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European Free Alliance

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European Free Alliance

European Free Alliance
Alliance libre européenne
President Eric Defoort (N-VA)
Secretary-General Jordi Solé (ERC)
Treasurer François Alfonsi (PNC)
Founded 9 July 1981 (9 July 1981)
Headquarters Boomkwekerijstraat 1,
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Think tank Centre Maurits Coppieters
Ideology Regionalism[1]
Progressivism (majority)
European Parliament group Greens/EFA
Colours Purple
European Parliament
13 / 751
European Council
0 / 27
Politics of European Union
Political parties

The European Free Alliance (EFA) is a European political party.

It consists of various regionalist[2][3] political parties in Europe advocating either full political independence (statehood), or some form of devolution or self-governance for their country or region.[4] The alliance has generally limited its membership to progressive parties,[5] and therefore, not all European regionalist parties are members of EFA.

Since 1999 the EFA and the European Green Party (EGP) have joined forces within The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) group in the European Parliament, albeit some EFA members have joined other groups from time to time.

The EFA's youth wing is the European Free Alliance Youth (EFAY).


Since the 1979 election, regionalists have been represented in the European Parliament. Four regionalist parties obtained seats in that election: the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Flemish People's Union (VU), the Brussels-based Democratic Front of Francophones (FDF) and the South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP). The SNP, although being predominantly social-democratic, joined the European Progressive Democrats, a conservative group led by the French Gaullist Rally for the Republic. The VU and the FDF joined the heterogeneous Technical Group of Independents, while the SVP joined the European People's Party.[6]

In 1981 six parties (VU, the Alsace-Lorraine National Association), plus three observers (the Union of the Corsican People, the Occitan Party and the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, CDC), joined forces to form the European Free Alliance.[7][8] Regionalist MEPs continued, however, to sit in different groups in the European Parliament: the SNP in the Gaullist-dominated European Democratic Alliance; the VU, the Sardinian Action Party (PSd'Az) and Basque Solidarity (PNV) in the Rainbow Group, together with Green parties; the SVP in the European People's Party group; the CDC with the Liberal Democrats; and Batasuna among Non-Inscrits.[9]

Only after the 1989 European Parliament election did EFA members form a united group, called Rainbow like its Green predecessor. It consisted of three Italian MEPs (two for Lega Lombarda and one for the PSd'Az), two Spanish MEPs (one each for the PNV and the Andalusian Party, PA), one Belgian MEP (for VU), one French MEP (Union of the Corsican People, UPC), one British MEP (SNP) and one independent MEP from Ireland. They were joined by 4 MEPs from the Danish left-wing Eurosceptic People's Movement against the EU, while the other regionalist parties, including the SVP, Batasuna and the Convergence and Union of Catalonia (CiU) declined to join.[10]

In the 1994 European Parliament election the regionalists lost many seats. Moreover, the EFA had suspended its major affiliate, Lega Nord, for having joined forces in government with the post-fascist National Alliance. Also, the PNV chose to switch to the European People's Party (EPP). The three remaining EFA MEPs (representing the SNP, the VU and the Canarian Coalition) formed a group with the French Énergie Radicale list and the Italian Pannella List: the European Radical Alliance.[11]

Following the 1999 European Parliament election, for the 5th European Parliament EFA members formed a joint group with the European Green Party, under the name The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA). The EFA supplied ten members: two each from the Scottish SNP, the Welsh Plaid Cymru, and the Flemish VU, and one each from the Basque PNV, Basque Solidarity (EA), the Andalusian PA and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG).[12]

In the 2004 European Parliament election, the EFA, which had formally become a European political party,[13] was reduced to four MEPs: two from the SNP (Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith), one from Plaid Cymru (Jill Evans) and one from the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC; Bernat Joan i Marí, replaced at the mid-term by MEP Mikel Irujo of the Basque EA). They were joined by two associate members: Tatjana Ždanoka of For Human Rights in United Latvia (PCTVL) and László Tőkés, an independent MEP and former member of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UMDR). Co-operation between the EFA and the Greens continued.

