- European People's Party (EPP)
- Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (PASD)
- Alliance of Liberals & Democrats for Europe (ALDE)
- Greens/European Free Alliance (Grn/EFA)
- European Conservatives & Reformists (ECR)
- European United Left/Nordic Green Left (EUL/NGL)
- Europe of Freedom & Democracy (EFD)
There are Members of the European Parliament who do not belong to any of these groups, and these are known as non-iscrits.
To form a group, there are two threshholds to pass:
- One-thirtieth of the total membership (i.e. 25 MEPs) and
- MEPs from one-fourth of the member nations (i.e. 7 nations)
Looking at the latest poll (for 23 April) we have:
We can look at the 94 non-iscrits in this list:
|Country||Party||Predicted MEPs||In current Parliament?||European party|
|Austria||Freedom Party||4||Yes||European Alliance for Freedom|
|Belgium||Flemish Interest||1||Yes||European Alliance for Freedom|
|Bulgaria||Bulgaria Without Censorship||2||No||None|
|Alternative for Bulgarian Revival||1||No||None|
|Croatia||Alliance for Croatia*||1||No||European Alliance of National Movements|
|Czech Republic||Yes 2011||6||No||None|
|France||National Front||20||Yes||European Alliance for Freedom|
|Germany||Alternative for Germany||6||No||None|
|Hungary||Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik)||5||Yes||European Alliance of National Movements|
|Italy||Five Star Movement||20||No||None|
|Latvia||Union of Greens & Farmers||2||No||European Green Party|
|Netherlands||Party for Freedom||4||Yes||European Alliance for Freedom|
|Party for the Animals||1||No||None|
|Romania||People's Party – Dan Diaconescu||2||No||None|
|Slovenia||Slovenian National Party||2||No||None|
|I Believe! Dr Igor Šoltes List||1||No||None|
|Spain||Union, Progress & Democracy||4||Yes||None|
|Party of the Citizenry||1||No||None|
|United Kingdom||Democratic Unionist Party||1||Yes||None|
[* This is a collection of parties forming an electoral pact, of which the Croatian Party of Rights is - along with the British National Party - part of the European Alliance of National Movements]
Now, these would be the non-iscrits right after the election, bearing in mind that many of them are from parties with no MEPs at the moment, and hence no parliamentary grouping. Various things can happen:
- Such a party could find that it and other non-iscrits now pass the two threshholds to form a grouping
- Such a party could join an existing grouping
- Such a party could remain as non-iscrits
Last autumn, there were reports that Marine le Pen of the French National Front and Geert Wilders of the Dutch Party for Freedom were talking of an alliance. On the above, the European Alliance for Freedom would have 29 MEPs (passing the first threshhold) from 4 countries (so failing to pass the second threshhold) - but they could form a grouping with parties like Alliance for Croatia, Germany's National Democrats, Jobbik, Golden Dawn, Slovenian National Party and Sweden Democrats (which would bring them over this threshhold and give a grouping of 41 MEPs).
If we look at the existing groupings we have (numbers in bold show the thressholds being passed):
Notice which one of those numbers isn't in bold. When the Parliament assembles, the European Conservatives & Reformists will find themselves having fallen below the second threshhold, and therefore ceasing to exist as a grouping, unless they get members from another country. Mildly Eurosceptic parties like Yes 2011 and Alternative for Germany might choose to bring the ECR back over that threshhold, but don't take it for granted.
In the absence of that, the Conservatives (along with the Ulster Unionist Party) will find themselves as non-iscrits, at the back with the Democratic Unionist Party. None of the entitlements that come from being part of a grouping, just on the fringes. And that will be for 5 years, until May 2019. If David Cameron remains Prime Minister after the May 2015 general election, it would be quite interesting for him to negotiate for his referendum while his MEPs are just a small bunch of non-iscrits.
In that case, Cameron has to decide who to turn to - UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage or German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He could ask for the Conservative MEPs to join the Europe of Freedom & Democracy, at a heavy price. Immediate referendum? Standing down in some constituencies to allow UKIP to get its first MPs?
When Cameron became leader back in December 2005, one of his aims was to pull the Conservatives out of the European People's Party/European Democrats grouping in the Parliament. To have to go to Merkel and arrange re-forming the old EPP/ED grouping would be a humiliation. He will have failed at one of his key ambitions. Imagine the response from his more Eurosceptic backbenchers.
Finishing third is not the catastrophe that faces the Conservatives. It's the 5 years that follow....