European Free Alliance

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European Free Alliance
Alliance libre européenne  (French)
President François Alfonsi (PNC)
Secretary-General Jordi Solé (ERC)
Treasurer Lorena Lopez de Lacalle (EA)
Founded 9 July 1981 (9 July 1981)
Headquarters Boomkwekerijstraat 1,
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Think tank Centre Maurits Coppieters
Youth wing European Free Alliance Youth
Ideology Regionalism[1]
Ethnic minority interests[1]
Progressivism (majority)
European Parliament group Greens/EFA (7 MEPs)
ECR (N-VA, 4 MEPs)
Colours Purple
European Parliament
11 / 751
European Council
0 / 27

The European Free Alliance (EFA) is a European political coalition that consists of various regionalist[2][3] political parties in Europe. Members parties advocate either for full political independence and sovereignty, or some form of devolution or self-governance for their country or region.[4] The alliance has generally limited its membership to progressive parties;[5] therefore, only a fraction of European regionalist parties are members of the EFA.

Since 1999 the EFA and the European Green Party (EGP) have joined forces within Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) group in the European Parliament, albeit some EFA members have joined other groups from time to time.

The EFA's youth wing is the European Free Alliance Youth (EFAY), founded in 2000.


Regionalists have long been represented in the European Parliament. In the 1979 election four regionalist parties obtained seats: the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Flemish People's Union (VU), the Brussels-based Democratic Front of Francophones (FDF) and the South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP). The SNP, although being predominantly social-democratic, joined the European Progressive Democrats, a conservative group led by the French Rally for the Republic. The VU and the FDF joined the heterogeneous Technical Group of Independents, while the SVP joined the European People's Party group.[6]

In 1981 six parties (VU, the Frisian National Party, Independent Fianna Fáil, the Party of German-speaking Belgians, the Party for the Organization of a Free Brittany and the Alsace-Lorraine National Association), plus three observers (the Union of the Corsican People, the Occitan Party and the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, CDC), joined forces to form the European Free Alliance.[7][8] Regionalist MEPs continued, however, to sit in different groups in the European Parliament: the SNP in the Gaullist-dominated European Democratic Alliance; the VU, the Sardinian Action Party (PSd'Az) and Basque Solidarity (EA) in the Rainbow Group, together with Green parties; the SVP in the European People's Party group; the CDC with the Liberal Democrats; and Batasuna among Non-Inscrits.[9]

Only after the 1989 European Parliament election did EFA members form a united group, called Rainbow like its green predecessor. It consisted of three Italian MEPs (two for Lega Lombarda and one for the PSd'Az), 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 parties, including the SVP, Batasuna and the Convergence and Union of Catalonia (CiU) declined to join.[10]

In the 1994 European Parliament election the regionalists lost many seats. Moreover, the 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 the SNP, the VU and the Canarian Coalition) formed a group with the French Énergie Radicale list and the Italian Pannella List: the European Radical Alliance.[11]

Following the 1999 European Parliament election, in which EFA parties did quite well, EFA elected MEPs formed a joint group with the European Green Party, under the name The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA). In the event the EFA supplied ten members: two each from the Scottish SNP, the Welsh Plaid Cymru, and the Flemish VU, and one each from the Basque PNV and EA, the Andalusian PA and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG).[12]

In the 2004 European Parliament election, the EFA, which had formally become a European political party,[13] was reduced to four MEPs: two from the SNP (Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith), one from Plaid Cymru (Jill Evans) and one from the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC; Bernat Joan i Marí, replaced at the mid-term by MEP Mikel Irujo of the Basque EA). They were joined by two associate members: Tatjana Ždanoka of For Human Rights in United Latvia (PCTVL) and László Tőkés, an independent MEP and former member of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UMDR). Co-operation between the EFA and the Greens continued.

