European People's Party
|President||Donald Tusk (PL)|
|Secretary-General||Antonio López-Istúriz White MEP (ES)|
|Group leader||Manfred Weber MEP (DE)|
|Founded||8 July 1976|
|Headquarters||Rue du Commerce/Handelsstraat 10, 1000 — Brussels, Belgium|
|Think tank||Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies|
|Student wing||European Democrat Students|
|Youth wing||Youth of the European People's Party|
|Women's wing||Women of the European People's Party|
|International affiliation||Centrist Democrat International,|
International Democrat Union
|European Parliament group||European People's Party|
182 / 751
8 / 28
|European Lower Houses|
2,199 / 9,874
|European Upper Houses|
569 / 2,714
The European People's Party (EPP) is a European political party with conservative and liberal-conservative member parties. A transnational organisation, it is composed of other political parties, not individuals. Founded by primarily Christian democratic parties in 1976, it has since broadened its membership to include liberal-conservative parties and parties with other centre-right political perspectives. On 20 November 2019 the party elected as its President, the former Prime Minister of Poland and President of the European Council, Donald Tusk.
The EPP has been the largest party in the European Parliament since 1999 and in the European Council since 2002. It is also by far the largest party in the current European Commission. The President of the European Council, President of the European Commission are from the EPP. Many of the Founding fathers of the European Union were also from parties that later formed the EPP. Outside the EU the party also controls a majority in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The EPP has alternated with its centre-left rival the Party of European Socialists (PES) as the largest European political party and parliamentary group.
The EPP includes major centre-right parties such as the CDU/CSU of Germany, The Republicans of France, CD&V of Belgium, KDU-ČSL of the Czech Republic, Fine Gael of Ireland, New Democracy of Greece, Forza Italia of Italy, the People's Party (PP) of Spain, the Social Democratic Party of Portugal, the Civic Platform of Poland, and Fidesz of Hungary.
- 1 History
- 2 Platform and manifesto
- 3 Governance
- 4 Activities within the party
- 5 Activities within European institutions
- 6 Activities beyond the European Union
- 7 Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies
- 8 EPP associations
- 9 Membership
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 Bibliography
- 13 External links
According to its website, the EPP is "the family of the political centre-right, whose roots run deep in the history and civilisation of the European continent, and [which] has pioneered the European project from its inception".
The EPP was founded in Luxembourg on 8 July 1976 on the initiative of Jean Seitlinger; Leo Tindemans, then Prime Minister of Belgium, who became the first President of the EPP; and Wilfried Martens, who later became both President of the EPP and Prime Minister of Belgium. It had been preceded by the Secretariat International des partis démocratiques d'inspiration chrétienne, founded in 1925, the Nouvelles Equipes Internationales, founded in 1946 (or 1948), and the European Union of Christian Democrats, founded in 1965.
In the late 1990s the Finnish politician Sauli Niinistö negotiated the merger of the European Democrat Union (EDU), of which he was President, into the EPP. In October 2002 the EDU ceased its activities after being formally absorbed by the EPP at a special event in Estoril, Portugal. In recognition of his efforts Niinistö was elected Honorary President of the EPP the same year.
The EPP has had six Presidents:
- Died in office
Platform and manifesto
Political manifesto and platform
During its Congress in Bucharest in 2012 the EPP updated its political platform after 20 years (since its Congress in Athens in 1992) and approved a political manifesto in which it summarised its main values and policies.
The manifesto highlights:
- Freedom as a central human right, coupled with responsibility
- Respect for traditions and associations
- Solidarity to help those in need, who in turn should also make an effort to improve their situation
- Ensuring solid public finances
- Preserving a healthy environment
- Pluralist democracy and a Social Market Economy
The manifesto also describes the EPP's priorities for the EU, including:
- European Political Union
- Direct election of the President of the European Commission
- Completion of the European Single Market
- Promotion of the family, improvements in education and health
- Strengthening of the common immigration and asylum policy, and integrating immigrants
- Continuation of enlargement of the EU, enhancement of the European Neighbourhood Policy and special relationship frameworks for countries that cannot, or do not want to, join the EU
- Defining a true common EU energy policy
- Strengthening European political parties
As a central part of its campaign for the European elections in 2009 the EPP approved its election manifesto at its Congress in Warsaw in April that year. The manifesto called for:
- Creation of new jobs, continuing reforms and investment in education, lifelong learning, and employment in order to create opportunities for everyone.