Following the 2008 revision of the EU Regulation that governs European political parties allowing the creation of European foundations affiliated to European political parties, the EFA established its official foundation/think tank, the Centre Maurits Coppieters (CMC), in September 2007.[14]

In the 2009 European Parliament election, six MEPs were returned for the EFA: two from the SNP (Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith), one from Plaid Cymru (Jill Evans), one from the Party of the Corsican Nation (PNC; François Alfonsi), one from the ERC (Oriol Junqueras i Vies), and Tatjana Ždanoka, an individual member of the EFA from Latvia. After the election, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) also joined the EFA. The EFA subgroup thus counted 7 MEPs.[15]

In the 2014 European Parliament election, EFA-affiliated parties returned eleven seats to the Parliament: four for the N-VA, two for the SNP, two for L'Esquerra pel Dret a Decidir (an electoral list comprising the Republican Left of Catalonia), one from Plaid Cymru, one from the Latvian Russian Union and one for Primavera Europea (an electoral list comprising the Valencian Nationalist Bloc). However, on 18 June 2014, due to ideological divergences with the Flemish Greens,[16] the N-VA defected to the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group,[17][18] reducing the total EFA representation within the Greens/EFA group to seven MEPs.[19]


In the Brussels declaration of 2000 the EFA codified its political principles. The EFA stands for "a Europe of Free Peoples based on the principle of subsidiarity, which believe in solidarity with each other and the peoples of the world."[20] The EFA sees itself as an alliance of stateless peoples, which are striving towards independence, autonomy, recognition or wanting a proper voice in Europe. It supports European integration on basis of the subsidiarity-principle. It believes also that Europe should move away from further centralisation and works towards the formation of a Europe of regions. It believes that regions should have more power in Europe, for instance participating in the Council of the European Union, when matters within their competence are discussed. It also wants to protect the linguistic and cultural diversity within the EU.

The EFA stands on the left-wing politics of the political spectrum. The Brussels declaration emphasises the protection of human rights, sustainable development and social justice. In 2007 the EFA congress in Bilbao added several progressive principles to the declaration, including a commitment to fight against racism, antisemitism, discrimination, xenophobia and islamophobia, and a commitment to get full citizenship for migrants, including voting rights.

EFA members are generally progressive, although there are some notable exceptions as the conservative New Flemish Alliance, Bavaria Party, Schleswig Party and Future of Åland, the Christian-democratic Slovene Union, the centre-right Liga Veneta Repubblica and the far-right[21][22][23][24] South Tyrolean Freedom.


The main organs of the EFA organisation are the General Assembly, the Bureau and the Secretariat.

General Assembly

In the General Assembly, the supreme council of the EFA, every member party has one vote.

Bureau and Secretariat

The Bureau takes care of daily affairs. It is chaired by Eric Defoort (New Flemish Alliance), president of the EFA, while Jordi Solé (Republican Left of Catalonia) is secretary-general and François Alfonsi (Party of the Corsican Nation) treasure. The Bureau is completed by five vice-presidents: Gustave Alirol (Occitan Party), Fabrizio Comencini (Liga Veneta Repubblica), Miguel Martinez Tomey (Aragonese Union), Ian Hudghton (Scottish National Party), Lorena Lopez de Lacalle (Basque Solidarity), Olrik Bouma (Frisian National Party), Rhodri Glyn Thomas (Plaid Cymru), Karolina Gottberg (Future of Åland) and Florian Weber (Bavaria Party).[25]

Full members

Before becoming a member party, an organization needs to have been an observer of the EFA for at least one year. Only one member party per region is allowed. If a second party from a region wants to join the EFA, the first party needs to agree, at which point these two parties will then form a common delegation with one vote. The EFA also recognises friends of the EFA, a special status for regionalist parties outside of the European Union.[20]

