European People's Party (parliamentary group)
|European People's Party parliamentary group|
|European parliamentary group|
EPP Group logo
|Name||European People's Party parliamentary group|
(23 June 1953 to 17 July 1979)
(17 July 1979 to 20 July 1999)
(23 June 1953 to 17 July 1979)
|Formal name||Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)
(22 June 2009 to present)
Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats
(20 July 1999 to 22 June 2009)
Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)
(17 July 1979 to 20 July 1999)
Christian Democratic Group (Group of the European People's Party)
(14 March 1978 to 17 July 1979)
Christian Democratic Group
(23 June 1953 to 14 March 1978)
|European parties||European People's Party|
11 September 1952
|Chaired by||Manfred Weber|
The European People's Party group (EPP Group) is the political group in the European Parliament consisting of deputies (MEPs) from the member parties of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP). In this respect, there is a distinction between the European People's Party (an umbrella party of national political parties from across the continent of Europe) and the EPP Group (which only exists in the European Parliament). The group comprises politicians of Christian democratic and conservative orientation.
The European People's Party was officially founded as a European political party in 1976. However, the European People's Party group in the European Parliament has existed in one form or another since June 1953, from the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community. This makes it one of the oldest EU political groups. Its size has given it influence in all the EU's institutions. It has been the largest political group in the European Parliament since 1999. In the European Council, 14 out of 28 Heads of State and Government belong to the EPP family and in the European Commission, 13 out of 28 Commissioners come from EPP parties.
The Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community (the predecessor of the present day European Parliament) first met on 10 September 1952 and the first Christian Democratic group was unofficially formed the next day, with Maan Sassen as President. The group held 38 of the 78 seats, two short of an absolute majority. On 16 June 1953 the Common Assembly passed a resolution enabling the official formation of political groups, and on 23 June 1953 the constituent declaration of the group was published and the group was officially formed.
The Christian Democrat group was the biggest group at formation, but as time wore on it lost support and was the second-biggest group by the time of the 1979 elections. As the European Community expanded into the European Union, the dominant centre-right parties in the new member states were not necessarily Christian democratic, and the EPP (European People's Party, the pan-continental political party founded in 1976 which all group members are now affiliated to) feared being sidelined. To counter this, the EPP expanded its remit to cover the centre-right regardless of tradition and pursued a policy of integrating conservative parties.
This policy lead to Greek New Democracy and Spanish People's Party MEPs joining the EPP Group. The British and Danish Conservatives tried to maintain a group of their own called the European Democrats (ED), but lack of support and the problems inherent in maintaining a small group forced ED's collapse in the 1990s, and its members crossed the floor to join the EPP Group. The parties of these MEPs also became full members of the EPP (with the exception of the British Conservatives who did not join the Party) and this consolidation process of the European centre-right throughout the 1990s with the acquisition of members from the Italian party Forza Italia. However, the consolidation was not unalloyed and a split emerged with the Eurosceptic MEPs who congregated in a subgroup within the group, also called the European Democrats (ED).
Nevertheless the consolidation held through the 1990s, assisted by the group being renamed to the European People's Party – European Democrats (EPP-ED Group), and after the 1999 European elections the EPP-ED reclaimed its position as the largest group in the Parliament from the PES Group.
Size was not enough, however: the group did not have a majority. It continued therefore to engage in the Grand Coalition (a coalition with the PES Group, or occasionally the Liberals) to generate the majorities required by the cooperation procedure under the Single European Act. This coalition has held, although occasionally the group adopts a government-opposition dynamic with the other groups, notably during the budget crisis when it opposed the PES and brought about the resignation of the Santer Commission.
Meanwhile the parties in the European Democrats subgroup were growing restless and finally left following the 2009 elections, when the Czech Civic Democrats and British Conservatives formed their own right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group on 22 June 2009, abolishing the European Democrats subgroup from that date. The EPP-ED Group reverted to its original name – the EPP Group – immediately.
The EPP Group remains for the 7th European Parliament the largest parliamentary group with 275 MEPs. It is currently the only political group in the European parliament to fully represent its corresponding European political party, i.e. the European People's Party. The United Kingdom is now the only EU member state not to have representation in the EPP Group.
