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European People's Party


European People's Party

European People's Party
President Joseph Daul (Fran.)
Founded 8 July 1976 (1976-07-08)
Headquarters Rue du Commerce / Handelsstraat 10, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Youth wing Youth of the European People's Party
Ideology Christian democracy[1]
Liberal conservatism
European federalism[2]
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation Centrist Democrat International,
International Democrat Union
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colours      Blue
Political foundation Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies
Politics of the European Union
Political parties

The European People's Party (EPP) is a European political party that was founded by Christian Democratic parties in 1976, though it has since broadened its membership to include conservative parties and parties with other centre-right political perspectives.[3][4][5][6]

The EPP has been the largest party in the European Parliament since 1999 and in the European Council since 2002. It is also by far the largest party in the current European Commission. The President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission are both from the EPP. Many of the Founding fathers of the European Union were also from parties that later formed the EPP. Outside the EU the party also controls a majority in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The EPP has alternated with its centre-left rival the Party of European Socialists (PES) as the largest European political party.

The EPP includes major parties such as the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the French Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the Spanish People's Party (PP) and the Polish Civic Platform (PO), and it has member parties in all the EU Member States except for the United Kingdom.


From left to right:Tindemans, Bukman and Santer; former presidents of the EPP

According to its website, the EPP is "the family of the political centre-right, whose roots run deep in the history and civilization of the European continent, and [which] has pioneered the European project from its inception".[7]

The EPP was founded in Luxembourg on 8 July 1976 on the initiative of Jean Seitlinger; Leo Tindemans, then Prime Minister of Belgium, who became the first President of the EPP; and Wilfried Martens, who later became both President of the EPP and Prime Minister of Belgium. It had been preceded by the Secretariat International des partis démocratiques d'inspiration chrétienne, founded in 1925,[8] the Nouvelles Equipes Internationales, founded in 1946[9] (or 1948),[8] and the European Union of Christian Democrats, founded in 1965.[9]

In the late 1990s the Finnish politician Sauli Niinistö negotiated the merger of the European Democrat Union (EDU), of which he was President, into the EPP. In October 2002 the EDU ceased its activities after being formally absorbed by the EPP at a special event in Estoril, Portugal. In recognition of his efforts Niinistö was elected Honorary President of the EPP the same year.

The EPP has had five Presidents:
No. Image Name Tenure Member State
1 Leo Tindemans 1976-1985 Belgium
2 Piet Bukman 1985-1987 Netherlands
3 Jacques Santer 1987-1990 Luxembourg
4 Wilfried Martens 1990-2013 Belgium
5 Joseph Daul 2013–present France

Platform and manifesto

Sauli Niinistö and Jyrki Katainen at an EPP summit in Helsinki

Political manifesto and platform

During its Congress in Bucharest in 2012 the EPP updated its political platform after 20 years (since its Congress in Athens in 1992) and approved a political manifesto in which it summarised its main values and policies.[10]

The manifesto highlights:

  • Freedom as a central human right, coupled with responsibility
  • Respect for traditions and associations
  • Solidarity to help those in need, who in turn should also make an effort to improve their situation
  • Ensuring solid public finances
  • Preserving a healthy environment
  • Subsidiarity
  • Pluralist democracy and a Social Market Economy

The manifesto also describes the EPP's priorities for the EU, including:

  • European Political Union
  • Direct election of the President of the European Commission
  • Completion of the European single market
  • Promotion of the family, improvements in education and health
  • Strengthening of the common immigration and asylum policy, and integrating immigrants
  • Continuation of enlargement of the EU, enhancement of the European Neighbourhood Policy and special relationship frameworks for countries that cannot,or do not want to, join the EU
  • Defining a true common EU energy policy
  • Strengthening European political parties

Electoral manifesto

As a central part of its campaign for the European elections in 2009 the EPP approved its election manifesto at its Congress in Warsaw in April that year. The manifesto called for:

  • Creation of new jobs, continuing reforms and investment in education, lifelong learning, and employment in order to create opportunities for everyone.[11]
  • Avoidance of protectionism, and coordination of fiscal and monetary policies.[11]
  • Increased transparency and surveillance in financial markets.[11]
  • Making Europe the market leader in green technology.[11]
  • Increasing the share of renewable energy to at least 20 per cent of the energy mix by 2020.;.[11]
  • Family-friendly flexibility for working parents, better child care and housing, family-friendly fiscal policies, encouragement of parental leave.[11]
  • A new strategy to attract skilled workers from the rest of the world to make Europe’s economy more competitive, more dynamic and more knowledge-driven.[11]
At its Congress in Warsaw in 2009 the EPP endorsed Barroso for a second term as President of the Commission.


