Return to: Search Page or to: Table of Contents Vol. 11, issue 5

Karl Magnus Johansson and Tapio Raunio, "Regulating Europarties: Cross-Party Coalitions Capitalizing on Incomplete Contracts," Party Politics, 11 (September, 2005), 515-534.

First Paragraph:
The Maastricht Treaty assigned political parties a specific role in the political system of the European Union (EU). According to the Treaty's Article 138a, 'Political parties at the European level are important as a factor for integration within the Union. They contribute to forming a European awareness and to expressing the political will of the citizens of the Union'. The Party Article has now been included &endash; somewhat shorter but with similar meaning &endash; as Article I&endash;46(4) in Title VI on the 'Democratic life' of the Union in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.1 EU-level political parties are mentioned under the heading 'The principle of representative democracy'

Figures and Tables:

Last Paragraph:
The concept of path dependency is also helpful in looking ahead at the future of Europarties. Institutional and constitutional changes increase the relevance of Europarties in the EU political system. First, if the new Constitutional Treaty is to enter into force the EP will be further strengthened. The co-decision procedure will be the standard mode of producing EU laws. There will be a clearer link between EP elections and the composition of the Commission, which inevitably will become more partisan in character. These changes, together with the constitutional regulation of Europarties analysed in this article, will most likely lead to closer policy coordination between Europarties and their parliamentary groups. Indeed, future research on Europarties should focus on the extent to which and under what conditions Europarties are able to influence the EU policy process. Second, the importance of getting funding from EU coffers should not be underestimated. The amount allocated to the Europarties in the second half of 2004 was 6.5 million euro, and in 2005 it will be 8.4 million euro.16 While there are limits to the Union's budget, it is likely that this amount will grow in the future. Finally, if the proposal for introducing an EU-wide constituency in the 2009 European elections is to materialize, the Europarties are set to play a more prominent part in the campaigns. Whether or not these changes constitute radical departures from the past, taken together they will nonetheless contribute to the strengthening of Europarties.