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Alexis Wintoniak

Union, its enlargement and most recently the constitutional treaty. The terms of debate have always been set by the congresses of the EPP, with the preparation of the Congress manifestos and policy papers. Certainly European elections have regularly been the paramount concern of the EPP. By contrast, the EDU was not primarily focussed on developments in Brussels, but rather on developments in the capitals all over Europe. The EDU’s political work was rooted in its standing working committees established by the leaders of the member parties. The working committees were given a clear mandate, and the chairs of the Committees—appointed by the party leaders—had to report to the Leaders Meeting. The topics of the working committees were the most pressing issues of common concern, where the establishment of joint positions was badly needed. Traditionally, the party leaders established standing working committees on European policy, security policy, economic and social policy, domestic affairs and campaign management. The committees were composed of the official party representatives responsible for the respective policy area, usually the parliamentary spokesperson of the member parties. The policy papers and joint programmes established by the committees thus reflected the political views of the member parties as represented in their own national Parliaments.

a Western Balkan Democracy Initiative was established, providing for regular cooperation between democratic forces in South-East Europe and the EDU parties. In addition, the EDU founded a Pan-European Forum for regular cooperation with centre/centre-right forces in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other successor states to the Soviet Union. There was also a considerable difference in human and financial resources. The EPP Secretariat has always aimed at becoming the de facto headquarters of the party. In addition to its considerable number of employees, the EPP also tried to incorporate affiliated associations such as the Christian Democrat International, the youth movement and the women’s organisation. Efforts were made to make the seat of the EPP a beacon for European and international Christian Democracy, first at Rue de la Victoire (where the name was the message) and then at Rue D’Arlon. The EDU Secretariat on the other hand was always small: not the headquarters but rather a clearinghouse to serve its member parties in their party-to-party cooperation. With only a limited number of part-time staff, the EDU drew on the member parties for its human resources—i.e. it drew from the SecretariesGeneral and International Secretaries of the member parties—thereby creating a Europeanwide network. The need to combine forces

In addition to the working committees, the EDU focused on the processes for building democracy in Europe. The EDU was the first transnational group to set up concrete programmes of support for the democratic forces in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989. As early as 1990, centreright parties from Central and Eastern Europe joined the EDU. This led to early membership in the EDU from all of today’s new EU member countries. After the Balkan wars of the mid-1990s, the EDU’s democracy building efforts focused on South-East Europe. Following numerous fact-finding missions to the Balkan countries,

At the time of their foundation in the 1970s, the separate tasks of the EPP and the EDU could easily be discerned: the EPP was there for cooperation among the Christian Democrats within the European Communities with an emphasis on EC issues, and the EDU was there to facilitate the European-wide cooperation of a broader ideological spectrum, i.e. Christian Democrats, Conservatives and like-minded groups. Two historic developments moved the two sets of tasks ever closer. The first of these was ideological rapprochement between the

Volume 3 - Spring 2006

175

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy  

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy  

European View_Transnational parties and european democracy

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