European Free Alliance

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
European Free Alliance
Alliance libre européenne
President Eric Defoort
Founded 1981 (1981)
Headquarters Boomkwekerijstraat 1, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Think tank Centre Maurits Coppieters
Ideology Regionalism[1]
Minority interest politics[1]
Progressivism (majority)
European Parliament group The Greens–European Free Alliance
Colours Purple
European Parliament
7 / 754
European Council
(Heads of Government)
0 / 27
National Upper House Seats
24 / 2,273
National Lower House Seats
43 / 7,124
Politics of European Union
Political parties

The European Free Alliance (EFA) is a European political party.

It consists of various national-level political parties in Europe advocating either full political independence (statehood), or some form of devolution or self-governance for their country or region.[citation needed] The alliance has generally limited its membership to progressive parties,[2] and therefore, not all European regionalist parties are members of EFA.

The EFA and European Green Party operate together to form The Greens–European Free Alliance political grouping in the European Parliament. The EFA's youth wing is the European Free Alliance Youth (EFAY).


Since the 1979 European Parliament election regionalists and separatists have been represented in the European Parliament. In that election five regionalist parties got seats: the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) of Northern Ireland, the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Flemish People's Union (VU), the Walloon Fédéralistes Démocrates Francophones (FDF) and the South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP). The SNP, although being a predominantly social-democratic party, joined the European Progressive Democrats, which was led by the Gaullist Rally for the Republic, the SDLP the Socialist Group, VU and FDF the heterogeneous Technical Group of Independents, which comprised both conservative and left-wing MEPs, and the SVP the European People's Party group.[3]

In 1981 several European regionalist parties joined forces to form a pan-European coalition, called the European Free Alliance – Democratic Party of the Peoples of Europe.[4] It was not until the 1989 European Parliament election that the EFA members formed a united group in the European Parliament. Before, the regionalists had been seated divided, with the SNP with the Gaullist-dominated European Democratic Alliance, VU, the Valdotanian Union and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) in the Rainbow Group, together with green parties, the South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP) with the European People's Party group, and Batasuna among the Non-Inscrits.[5]

In 1989 EFA members formed a group also called Rainbow. It consisted of three Italian MEPs (Lega Nord two, Sardinian Action Party one), two Spanish MEPs (one each for the PNV and the Andalusian Party, PA), one Belgian MEP (for VU), one French MEP (Union of the Corsican People, UPC), one British MEP (SNP) and one independent MEP from Ireland. They were joined by 4 MEPs from the Danish left-wing Eurosceptic People's Movement against the EU, while the other regionalist MEPs, including those of the SDLP, the SVP, Batasuna and the Convergence and Union of Catalonia (CiU) refused to join.[6]

In the 1994 European Parliament election the regionalists lost many seats. Moreover, EFA had suspended its major affiliate, Lega Nord, for having joined forces in government with the post-fascist National Alliance. Also, the PNV chose to switch to the European People's Party (EPP). The three remaining EFA MEPs (representing SNP, VU and Canarian Coalition) formed a common group with the French Energie Radicale list and the Italian Pannella List: the European Radical Alliance.[7]

Following the 1999 European Parliament election EFA members formed a common European parliamentary group with the European Green Party called The Greens–European Free Alliance. The EFA supplied ten members: two of the Scottish SNP, two of the Welsh Plaid Cymru (PC), two of the Flemish VU, one of the Basque PNV, one of Basque Solidarity (EA), one of the Andalusian PA, and one of the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG).[8]

In the 2004 European Parliament election the EFA was reduced to four MEPs two of the SNP (Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith), one of PC (Jill Evans) and one of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC; Bernat Joan i Mari, replaced at the mid-term by MEP Mikel Irujo of Basque EA) plus two affiliate members (Tatjana Ždanoka of For Human Rights in United Latvia (PCTVL) and László Tőkés, independent MEP and former member of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UMDR). The co-operation between EFA and the Greens was continued. In 2004 the EFA formally became a European political party.[9]

Following the 2008 revision of the EU Regulation that governs European political parties allowing the creation of European foundations affiliated to Europarties, the EFA established in September 2007 its official foundation/think tank, the Centre Maurits Coppieters (CMC).[10]

