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European political parties

New rules were agreed in 2014 governing the statute of European political parties at European level (also known as 'Europarties') and European political foundations replacing rules dating from 2004. These lay down the conditions governing the statute and funding of political parties at European level, as well as European-level political foundations.

The term ‘Europarties’ means: transnational, extra-parliamentary federations of national political parties from several EU Member States, united by political affinity. These organizations are therefore not identical with political groups in the EP, although they closely cooperate with one another. The two biggest and most well-known Europarties are the European People’s Party (EPP) and Party of European Socialists (PES).

A ‘political party’ is defined as an association of citizens, which pursues political objectives, and is either recognised by, or established in accordance with, the laws of at least one EU country. Its name and logo must be clearly distinguishable from those of any existing European political party and European political foundation.

Registration and control of European political parties and foundations will be ensured by an independent European authority set up for the purpose. It will check regularly that the rules relating to registration are respected.

The majority of political groups in the European Parliament work closely with their corresponding Europarties.

Following the 2014 elections to the European Parliament (EP), the seats are distributed between 8 different Parliamentary groups: the EPP - Group of the European People's Party, the S&D - Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the ECR - European Conservatives and Reformists, the ALDE - Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the Greens/EFA - Group of Greens/European Free Alliance, the GUE/NGL - European United Left/Nordic Green Left, the EFDD - Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group and the NI - Non-attached Members - Members not belonging to any political group.