uniting the Centre-right of Europe:The Result of Historical Developments and Political Leadership By Alexis Wintoniak On its thirtieth anni- leaders was quite visible, led by charismatic versary, the European figures such as Willy Brandt, Olaf Palme and People’s Party (EPP) Bruno Kreisky. hardly resembles what it was at its foundation The Socialist International did not leave behind in 1976. With 73 parties many lasting achievements; however, it didfrom 36 countries, 18 heads of government create the impression of political dominanceand with the largest group in the European in Europe. On the other hand, the first directParliament, it is today the leading political elections to the European Parliament in 1979force in Europe. This strength is the result of an were in sight, and both groups, the Socialistsongoing integration and enlargement process; and the Liberals, were about to establish theirthe EPP is moving in parallel with developments organisations at the European level. It wasin the European Union itself. On the structural within the EUCD that an association of Christianside, the success of the EPP is the result of its Democrat parties from EC countries first tookcapacity to integrate and unite all centre-right shape. Finally, the EPP was formally establishedforces in Europe. Only a few years ago, there in spring 1976.were still three centre/centre-right internationalsin Europe: The European People’s Party (EPP), Compared with today’s EPP, this was a tinythe European Union of Christian Democrats group. The EPP counted only a handful of(EUCD) and the European Democrat Union parties as its members as it limited itself to(EDU). The successful integration of the EUCD Christian Democrats and to parties from memberand the EDU into the EPP is not only the result of countries of the EC. For this reason, it comprisedhistoric developments but equally a testament to at the beginning only ten full members from sixpolitical will and leadership. countries. It was the German CDU and CSU that realised that the EPP in its original configuration would not be sufficient to achieve a majority inHistorical background the European institutions.How did it come about that there were originally It became obvious that an EPP without otherthree internationals on the centre-right? The centre and centre-right parties would neverNouvelles Équipes Internationales (NEI) were become the strongest force in Europe. Yet forfounded in 1948. The NEI were not so much ideological reasons, a large number of EPP anda federation of parties proper as a rather loose EUCD parties were reluctant to open up to non-association of Christian Democrat politicians. Christian Democrat Parties; moreover, manyThe EUCD was founded in 1965 and facilitated Christian Democrats were also facing stronga significant increase in party cooperation. competition from conservative or like-mindedHowever, the big step forward came in the mid- parties in their own countries. Some of the1970s. For the centre-right it was high time to Christian Democrat parties were also leaningact: Socialists and Social Democrats governed more towards cooperation with the centre-leftmost of the member countries of the European than to embracing the Liberals or Conservatives;Community (EC). At the European and this was reflected in the formation of variousinternational levels, cooperation between their coalition governments at that time. 173 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Uniting the Centre-right of Europe: The Result of Historical Developments and Political Leadership The vision of a Third Way between communism Different political cultures and capitalism was still a live option for some Christian Democrat leaders. The EDU followed a different model of party cooperation than the EPP. The EPP has always Christian Democrat parties from non-EC considered itself a party per se with all the countries were not entitled to join the EPP; this features a party should have: huge congresses was seen as discrimination against longstanding with many activists, the election of its leading members of the Christian Democrat family. So representatives ad personam rather than per there was a clear need for an alternative to the member party, majority voting as the rule and EPP as it was then constituted. On the one hand, party-weighted votes. The democratic principle the alternative needed to be a promising basis was thus stressed as the norm. In general, the for a majority in European institutions, and on EPP has always sought to become independent the other hand, it had to provide a home for the of its member parties, creating its own identity centre/centre-right parties outside the EC. and being represented publicly by its own EPP leaders. Consequently, in addition to continuing to cooperate within the EUCD and the EPP, a In the EDU, on the other hand, cooperation was number of Christian Democrat parties established strictly hierarchical: all decision-making powers regular contacts with Conservative parties from were derived from the party leaders. The Party all over Europe. At inter-party conferences in the Leaders Conference was the supreme decision 1970s, centre-right