Membership at formation
The 38 members in the group on 11 September 1952 were as follows:
|Belgium||5||Christian Social Party||5||
|France||5||Christian People's Party (Saar)||2||
|Republican People's Movement||3|||
|Germany||8||Christian Democratic Union
and Christian Social Union
|Federal Union Party||1||
|Luxembourg||2||Christian Social People's Party||2||
|Catholic People's Party||3||
|Christian Historical Union||1||
The EPP Group is governed by a collective (referred to as the Presidency) that allocates tasks. The Presidency consists of the Group Chair and a maximum of ten Vice-Chairs, including the Treasurer. The day-to-day running of the EPP Group is performed by its secretariat in the European Parliament, led by its Secretary-General. The Group runs its own think-tank, the European Ideas Network, which brings together opinion-formers from across Europe to discuss issues facing the European Union from a centre-right perspective.
The EPP Group Presidency includes:
|Jaime Mayor Oreja||Vice-Chair|||
The chairs of the group and its predecessors from 1952 to 18 September 2008 are as follows:
|1953||1958||Maan Sassen||Netherlands||Catholic People's Party|
|1958||1958||Pierre Wigny||Belgium||Christian Social Party|
|1958||1966||Alain Poher||France||Popular Republican Movement|
|1966||1969||Joseph Illerhaus||West Germany||Christian Democratic Union|
|1969||1975||Hans Lücker||West Germany||Christian Democratic Union|
|1975||1977||Alfred Bertrand||Belgium||Christian People's Party|
|1977||1982||Egon Klepsch||West Germany||Christian Democratic Union|
|1982||1984||Paolo Barbi||Italy||Christian Democracy|
|1984||1992||Egon Klepsch||West Germany/ Germany||Christian Democratic Union|
|1992||1994||Leo Tindemans||Belgium||Christian People's Party|
|1994||1999||Wilfried Martens||Belgium||Christian People's Party|
|1999||2007||Hans-Gert Pöttering||Germany||Christian Democratic Union|
|2007||present||Joseph Daul||France||Union for a Popular Movement|
The national parties that have Members of the EPP Group are as follows:
|Austria||Austrian People's Party||Österreichische Volkspartei||6||5|
|Belgium||Christian Democratic and Flemish||Christen-Democratisch & Vlaams||3||2|
|Humanist Democratic Centre||Centre Démocrate Humaniste||1||1|
|Christian Social Party *||Christlich Soziale Partei||1||1|
|Bulgaria||Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria||Latin: Grazhdani Za Evropeysko Razvitie Na Balgariya
Cyrillic: Граждани за европейско развитие на България
|Union of Democratic Forces||Latin: Sayuz Na Demokratichnite Sili
Cyrillic: Съюз на демократичните сили
|Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria||Latin: Demokrati Za Silna Balgariya
Cyrillic: Демократи за силна България
|Reformist Bloc||Latin: Reformatorski bloc
Cyrillic: Реформаторски блок
|Croatia||Croatian Democratic Union||Hrvatska demokratska zajednica||5||5|
|Cyprus||Democratic Rally||Latin: Dimokratikós Sinayermós
Greek: Δημοκρατικός Συναγερμός
|Czech Republic||Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party||Křesťanská A Demokratická Unie - Československá Strana Lidová||2||3|
|TOP 09||TOP 09||—||3|
|Mayors and Independents||Starostové a nezávislí||—||1|
|Denmark||Conservative People's Party||Det Konservative Folkeparti||1||1|
|Estonia||Pro Patria and Res Publica Union||Erakond Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit||1||1|
|Finland||National Coalition Party||Kansallinen Kokoomus||3||3|
|Christian Democrats||Suomen kristillisdemokraatit||1||0|
|France||The Republicans||Les Républicains||27||19|
|Union of Democrats and Independents||Union des Démocrates et Indépendants||6||0|
|Germany||Christian Democratic Union||Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands||34||28|
|Christian Social Union of Bavaria||Christlich-Soziale Union In Bayern e.V.||8||6|
|Greece||New Democracy||Latin: Néa Dimokratiá
Greek: Νέα Δημοκρατία
|Hungary||Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Union||Fidesz - Magyar Polgári Szövetség||13||11|
|Christian Democratic People's Party||Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt||1||1|
|Ireland||Fine Gael||Fine Gael||4||4|
|Italy||Forza Italia||Forza Italia||14||11|
|New Centre-Right||Nuovo Centrodestra||3||3|
|Union of the Centre||Unione di Centro||1|
|South Tyrolean People's Party||Südtiroler Volkspartei||1||1|
