European Free Alliance

Infobox_European_Political_Party
party_name = European Free Alliance
party_name_de = Europäische Freie Allianz
party_name_fr = Alliance libre européenne
party_name_it = Alleanza libera europea
party_name_es = Alianza libre europea
party_name_se = Fria Europeiska Alliansen
party_articletitle = European Free Alliance
party_
president = Nelly Maes
foundation = 1981
ideology = Regionalism (majority), Separatism (minority), Progressivism (majority)
international = "none"
europarl = European Greens–European Free Alliance
colours = Blue and Grey
headquarters = Rue de Woeringenstraat 19-21 1000 Brussels, Belgium
website = [http://www.e-f-a.org/ www.e-f-a.org]
The European Free Alliance (EFA) is a European political party. It consists of various European political parties which advocate either full political independence (statehood), or some form of devolution or self-government for their country or region. The alliance has generally limited its membership to progressive parties [Citation
last = Gupta
first = Devashree
author-link = Devashree Gupta
title = Nationalism Across Borders: Transnational Nationalist Advocacy in the European Union
journal = Comparative European Politics
volume =
issue = 6
pages =
date =
year = 2008
url = http://www.palgrave-journals.com/cep/journal/v6/n1/full/6110127a.html
doi = 10.1057/palgrave.cep.6110127
id =
] . Therefore not all European regionalist parties are members of EFA. It participates in the European Greens–European Free Alliance in the European Parliament.

History

Since the 1979 European Parliament election regionalists and separatists have been represented in the European Parliament. In that election five regionalist parties got seats: the Northern-Irish Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Scottish National Party, the Flemish People's Union (VU), the Waloon Democratic Front of Francophones (FDF) and the South Tyrolean People's Party won seats. The SNP, although being a social-democratic party, joined the European Progressive Democrats, which was led by the Gaullist Rally for the Republic, the SDLP the Socialist Group, VU and FDF the Technical Group of Independents, which comprised both conservative and left-wing MEPs, and the SVP joined the group of the European People's Party.

In 1981 several European regionalist parties joined together to form a pan-European political alliance, called the "European Free Alliance". It was not until the 1989 European Parliament election that the EFA members formed a united group in the European Parliament. Before the regionalists had been seated divided, with the SNP with the Gaullist European Democratic Alliance, VU, the Valdotanian Union and the Basque Nationalist Party in the Rainbow Group, together with green parties, and Batasuna sat among "non-iscrits".

In 1989 the regionalists, including EFA-members, formed a group called the Rainbow Group as well. It consisted out of three Italian MEPs (for Lega Nord and the Sardinian Action Party), two Spanish MEPs (for the Basque Nationalist Party and the Andalusian Party), one Belgian MEP (for VU), one French MEP (for the Union of the Corsican People, one British MEP (for the SNP) and one Irish MEP (an independent). They were joined by 4 MEPs from the left-wing Danish Eurosceptic People's Movement against the EU, while all the other regionalist MEPs, including those of the SDLP, the SVP and the Convergence and Union of Catalonia refused to join EFA.

In the 1994 European Parliament election the regionalists lost considerably. Moreover they had suspended the membership of Lega Nord for entering in a government with the post-fascist National Alliance and the Basque Nationalist Party had joined the European People's Party. The three remaining EFA-members in the Parliament (SNP, VU and Canarian Coalition) formed a common group with the Energie Radicale-list. This group was called European Radical Alliance.

Following the 1999 European Parliament election the EFA-members in parliament formed a common group with the European Greens called European Greens–European Free Alliance. The EFA supplied ten members from the Scottish National Party (2 MEPs), the Welsh Plaid Cymru (2), the Flemish People's Union (2), the Basque Nationalist Party (1), Basque Solidarity (1), the Andalusian Party (1) and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (1).