leaders from Austria, Britain, making body, electing the chair and adopting Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, the joint EDU policies. All decisions were to Sweden and later also Spain and Portugal be taken unanimously, even in the Steering gathered on a yearly basis. This European-level Committee, which was composed of the platform provided the French Gaullists and the Secretaries-General and International Secretaries UK Conservatives with appropriate partners, of the member parties. The EDU Chairman and for the CDU and CSU, it opened the door to had to be a party leader himself, and thus creating a structural majority at the EC-level. This hold a strong position within the organisation. was also the right platform for the Scandinavian However, the EDU did not aim at becoming a Conservatives, who were neither eligible nor political entity itself; rather, it was to serve as a willing to join the EUCD. For the Austrian vehicle for cooperation among its members. People’s Party, this arrangement compensated for being left out of the EPP. On 24 April 1978, For many years the EPP has been dominated by the European Democrat Union was founded in the EPP Group in the European Parliament, with Klessheim/Salzburg. From its very beginning, its huge personnel and financial resources and the EDU pursued a clear set of goals. above all its political power, which is increasing in step with the growing power of the European The 1978 Klessheim Declaration had a strong Parliament. For this reason, the EPP has been credo: democracy, liberty, the rule of law and ‘Brussels dominated’, focusing primarily on social solidarity. The EDU defined itself as the developments within EU institutions and on the main counterpart to socialism and communism. development of the EU itself. The political focus While in domestic policy issues the EDU stood of the EPP was intertwined with the priorities for a social market economy, at the international of the EPP Group. By and large, the debate level it had a clear zero-tolerance policy towards within the EPP was among leading members the communists. of the European Parliament. The main topics of the debate have always been long-range issues, above all institutional and constitutional matters and the ongoing reform of the European174 European View
    • Alexis WintoniakUnion, its enlargement and most recently the a Western Balkan Democracy Initiative wasconstitutional treaty. The terms of debate have established, providing for regular cooperationalways been set by the congresses of the EPP, between democratic forces in South-East Europewith the preparation of the Congress manifestos and the EDU parties. In addition, the EDUand policy papers. Certainly European elections founded a Pan-European Forum for regularhave regularly been the paramount concern of cooperation with centre/centre-right forces inthe EPP. Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other successor states to the Soviet Union.By contrast, the EDU was not primarily focussedon developments in Brussels, but rather on There was also a considerable differencedevelopments in the capitals all over Europe. The in human and financial resources. The EPPEDU’s political work was rooted in its standing Secretariat has always aimed at becoming the deworking committees established by the leaders facto headquarters of the party. In addition toof the member parties. The working committees its considerable number of employees, the EPPwere given a clear mandate, and the chairs also tried to incorporate affiliated associationsof the Committees—appointed by the party such as the Christian Democrat International, theleaders—had to report to the Leaders Meeting. youth movement and the women’s organisation.The topics of the working committees were Efforts were made to make the seat of the EPP athe most pressing issues of common concern, beacon for European and international Christianwhere the establishment of joint positions was Democracy, first at Rue de la Victoire (wherebadly needed. the name was the message) and then at Rue D’Arlon.Traditionally, the party leaders establishedstanding working committees on European The EDU Secretariat on the other hand waspolicy, security policy, economic and social policy, always small: not the headquarters but ratherdomestic affairs and campaign management. a clearinghouse to serve its member partiesThe committees were composed of the official in their party-to-party cooperation. With onlyparty representatives responsible for the a limited number of part-time staff, the EDUrespective policy area, usually the parliamentary drew on the member parties for its humanspokesperson of the member parties. The policy resources—i.e. it drew from the Secretaries-papers and joint programmes established by the General and International Secretaries of thecommittees thus reflected the political views of member parties—thereby creating a European-the member parties as represented in their own wide network.national Parliaments. the need to combine forcesIn addition to the working committees, the EDUfocused on the processes for building democracy At the time of their foundation in the 1970s,in