The EPP operates as an international non-profit association under Belgian law according to its by-laws, the Statutes of the European People's Party (Statuts du Parti Populaire Européen), originally adopted 29 April 1976.[12]


The Presidency is the executive body of the party. It decides on the general political guidelines of the EPP and presides over its Political Assembly. The Presidency is composed of the President, ten Vice-Presidents, the Honorary Presidents, the Secretary General and the Treasurer. The Chairperson of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, the Presidents of the Commission, the Parliament and the Council, and the High Representative (as long as they belong to a member party) are all ex officio Vice-Presidents.

President of the EPP Joseph Daul

As of 2013 the Presidency of the EPP comprised:

Political Assembly

The Political Assembly defines the political positions of the EPP between Congresses, and decides on membership applications, political guidelines and the budget. The Political Assembly is composed of designated delegates from EPP member parties, associated parties, member associations and other affiliated groups. The Political Assembly meets at least three times a year.


The Congress is the highest decision-making body of the EPP. It is composed of delegates from member parties, EPP associations, EPP Group MEPs, the EPP Presidency, national heads of party and government, and European Commissioners who belong to a member party, with the numbers of delegates being weighted according to the EPP's share of MEPs, and individual delegates being elected by member parties according to member parties' rules.[13]

Under the EPP's statutes the Congress must meet once every three years, but it also meets normally during the years of elections for the European Parliament (every five years), and extraordinary Congresses have also been summoned. The Congress elects the EPP Presidency every three years, decides on the main policy documents and electoral programmes, and provides a platform for the EPP's heads of government and party leaders.

Activities within the party


EPP leaders meet for the EPP Summit a few hours before each meeting of the European Council in order to formulate common positions. Invitations are sent by the EPP President and attendees include, besides the members of the EPP's Presidency, all Presidents and Prime Ministers who are members of the European Council and belong to the EPP; the Presidents of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council, as well as the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, provided that they belong to the EPP; Deputy Prime Ministers or other ministers in those cases where the Prime Minister of a country does not belong to an EPP member party; and, where no EPP member party is part of a government, the leaders of the main EPP opposition party.

Reunion Picture at 2011 Summit

Ministerial meetings

Following the pattern of the EPP Summit the party also organizes regular EPP Ministerial meetings before each meeting of the Council of the European Union, with ministers, deputy ministers, secretaries of state and MEPs in the specific policy field attending:

  • General Affairs
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Economy and Finance
  • Home Affairs
  • Justice
  • Defence
  • Employment and Social Affairs
  • Industry
  • Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Environment[14]

Other activities

The EPP also organizes working groups on different issues and on an ad hoc basis, as well as meetings with its affiliated members in the European Commission. It also invites individual Commissioners to the EPP Summit meetings and to EPP Ministerial meetings.

Following amendments to the EU Regulation that governs European elections every five years. According to the Lisbon Treaty, the parties must present candidates for President of the European Commission, but the EPP had already done this by endorsing Jose Manuel Barroso for a second term in April 2009.

The year 2014 saw the first fully fledged campaign of the EPP ahead of the European elections of that year. The party nominated former Luxembourgish Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker as its candidate for President of the European Commission and led a pan-European campaign in coordination with the national campaigns of all its member parties.

Activities within European institutions

The EPP holds the Presidencies of two of the three main EU institutions: the European Commission, led by President José Manuel Barroso (PSD), and the European Council, led by Herman Van Rompuy (CD&V), who has been nominated by the EPP as its first permanent President.

Overview of the European institutions

Organisation Institution Number of seats
 European Union European Parliament
214 / 751
 European Union Committee of the Regions
125 / 344
 European Union European Commission
13 / 28
 European Union European Council
(Heads of Government)
12 / 28

European Commission

In 2009 the EPP nominated José Manuel Barroso as its candidate for re-election as Commission President if it won the elections for the European Parliament that year. Because the EPP won Barroso's nomination was endorsed by the European Council and he was elected by an absolute majority in the European Parliament for a second term.

On 27 November 2009 Barroso unveiled the Barroso II Commission, which includes 13 EPP Commissioners out of 27.