- Avoidance of protectionism, and coordination of fiscal and monetary policies.
- Increased transparency and surveillance in financial markets.
- Making Europe the market leader in green technology.
- Increasing the share of renewable energy to at least 20 per cent of the energy mix by 2020.;.
- Family-friendly flexibility for working parents, better child care and housing, family-friendly fiscal policies, encouragement of parental leave.
- A new strategy to attract skilled workers from the rest of the world to make Europe’s economy more competitive, more dynamic and more knowledge-driven.
Controversy over the right-wing politics of the Hungarian Fidesz-leader Viktor Orbán caused a split in the EPP in the run-up of the 2019 European Parliament election. On the one hand the EPP had been reluctant for years to address Fidesz's stance against the rule of law, expressed by the Article 7 proceedings of the European Parliament. On the other hand European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a prominent EPP-member, stated “I believe his [Fidesz’s] place is not in the European People’s Party”. Orbán’s campaigns targeting billionaire George Soros and Jean-Claude Juncker carried wide reverberations for Europe questioning the EPP’s effort to install its lead candidate Manfred Weber as the next Commission president.
After years of deferring a decision about the Fidesz issue, the EPP was eventually compelled to address the problem two months before the 2019 European elections, as 13 outraged member parties requested the Hungarian party's exclusion from the EPP due to its billboard campaign featuring Jean-Claude Juncker. 190 of the 193 EPP delegates decided on 20 March 2019 to partially suspend Fidesz membership. According to this, Fidesz is "until further notice" excluded from EPP meetings and internal elections, but remains in the European People's Party group of the European Parliament. Fidesz has not delivered on its earlier promise to leave the EPP in case of a penalty.
The EPP operates as an international non-profit association under Belgian law according to its by-laws, the Statutes of the European People's Party (Statuts du Parti Populaire Européen), originally adopted 29 April 1976.
The Presidency is the executive body of the party. It decides on the general political guidelines of the EPP and presides over its Political Assembly. The Presidency is composed of the President, ten Vice-Presidents, the Honorary Presidents, the Secretary General and the Treasurer. The Chairperson of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, the Presidents of the Commission, the Parliament and the Council, and the High Representative (if they are a member of an EPP member party) are all ex officio Vice-Presidents.
As of November 2019 the Presidency of the EPP is (Vice Presidents in the order of votes received at the EPP Congress in Zagreb):
- Donald Tusk – President (former Prime Minister and President of the European Council)
- Antonio Lopez-Isturiz White – Secretary General (MEP)
- Mariya Gabriel – Vice President (EU Commissioner)
- David McAllister – Vice President (MEP, former Minister-President)
- Helen McEntee – Vice President (Minister)
- Johannes Hahn – Vice President (EU Commissioner)
- Esther de Lange – Vice President (MEP)
- Antonio Tajani – Vice President (MEP, former European Parliament President, former Commission Vice President)
- Siegfried Muresan – Vice President (MEP)
- Franck Proust – Vice President (former MEP)
- Paulo Rangel – Vice President (MEP)
- Petteri Orpo – Vice President (Leader of Kokoomus, former Deputy Prime Minister)
- Christian Schmidt – Treasurer (MP, former Minister)
- Ursula von der Leyen – Ex officio Vice-President (President-elect of the European Commission)
- Manfred Weber – Ex officio Vice-President (Chairperson of the EPP Group in European Parliament)
- Sauli Niinistö - Honorary President (President of Finland)
The Political Assembly defines the political positions of the EPP between Congresses, and decides on membership applications, political guidelines and the budget. The Political Assembly is composed of designated delegates from EPP member parties, associated parties, member associations and other affiliated groups. The Political Assembly meets at least three times a year.