In the 2009 European Parliament election the EFA got six MEPs elected: two from the SNP (Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith), one from the PC (Jill Evans), one from the Party of the Corsican Nation (PNC; François Alfonsi), one from the ERC (Oriol Junqueras) and Tatjana Ždanoka, individual member of the EFA from Latvia. After the election the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) also joined the EFA. The EFA subgroup thus counts 7 MEPs.[11]


In the Brussels Declaration of 2000 the EFA codified its political principles. The EFA stands for "a Europe of Free Peoples based on the principle of subsidiarity, which believe in solidarity with each other and the peoples of the world."[12]

The EFA sees itself as an alliance of stateless peoples, which are striving towards independence, autonomy, recognition or that want a proper voice in Europe. It supports European integration on basis of the subsidiarity-principle. It believes however that Europe should move away from further centralisation. It works towards the formation of a Europe of Regions. It believes that regions should have more power in Europe, for instance participate in the Council of the European Union, when matters within their competence are discussed. It also wants to protect the linguistic and cultural diversity within the European Union.

The EFA stands on the left of the political spectrum, and in the Brussels declaration it emphasises the protection of human rights, sustainable development and social justice. In 2007 the EFA congress in Bilbao added several progressive principles to the declaration: including a commitment to fight against racism, antisemitism, discrimination, xenophobia and islamophobia and a commitment to get full citizenship for migrants, including voting rights.

EFA members are generally progressive, although there are some notable exceptions such as conservative New Flemish Alliance, Bavaria Party and Future of Åland, Christian-democratic ProDG and Slovene Union, centre-right Liga Veneta Repubblica, and far-right[13][14][15][16] South Tyrolean Freedom.


The main organs of the EFA organisation are the General Assembly, the Bureau and the Secretariat.

In the General Assembly, the supreme council of the EFA, every member party has one vote. Only member parties can participate in the EFA. The EFA also has observers. Before becoming a member party, an organization needs to have been an observer of the EFA for at least one year. Only one member party per region is allowed. If a second party from a region wants to join the EFA, the first party needs to agree, at which point these two parties will then form a common delegation with one vote. The EFA also recognises friends of the EFA, a special status for regionalist parties outside of the European Union.[12]

The Bureau takes care of daily affairs. It is chaired by Eric Defoort (New Flemish Alliance). Marta Rovira (Republican Left of Catalonia) is secretary-general. François Alfonsi (Party of the Corsican Nation). The other members of the Bureau are all vice-presidents: Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru), Gustave Alirol (Occitan Party), Fabrizio Comencini (Liga Veneta Repubblica), Ana Miranda Paz (Galician Nationalist Bloc), Ian Hudghton (Scottish National Party), Sybren Posthumus (Frisian National Party), Sebastian Colio (Basque Solidarity), Dimitrios Ioannou (Rainbow), Rolf Granlund (Future of Åland), Reinhild Campidell (South Tyrolean Freedom) and Lucy Collyer (Majorca Socialist Party).[17]


Current state(s) Party Seeking to
 Austria Unity List Carinthian Slovenes 2005/2006 0
 Belgium New Flemish Alliance  Flanders 2010 1
 Belgium ProDG German-speaking Belgians 2009/2011 0
 Bulgaria United Macedonian Organization Ilinden–Pirin ethnic Macedonians 2006/2007 0
 Czech Republic Moravané  Moravia 2006 0
 Croatia List for Fiume  Rijeka 2009/2010 0
 Denmark Schleswig Party Germans 2011 0
 Finland Future of Åland  Åland 2005/2006 0
 France Savoy Region Movement Duchy of Savoy Savoie 1991 0
 France Occitan Party  Occitania 1982 0
 France Party of the Corsican Nation  Corsica 1981 1[19]
 France Breton Democratic Union  Brittany 1987 0
 France Unser Land  Alsace 1991 0
 France Catalan Unity Catalonia Northern Catalonia and the Catalan Countries 1991 0
 Germany Bavaria Party  Bavaria 2007/2008 0
 Germany The Friesen East Frisia 2008/2009 0
 Germany South Schleswig Voter Federation Danes, North Frisians 2009/2010 0
 Greece Rainbow ethnic Macedonians 1999/2000 0
 Italy South Tyrolean Freedom  South Tyrol 2009 0
 Italy Liga Veneta Repubblica  Veneto 1999/2000 0
 Italy Sardinian Action Party  Sardinia 1984 0
 Italy Slovene Union Slovenia Slovenes 1991 0
 Italy Autonomy Liberty Participation Ecology Aosta Valley Aosta Valley 2007/2011 0
 Netherlands Frisian National Party  Friesland 1981 0
 Poland Silesian Autonomy Movement Upper Silesia 2002/2003 0
 Slovakia Party of Entrepreneurs of Slovakia Prešov and Košice 2008/2009 0
 Spain Galician Nationalist Bloc  Galicia 1994/2000 1
 Spain Aragonese Junta  Aragon 2003/2004 0
 Spain Majorca Socialist Party Catalonia Majorca and the Catalan Countries 2000/2008 0
 Spain /  France Republican Left of Catalonia Catalonia Catalan Countries 1989 0
 Spain /  France Basque Solidarity Basque Country 1986 0
 Spain Andalusian Party  Andalusia 1999 0
 United Kingdom Mebyon Kernow  Cornwall 2003 0
 United Kingdom Plaid Cymru  Wales 1983 1
 United Kingdom Scottish National Party  Scotland 1989 2