State Commissioner Portfolio Political party Photo

BarrosoJosé Manuel Barroso President PSD

RedingViviane Reding Justice, Fundamental Rights and CitizenshipVice-President;
Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

TajaniAntonio Tajani Industry and EntrepreneurshipVice-President;
Industry and Entrepreneurship

PiebalgsAndris Piebalgs Development None

BarnierMichel Barnier Internal Market and Services UMP

SemetaAlgirdas Šemeta Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud TS–LKD

LewandowskiJanusz Lewandowski Financial Programming and the Budget PO

GeorgievaKristalina Georgieva International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response None

OettingerGünther Oettinger Energy CDU

HahnJohannes Hahn Regional Policy ÖVP

HedegaardConnie Hedegaard Climate Action KFP

CioloşDacian Cioloş Agriculture and Rural Development None

BorgTonio Borg Health and Consumer Policy PN
Logo of the EPP Group

European Parliament

The EPP has the largest group in the European Parliament: the EPP Group. As of 2014 it has 220 Members of the European Parliament and its chairman is the German MEP Manfred Weber.

In every election for the European Parliament candidates elected on lists of member parties of the EPP are obliged to join the EPP Group in the European Parliament.

The EPP Group holds six of the fourteen vice-presidencies of the European Parliament.

European Council

The EPP has 11 out of the 28 heads of state or government attending the EPP summits in preparation for the European Council:

Member State Representative Title Political party Member of the Council since Photo
 Cyprus Anastasiades, NicosNicos Anastasiades President DISY 28 February 2013
 Finland Stubb, AlexanderAlexander Stubb Prime Minister KOK 24 June 2014
 Germany Merkel, AngelaAngela Merkel Chancellor CDU 22 November 2005
 Greece Samaras, AntonisAntonis Samaras Prime Minister ND 20 June 2012
 Hungary Orbán, ViktorViktor Orbán Minister-President Fidesz 29 May 2010
Ireland Kenny, EndaEnda Kenny Taoiseach[a 1] Fine Gael 9 March 2011
 Latvia Straujuma, LaimdotaLaimdota Straujuma Prime Minister Vienotība 22 January 2014
 Poland Ewa Kopacz President of the Council of Ministers PO 22 September 2014
 Portugal Passos Coelho, PedroPedro Passos Coelho Prime Minister PSD 21 June 2011
 Romania Băsescu, TraianTraian Băsescu President NA 21 December 2004
 Spain Rajoy, MarianoMariano Rajoy President of the Government PP 21 December 2011

The EPP also has other heads of state or government who do not normally take part in the European Council or EPP summits since that responsibility belongs to the other leaders of their countries: Rosen Plevneliev (Bulgaria, GERB), János Áder (Hungary, Fidesz), Bronisław Komorowski (Poland, PO), Aníbal Cavaco Silva (Portugal, PSD), Sauli Niinistö (Finland, KOK).

National legislatures

Country Institution Number of seats
 Austria National Council
Lower house
51 / 183
Federal Council
Upper house
28 / 62
 Belgium Chamber of Representatives
Lower house
27 / 150
Upper house
12 / 60
 Bulgaria National Assembly
97 / 240
 Croatia Sabor
44 / 151
 Cyprus House of Representatives
20 / 56
 Czech Republic Chamber of Deputies
Lower house
40 / 200
Upper house
6 / 81
 Denmark The Folketing
8 / 179
 Estonia Riigikogu
23 / 101
 Finland Parliament
44 / 200
 France National Assembly
Lower house
194 / 577
Upper house
132 / 348
 Germany Bundestag
311 / 630
 Greece Parliament
125 / 300
 Hungary Országgyűlés
133 / 199
 Ireland Dáil
Lower house
74 / 166
Upper house
20 / 60
 Italy Chamber of Deputies
Lower house
115 / 630
Upper house
101 / 315
 Latvia Saeima
20 / 100
 Lithuania Seimas
33 / 141
 Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies
23 / 60
 Malta House of Representatives
30 / 69
 Netherlands House of Representatives
Lower house
13 / 150
Upper house
11 / 75
 Poland Sejm
Lower house
235 / 460
Upper house
65 / 100
 Portugal Assembly of the Republic
132 / 230
 Romania Chamber of Deputies
Lower house
134 / 412
Upper house
74 / 176
 Slovakia National Council
35 / 150
 Slovenia National Assembly
36 / 90
 Spain Congress of Deputies
Lower house
185 / 350
Upper house
159 / 266
 Sweden Parliament
126 / 349

