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DavidV

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Reply with quote  #1 
Political parties and movements which share similar interests and ideology tend to coordinate on a regional and international level. This gives rise to Socialist International, Liberal International, Centrist Democrat International (Christian Democrats), International Democratic Union (conservative), Global Greens, and numerous Far Left and Far Right associations.

At a European level, both within and outside the EU as it is, these alliances are more telling with regards to ideology, interests and priorities. Often there will be more than one party from each country in a group. They form blocs in the European Parliament which at times overlap. The alliances and European Parliament groups don't always neatly match. They also include non-European affiliate and associate parties.

THE "BIG FOUR" FAMILIES

The big four families of European political parties are the mainstream or "Establishment" of European politics representing the traditional social democratic, liberal and Christian Democratic or conservative traditions of European politics, and the fourth family here are Greens. Most of these parties are wholly committed to the European project and are its driving forces. There are wide variations within those groups ideologically and geographically. The EPP, ALDE and PES combined dominate the European Parliament, and also of the European Council and European Commission, which makes them the "Establishment".

Party of European Socialists (PES) - this is the grouping of social-democratic parties which belong to Socialist International, meaning all of Europe's traditional social democratic parties - the SPD in Germany, Labour Party in Britain, PS in France, Scandinavian social democrats, and a number of Eastern European parties some of which were ex-Communists. Increasingly these parties have become about minority and identity politics rather than working-class issues. This is less the case in Eastern Europe, and indeed the Czech Social Democrats and the Slovak ruling party Smer-SD are more populist in comparison. Many of the Western European parties - Labour (UK), PS (France), PvdA (Netherlands), PASOK (Greece) and SLD (Poland) - are experiencing an erosion in support to the point of collapse.

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) - this is the liberal grouping of parties which belong to Liberal International. The term "liberal" is so broad that it is reflected more or less in this grouping. For one, parties like the Lib Dems (UK) and D66 (Netherlands) parties are left-liberal, whereas the Venstre (Denmark) and VVD (Netherlands) are right-liberal. The VLD in Flanders, Belgium is the party of Guy Verhofstadt, the "high priest" of European federalism though fortunately not all liberals share his views. Presently this is the weakest of the "big three". The European Democratic Party (EDP) is affiliated with ALDE in the European Parliament.

European People's Party (EPP) - this is the "centre-right" grouping of Christian Democratic and conservative parties belonging to either the CDI or IDU. Presently it is the biggest bloc in the European Parliament and also the group which Eurocrats Jean-Claude Juncker (Luxembourg) and Donald Tusk (Poland) belong to along with their respective parties CSV and Civic Platform (PO). Broadly-speaking this group includes the mainstream centre-right parties throughout Europe. It is not wrong to say that the Eastern European and Balkan parties are more socially conservative than those in Western Europe - typified of course by the Hungarian ruling party Fidesz.

European Green Party (EGP) - I put them as the fourth group here because the Green parties are generally Europhile and presently makes up the joint fourth-largest bloc in the European Parliament. These parties tend to be not just environmentalist but also radical Leftist. The Swedish Greens were anti-EU for a long time but have changed this recently, while at least one member of the Greens in the UK - Baroness Jenny Jones - campaigned for a Leave vote last year. The German Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP) is a somewhat unique "Green Right" party. The Danish Socialist People's Party is strictly not a Green party, but sits with them.

THE "DISSENTING" FAMILIES

I am not sure how to put the rest of the groups down here. I call them "dissenters" because they broadly include parties that are further Left or Right than the mainstream described above, and are either outright Eurosceptic or otherwise "Euro-critical" or "Euro-realist". Not all are opposed to a European federation in principle but strongly oppose what the EU has become. In the 80s and 90s this was a common enough view among the hard Left and hard Right in Europe, since outright Euroscepticism was always strongest in Britain. Many right-wingers and even some left-wingers didn't begin to outright oppose the EU as an entity until the last 10-15 years with not only the migration but also economic crises. So here goes.