Europe. The EDU was the first transnational the separate tasks of the EPP and the EDUgroup to set up concrete programmes of support could easily be discerned: the EPP was therefor the democratic forces in Central and Eastern for cooperation among the Christian DemocratsEurope after 1989. As early as 1990, centre- within the European Communities with anright parties from Central and Eastern Europe emphasis on EC issues, and the EDU was therejoined the EDU. This led to early membership to facilitate the European-wide cooperation ofin the EDU from all of today’s new EU member a broader ideological spectrum, i.e. Christiancountries. After the Balkan wars of the mid-1990s, Democrats, Conservatives and like-mindedthe EDU’s democracy building efforts focused groups. Two historic developments moved theon South-East Europe. Following numerous two sets of tasks ever closer. The first of thesefact-finding missions to the Balkan countries, was ideological rapprochement between the 175 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Uniting the Centre-right of Europe: The Result of Historical Developments and Political Leadership Christian Democrats and Conservatives. The impetus. Entitled ‘Towards the majority’, a new collapse of communism slowly but surely had mission statement for the EDU was adopted by an impact on political thinking in the Western the EDU party leaders: democracies. The purist Christian Democrat ideologies, rooted in Italy and the Benelux The cooperation within the European countries, were in decline. On the other hand, Democrat Union has proved to be with the departure of Margaret Thatcher and a success story: Parties of different the subsequent decline of Thatcherism itself, traditional backgrounds, Conservative, and with the self-imposed isolation of the UK Christian Democrat or like-minded centrist Conservatives from European issues, the other parties, from small or large nations, from end of the centre-right spectrum also lost Member States of the European Union influence. The result was a general tendency to and non-EU states have worked together move towards the centre/centre-right. Moreover, for their joint principles. Communism and following the EU enlargement of 1995, the old-style socialism have been defeated entry of the conservative parties from Northern on our continent, and it is our principles Europe into the European People’s Party marked which have shaped European policy over the ideological breakthrough. Later the Forza the past years. However, there are new Italia and the French RPR joined the EPP. Within challenges. The socialist and leftist parties the European Parliament, the EPP continued to have moved their rhetoric to the centre, form a group with the British Conservatives and and new forms of populist parties and later with additional Conservative parties from movements are gaining support. In many Central and Eastern Europe. European countries, the EDU parties are again in opposition. This must be Turning to the second of the two developments, reversed. the enlargement of the European Union in 2004 made the geographical division of labour On the other hand, the European and between the EDU and the EPP superfluous. In international cooperation of the EDU the period leading up to their membership in parties is not yet sufficiently streamlined the EU, the Christian Democrat, Conservative to maximise the potential of our parties. and like-minded parties from Central and Apart from the European Democrat Eastern Europe had already enjoyed practically Union, many of the EDU members are full status within the EPP. also members of the European People’s Party and their corresponding groups in Both elements, ideological rapprochement and the European parliamentary institutions; membership convergence, called for the timely others are members of the ‘Union for integration of the two organisations. Europe’ in the European Parliament and the ‘European Democratic Group’ in the A successful integration process Council of Europe. The European Union of Christian Democrats still exists although it Negotiations to bring about the closer is currently being integrated into the EPP. cooperation of the centre-right parties have a Multiple memberships are a constraint on long tradition. During the 1990s a number of maximising the potential of EDU parties initiatives were undertaken in order to avoid in the European cooperation, both in the duplication in the activities of the EDU, the political field where our opponents could EUCD and the EPP. However, the organisations take advantage of this fragmentation, and were still too far apart to achieve structural is a burden on the human and financial reforms. The 18th EDU Party Leaders Conference resources of the EDU members. in Salzburg on 24–25 April 1998 brought new176 European View