Activities beyond the European Union

In third countries

Through its associate and observer parties the EPP has four heads of state or government in non-EU countries, as well as one of the three members of the Bosnian Presidency, all of whom are invited to attend EPP summits and meetings:

State Representative Title Political party In power since Photo
 Armenia Sargsyan, SerzhSerzh Sargsyan President HHK 9 April 2008
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Izetbegović, BakirBakir Izetbegović Bosniak Member of the Presidency SDA 10 November 2010
 Macedonia Gruevski, NikolaNikola Gruevski Prime Minister VMRO-DPMNE 27 August 2006
 Moldova Leancă, IurieIurie Leancă Prime Minister PLDM 25 April 2013
 Norway Solberg, ErnaErna Solberg Prime Minister Høyre 16 October 2013

The EPP also has other heads of state or government who do not normally attend the meetings, since the other leaders of their countries attend instead. They include Prime Minister Bujar Nishani (Albania, PD).

In the Council of Europe

The Group of the EPP in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe defends freedom of expression and information, as well as freedom of movement of ideas and religious tolerance. It promotes the principle of subsidiarity and local autonomy, as well as the defence of national, social and other minorities. The EPP/CD Group is led by Pedro Agramunt, a member of the Spanish Popular Party.

The EPP/CD group also includes members from parties that are not related to the EPP itself, including members of the Patriotic Union (Liechtenstein), the Progressive Citizens' Party (Liechtenstein), the National and Democratic Union (Monaco) and the Serbian Progressive Party.[15]

In the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

The "EPP and like-minded Group" in the Parliamentary Assembly of the George Tsereteli (Georgia).

The Group also includes members of parties not related to the EPP, accounting for the "like-minded" part of its name. Among them are members of the Patriotic Union (Liechtenstein), the Union for the Principality (Monaco), the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, the Conservative Party of Canada and the Republican Party of the United States.

In the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

The EPP is also present and active in the Parliamentary Assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and forms the “EPP and Associated Members” Group there. It is led by the German CDU politician Karl Lamers, who is also the current President of the Assembly. The Group also includes members of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Republican Party of the United States.

From left to right: López-Istúriz, McCain & Martens

Relations with the United States

The EPP has close relations with the [16]

The EPP's President, Wilfried Martens, endorsed Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, in the presidential election in 2008[17] McCain is also Chairman of the IRI. In 2011 Martens and McCain made joint press statements expressing their concern about the state of democracy in Ukraine.[18][19]

Global networks

The EPP is the European wing of two global centre-right organisations, the International Democrat Union (IDU) and the Christian Democrat International (CDI).

Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies

Following the revision in 2007 of the EU Regulation that governs European political parties, allowing the creation of European foundations affiliated to Europarties, the EPP established in the same year its official foundation/think tank, the Centre for European Studies (CES). The CES includes as members all the major national think tanks and foundations affiliated to EPP member parties: the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (CDU), the Hanns Seidel Foundation (CSU), the Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies (PP), the Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy (ND), the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation (MOD), the Political Academy of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) and others. During the European Parliament election campaign in 2009 the CES launched a web-based campaign module,, to support Jose Manuel Barroso, the EPP's candidate for re-election as Commission President.

In 2014, the CES changed its name to Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies in honour of Wilfried Martens, the late President of the EPP who was also President of the CES.

The current President of the WMCES is former Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda.

The Budapest-based Robert Schuman Institute and the Luxembourg-based Robert Schuman Foundation are also affiliated with the European People's Party.

EPP associations

The EPP is linked to several specific associations that focus on specific groups and organise seminars, forums, publications and other activities.

Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Europe (SME Europe)

SME Europe is the official business organization of the EPP, and serves as a network for pro-business politicians and political organisations. Its main objective is to shape EU policy in a more SME-friendly way in close cooperation with the SME Circle of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, the Paul Rübig, Nadezhda Neynsky and Bendt Bendtsen.

European Democrat Students

European Democrat Students (EDS) is now the official students’ organisation of the EPP, though it was founded in 1961, 15 years before the EPP itself. Led by Eva Majewski, EDS has 40 member organizations, representing nearly 1,600,000 students and young people[20] in 31 countries, including Bullseye, and organizes topical campaigns.

European Senior Union

Founded in Madrid in 1995 and led by Ann Hermans of the CD&V, the European Senior Union (ESU) is the largest political senior citizens’ organization in Europe. The ESCU is represented in 26 states with 45 organisations and about 500,000 members.