Alliance of Conservatives and Reformers in Europe (ACRE)/European Conservatives and Reformers (ECR) - this is the group of the UK Conservative Party and one of my favourite groupings of parties as a result. The Conservative Party withdrew from the EPP due to growing Euroscepticism among Tories and a more pro-Commonwealth, pro-Atlanticist orientation among them. ACRE includes the leading "national conservative" parties of Eastern Europe - Law and Justice (PiS) of Poland and National Alliance (NA) of Latvia. This pretty much shapes the group's view - ranging from outright Eurosceptic to Euro-critical or Euro-realist, many of its member parties are socially conservative and ethnic nationalist, and generally pro-Western and anti-Russia. The Bulgarian monarchist Nikolay Barekov has brought his Bulgaria Without Censorship into this alliance. Croatian MEP Ruza Tomasic also has her own party. The True Finns Party, Independence Party in Iceland and the Danish People's Party are also associated with this group, and there is an overlap with the EPCM represented by the Dutch Christian parties. Furthermore, the Conservative Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Australia, the GOP and the Istiqlal Party of Morocco also cooperate with ACRE/ECR. The UK and Poland make up the group's European Council representatives by virtue of the Tories and PiS being ruling parties. Latvia's NA associates with nationalist parties in Estonia and Ukraine.

Party of the European Left - the Party of the European Left is the "hard Left" grouping, made up of left-wing parties opposed to neoliberalism and globalism, many of which are also critical of the EU. Some of these are Communist or ex-Communist parties. Among the parties in this group include Syriza (Greece), Die Linke (Germany), Left Party (France) and other radical Left groups. Syriza accounts for its one seat on the European Council by virtue of being in government. Linked to this is the European United Left-Nordic Green Left and the European Anticapitalist Left. In the former group there is Podemos (Spain) and the Socialist Party (Netherlands), the latter is more overtly Eurosceptic.

Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy/Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (EFDD/ADDE) - This group is of course dominated by UKIP, although the People's Party (Belgium), Sweden Democrats, Debout la France of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, and Order and Justice (Lithuania) as well as the Five-Star Movement (Italy) are also members of this populist and Eurosceptic group. There have been attempts to form a larger group of Right-populist parties but have been unsuccessful due to differences between them. Not all such parties are ideologically or strategically similar.

Europe of Nations and Freedom/European Alliance for Freedom - an alliance of hard-Right, populist and Eurosceptic parties characterised by their opposition to mass immigration and Islamisation. This includes the Front National (France), Lega Nord (Italy), Vlaams Belang (Belgium), PVV (Netherlands) and the Freedom Party of Austria. With the exception of the PVV, most of these parties have had to work hard to distance themselves from a history associated with extremism - not just in the case of FN, but also VB and its past association with pro-amnesty views.

European Christian Political Movement (ECPM) - an alliance of religious conservative parties, overlapping the sort of parties found in EPP and ECR but generally more specific in their social conservatism. The two most consistently successful parties in this alliance are Dutch - the CU and SGP - due to their stable and loyal voter bases, but they also sit with the ECR in the European Parliament. The SGP is a Christian Right party that supports the Dutch monarchy, is critical of the EU and also opposes Islamisation. The Christian Peoples Alliance is one of two Christian-oriented parties in the UK, the other is the Christian Party - both of which are also Eurosceptic.

European Free Alliance (EFA) - an alliance of ethnic minority, regionalist and separatist parties and generally pro-EU. The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Republican Left of Catalonia are the leading parties in this bloc, other Catalan parties are in the ALDE. Furthermore, not all minority parties are in this bloc - the SFP in Finland is in ALDE, the AWPL in Lithuania is in ECR.

Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF) - the APF is ironically named as it is a grouping of parties which are widely considered neo-fascist or neo-Nazi, specifically Golden Dawn (Greece) and NPD (Germany), as well as the People's Party - Our Slovakia, and the Party of the Danes which emerged out of DNSB. The Italian Roberto Fiore of Forza Nuova is one of its leading lights.

Alliance of European National Movements (AENM) - is the second grouping of parties considered neo-fascist, including Fiamma Tricolore (Italy) and Jobbik (Hungary).

Initiative of Communist and Workers' Parties - strictly speaking not a European Parliament group but the Europe-level counterpart of International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties, in short the successor body to Comintern as the umbrella body of unreconstructed Stalinist Communist parties around the world. Its leading party in the EU is the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

DEFUNCT GROUPINGS

Some existing groups have formed out of defunct groups, especially on the fringes of Left and Right and reflecting shifting alliances and attitudes towards the European project, or at least shifting priorities. This is typified by two groupings on the Right which formed in the 90s and early 2000s but are now defunct. These were:

Euronat - the original alliance of far Right, radical nationalist groups including the FN, VB and a wide variety of nationalist parties throughout Europe, many of them widely considered extremist. The Sweden Democrats were also a part of this alliance before they became an electable mainstream party. It was never a tight or well-organised alliance despite Le Pen's intention of bringing together nationalists all over Europe, especially from Eastern Europe. Euronat member parties dispersed in various blocs owing to differences in ideology and priorities - MENF, AEMN and APF. The short-lived European National Front was a precursor to the latter two.

Alliance for Europe of the Nations - and its parliamentary group Union for Europe of the Nations was formed by the Italian National Alliance of Gianfranco Fini and including parties like Law and Justice (Poland), Danish People's Party, Civic Democratic Party (Czech Republic) and Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists (CUN/KUN). It mainly brought together right-of-centre national conservative parties which were socially conservative, opposed to a European superstate and instead favoured a Europe of Nations. It dissolved in 2009, parties like PiS and ODS are now in ECR.

CONCLUSION

The current state of the EU and the distinct possibility of its collapse is not having an effect on these political alignments. Neither does Brexit. On the contrary, we are seeing the crystallisation of these alignments as like-minded people seek allies. We can see that right-wing parties opposed to immigration, Islam and the EU among other things are not all the same: an alliance of Western European parties has formed around the FN, which parties in Denmark, Finland and Sweden don't want any part of as they don't see themselves as belonging in anything like the same tradition. And neither the Tories nor UKIP are without friends on the Continent or the world at large.
DavidV

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Reply with quote  #2 
Following up from this, how can the European political alliances be placed on a political spectrum. Variations of the four-way political spectrum have been devised over the years, such as this:
[image] 
In a strictly European or at least EU context (since we're talking groups in the European Parliament), we could devise a four-way spectrum based on Left-Right horizontal and Eurosceptic-Europhile vertical to highlight their ideological placing on the spectrum and their attitude to the EU. The fact is there are variations, sometimes quite wild, even within each political bloc.

The term "soft Euroscepticism" is often thrown about to depict those who work within the system for the time being but are opposed to Ever Closer Union and critical of the EU establishment and policies. These are to be found even within the mainstream political groupings here. This can also be termed Eurorealist or Euro-critical, though I admit the term "Eurorealist" also describes "hard" Eurosceptics like myself. Both left-wing and right-wing political groupings broadly fall into this "middle" category which in the current European climate is actually the "centre" position between Europhiles and Eurosceptics, and leaning towards the latter.

In this article about the coalition of seemingly strange bedfellows in Greece, in which the "hard Left" Syriza forms government with the "hard Right" Independent Greeks, we have two parties which fit the above description in many ways: critical of the EU establishment and globalism, but ultimately moderate and democratic in their approach to both domestic and European political arenas. We see here a modified version of the political spectrum, relevant to Greece and the European situation:

[pappas1] 

The three circles are in a modified form of the Left-Right axis. In the inner circle are Greece's "traditional" or "Establishment" parties, the centre-left PASOK and centre-right New Democracy, which can be said to be hollowing out with the emergence of numerous alternatives on both Left and Right. In the second circle, Syriza and Independent Greeks form the "populist" and "anti-establishment" but ultimately moderate parties (they're not the only ones, they just happen to be the largest of them at this moment). In the outer right, there is the Stalinist KKE and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, who are revolutionary and anti-democratic parties.