The Congress is the highest decision-making body of the EPP. It is composed of delegates from member parties, EPP associations, EPP Group MEPs, the EPP Presidency, national heads of party and government, and European Commissioners who belong to a member party, with the numbers of delegates being weighted according to the EPP's share of MEPs, and individual delegates being elected by member parties according to member parties' rules.
Under the EPP's statutes the Congress must meet once every three years, but it also meets normally during the years of elections for the European Parliament (every five years), and extraordinary Congresses have also been summoned. The Congress elects the EPP Presidency every three years, decides on the main policy documents and electoral programmes, and provides a platform for the EPP's heads of government and party leaders.
Activities within the party
EPP leaders meet for the EPP Summit a few hours before each meeting of the European Council in order to formulate common positions. Invitations are sent by the EPP President and attendees include, besides the members of the EPP's Presidency, all Presidents and Prime Ministers who are members of the European Council and belong to the EPP; the Presidents of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council, as well as the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, provided that they belong to the EPP; Deputy Prime Ministers or other ministers in those cases where the Prime Minister of a country does not belong to an EPP member party; and, where no EPP member party is part of a government, the leaders of the main EPP opposition party.
Following the pattern of the EPP Summit the party also organises regular EPP Ministerial meetings before each meeting of the Council of the European Union, with ministers, deputy ministers, secretaries of state and MEPs in the specific policy field attending:
- General Affairs
- Foreign Affairs
- Economy and Finance
- Home Affairs
- Employment and Social Affairs
The EPP also organises working groups on different issues and on an ad hoc basis, as well as meetings with its affiliated members in the European Commission. It also invites individual Commissioners to the EPP Summit meetings and to EPP Ministerial meetings.
Following amendments to the EU Regulation that governs Europarties in 2007, the EPP, like the other "Europarties", is responsible for organising a pan-European campaign for the European elections every five years. According to the Lisbon Treaty, the parties must present candidates for President of the European Commission, but the EPP had already done this by endorsing Jose Manuel Barroso for a second term in April 2009.
The year 2014 saw the first fully fledged campaign of the EPP ahead of the European elections of that year. The party nominated former Luxembourgish Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker as its candidate for President of the European Commission and led a pan-European campaign in coordination with the national campaigns of all its member parties.
Activities within European institutions
As of December 2019, the EPP will hold the Presidency of the European Commission with Ursula von der Leyen (CDU).
Overview of the European institutions
|Organisation||Institution||Number of seats|
|European Union||European Parliament|
172 / 751
|Committee of the Regions|
125 / 350
14 / 28
(Heads of Government)
9 / 28
|Council of the European Union
(Participation in Government)
12 / 28
In 2014 the EPP nominated Jean-Claude Juncker as its candidate for election as President of the European Commission. As the EPP won the 2014 European Parliament election, Juncker's nomination was endorsed by the European Council and he was elected by an absolute majority in the European Parliament. On 1 November 2014 the Juncker Commission officially took office. It includes 14 EPP officeholders out of 28 European Commissioners.
In every election for the European Parliament candidates elected on lists of member parties of the EPP are obliged to join the EPP Group in the European Parliament.
The EPP Group holds six of the fourteen vice-presidencies of the European Parliament.
The EPP has 9 out of the 28 heads of state or government attending the EPP summits in preparation for the European Council (as of November 2019):
|Member state||Representative||Title||Political party||Member of the Council since||Portrait|
|Bulgaria||Boyko Borissov||Prime Minister||GERB||7 November 2014|
|Croatia||Andrej Plenković||Prime Minister||HDZ||19 October 2016|
|Cyprus||Nicos Anastasiades||President||DISY||28 February 2013|
|Germany||Angela Merkel||Chancellor||CDU||22 November 2005|
|Greece||Kyriakos Mitsotakis||Prime Minister||ND||8 July 2019|
|Hungary||Viktor Orbán||Prime Minister||Fidesz||29 May 2010|
|Ireland||Leo Varadkar||Taoiseach[a 1]||Fine Gael||22 June 2017|
|Latvia||Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš||Prime Minister of Latvia||Unity||23 January 2019|
|Romania||Klaus Iohannis||President||PNL||21 December 2014|
The EPP also has other heads of state or government who do not normally take part in the European Council or EPP summits since that responsibility belongs to the other leaders of their countries: János Áder (Hungary, Fidesz), Sauli Niinistö (Finland, KOK).