European Union of Christian Democratic Workers

The European Union of Christian Democratic Workers (EUCDW) is the labour organization of the EPP, with 24 member organizations in 18 different countries. As the officially recognized EPP association of workers, the EUCDW is led by Elmar Brok, MEP. It aims at the political unification of a democratic Europe, the development of the EPP on the basis of Christian social teaching, and the defence of workers' interests in European policy-making.

Women of the European People’s Party

The Women of the European People’s Party (EPP Women) is recognized by the EPP as the official association of women from all like-minded political parties of Europe. EPP Women has more than 40 member organizations from countries of the European Union and beyond. All of them are women‘s organizations of political parties that are members of the EPP. EPP Women is led by Doris Pack.

Youth of the European People’s Party

The Youth of the European People’s Party (YEPP), led by Konstantinos Kyranakis, is the EPP‘s official youth organization. It has 51 member organizations, bringing together between one and two million young people in 38 countries.


Within the EPP there are three kinds of member organizations: full members, associate membres and observers.

Full members are parties from EU states. They have absolute rights to vote in all the EPP's organs and on all matters.

Associate members have the same voting rights as full members except for matters concerning the EU's structure or policies. These associate membres are parties from EU candidate countries and EFTA countries.

Observer parties can participate in all the activities of the EPP, and attend the Congresses and Political Assemblies, but they do not have any voting rights.

A special status of "supporting member" is granted by the Presidency to individuals and associations. Although they do not have voting rights, they can be invited by the President to attend meetings of certain organs of the party. Three EU Commissioners, Andris Piebalgs, are members of the EPP even though they do not belong to any national member party.

Full member parties






 Czech Republic






















Associate members





Observer members




 Bosnia and Herzegovina






 San Marino





  1. ^ The Irish Prime Minister is commonly referred to as the Taoiseach in both Irish and English. See: Article 28.5.1° of the Constitution of Ireland.


  1. ^ a b Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. ^ "It's federalist views were at odds with Conservative policy."
  3. ^ Magone, José María (2006). The New World Architecture: The Role of the European Union in the Making of Global Governance. New York: Transaction Publishers. p. 130.  
  4. ^ Hloušek, Vít; Kopeček, Lubomír (2010). Origin, Ideology and Transformation of Political Parties: East-Central and Western Europe Compared. London: Ashgate Publishing. p. 11.  
  5. ^ Colomer, Josep Maria (2008). Comparative European Politics. London: Taylor & Francis. p. 288.  
  6. ^ Lars Pehrson (12 June 2009). How Unified Is the European Union?: European Integration Between Visions and Popular Legitimacy. Springer. pp. 160–.  
  7. ^ administrator. "EPP | European People's Party". Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "On the Road Towards Transnational Party Cooperation in Europe" by Steven van Hecke in "European View", Volume 3, 2006, from the Centre for European Studies
  9. ^ a b Claey, P. H.; Loeb-Mayer, N. (1979). "Trans-European Party Groupings: Emergence of New and Alinment of Old Parties in the Light of the Direct Elections to the European Parliament". Government and Opposition 14 (4): 455.  
  10. ^ "EPP Congress website". Retrieved November 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g EPP Manifesto – European Elections 2009
  12. ^ Statutes of the European People's Party, Approved by the EPP Congress on 7th December 2011 in Marseille (France)
  13. ^ Jansen & Van Hecke 2011, p. 109.
  14. ^ "EPP website". Retrieved September 2011. 
  15. ^ "PACE website". Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  16. ^ "European Partnership Initiative | International Republican Institute". IRI. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  17. ^ "Financial Times Article Wilfried Martens". Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "United States Senator John McCain:: Press Office:". 30 August 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  19. ^ "Senator McCain and President Martens urge for the release of Yulia Tymoshenko". Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  20. ^ Students on the Right Way: European Democrat Students 1961-2011. Retrieved on 2013-09-07.


External links

  • European People's Party EPP portal site
  • EPP YouTube page
  • private social network
  • webtv
  • CES the EPP think-tank
  • – a 2009 EPP campaign initiative by its think-tank, CES
  • EPP Group in the European Parliament
  • EPP Group in the Committee of the Regions
  • EPP Group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
  • EPP Youth (YEPP)
  • EPP Students (EDS)
  • EPP Women
  • EPP Seniors (ESU)
  • EPP SME Union
  • EPP Workers (EUCDW)
  • Database on EPP's history
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