|Lithuania||Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats||Tėvynės Sąjunga - Lietuvos Krikščionys Demokratai||4||2|
|Luxembourg||Christian Social People's Party||Luxembourgish: Chrëschtlech Sozial Vollekspartei
French: Parti Populaire Chrétien Social
German: Christlich Soziale Volkspartei
|Malta||Nationalist Party||Partit Nazzjonalista||2||3|
|Netherlands||Christian Democratic Appeal||Christen-Democratisch Appèl||5||5|
|Poland||Civic Platform||Platforma Obywatelska||25||19|
|Polish People's Party||Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe||4||4|
|Portugal||Social Democratic Party||Partido Social Democrata||8||6|
|Democratic and Social Centre – People's Party||Centro Democrático E Social - Partido Popular||2||1|
|Romania||National Liberal Party||Partidul National Liberal||12||8|
|Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania||Uniunea Democrată Maghiară Din România||3||2|
|People's Movement Party||Partidul Mișcarea Populară||—||1|
|Slovakia||Slovak Democratic and Christian Union - Democratic Party||Slovenská Demokratická A Kresťanská Únia - Demokraticka Strana||2||1|
|Christian Democratic Movement||Kresťanskodemokratické Hnutie||2||2|
|Party of the Hungarian Coalition||Strana Maďarskej Koalície - Magyar Koalício Pártja||2||1|
|Slovenia||Slovenian Democratic Party||Slovenska Demokratska Stranka||3||3|
|New Slovenia – Christian People's Party||Nova Slovenija - Krščanska Ljudska Stranka||1||1|
|Slovenian People's Party||Slovenska ljudska stranka||—||1|
|Spain||People's Party||Partido Popular||24||16|
|Democratic Union of Catalonia||Unió Democràtica de Catalunya||1||1|
|Sweden||Moderate Party||Moderata Samlingspartiet||4||3|
In the news
Activities performed by the group in the period between June 2004 and June 2008 include monitoring elections in Palestine and the Ukraine; encouraging transeuropean rail travel, telecoms deregulation, energy security, a common energy policy, the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Union, partial reform of the CAP and attempts to tackle illegal immigration; denouncing Russian involvement in South Ossetia; supporting the Constitution Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty; debating globalisation, relations with China, and Taiwan; backing plans to outlaw Holocaust denial; nominating Anna Politkovskaya for the 2007 Sakharov Prize; expelling Daniel Hannan from the Group; the discussion about whether ED MEPs should remain within EPP-ED or form a group of their own; criticisms of the group's approach to tackle low turnout for the 2009 elections and the group's use of the two-President arrangement.
Parliamentary activity profile
The debates and votes in the European Parliament are tracked by its website and categorized by the groups that participate in them and the rule of procedure that they fall into. The results give a profile for each group by category and the total indicates the group's level of participation in Parliamentary debates. The activity profile for each group for the period 1 August 2004 to 1 August 2008 in the Sixth Parliament is given on the diagram on the right. The group is denoted in blue.
The website shows the group as participating in 659 motions, making it the third most active group during the period.
The group produces many publications, which can be found on its website. Documents produced in 2008 cover subjects such as dialogue with the Orthodox Church, study days, its strategy for 2008-09, Euro-Mediterranean relations, and the Treaty of Lisbon. It also publishes a yearbook and irregularly publishes a presentation, a two-page summary of the group.
Along with the other political groups, the group has been analysed by academics on its positions regarding various issues. Those positions are summarised in this article. That article characterizes the group as a three-quarter male group that, prior to ED's departure, was only 80% cohesive and split between centre-right Europhiles (the larger EPP subgroup) and right-wing Eurosceptics (the smaller ED subgroup). That article characterized the group as a whole as ambiguous on hypothetical EU taxes, against taxation, Green issues, social liberal issues (LGBT rights, abortion, euthanasia) and full Turkish accession to the European Union, and for a deeper Federal Europe, deregulation, the Common Foreign and Security Policy and controlling migration into the EU.
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