Wed Jun 10th, 2009 at 11:46:25 AM EST
|The ALDE Logo|
The new European Parliament will hold its inaugural session this July 15th. There is some interest in finding out what the parties look like on the inside. As a first step, let's take a look at ALDE.
With 83 seats, ALDE is the third largest group in the Parliament. The group is made up out of two parties: the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR) and the European Democratic Party (EDP). Most ALDE MEPs belong to the ELDR, but some in the new Parliament including MoDem, Marian Harkin and the Lithuanian Labour Party belong to the EDP, which will probably continue to exist.
As you may remember, European Parties are all but united on their socioeconomic policies and their stance with regard to EU integration. There is some group likeness, but grouping is often more due to the historical lineage of parties than their agreement on current political issues.
For aid in finding out how sane the current ALDE is, we have the EU Profiler (also see An Electoral Compass for the European Elections). It neatly divides all European parties into 4 political quadrants (for and against the EU, and socioeconomic left and right).
See below the fold... afew
Below is the picture for me, again. The yolkish yellow are the ALDE parties. There are quite a few in the sane top upper-left quadrant, if all are to my right socioeconomically.
|Me in the landscape of EU parties yielded by the EU Profiler|
Now, what does this look like in terms of seats?
As none of the ALDE parties are really anti-European, I'll sub-divide the upper quadrants horizontally to give a rough division of the parties. This results in two classifications: federalist and non-federalist liberals, and right- and left-liberals.
Federalist Left-liberals (top upper left quadrant):
- Mouvement Réformateur (BE): 2 seats
- Mouvement Démocrate (FR): 6 seats
- Marian Harkin (IE): 1 seat (*my estimation based on 5 seconds of research)
- Italia dei Valori (IT): 7 seats (*straddles into top upper right)
- Democratic Party (LU): 1 seat
- Democraten 66 (NL): 3 seats
- Zares (SI): 1 seat
- Coalición por Europa (SP): 2 seats (*by approximation from CiU and PNV)
- Liberal Democrats (UK): 11 seats
Total: 34 seats.
Left-liberals (lower upper left quadrant)
- Estonian Centre Party (EE): 2 seats
- Estonian Reform Party (EE): 1 seat
- Swedish People's Party (FI): 1 seat
- Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (SI): 1 seat
Total: 5 seats.
Federalist Right-liberals (top upper right quadrant)
- Open VLD (BE): 3 seats
- National Movement for Stability and Progress (BG): 2 seats
- Movement for Rights and Freedoms (BG): 3 seats
- Venstre (DK): 3 seats
- Freie Demokratische Partei (DE) 12 seats
- Labour Party (LT): 1 seat
- Liberal People's Party (SE): 3 seats
- Centre Party (SE): 1 seat
Total: 28 seats.
Right-liberals (lower upper right quadrant)
- Centre Party (FI): 3 seats
- Fianna Fáil (IE): 3 seats
- Latvia First / Latvian Way Party (LV): 1 seat
- Liberals' Movement (LT): 1 seat
- Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (NL): 3 seats
- National Liberal Party (RO): 5 seats
Total: 16 seats.
On balance, the new ALDE party is clearly pro-European and slightly right-of-centre on socioeconomic issues. Of course, you have to keep in mind where the 'centre' is these days (on the right). Moreover, 'socioeconomic' is a term that clearly designates two related but often separated political arenas, and the liberals are traditionally on the left on culturally social issues but on the right on economic issues.
So we can expect something of them in terms of social rights and privacy, and it may be possible to successfully put pressure on ALDE in that regard. We can expect rather less in terms of economic equality, labour standards, and nothing at all in terms of the trade agenda.