|Country||Institution||Number of seats|
71 / 183
22 / 62
|Belgium||Chamber of Representatives
27 / 150
12 / 60
95 / 240
55 / 151
|Cyprus||House of Representatives|
18 / 56
|Czech Republic||Chamber of Deputies
23 / 200
34 / 81
6 / 179
12 / 101
38 / 200
100 / 577
142 / 348
246 / 630
158 / 300
133 / 199
50 / 166
19 / 60
|Italy||Chamber of Deputies
106 / 630
65 / 315
8 / 100
31 / 141
|Luxembourg||Chamber of Deputies|
23 / 60
|Malta||House of Representatives|
28 / 69
|Netherlands||House of Representatives
19 / 150
12 / 75
152 / 460
33 / 100
|Portugal||Assembly of the Republic|
107 / 230
|Romania||Chamber of Deputies
108 / 329
47 / 136
11 / 150
25 / 90
|Spain||Congress of Deputies
89 / 350
83 / 266
92 / 349
|United Kingdom||House of Commons
0 / 650
|House of Lords
0 / 793
Activities beyond the European Union
In third countries
Through its associate and observer parties the EPP has one head of state or government in non-EU countries:
|State||Representatives||Title||Political party||In power since||Portrait|
|Norway||Erna Solberg||Prime Minister||Høyre||16 October 2013|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Šefik Džaferović||Bosniak Member of the Presidency||SDA||20 November 2018|
In the Council of Europe
The Group of the EPP in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe defends freedom of expression and information, as well as freedom of movement of ideas and religious tolerance. It promotes the principle of subsidiarity and local autonomy, as well as the defence of national, social and other minorities. The EPP/CD Group is led by Pedro Agramunt, a member of the Spanish Popular Party.
The EPP/CD group also includes members from parties that are not related to the EPP itself, including members of the Patriotic Union (Liechtenstein), the Progressive Citizens' Party (Liechtenstein), and the National and Democratic Union (Monaco).
In the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The "EPP and like-minded Group" in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the most active political group in that body. The Group meets on a regular basis and promotes the EPP's positions. The members of the EPP Group also participate in the election-monitoring missions of the OSCE.
The Group is chaired by Walburga Habsburg Douglas (Sweden), and its Vice-Presidents are Consiglio Di Nino (Canada), Vilija Aleknaitė Abramikiene (Lithuania), Laura Allegrini (Italy) and George Tsereteli (Georgia).
The Group also includes members of parties not related to the EPP, accounting for the "like-minded" part of its name. Among them are members of the Patriotic Union (Liechtenstein), the Union for the Principality (Monaco), the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, the Conservative Party of Canada and the Republican Party of the United States.
In the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
The EPP is also present and active in the Parliamentary Assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and forms the "EPP and Associated Members" Group there. It is led by the German CDU politician Karl Lamers, who is also the current President of the Assembly. The Group also includes members of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Republican Party of the United States.
Relations with the United States
The EPP has close relations with the International Republican Institute (IRI), an organisation funded by the U.S. government specially to promote democracy and democratisation. The EPP and the IRI cooperate within the framework of the European Partnership Initiative.
The EPP's late President, Wilfried Martens, endorsed Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, in the presidential election in 2008 McCain is also Chairman of the IRI. In 2011 Martens and McCain made joint press statements expressing their concern about the state of democracy in Ukraine.
Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies
Following the revision in 2007 of the EU Regulation that governs European political parties, allowing the creation of European foundations affiliated to Europarties, the EPP established in the same year its official foundation/think tank, the Centre for European Studies (CES). The CES includes as members all the major national think tanks and foundations affiliated to EPP member parties: the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (CDU), the Hanns Seidel Foundation (CSU), the Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies (PP), the Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy (ND), the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation (MOD), the Political Academy of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) and others. During the European Parliament election campaign in 2009 the CES launched a web-based campaign module, tellbarroso.eu, to support Jose Manuel Barroso, the EPP's candidate for re-election as Commission President.
The current President of the Martens Centre is former Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda.
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The EPP is linked to several specific associations that focus on specific groups and organise seminars, forums, publications and other activities.
Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Europe (SME Europe)
SME Europe is the official business organisation of the EPP, and serves as a network for pro-business politicians and political organisations. Its main objective is to shape EU policy in a more SME-friendly way in close cooperation with the SME Circle of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, the DG Enterprise and the pro-business organisations of the EPP's member parties. Its top priorities are to reform the legal framework for SMEs all over Europe, and to promote and support the interests of small and medium-sized enterprises. SME Europe was founded in May 2012 by three Members of the European Parliament, Paul Rübig, Nadezhda Neynsky and Bendt Bendtsen.
European Democrat Students
European Democrat Students (EDS) is now the official students’ organisation of the EPP, though it was founded in 1961, 15 years before the EPP itself. Led by Virgilio Falco, EDS has 40 member organisations, representing nearly 1,600,000 students and young people in 31 countries, including Belarus and Georgia. Every year EDS hosts Summer and Winter "universities", and several seminars. It also regularly publishes a magazine, Bullseye, and organises topical campaigns.
European Senior Union
Founded in Madrid in 1995 and led by Ann Hermans of the CD&V, the European Senior Union (ESU) is the largest political senior citizens’ organisation in Europe. The ESCU is represented in 26 states with 45 organisations and about 500,000 members.
European Union of Christian Democratic Workers
The European Union of Christian Democratic Workers (EUCDW) is the labour organisation of the EPP, with 24 member organisations in 18 different countries. As the officially recognised EPP association of workers, the EUCDW is led by Elmar Brok, MEP. It aims at the political unification of a democratic Europe, the development of the EPP on the basis of Christian social teaching, and the defence of workers' interests in European policy-making.
Women of the European People’s Party
The Women of the European People’s Party (EPP Women) is recognised by the EPP as the official association of women from all like-minded political parties of Europe. EPP Women has more than 40 member organisations from countries of the European Union and beyond. All of them are women‘s organisations of political parties that are members of the EPP. EPP Women is led by Doris Pack.
Youth of the European People’s Party
The Youth of the European People’s Party (YEPP), led by Lídia Pereira, is the EPP‘s official youth organisation. It has 64 member organisations, bringing together between one and two million young people in 40 countries.
Within the EPP there are three kinds of member organisations: full members, associate members and observers. Full members are parties from EU states. They have absolute rights to vote in all the EPP's organs and on all matters. Associate members have the same voting rights as full members except for matters concerning the EU's structure or policies. These associate membres are parties from EU candidate countries and EFTA countries. Observer parties can participate in all the activities of the EPP, and attend the Congresses and Political Assemblies, but they do not have any voting rights.
A special status of "supporting member" is granted by the Presidency to individuals and associations. Although they do not have voting rights, they can be invited by the President to attend meetings of certain organs of the party.
