European Political Parties

It was only with the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 that political parties were mentioned for the first time on a European level.
Today it is a regulation dating back to 2003 which defines them.

Several criteria enable the definition of a European political party: its legal personality, its representativeness on a national level or during the previous European elections, its respect for the founding principles of the European Union and finally its participation in the European elections.

Every year the European Union publishes an appeal in view of granting a subsidy to finance European political parties.
The procedures enables it to check that the criteria for the acquisition of European political party status are being respected and to define the total of the subsidy being granted, which cannot exceed 85% of the eligible costs of the functioning budgets of these parties.

We should not confuse European political parties and the “political groups” within the European Parliament which were formed informally when the European Community of Steel and Coal was established in 1952.
A political group rallies the MEPs of various Member States together with the same political leanings.


MEPs are not affiliated to a European political party; it is their national party which is linked to a European political party.