Moderata Samlingspartiet

European People's Party–European Democrats

This article is about the current European Parliament Group and its predecessors dating back to 1952. For the europarty established in 1976, see the European People's Party.

The European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats (EPP-ED) is the current centre-right political group of the European Parliament, comprising the European People's Party and the non-party subgroup European Democrats.

EPP-ED is one of the three oldest Groups, dating its origin back to September 1952 and the first meeting of the Parliament's predecessor, the Common Assembly. Founded as an explicitly Christian Democrat Group, it declined at first but reversed its fortunes in the 80's/90's when it started to pick up members from other centre-right but non-Christian Democrat parties.

As a result, it has become the largest Group in the Parliament but does not have a majority. To guarantee the majorities required by the cooperation procedure, it is a member of the Grand Coalition with the Socialist Group (or the Liberals in the Fifth Parliament), and it is the Grand Coalition that holds a majority and the power in the Parliament. The Grand Coalition has held, although there have been occurences of a government-opposition dynamic, such as when the Group split with the Socialists to oppose the Santer Commission during the budget crisis.

EPP-ED's success has not been unalloyed: the tensions between the Europhile members (mostly Christian Democrat and mostly members of the European People's Party) and the Eurosceptic (mostly Conservative) members has led to the latter congregating within a subgroup called the European Democrats. This subgroup has a very different voting record to the wider Group. The members of the subgroup have threatened to leave EPP-ED after the 2009 elections, although they are not unanimous.


The Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community (the predecessor of the present day European Parliament) first met on September 10, 1952 and the first Christian Democratic Group was unofficially formed the next day, with Maan Sassen as President. The Group held 38 of the 78 seats, two short of an absolute majority. On June 23 1953 the founding document of the Group was published and the Group was officially formed.

The Christian Democrat Group was the biggest Group at formation, but as time wore on it lost support and was the second-biggest Group by the time of the 1979 elections. But as the Community expanded into the Union, new countries joined and brought with them not just Christian Democrat parties but other parties of the centre-right. The British and Danish Conservatives tried to maintain a Group of their own called the European Democrats (ED), but other centre-right parties such as the Greek New Democracy and Spanish Partido Popular preferred to join the burgeoning Group, now named after the transnational party European People's Party founded in 1976. By the 1990's, lack of support and the problems inherent in maintaining a small Group forced the collapse of ED and its members crossed the floor to join the EPP Group (although not the party). This consolidation of the European centre-right continued through the 90's with the acquisition of members from the Italian Forza Italia and, after the 1999 elections, the Group reclaimed its position as the largest Group in the Parliament.

Size was not enough, however: the Group did not have a majority. It continued therefore to engage in the Grand Coalition (a coalition with the Socialist Group, or occasionally the Liberals) to generate the majorities required by the cooperation procedure under the Single European Act. This coalition has held, although occasionally the Group does adopt a government-opposition dynamic with the others, notably during the budget crisis when it opposed the Socialists and brought about the resignation of the Santer Commission.



EPP-ED is a coalition of MEPs from the European centre-right, but the European centre-right is split on the matter of Euroscepticism. The Eurosceptic MEPs congregate within a subgroup within EPP-ED called the European Democrats (ED), the rest are members of the europarty called the European People's Party (EPP), with the latter functioning as a de-facto subgroup.

In 2006, the new leader of the British Conservatives, David Cameron, stated his intention to take his party out of ED and EPP-ED and form their own, more Eurosceptic, Group. At the time that would require 20 MEPs from six countries but his main ally, the Czech Civic Democratic Party indicated it would not leave until after the 2009 elections.


EPP-ED is governed by a group of people, (referred to as the Presidency), who allocate tasks. The Presidency consists of the Group Chair and a maximum of ten Vice-Chairs, including the Treasurer. One Vice-Chair is reserved for the leader of the ED subgroup. The day-to-day running of the Group is performed by its secretariat, led by its Secretary-General. The Group runs its own think-tank, the European Ideas Network, which brings together opinion-formers from across Europe to discuss issues facing the European Union from a centre-right perspective.

