The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)

Politics, parties and policies

Author: Martin Steven

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) are now the third largest party grouping in the European Parliament and the only one which openly promotes ideas and values associated with conservatism. Despite this, ECR has been largely ignored by political scientists, journalists and other policymakers in Brussels – dismissed as merely a short-term Eurosceptic faction dreamt up by British Conservatives. This book can be considered the first major study of conservatives in the European Parliament, focusing on their Euro-realist political ideology, activities and achievements. It covers the origins and developments of the group: David Cameron set it up as a gesture to the Eurosceptic wing of his party, but this decision would go on leave him increasingly isolated as United Kingdom Prime Minister in the European Union as he was no longer part of the important European People’s Party (EPP) network. Other chapters focus on the role of ECR member parties, including Law and Justice (PiS) from Poland, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) and the Danish People’s Party (DF), and concludes by analysing the policy activities and achievements of ECR Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). While it is conceded in the book that ECR’s claim to be an ‘honest friend’ to the EU is perhaps disingenuous, its aim of promoting Atlanticist values linked to free-market economics and NATO constitutes a unique selling point in Strasbourg, and deserves to be more widely acknowledged.

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