Observer members[edit]

Current state(s) Party Seeking to
Joined MEPs
 Germany Lusatian Alliance Sorbs, Lusatia 2009 0
 Latvia For Human Rights in United Latvia Baltic Russians, Latgalians 2010 1
 Spain /  France Aralar Party Basque Country 2012 0
 Spain New Canaries Canary Islands Canary Islands 2013 0
 Spain Valencian Nationalist Bloc Valencian Community Valencian Country 2013 0

Former members[edit]

Current state(s) Party Seeking to
 Belgium People's Union  Flanders 1981 Split into the New-Flemish Alliance and SPIRIT
 Belgium Social Liberal Party  Flanders 2001 Ceased activity in 2009
 France Savoyan League Duchy of Savoy Savoie 1999/2000
 Hungary Renewed Roma Union Party of Hungary Roma in Hungary 2009 Ceased activity in 2012
 Italy Emilian Free Alliance Emilia 1999/2000 Ceased activity in 2010
 Italy Lega Nord  Padania 1991 Suspended in 1994, left in 1996 and joined ELDR
 Italy Movement for the Independence of Sicily  Sicily 2009
 Italy Valdotanian Union  Aosta Valley Expelled in 2007 after lack of activity in EFA structures
 Lithuania Lithuanian Polish People's Party Poles 2003/2004 Ceased activity in 2010
 Italy Union for South Tyrol  South Tyrol Expelled in 2008 over its opposition to the Bilbao declaration
 Romania Transilvania–Banat League Transylvania and Banat Ceased activity
 Slovakia Hungarian Federalist Party Hungarians Ceased activity in 2005
 Spain /  France Basque Nationalist Party Basque Country 1999 Left in 2004 and joined the EDP

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. ^ Gupta, Devashree (2008), "Nationalism Across Borders: Transnational Nationalist Advocacy in the European Union", Comparative European Politics 6 (6): 61, doi:10.1057/palgrave.cep.6110127 
  3. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  4. ^ Andrew C. Gould; Anthony M. Messina (17 February 2014). Europe's Contending Identities: Supranationalism, Ethnoregionalism, Religion, and New Nationalism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 132–. ISBN 978-1-107-03633-8. 
  5. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  6. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  7. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  8. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  9. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  10. ^ "Centre Maurits Coppieters (CMC) - Ideas for Europe". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  11. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  12. ^ a b "European Free Alliance". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  13. ^ "I separati dell’Alto Adige - Corriere della Sera". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  14. ^ "Digos e carabinieri nella sede del partito - Alto Adige dal » Ricerca". 2010-10-14. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  15. ^ "Frattini denuncia il «diario» della Klotz - Cronaca - Alto Adige". 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  16. ^ "La Stampa - Nel diario scolastico sudtirolesei terroristi si scoprono eroi". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  17. ^ "European Free Alliance". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  18. ^ a b "Wass ist EFA?". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  19. ^ "Celtic Countries: Eu Election Results In Detail". 2009-07-09. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 

External links[edit]