The senior staff of EPP-ED as of 18 September 2008 are as follows:



Joseph Daul Chair
Marianne Thyssen Vice-Chair
Othmar Karas Treasurer
Struan Stevenson Vice-Chair
Jaime Mayor Oreja Vice-Chair
Vito Bonsignore Vice-Chair
Gunnar Hökmark Vice-Chair
József Szájer Vice-Chair
Hartmut Nassauer Vice-Chair
João de Deus Pinheiro Vice-Chair
Marian-Jean Marinescu Vice-Chair
Martin Kamp Secretary-General

The chairs of EPP-ED and its predecessors from 1952 to September 18 2008 are as follows:




Member State

National party
1953 1958 Maan Sassen Katholieke Volkspartij
(Catholic People's Party)
1958 1958 Pierre Wigny Parti Social-Chrétien
(Social Christian Party)
1958 1966 Alain Poher Mouvement Républicain Populaire
(Popular Republican Movement)
1966 1969 Joseph Illerhaus Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands
(Christian Democratic Union of Germany)
1969 1975 Hans Lücker Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands
(Christian Democratic Union of Germany)
1975 1977 Alfred Bertrand Christelijke Volkspartij
(Christian People's Party)
1977 1982 Egon Klepsch Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands
(Christian Democratic Union of Germany)
1982 1984 Paolo Barbi Democrazia Cristiana
(Christian Democracy)
1984 1992 Egon Klepsch / Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands
(Christian Democratic Union of Germany)
1992 1994 Leo Tindemans Christelijke Volkspartij
(Christian People's Party)
1994 1999 Wilfried Martens Christelijke Volkspartij
(Christian People's Party)
1999 2007 Hans-Gert Pöttering Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands
(Christian Democratic Union of Germany)
2007 present Joseph Daul Union pour un Mouvement Populaire
(Union for a Popular Movement)


Current membership by country

A December 2007 European Parliament document gave the percentage of MEPs for each Group and member state at that date. The results for EPP-ED are given on the diagram on the right.

The document shows that EPP-ED draws its MEPs from each member state. It has widespread support throughout the EU. Its smallest support is in Denmark, (where the right-wing vote is split between UEN,IND/DEM and EPP-ED), and only 7% of Danish MEPs sit with EPP-ED. Its stronghold is in Eastern Europe, with three of the four Visegrad Group member states having more than 50% of its MEPs sitting with EPP-ED. Member states which have 40% or over of its MEPs sitting with EPP-ED include Malta, Romania, Spain, Greece, Germany, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic.

Current membership by party

The national parties that are members of EPP-ED at 18 September 2008 are as follows:

Party name


Party name

Member state


Date joined

Österreichische Volkspartei ÖVP Austrian Peoples Party Austria EPP
Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie N-VA New-Flemish Alliance Belgium ED ?
Christlich-Soziale Partei CSP Christian Social Party Belgium ED
Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams CD&V Christian Democratic & Flemish Belgium EPP
Centre Démocrate Humaniste CDH Humanist Democratic Centre Belgium EPP
Sajuz na svobodnite demokrati SSD Union of Free Democrats Bulgaria ED
Demokrati za Silna Balgarija DSB Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria Bulgaria EPP
Grazhdani za evropeysko razvitie na Balgariya GERB Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria Bulgaria EPP
Sajoez na demokratichnite sili UDF Union of the Democratic Forces Bulgaria EPP
Dimokratikós Sinayermós DISY Democratic Rally Cyprus EPP ?
SNK Evropští demokraté) SNK SNK European Democrats Czech Republic ED
Občanská demokratická strana ODS Civic Democratic Party Czech Republic ED
Krestanská a demokratická unie - Ceskoslovenská strana lidová KDU-CSL Christian and Democratic Union - Czechoslovak People's Party Czech Republic EPP ?
Det Konservative Folkeparti KF Conservative People's Party Denmark EPP
Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit IRL Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica Estonia EPP ?
Kansallinen Kokoomus KOK National Coalition Party Finland EPP
Union pour un Mouvement Populaire UMP Union for a Popular Movement France EPP
Christlich Demokratische Union CDU Christian Democratic Union Germany EPP
Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern CSU Christian Social Union of Bavaria Germany EPP
Néa Dimokratía ND New Democracy Greece EPP
Fidesz – Magyar Polgári Szövetség ? Hungarian Civic Union Hungary EPP ?
Magyar Demokrata Fórum MDF Hungarian Democratic Forum Hungary EPP
Fine Gael FG The United Ireland Party Ireland EPP
Südtiroler Volkspartei SVP South Tyrolese People's Party Italy EPP ?
Partito Pensionati PP Pensioners' Party Italy ED
Forza Italia FI Italy Forward Italy EPP
Popolari-UDEUR UDEUR Democratic Union for Europe Italy EPP
Unione Democratici Cristiani di Centro UDC Union of Christian and Centre Democrats Italy EPP
Jaunais Laiks JL New Era Latvia EPP ?
Tautas Partija TP People's Party Latvia EPP ?
Tevynes sajunga - Lietuvos konservatoriai TS-LK Homeland Union - Lithuanian Conservative Party Lithuania EPP ?
Chrëschtlech Sozial Vollekspartei CSV Christian-Social People's Party Luxembourg EPP
Partit Nazzjonalista PN Nationalist Party Malta EPP ?
Christen-Democratisch Appèl CDA Christian Democratic Appeal Netherlands EPP
Platforma Obywatelska PO Civic Platform Poland EPP ?
Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe PSL Polish Peasant Party Poland EPP ?
Centro Democrático e Social / Partido Popular CDS/PP Democratic and Social Center / People's Party Portugal ED
Partido Social Democrata PSD Social Democratic Party Portugal EPP
Partidul Democrat-Liberal PD-L Democratic Liberal Party Romania EPP
Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség UDMR Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania Romania EPP
Krestanskodemokraticke hnutie KDH Christian Democratic Movement of Slovakia Slovakia EPP
Slovenská demokratická a krestanská únia - Demokratická strana SDKÚ-DS Slovak Democratic and Christian Union - Democratic Party Slovakia EPP
Magyar Koalíció Pártja/Strana madarskej koalície SMK Party of Hungarian Coalition Slovakia EPP ?
Nova Slovenija Kršcanska ljudska stranka NSi New Slovenia Slovenia EPP ?
Slovenska demokratska stranka SDS Slovenian Democratic Party Slovenia EPP ?
Partido Popular PP People's Party Spain EPP
Kristdemokraterna KD Christian Democrats Sweden EPP
Moderata samlingspartiet M or MSP Moderate Party Sweden EPP
Conservative Party ? Conservative Party United Kingdom ED ?
Ulster Unionist Party UUP Ulster Unionist Party United Kingdom ED ?

