Organisation of Parties in the EU
This chapter continues the outline of an analytical tool-kit for understanding party behaviour throughout the European Union system. Whereas in the previous chapter we concentrated on the motivations of parties and the relations between the political families in the EU party system, in this chapter we turn to the other major determinant of party behaviour in any political system: the structure of party organisation. This chapter begins by painting a generic picture (an organigram) of the organisation of a major party family in the institutional structure of the EU system. The subsequent sections, discuss, first, how far parties in the EU system are unitary entities or are comprised of several separate organisational forms and, second, how the different elements of the party organisation fit together in the making of party policy on European issues. As with the first chapter, therefore, this chapter aims to provide a set of instruments to help understand the overall structure and behaviour of political parties in and towards the EU, rather than to explain any specific party activity in a particular national or European-level situation. The final section of this chapter is hence an overview of the framework set out in Chapters 2 and 3. The general conclusion is that although the strategic and institutional environment of the EU system limits the linear development of a ‘Europe of parties’, the main party families have begun to adapt their organisational and policy strategies to accommodate these constraints.
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