Current state(s) Party Seeking to represent Joined
 Austria Unity List ethnic Slovenes 2005/2006 0
 Belgium New Flemish Alliance  Flanders 2010 4[26]
 Bulgaria United Macedonian Organization Ilinden–Pirin ethnic Macedonians 2006/2007 0
 Czech Republic Moravané  Moravia 2006 0
 Croatia List for Fiume  Rijeka 2009/2010 0
 Denmark Schleswig Party ethnic Germans 2011 0
 Finland Future of Åland  Åland 2005/2006 0
 France Savoy Region Movement Savoie 1991 0
 France Occitan Party  Occitania 1982 0
 France Party of the Corsican Nation  Corsica 1981 0
 France Breton Democratic Union  Brittany 1987 0
 France Our Land  Alsace 1991 0
 France Catalan Unity Northern Catalonia, Catalan Countries 1991 0
 Germany Bavaria Party  Bavaria 2007/2008 0
 Germany The Friesen East Frisia 2008/2009 0
 Germany Lusatian Alliance Sorbs, Lusatia 2009/2013 0
 Germany South Schleswig Voter Federation ethnic Danes, North Frisia 2009/2010 0
 Greece Rainbow ethnic Macedonians 1999/2000 0
 Italy South Tyrolean Freedom  South Tyrol 2009 0
 Italy Liga Veneta Repubblica  Veneto 1999/2000 0
 Italy Sardinian Action Party  Sardinia 1984 0
 Italy Slovene Union ethnic Slovenes 1991 0
 Italy Autonomy Liberty Participation Ecology  Aosta Valley 2007/2011 0
 Netherlands Frisian National Party  Friesland 1981 0
 Poland Silesian Autonomy Movement Upper Silesia 2002/2003 0
 Slovakia Hungarian Christian Democratic Association ethnic Hungarians 2008/2009 0
 Spain Galician Nationalist Bloc  Galicia 1994/2000 0
 Spain Aragonese Union  Aragon 2003/2004 0
 Spain Socialist Party of Majorca Majorca, Catalan Countries 2000/2008 0
 Spain /  France Republican Left of Catalonia Catalan Countries 1989 2[26]
 Spain /  France Basque Solidarity Basque Country 1986 0
 Spain /  France Aralar Party Basque Country 2012/2013 0
 Spain /  France Basque Country Gather Basque Country 2012/2013 1[26]
 Spain Valencian Nationalist Bloc Valencia 2012/2013 1[26]
 Spain Andalusian Party  Andalusia 1999 0
 United Kingdom Mebyon Kernow  Cornwall 2003 0
 United Kingdom Plaid Cymru  Wales 1983 1[26]
 United Kingdom Scottish National Party  Scotland 1989 2[26]

Observer members

Current state(s) Party Seeking to represent Joined
(as Observer)
 Italy The Other South  Sicily 2014 0
 Latvia Latvian Russian Union ethnic Russians, Latgalians 2010 1[26]
 Spain New Canaries  Canary Islands 2013 0
 Spain Valencian Nationalist Bloc Valencian Country 2013 0

