Wednesday 10 June 2009

European Parliament: Forming political groups

The European Parliament’s web page Election results offers an update as of yesterday (provisional 9 June 2009 18:51 CEST)

If we sort the parties into rough categories, we get the following preliminary view of the balance of power in the European Parliament 2009 to 2014.



Left 32 (4%)
• Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) 32



Centre-left 162 (22%)
• Socialist Group in the European Parliament (PES) 162

Centre 132 (18%)
• Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) 52
• Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) 80

Centre-right 264 (36%)
• Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) (EPP) 264



Nationalists and others 146 (20%)
• Others 93
• Union for Europe of the Nations Group (UEN) 35
• Independence/Democracy Group (IND/DEM) 18


The categories are mainly based on historical affinities, although the sub-group of European Democrats has been eliminated.

Theoretically 369 is a majority, but often it is needed in practice, when a majority of the component members is required. The total number of MEPs is 736.

The combined strength of the mainstream groups is 558 at this moment. This number will probably rise as others, like the Italian Partito Democratico and the Irish Fianna Fail, join the mainstream political groups.


The nationalists and others are most fascinating, because considerable movement is to be expected. The UK Conservatives, the Polish Law and Justice Party and the Czech Civic Platform (49 MEPs) will be joined by others to establish the announced nationalist and anti-federalist group, probably the fourth largest.


At this stage, the Independence/Democracy Group does not reach the threshold of 25 MEPs from seven EU member states. In its present incarnation, the Union for Europe of the Nations Group is doomed as well, because the Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS) will part with 15 MEPs.

Ultra-nationalists often serve their xenophobic and/or anti-EU views in similar populist packages, but their nationalisms tend to be mutually exclusive.

Ralf Grahn

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