Following the 2008 revision of the EU Regulation that governs European political parties allowing the creation of European foundations affiliated to European political parties, the EFA established its official foundation/think tank, the Centre Maurits Coppieters (CMC), in September 2007.[14]

In the 2009 European Parliament election, six MEPs were returned for the EFA: two from the SNP (Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith), one from Plaid Cymru (Jill Evans), one from the Party of the Corsican Nation (PNC; François Alfonsi), one from the ERC (Oriol Junqueras), and Tatjana Ždanoka, an individual member of the EFA from Latvia. After the election, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) also joined the EFA. The EFA subgroup thus counted seven MEPs.[15]

In the 2014 European Parliament election, EFA-affiliated parties returned twelve seats to the Parliament: four for the N-VA, two for the SNP, two for L'Esquerra pel Dret a Decidir (an electoral list primarily composed of the ERC), one for Los Pueblos Deciden (an electoral list maily comprising EH Bildu, a Basque coalition including EA), one for Primavera Europea (an electoral list comprising the Valencian Nationalist Bloc, BNV, and the Aragonese Union, ChA), one from Plaid Cymru, and one from the Latvian Russian Union (LKS). Due to ideological divergences with the Flemish Greens,[16] the N-VA defected to the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group[17][18] and the EH Bildu MEP joined the European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group: the EFA representation within the Greens/EFA group was thus of seven MEPs.[19]


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."[20] The EFA sees itself as an alliance of stateless peoples, striving towards recognition, autonomy, independence or wanting a proper voice in Europe. It supports European integration on basis of the subsidiarity-principle. It believes also that Europe should move away from further centralisation and works towards the formation of a "Europe of regions". It believes that regions should have more power in Europe, for instance participating 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 EU.

The EFA broadly stands on the left-wing of the political spectrum.[21][22] The Brussels declaration 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 immigrants, including voting rights.[citation needed]

EFA members are generally progressive, although there are some notable exceptions as the conservative New Flemish Alliance, Bavaria Party, Schleswig Party and Future of Åland, the Christian-democratic Slovene Union, the centre-right Liga Veneta Repubblica and the far-right[23][24][25][26] South Tyrolean Freedom.


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

General Assembly[edit]

In the General Assembly, the supreme council of the EFA, every member party has one vote.

Bureau and Secretariat[edit]

The Bureau takes care of daily affairs. It is chaired by François Alfonsi (Party of the Corsican Nation), president of the EFA, while Jordi Solé (Republican Left of Catalonia) is secretary-general and Lorena Lopez de Lacalle (Basque Solidarity) treasurer and first vice-president. The Bureau is completed by other eight vice-presidents: Olrik Bouma (Frisian National Party), Andrea Cocco (Sardinian Action Party), Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru), Anders Eriksson (sv) (Future of Åland), David Grosclaude (Occitan Party), Wouter Patho (New Flemish Alliance), Anke Spoorendonk (South Schleswig Voters' Association) and Marta Bainka (Silesian Autonomy Movement).[27]

Member parties[edit]

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.[20]

The following is the list of EFA members and former members.[28]

Full members[edit]