    • Alexis Wintoniak Twenty years after its foundation the Italia and the RPR were going to form a new EDU shall for that reason undertake a European party based on their own group in the new effort to realise the principles of European Parliament. the Klessheim Declaration: to unite the Christian Democrat, Conservative and However, in light of the forthcoming European like-minded centrist parties and to merge elections in June 1999, not much progress was the existing organisations in one new achieved over the following months. Then, an European party organisation, respecting agreement was reached in July 1999, whereby the various identities and approaches of the UK Conservatives, the French RPR and the these European parties. The Party Leaders Forza Italia entered the EPP group. Certainly therefore ask the Chairman of the EDU to this would also have been the right time to sort open consultations with national parties out cooperation on the party level; however, and other party organisations concerned time was short and the rapid formation of the and to prepare a report to the Party parliamentary group was higher on the agenda. Leaders by September 1998. The successful formation of one group in the European Parliament comprising the memberOn this basis, the EDU leadership consulted with parties of the EPP and of the EDU made amember parties and with the EPP Presidency. merger of the two organisations more likely toTwo major options were discussed: either a become an integration of the EDU into the EPP.formal merger (a combined organisation wouldbe set up either by a founding congress of the At their conference in Berlin on 16 SeptemberEPP and the EDU or through constitutional acts 1999, the EDU party leaders decided that, inby the respective EPP and EDU bodies) or a addition to the continuation of joint EPP/EDUgradual merger, whereby the EDU and the EPP working committees, the decision-makingwould be integrated step by step. It very quickly bodies of the organisations should alsobecame clear that neither within the EPP nor cooperate as far as possible. Furthermore, thewithin the EDU would the necessary majority infrastructure of the two organisations shouldbe found for the big leap of a formal merger. be shared, and the EDU Secretariat should beTherefore, the first steps towards a gradual moved from Vienna to Brussels. This came intomerger were taken by a joint agreement of the effect by April 2000. In the meetings of the EDUPresidencies of the European People’s Party and Steering Committee and the EPP Political Bureauthe European Democrat Union in September in January and February 2000, the details of this1998. It was agreed that a single European closer cooperation were agreed upon. Whereasorganisation of the centre/centre-right would be the decision-making bodies continued tothe goal. First, the groups in the parliamentary operate independently—although dates, venuesbodies in Europe would merge: joint EDU/EPP and agendas were harmonised—all workingworking groups, seminars, conferences and committees, conferences, seminars and fact-fact-finding missions would become the rule; finding missions became joint projects, and theand the youth, women’s, business and senior secretariats started working together under onecitizens’ associations would also be merged. roof in Brussels.Furthermore, the presidiums and the secretariats The EDU Party Leaders Conference and the EPPof the two organisations would enter into closer Congress in Berlin in January 2001 then decidedcooperation. On this occasion, the EPP also on a joint working programme, setting up EPP/reiterated its invitation to the French RPR to join EDU working committees on European policy,its parliamentary group. In this regard one has foreign and security policy, economic and socialto consider that only a few months prior, early policy, campaign management and enlargement,in 1998, rumours had emerged that the Forza as well as a Pan European Forum and a Western 177 Volume 3 - Spring 2006
    • Uniting the Centre-right of Europe: The Result of Historical Developments and Political Leadership Balkan Democracy Initiative. These bodies were chaired by EPP and EDU nominees, and the respective decision-making groups of the EPP and the EDU agreed on common internal rules for these committees. It turned out that the gradual merger was moving towards the goal envisaged by the party leaders already back in 1998. The final step was taken at the EDU Party Leaders Conference in October 2002. The party leaders decided that the days of the ‘old’ European Democrat Union had come to an end. They left open the possibility, however, that a political platform of the EDU might continue as an annual Party Leaders Conferences and as the European component within the International Democrat Union (IDU). However, the following months and years showed that the EDU parties felt comfortable with the new arrangement within the EPP. This provision did not lead, therefore, to the continuation of a separate organisation outside the EPP. conclusions The European integration process is a success story, as is the inter-party cooperation on the centre-right. Starting from different ideological and geographical backgrounds, the EDU and EPP have merged into one powerful centre/centre- right organisation in Europe. After a long process of rapprochement, the EPP has integrated the strengths of the EDU; cooperation is based on a broader ideological and geographical vision and on the individual national parties. This vision has sust