Membership at formation

The 38 members in the Christian Democratic Group on 11 September 1952 were as follows:

Member state





Belgium 5 Social Christian Party 5

  • Théodore Lefevre
  • Paul Struye
  • Pierre Wigny
  • Pierre De Smet
  • Alfred Bertrand

France 5 Christian People's Party (Saar) 2

  • Franz Singer
  • Erwin Mueller

Republican People's Movement 3

  • François De Menthon
  • Pierre Henri Teitgen
  • Alain Poher

Germany 8 Christian Democratic Union Party
and Christian Social Union Party

  • Günter Henle
  • Eugen Gerstenmaier
  • Heinrich Von Brentano
  • Hermann Pünder
  • Franz Josef Strauss
  • Georg Pelster
  • Hermann Kopf

Federal Union Party 1

  • Helmut Bertram

Italy 12 Christian Democratic Party 12

  • Pietro Campilli
  • Antonio Azara
  • Lodovico Benvenuti
  • Mario Cingolani
  • Francesco Dominedo
  • Lodovico Montini
  • Angelo Giacomo Mott
  • Italo Mario Sacco
  • Vinicio Ziino
  • Giuseppe Togni
  • Antonio Boggiano-Pico
  • Sabatini (Armando Sabatini?)

Luxembourg 2 Christian Social Party 2

  • Fernand Loesch
  • Nicolas Margue

Netherlands 6 Anti-Revolutionary Party 2

  • J. A. H. J. S. Bruis Slot
  • W. Rip

Catholic People's Party 3

  • M. A. M. Klompe or Lompe
  • E. M. J. A. Sassen
  • P. A. Blaisse

Christian Historical Union 1

  • G. Vixseboxe


In the news

Activities performed by EPP-ED in the period between June 1 2004 and June 1 2008 that resulted in an entry on Google News include:

  • monitoring elections in Palestine and the Ukraine;
  • encouraging transeuropean rail travel, telecoms deregulation, energy security, a common energy policy, the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Union, partial reform of the CAP, and attempts to tackle illegal immigration;
  • denouncing Russian involvement in South Ossetia;
  • supporting the Constitution Treaty,and the Lisbon Treaty;
  • debating globalisation, relations with China, and Taiwan;
  • backing plans to outlaw Holocaust denial;
  • nominating Anna Politkovskaya for the 2007 Sakharov Prize;
  • expelling Daniel Hannan from the Group;
  • the ongoing discussion about whether ED MEPs should remain within EPP-ED or form a Group of their own;
  • criticisms of the Group's approach to tackle low turnout for the 2009 elections and the Group's use of the two-President arrangement.