Current state Party Region / constituency Joined
 Austria Unity List Slovenia ethnic Slovenes 2005/2006 0
 Belgium New Flemish Alliance  Flanders 2009/2010 4[29]
 Bulgaria United Macedonian Organization Ilinden–Pirin Republic of Macedonia ethnic Macedonians 2006/2007 0
 Czech Republic Moravané Moravia 2005/2006 0
 Croatia List for Rijeka Rijeka 2009/2010 0
 Denmark Schleswig Party Germany ethnic Germans 2010/2011 0
 Finland Future of Åland  Åland 2005/2006 0
 France Savoy Region Movement Savoy Savoy 1991 0
 France Occitan Party  Occitania 1982 0
 France Party of the Corsican Nation  Corsica 1981 0
 France Together for Corsica  Corsica 2017/2018 0
 France Breton Democratic Union  Brittany 1987 0
 France Our Land  Alsace 1991 0
 France Catalan Unity Catalan Countries 1991 0
 Germany Bavaria Party  Bavaria 2007/2008 0
 Germany Lusatian Alliance Lusatia, Sorbs 2009/2013 0
 Germany South Schleswig Voters' Association Denmark ethnic Danes, Frisians 2009/2010 0
 Greece Rainbow Republic of Macedonia ethnic Macedonians 1999/2000 0
 Italy South Tyrolean Freedom  South Tyrol 2008/2009 0
 Italy Liga Veneta Repubblica  Veneto 1999/2000 0
 Italy Sardinian Action Party[a]  Sardinia 1984 0
 Italy Slovene Union Slovenia ethnic Slovenes 1991 0
 Italy Autonomy Liberty Participation Ecology[a]  Aosta Valley 2007/2011 0
 Netherlands Frisian National Party Frisians,  Friesland 1981 0
 Poland Silesian Autonomy Movement Germany ethnic Germans, Upper Silesia 2002/2003 0
 Romania Hungarian People's Party of Transylvania Hungary ethnic Hungarians 2015/2016 0
 Slovakia Hungarian Christian Democratic Association Hungary ethnic Hungarians 2008/2009 0
 Spain Basque Solidarity Basque Country 1986 0
 Spain Republican Left of Catalonia Catalonia, Catalan Countries 1989 2[29]
 Spain Socialist Party of Majorca  Balearic Islands, Catalan Countries 2000/2008 0
 Spain Galician Nationalist Bloc  Galicia 1994/2000 1[29]
 Spain Valencian Nationalist Bloc Valencian Community Valencian Country, Catalan Countries 2012/2013 0
 United Kingdom Mebyon Kernow  Cornwall 2002/2003 0
 United Kingdom Plaid Cymru  Wales 1983 1[29]
 United Kingdom Scottish National Party  Scotland 1989 2[29]
 United Kingdom Yorkshire Party[31]  Yorkshire 2015/2016 0
  1. ^ a b Suspended as of August 2018.[30]

Observer members[edit]

Current state Party Region / constituency Joined
(as observer)
 Italy Pro Lombardy Independence[a] Lombardy 2015/2016 0
 Italy The Other South Italy Southern Italy 2014 0
 Italy Friulian Fatherland Friuli 2017 0
 Latvia Latvian Russian Union Russia ethnic Russians, Latgalians 2010 1[29]
 Poland Kashubian Unity[32]  Kashubia, Kashubians 2016 0
 Slovenia Slovene Istria Party Slovene Istria 2013 0
 Spain New Canaries  Canary Islands 2013 0
 Greece Party of Friendship, Equality and Peace Turkey ethnic Turks 2015 0
  1. ^ Suspended as of August 2018.[30]

Associate members[edit]

Current state Party Region / constituency Joined
(as associate)
 Azerbaijan Democratic Party of Artsakh[33][34] Armenia ethnic Armenians  Republic of Artsakh 2015 0
 Serbia League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina[32] Hungary ethnic Hungarians,  Vojvodina 2016 0

Former members[edit]