Former members

Current state(s) Party Seeking to represent Joined
 Belgium People's Union  Flanders 1981 Split into the New-Flemish Alliance and SPIRIT
 Belgium Social Liberal Party  Flanders 2001 Ceased activity in 2009
 Belgium Walloon Popular Rally  Wallonia 1982 Ceased activity as party in 2011
 Belgium Party of German-speaking Belgians German Community 1981 Merged into ProDG in 2008
 Belgium Pro German-speaking Community German Community 2009/2011
 France Alsace-Lorraine National Association  Alsace,  Lorraine 1981
 France Union of the Corsican People  Corsica 1981 Merged into the PNC in 2002
 France Party for the Organization of a Free Brittany  Brittany 1981 Ceased activity in 2000
 France Savoyan League Savoie 1999/2000
 Hungary Renewed Roma Union Party of Hungary Romani people 2009 Ceased activity in 2012
 Ireland Independent Fianna Fáil  Ireland 1981 Ceased activity in 2006
 Italy Lega Lombarda  Lombardy 1989/1990 Joined Lega Nord in 1991
 Italy Liga Veneta  Veneto 1989/1990 Joined Lega Nord in 1991
 Italy Lega Nord  Padania 1991 Suspended in 1994, left in 1996 and joined ELDR
 Italy Emilian Free Alliance Emilia 1999/2000 Ceased activity in 2010
 Italy Movement for the Independence of Sicily  Sicily 2009
 Italy Valdostan Union  Aosta Valley Expelled in 2007 after lack of activity in EFA structures
 Lithuania Lithuanian Polish People's Party ethnic Poles 2003/2004 Ceased activity in 2010
 Italy Union for South Tyrol  South Tyrol Expelled in 2008 for opposition to the Bilbao declaration
 Romania Transilvania–Banat League Transylvania, Banat Ceased activity
 Slovakia Hungarian Federalist Party ethnic Hungarians Banned in 2005[27]
 Spain Democratic Convergence of Catalonia  Catalonia 1981 Joined the LDR Group in 1987
 Spain Canarian Coalition  Canary Islands 1994 Left in 1999 and joined the ELDR Group
 Spain /  France Basque Nationalist Party Basque Country 1999 Left in 2004 and joined the EDP

See also


  1. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Marion Demossier (15 August 2007). The European Puzzle: The Political Structuring of Cultural Identities at a Time of Transition. Berghahn Books. pp. 152–.  
  3. ^ Elizabeth Bomberg; John Peterson; Richard Corbett (2012). The European Union: How Does it Work?. Oxford University Press. pp. 155–.  
  4. ^
  5. ^ Gupta, Devashree (2008), "Nationalism Across Borders: Transnational Nationalist Advocacy in the European Union", Comparative European Politics 6 (6): 61,  
  6. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Andrew C. Gould; Anthony M. Messina (17 February 2014). Europe's Contending Identities: Supranationalism, Ethnoregionalism, Religion, and New Nationalism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 132–.  
  9. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  11. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "Centre Maurits Coppieters (CMC) - Ideas for Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  15. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Van Overtveldt, Johan (2014-06-18). "N-VA kiest voor ECR-fractie in Europees Parlement" [N-VA chooses ECR Group in the European Parliament]. (in Dutch). Retrieved 2014-06-18. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b "European Free Alliance". Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "I separati dell’Alto Adige - Corriere della Sera". Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "Digos e carabinieri nella sede del partito - Alto Adige dal » Ricerca". 14 October 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  23. ^ "Frattini denuncia il "diario" della Klotz - Cronaca - Alto Adige". 24 July 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "La Stampa - Nel diario scolastico sudtirolesei terroristi si scoprono eroi". Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "Members of the Bureau". European Free ALliance. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g
  27. ^[tt_news]=623&cHash=f4e6f9b1f60ea7e2fa04bb68fc485939

External links

  • EFA official website
  • The Greens/EFA official website
  • EFA in the European Parliament
  • European Free Alliance Youth
  • Declaration of Brussels of 9 November 2000
  • Toward a Europe of diversity – Manifesto for the 2004 EP election
  • Vision for a People's Europe – Manifesto for the 2009 EP election
  • It's time for self-determination for all the peoples of Europe – Manifesto for the 2014 EP election
  • Eric Defoort (editor), The European Free Alliance: The voice of nations and peoples of Europe. 30 years EFA, 2011
  • Tudi Kernalegenn, The internationalism of the EFA, European Free Alliance, 2011
  • Peter Lynch, Organising for a Europe of the Regions: The European Free Alliance-DPPE and Political Representation in the European Union, 2007
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