Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Europarties

European level political parties will hopefully field candidates for the Commission Presidency and present platforms for an accountable, democratic and legitimate European Union ahead of the European elections in June 2009.

But until now, we have heard nothing or embarrassed murmurs from the established Europarties.

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Background

Political parties at European level are recognised and funded by the European Union on certain conditions, including elected representatives in or from a quarter of the member states.

For an overview of the regulations and facts, you can read the Wikipedia article European political party:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_political_party

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Libertas

Declan Ganley has announced that Libertas launches a pan-European campaign for the 2009 European Parliament elections:

http://www.libertas.eu/

Newspapers have reported that Ganley has applied for European Union funding and called for donations.

Calling itself a pan-European political movement, the ‘About us’ web page of Libertas does not reveal who ‘we’ are.

As long as Libertas has not shown that it has elected representatives in at least a quarter of EU member states (seven), it is not formally a political party at European level.

Then there is the question if Libertas is the first potential pan-European party (possibly even truly based on EU citizens instead of being a confederation of national political parties).

At least two earlier and existing examples come to mind.

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Europe United

Europe United claims to be a pan-European political party established by citizens who believe in a stronger and more accountable European Union. Europe United believes the EU is the best forum to deal with the challenges of globalisation. Europe United is in favour of greater European integration, but at the same time Europe United remains critical of the way the way the European Union currently works and believes that democratic reform of the EU is necessary.

Europe United wants a Europe of the people, by the people and for the people.

For more information, go to:

http://europeunited.eu/modules/start/

According to the party history, United Europe was established and registered in Denmark in 2005, so if it is as potential as a recognised Europarty as Libertas, it is clearly older.

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Newropeans

Newropeans describes itself as the first trans-European political movement, which will run for European elections in 2009 in all EU Member States with the same name, the same programme and the same objective. Their aim is to help turn the EU from a bureaucratic top-down project into a democratically managed political entity.

The Newropeans refer to a history of twenty years of European networking, with the formal launch of the party dated to 2005.

The Newropeans’ web site is found here:

http://www.newropeans.eu/index.php?lang=en

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Seniority

Despite media reports to the contrary, we can establish that Libertas is not the first pan-European movement intent on becoming an official trans-European political party.

Actually the older ones, both Europe United and Newropeans seem to offer broadly similar positive messages aiming at a democratic European Union,

For an outsider it is easy to think that these two parties would be wise to join forces, if they want to make an impact.

On the other hand, Libertas has yet to unfold anything but a No vote elevated to the European level.

While the established Europarties doze, President Nicolas Sarkozy glorifies the great nation(s) of Europe. The European Parliament, the Commission and the EU citizens are at the receiving end of the new style of the season: brittle coalitions within the European Council undermining robust institutions and democratic aspirations.


Ralf Grahn