Steven Van Hecke


Compared to national political parties, transnational party federations (often known as Europarties) play little role in the European Union (EU). They have no government-making power, and national party politics continue to dominate European Parliament elections. The literature therefore focuses primarily on national political parties operating within the EU framework and on supranational party groups in the European Parliament. In contrast, this review article examines what transnational party federations are and what they do within the context of EU governance, in addition to and reconsidering them in light of recent developments in the EU. By analysing party politics at the transnational level, this article bridges the gap in the literature between research that focuses on the national level and research that focuses on the supranational level. The key conclusion is that transnational party federations do matter, but in a manner different from that of national political parties and supranational party groups. Because transnational party federations offer partisan linkages between different EU institutions, they influence politics and policy-making, in addition to contributing to the increasing politicisation of the EU polity.


Article Keywords

European Union, Transnational party federations, Party politics, EU institutions, Elections

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