ECOS By / April 21, 2022

European political parties and the European Council: A pattern of ever closer coordination?

From the early days in the history of the EU, different party political families started gradually to organise themselves at European level.

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Written by Ralf Drachenberg.

The role of the European political parties, often under-estimated in the past, has increased significantly over the years. Today, they are important coordinators within the EU political system, carrying out a variety of activities that can be classified conceptually as ‘vertical’, ‘horizontal’ and ‘diagonal’ coordination.

This EPRS study explores the growing ‘politicisation’ of the European Council and the increased coordination role which European political parties appear to play in the context of the European Council.

The parties’ main coordination activities are clearly their respective ‘pre-summits’, held just ahead of European Council meetings. These pre-summits serve multiple purposes for the parties – including coordinating positions for the imminent European Council discussions, long-term strategising, communication, socialising and networking – with the importance of each varying between the different parties.

A case study looking at the nomination of the EU’s new institutional leadership in 2019 illustrates the importance of the European political parties’ role in coordinating between EU leaders in the European Council.

Read this study on ‘European political parties and the European Council: A pattern of ever closer coordination?‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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