If the above circle were applicable to the European party groups, the PES, ALDE and EPP groupings would be in the inner circle along with perhaps the EGP. They are the European establishment largely committed to the EU project, although with variations within them on social and economic issues, with Eastern European member parties showing signs of dissent. This is typified by the ruling parties of Slovakia (Smer) and Hungary (Fidsez), which belong to PES and EPP respectively.

Perhaps the second ring would be composed of the ECR group and the PEL/GUE-NGL representing the Hard Right and Hard Left respectively. Besides the Tory-led ECR, there is also the ECPM, the UKIP-led EFDD and the FN-led Nations and Freedom. Admittedly, the latter two are outright Eurosceptic, whereas the ECR and PEL straddle the line between outright Euroscepticism and Euro-critical positions.

The outer ring may well be the Communist and neo-fascist parties of which the Greek parties are in the "lead" role in their respective traditions.

How Brexit affects all this remains to be seen, but an increasingly divided EU will make the "moderate" critics of the EU become more radical.
Roideroi

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Reply with quote  #3 
I support Parti Breton. Brittany, France has been oppressed for a while and I'm claimant as lead descendant of the founder of Bretagne Nominoe De Roi or Nevenoe Tad Ar Vero. I support that Parti because I feel they are just in seeking sovereignty.
DavidV

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Reply with quote  #4 
Yes we're well aware of Breton regionalism and there's numerous Breton nationalist groups. However, one thing you'll need to be aware is that while regional diversity and localism can be good things, many on this forum are understandably less than keen on it being promoted right now.

The reason being the threat to Britain, Spain and Belgium from regionalist movements wanting to separate, the left-liberalism prevalent in most regionalist movements (especially Catalonia, Scotland and Ireland), and there's also the spectre of the EU and UN. Breaking up those countries is not like breaking up the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia.

Let's face it. One of the most sinister aspects of EU policy is the way it cultivates elites of people loyal to it like authoritarian regimes do. The arts and academic elites are a case in point. Local government is another example with EU-sponsored projects again evidence of attempts to buy loyalty. What is evident is that even if the EU does not say so, regional sentiments are encouraged by EU policies as a means of weakening loyalty to nation-states, thus increasing dependency upon the EU. That's the implications with regionalism and localism in today's Europe.

It's the same deal with identity politics, victim culture multiculturalism and the indigenous industry in countries like the US, Canada and Australia. The NGOs pushing these agendas are undeniably linked to global networks sponsored by the EU and UN precisely with the aim of weakening national loyalty and pushing the progressive internationalist agenda.

I know I'm going off on a tangent here from the original subject matter, but there is a point in all this with regards to supporting regionalism. I mean no ill-will to you whatsoever and we welcome many viewpoints. I am stating, however, that one must tread cautiously with these sorts of sentiments.
Roideroi

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Reply with quote  #5 
I currently live in eastern Canada it's a disaster right now. Everyone that voted Liberal were deceived. I know it's connected to the new world order. It's sad. I don't currently live in France so my perception on Brythonique politics are rusty. I just know those people are oppressed. I strongly agree with being cautious concerning all surrounding multicultural Marxism.
DavidV

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Reply with quote  #6 
Here's the thing: why is Hungary's Fidesz still in the EPP when they should be with the Conservatives in ECR?

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/806186/hungary-viktor-orban-european-union-nuclear-vote

It has been mooted:
http://budapestbeacon.com/featured-articles/fidesz-may-leave-epp-ecr-says-bokros/46291
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