EU party politics and the role of the transnational parties
in The European Left Party
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This chapter traces the institutional and legal context in which transnational parties (TNPs) first emerged and developed. We show that TNP development expanded after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty but remained rudimentary until the 2000s. We aim to explain why the EL, founded in 2004, was a relative latecomer to the field of TNPs and we consider debates between sceptics, idealists and realists as to the potential of TNPs to develop into fully-fledged pan-European political parties. We examine the different functions of TNPs – co-ordination and information exchange, socialisation, legitimacy, policy-making – and discuss where we think the EL has developed to date and where it has stalled. We conclude with some remarks concerning the future of TNPs.

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