Parliamentary activity profile

The debates and votes in the European Parliament are tracked by its website and categorized by the Groups that participate in them and the rule of procedure that they fall into. The results give a profile for each Group by category and the total indicates the Group's level of participation in Parliamentary debates. The activity profile for each Group for the period August 1 2004 to August 1 2008 in the Sixth Parliament is given on the diagram on the right. EPP-ED is denoted in blue.

The website shows EPP-ED as participating in 659 motions, making it the third most active Group during the period.


EPP-ED produces many publications, which can be found here on its website. Documents produced in 2008 cover subjects such as dialogue with the Orthodox Church, study days, its strategy for 2008-09, Euro-Mediterranean relations, and the Treaty of Lisbon. It also publishes a yearbook and irregularly publishes a presentation, a two-page summary of the Group.


Hix and Nouri (part 1)

A 2008 working paper from the London School of Economics/Free University of Brussels by Hix and Nouri considered the positions of the Groups by analysing their roll-call votes. The results for each Group are given in the diagram on the right. The vertical scale is anti-pro Europe spectrum, (0% = extremely anti-Europe, 100% = extremely pro), and the horizontal scale is economic left-right spectrum, (0% = extremely economically left-wing, 100% = extremely economically right-wing). The EPP subgroup is denoted by a blue square, the ED subgroup is denoted by a dark-blue square.

The paper shows the EPP subgroup as being centre-right Europhiles, and the ED subgroup as being right-wing Eurosceptics.

Hix and Nouri (part 2)

The same paper gave figures for the level of cooperation between each Group: how many times they vote with a Group, and how many times they vote against. The paper's figures for EPP-ED are given below.

Issue Position Notes
Cooperation with EUL/NGL 39.6% 0% = never votes with, 100% = always votes with
Cooperation with G/EFA 47.4% 0% = never votes with, 100% = always votes with
Cooperation with PES 68.4% 0% = never votes with, 100% = always votes with
Cooperation with ALDE 78.0% 0% = never votes with, 100% = always votes with
Cooperation with UEN 71.2% 0% = never votes with, 100% = always votes with
Cooperation with IND/DEM 52.0% 0% = never votes with, 100% = always votes with
Cooperation with NI 68.2% 0% = never votes with, 100% = always votes with

McElroy and Benoit

A 2005 discussion paper from the Institute for International Integration Studies by Gail McElroy and Kenneth Benoit gave these figures for EPP-ED in July 2004:

Issue Position Notes
Left-right spectrum 63% 0% = extremely left-wing, 100% = extremely right-wing
Tax vs. spending 33% 0% = extremely against tax, 100% = extremely for
Deeper Europe 63% 0% = extremely against internal EU authority, 100% = extremely for
Federal Europe 63% 0% = extremely against a federal Europe, 100% = extremely for
Deregulation 67.5% 0% = extremely against deregulation, 100% = extremely for
Superpower Europe 70% 0% = extremely against a common defence and security policy, 100% = extremely for
Fortress Europe 60% 0% = extremely against controlling migration into the EU, 100% = extremely for
Green Europe 39.5% 0% = extremely against environment, 100% = extremely for
Liberal Europe 30.5% 0% = extremely against homosexual equality, abortion, and euthanasia, 100% = extremely for

Heinemann et al.

An April 2008 discussion paper from the Centre for European Economic Research by Heinemann et al. analysed each Group's stance on a hypothetical generalised EU tax. The results for each Group are given in the diagram on the right. The horizontal scale denotes their stance (-100% = totally against, 0% = neutral, 100% = totally for). EPP-ED is denoted in blue.

The paper shows EPP-ED as being slightly in favour of a hypothetical generalised EU tax.


Cohesion is the term used to define whether a Group is united or divided amongst itself. A 2002 paper from European Integration online Papers (EIoP) by Thorsten Faas analysed the Groups as they stood in 2002. The results for each Group are given in the diagram on the right. The horizontal scale denotes cohesion (0% = totally split, 100% = totally united). EPP-ED is denoted in blue.

The paper shows EPP-ED as being the fourth most cohesive Group in 2002.


The March 2006 edition of \\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Social Europe: the journal of the European Left included a chapter called \\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Women and Social Democratic Politics\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" by Wendy Stokes. That chapter gave the proportion of female MEPs in each Group in the European Parliament. The results for each Group are given in the diagram on the right. The horizontal scale denotes gender balance (0% = totally male, 100% = totally female, but no Group has a female majority, so the scale stops at 50%). EPP-ED is denoted in blue.

The chapter shows EPP-ED as being the third most unbalanced Group in 2006 in terms of gender balance.


Other placements of IND/DEM by outside observers include:

Issue Position Notes
Turkish accession AGAINST

See also



External links

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