Does European integration contribute to, or even accelerate, the erosion of intra-party democracy? This book is about improving our understanding of political parties as democratic organisations in the context of multi-level governance. It analyses the impact of European Union (EU) membership on power dynamics, focusing on the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party (PS), and the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). The purpose of this book is to investigate who within the three parties determines EU policies and selects EU specialists, such as the candidates for European parliamentary elections and EU spokespersons. The book utilises a principal-agent framework to investigate the delegation of power inside the three parties across multiple levels and faces. It draws on over 65 original interviews with EU experts from the three national parties and the Party of European Socialists (PES) and an e-mail questionnaire. This book reveals that European policy has largely remained in the hands of the party leadership. Its findings suggest that the party grassroots are interested in EU affairs, but that interest rarely translates into influence, as information asymmetry between the grassroots and the party leadership makes it very difficult for local activists to scrutinise elected politicians and to come up with their own policy proposals. As regards the selection of EU specialists, such as candidates for the European parliamentary elections, this book highlights that the parties’ processes are highly political, often informal, and in some cases, undemocratic.
This book makes an important contribution to the existing literature on European social democracy in the wake of the 2008 financial crash and ensuing recession. It considers ways in which European social democratic parties at both the national and European level have responded to the global economic crisis (GEC). The book also considers the extent to which the authors might envisage alternatives to the neo-liberal consensus being successfully promoted by those parties within the European Union (EU). The book first explores some of the broader thematic issues underpinning questions of the political economy of social democracy during the GEC. Then, it addresses some of the social democratic party responses that have been witnessed at the level of the nation state across Europe. The book focuses in particular on some of the countries with the longest tradition of social democratic and centre-left party politics, and therefore focuses on western and southern Europe. In contrast to the proclaimed social democratic (and especially Party of European Socialists) ambitions, the outcomes witnessed at the EU level have been less promising for those seeking a supranational re-social democratization. In order to understand the EU-level response of social democratic party actors to the Great Recession, the book situates social democratic parties historically. In the case of the British Labour Party, it also identifies the absence of ideological alternatives to the 'there is no alternative' (TINA)-logic that prevailed under the leadership of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
The Party of European Socialists and the financial crisis
Michael Holmes and Simon Lightfoot
Limits of consensus? The PartyofEuropeanSocialists and the financial crisis1
Michael Holmes and Simon Lightfoot
This chapter examines the response of the PartyofEuropeanSocialists (PES) to
the financial crisis. While the PES aims to play a role in coordinating the positions of social democratic parties throughout all EU institutions, the focus here
is primarily on the role of the PES in the European Parliament (EP). This was
the main forum in which the PES sought to develop a response to the financial
crisis. We also treat the financial
even chaos, a political force can recover lost ground.
Moreover, for the first time in its history, the PartyofEuropeanSocialists (PES)
was naturally well placed to become the organic framework for coordinating
socialist action. The minority participation of socialists in European institutions
favoured such a role, which would have consisted of steering the socialists’ political and programmatic activity through the PES and the leaders’ conference. It
must also be stressed that the intellectual environment was highly favourable.
The crisis gave rise to an
and progressive measures, the mirage of re-social democratisation via Brussels
provides a welcome distraction. As Moschonas notes, there is a telling contradiction between the more reflationary strategy of the PartyofEuropeanSocialists
(PES) and the austerity fixations of social democrats on their home turf. This
of course brings to mind the debate, to which Bailey refers, as to how the EU
can best be understood, and how it interacts with social democracy. Some social
democrats had initially held out hopes that the EU might offer a way around
Postface: death by
Organisational and programmatic developments among left-of-centre
Richard Dunphy and Luke March
To what degree are developments within the EL unique, and to what degree does its trajectory (with all its problems and opportunities) mirror those of other European TNPs? To some extent, we have alluded to the comparative context throughout (for instance, in discussion of the institutional–legal context for TNPs in chapter 1 ). This chapter brings the comparative dimension into more explicit focus. Here, the PartyofEuropeanSocialists and European Green Party are used as the primary TNPs for comparison.
This chapter focuses on two distinct (but related
Labour, the PS, and the SPD: organising
for multi-level governance
This chapter provides some essential contextual information on the Labour Party,
the Parti Socialiste (PS), the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland (SPD), and
the PartyofEuropeanSocialists’ (PES) organisations. It highlights the main differences and commonalities between the parties.
Labour, the PS, and the SPD are all ‘multi-level organisations’ (Deschouwer,
2006), which means that they organise at the subnational (local, regional),
national, and the European level inside the PES
headquarters houses a department or unit dealing with European and
international policies led by party officials such as Labour’s international liaison
manager or the PS and SPD’s secretaries for European and international affairs.
This chapter investigates the extent to which power has been delegated from the
party in central office to the party in public office (mode 1 of power delegation)
and to the PartyofEuropeanSocialists (PES) in central office (mode 2 of power
delegation). As throughout this book, the focus lies on the power to formulate
EU policies and select EU
Transnational party federations (TNPs) have been critical prisms through which to
analyse the EU’s tensions between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism.
This study focuses on the radical left TNP, the European Left Party (EL),
founded in 2004. It centres on four general questions: first; the conditions
under which TNPs might be successful; second, how the EL compares with other
TNPs, particularly those of the broad centre-left, the Party of European
Socialists (PES) and the European Green Party (EGP); third, to what extent the
EL has fostered a consensus over positions towards the EU previously
conspicuously lacking among the radical left; and fourth, the degree to which
the EL has enabled an increase in the electoral or policy influence of the
radical left in Europe. The study highlights the strengths and weaknesses of
TNPs as networks of Europeanisation; they have important roles in the EU
political system but remain timid actors with only selectively developed
transnationalism. It shows how the EL is a paradoxical actor; on the one hand it
has brought radical left transnational co-operation to historical highs; on the
other it is both less influential than the PES and less transnational and
consolidated than the EGP. Such paradoxes result from persistent internal
divisions between Europeanists and sovereigntists, as well as suboptimal
internal structures. The influence of the EL is also paradoxical. It has emerged
as a centre of attraction for the European radical left promoting the Left
Europeanist position, but is a long way from being hegemonic or unchallenged on
European route to social democratic reinvigoration. As far back
as 1973 the Socialist Parties of the European Community (the precursor to the
present PartyofEuropeanSocialists) adopted a policy statement, Towards a
Social Europe, which included a commitment to European-level social policy,
full employment, equality of opportunity, EC industrial policy, environmental
regulation, worker participation and an EC incomes policy (Hix, 2002: 21).
Similarly, writing in 1988, Featherstone (1988: 347) noted that:
in the present conditions of world capitalism, there is a need