In the 2004 European Parliament election the EFA was reduced to four MEPs (two of the SNP, one of Plaid Cymru and one of the Republican Left of Catalonia, replaced at the mid-term by a MEP of Basque Solidarity) plus two affiliate members. The cooperation between and the Greens was continued. In 2004 the EFA became an European political party.

Ideology

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." [http://www.e-f-a.org/efaactive.php?id=12 Statutes of EFA] ]

The EFA sees itself as an alliance of stateless peoples, which are striving towards independence or autonomy. It supports European integration on basis of the subsidiarity-principle. It believes however that Europe should move away from further centralization. It works towards the formation of a Europe of Regions. It believes that regions should have more power in Europe, for in stance participate 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 European Union.

The EFA stands on the left of the political spectrum, and in the Brussels declaration it emphasizes 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.

Organization

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

In the General Assembly every member party has one vote. It is the supreme council of the EFA. Only member parties can participate in the EFA. The EFA also has observers. Before becoming member a party needs to have been 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 first party needs to agree, these two parties will then form a common delegation with one vote. The EFA also recognizes friends of the EFA, a special status for regionalist parties outside of the European Union.

The Bureau takes care of daily affairs. It is chaired by Nelly Maes, a former MEP for the FlemishProgressives. Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru), Gustave Alirol (Occitan Party) and Fabrizio Comencini (Liga Veneta Repubblica) are vice-chairpersons. Joan i Mari Bernat (Republican Left of Catalonia is secretary-general), while François Alfonsi (Party of the Corsican Nation) is treasurer. Other members of the Bureau are Ana Miranda Paz (Galician Nationalist Bloc), Alyn Smith (Scottish National Party), Sybren Posthumus (Frisian National Party), Irujo Amezaga (Basque Solidarity), Pavlos Voskopoulos (Macedonian Movement for Balkan Prosperity) and Rolf Granlund (Future of Åland).

Members

Non-members

Several prominent regional, regionalist, secessionist or minority parties are not a member of EFA. These include:


*flag|Belgium
**Vlaams Belang, "non-inscrit"
**New-Flemish Alliance, EPP–ED
**Democratic Front of Francophones, ELDR
*flag|Bulgaria
**Movement for Rights and Freedoms, ELDR
*flag|Finland
**Swedish People's Party, ELDR
*flag|Germany
**Christian Social Union of Bavaria, EPP
*flag|Slovakia
**Party of the Hungarian Coalition, EPP
*flag|Italy
**Lega Nord, left in 1996, later ELDR and now UEN
***Liga Veneta
***Lega Lombarda
***
**Valdotanian Union, expelled from EFA in 2007
**Edelweiss Aosta Valley
**Autonomist Federation
**South Tyrolean People's Party, EPP–ED
**Union for South Tyrol, expelled from EFA in 2008
**The Libertarians
**Union for Trentino
**Trentino Tyrolean Autonomist Party
**North-East Project
**Sardinian Reformers
**Movement for Autonomy, EPP–ED
*flag|Latvia
**For Human Rights in United Latvia, whose MEP sits with EFA
*flag|Romania Romania
**Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, EPP
*flag|Spain
**Basque Nationalist Party, formerly EPP, then EFA until 2004 and now EDP
**Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, ELDR
**Democratic Union of Catalonia, EPP–ED
**Initiative for Catalonia Greens, EGP
**Canarian Coalition
**Aragonese Party
**Regionalist Party of Cantabria
*flag|United Kingdom
**Sinn Féin, EUL–NGL
**Social Democratic and Labour Party, PES
*flag|Croatia
**Istrian Democratic Assembly, ELDR

References

External links

* [http://www.e-f-a.org/home.php European Free Alliance website]
* [http://www.efa-dppe.org/ European Free Alliance (EFA) Manifesto for the June 2004 European elections]
* [http://www.greens-efa.org/ The Greens-European Free Alliance Group in the European Parliament]
* [http://www.efay.eu European Free Alliance Youth] EFAY


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