Full member parties
|Country||Party name||Abbr.||Legislature lower house seats||Legislature upper house Seats||Status|
|Austria||Austrian People's Party
61 / 183
22 / 61
|Belgium||Christian Democratic and Flemish
Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams
18 / 150
8 / 60
|Humanist Democratic Centre
Centre démocrate humaniste
9 / 150
4 / 60
|Bulgaria||Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria
Граждани за европейско развитие на България
Grazhdani za evropeĭsko razvitie na Bŭlgariya
95 / 240
|Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria
Демократи за силна България
Demokrati za silna Bălgarija
0 / 240
|Union of Democratic Forces
Съюз на демократичните сили
Sayuz na demokratichnite sili
0 / 240
0 / 240
|Movement "Bulgaria of the Citizens"
Движение „България на гражданите“
Dvizhenie „Bulgariya na grazhdanite“
0 / 240
|Croatia||Croatian Democratic Union
Hrvatska demokratska zajednica
55 / 151
18 / 56
|Czech Republic||Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party
Křesťanská a demokratická unie – Československá strana lidová
10 / 200
16 / 81
7 / 200
2 / 81
|Denmark||Conservative People's Party
Det Konservative Folkeparti
6 / 179
0 / 179
12 / 101
|Finland||National Coalition Party
38 / 200
112 / 577
144 / 348
|Germany||Christian Democratic Union
Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands
200 / 709
|Christian Social Union in Bavaria
Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern
46 / 709
158 / 300
|Hungary||Christian Democratic People's Party
16 / 199
50 / 158
19 / 60
104 / 630
61 / 315
2 / 630
1 / 315
|Union of the Centre
Unione di Centro
0 / 630
3 / 315
|Populars for Italy
Popolari per l'Italia
0 / 630
0 / 315
8 / 100
|Lithuania||Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats
Tėvynės sąjunga – Lietuvos krikščionys demokratai
31 / 141
|Luxembourg||Christian Social People's Party
Chrëschtlech Sozial Vollekspartei
Parti populaire chrétien social
Christlich Soziale Volkspartei
23 / 60
28 / 67
|Netherlands||Christian Democratic Appeal
19 / 150
12 / 75
136 / 460
33 / 100
|Polish People's Party
Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe
15 / 460
0 / 100
|Portugal||Social Democratic Party
Partido Social Democrata
89 / 230
|Democratic and Social Centre - People's Party
Centro Democrático e Social – Partido Popular
18 / 230
|Romania||National Liberal Party
Partidul Național Liberal
69 / 329
30 / 136
|Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania
Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség
Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România
21 / 329
9 / 136
|Confidence and Supply|
|People's Movement Party
Partidul Mișcarea Populară
18 / 329
8 / 136
|Confidence and Supply|
|Slovakia||Christian Democratic Movement
0 / 150
15 / 150
|Party of the Hungarian Community
Magyar Közösség Pártja
Strana maďarskej komunity
0 / 150
|Slovenia||Slovenian Democratic Party
Slovenska demokratska stranka
25 / 90
|Slovenian People's Party
Slovenska ljudska stranka
0 / 90
|New Slovenia–Christian Democrats
Nova Slovenija – Krščanski demokrati
7 / 90
66 / 350
74 / 266
70 / 349
22 / 349
- Democratic Party of Albania (PDSh)
- Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO–DPMNE)
- Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD)
- United Civic Party of Belarus (AHP)
- The Movement for Freedom (MFF) 
- Party of Democratic Action (SDA)
- Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZBiH)
- Party of Democratic Progress (PDP)
- Croatian Democratic Union 1990 (HDZ 1990)
- Christian Democrats (KD)
- Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM)
- Dignity and Truth Platform Party (PPDA)
- Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS)
- Christian People's Party (KrF)
- Democratic Alliance
- European Solidarity
- Fatherland (since 2008)
- Self Reliance (since 2019)
- Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR)
- Belarusian Popular Front (BNF), observer member until 2017
- Centre of Social Democrats
- Union for French Democracy
- Rally for the Republic
- Union for a Popular Movement
- Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), member until withdrawal May 2019.
- Christian Democracy
- Italian People's Party
- Christian Democratic Centre
- United Christian Democrats
- Italian Renewal
- Forza Italia
- Union of Democrats for Europe
- The People of Freedom
- New Centre-Right
- Democratic Party (PD)
- Democratic Liberal Party (PDL)
- Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party (PNȚ-CD)
- Justice and Development Party (observer)
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- European People's Party EPP portal site
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- EPP Youth (YEPP)
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