Current state Party Region / constituency Joined
 Belgium People's Union  Flanders 1981 Split into the New Flemish Alliance and SPIRIT
 Belgium Social Liberal Party  Flanders 2001 Ceased activity in 2009
 Belgium Walloon Popular Rally  Wallonia 1982 Ceased activity as party in 2011
 Belgium Party of German-speaking Belgians German Community 1981 Merged into ProDG in 2008
 Belgium Pro German-speaking Community German Community 2009/2011 No longer a member
 France Alsace-Lorraine National Association  Alsace,  Lorraine 1981 Ceased activity
 France Union of the Corsican People  Corsica 1981 Merged into the PNC in 2002
 France Party for the Organization of a Free Brittany  Brittany 1981 Ceased activity in 2000
 France Savoyan League Savoy Savoy 1999/2000 Ceased activity in 2012
 Germany The Frisians Frisians, East Frisia 2008/2009 No longer a member in 2018
 Hungary Renewed Roma Union Party of Hungary Romani people 2009 Ceased activity in 2012
 Ireland Independent Fianna Fáil Ireland United Ireland 1981 Ceased activity in 2006
 Italy Lega Lombarda Lombardy 1989/1990 Joined Lega Nord in 1991
 Italy Liga Veneta  Veneto 1989/1990 Joined Lega Nord in 1991
 Italy Lega Nord  Padania 1991 Suspended in 1994, left in 1996 and joined ELDR
 Italy Emilian Free Alliance Emilia 1999/2000 Ceased activity in 2010
 Italy Movement for the Independence of Sicily  Sicily 2008/2009 No longer a member
 Italy Valdostan Union  Aosta Valley Expelled in 2007 after lack of activity in EFA structures
 Lithuania Lithuanian Polish People's Party Poland ethnic Poles 2003/2004 Ceased activity in 2010
 Italy Union for South Tyrol  South Tyrol Expelled in 2008 for opposition to the Bilbao declaration
 Romania Transilvania–Banat League Transylvania, Banat Ceased activity
 Slovakia Hungarian Federalist Party Hungary ethnic Hungarians Banned in 2005[35]
 Spain Aragonese Union  Aragon 2003/2004 No longer a member in 2018
 Spain Aralar Party Basque Country 2012/2013 Dissolved in 2017
 Spain Democratic Convergence of Catalonia Catalonia, Catalan Countries 1981 Joined the LDR Group in 1987
 Spain Canarian Coalition  Canary Islands 1994 Left in 1999 and joined the ELDR Group
 Spain Basque Nationalist Party Basque Country 1999 Left in 2004 and joined the EDP
 Spain Andalusian Party  Andalusia 1999 Dissolved in 2015

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  2. ^ David Hanley (2007). "Parties, Identity and Europeanisation: An Asymmetrical Relationship?". In Marion Demossier. The European Puzzle: The Political Structuring of Cultural Identities at a Time of Transition. Berghahn Books. pp. 152–. ISBN 978-0-85745-863-6. 
  3. ^ Richard Corbett (2012). "Democracy in the European Union". In Elizabeth Bomberg; John Peterson; Richard Corbett. The European Union: How Does it Work?. Oxford University Press. pp. 155–. ISBN 978-0-19-957080-5. 
  4. ^ "What's EFA and history". Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Gupta, Devashree (April 2008). "Nationalism across borders: transnational nationalist advocacy in the European Union". Comparative European Politics. Palgrave Macmillan. 6 (1): 61–80. doi:10.1057/palgrave.cep.6110127. 
  6. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  11. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "Centre Maurits Coppieters (CMC) - Ideas for Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  15. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Will Flemish separatists save the Tories in Europe?". EurActiv - EU News & policy debates, across languages. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  17. ^ Van Overtveldt, Johan (2014-06-18). "N-VA kiest voor ECR-fractie in Europees Parlement" [N-VA chooses ECR Group in the European Parliament]. (in Dutch). Retrieved 2014-06-18. 
  18. ^ "N-VA joins ECR group in European Parliament". Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  19. ^ "Up-to-date list of the MEPs for the new legislative period". Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  20. ^ a b "European Free Alliance". Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "I separati dell'Alto Adige — Corriere della Sera". Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "Digos e carabinieri nella sede del partito — Alto Adige dal » Ricerca". 14 October 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "Frattini denuncia il "diario" della Klotz — Cronaca — Alto Adige". 24 July 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  26. ^ "La Stampa — Nel diario scolastico sudtirolesei terroristi si scoprono eroi". Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  27. ^ "Members of the Bureau". European Free Alliance. Retrieved 9 August 2018. 
  28. ^ "Member Parties". European Free Alliance. Retrieved 9 August 2018. 
  29. ^ a b c d e f "EFA MEPs". European Free Alliance. Retrieved 9 August 2018. 
  30. ^ a b
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 December 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  32. ^ a b "Corsica joins 12 other stateless nations and governments, building #AnotherEurope with EFA". 
  33. ^ "Member Parties". European Free Alliance. Retrieved 26 Aug 2015. 
  34. ^ "Democratic Party of Artsakh is the Associated Member of the European Free Alliance". Democratic Party of Artsakh. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  35. ^ "EFA PARTY IN SLOVAK REPUBLIC BANNED". Retrieved 26 August 2015. 

External links[edit]