The European Parliament / Political groups

The Members of the European Parliament sit in political groups – they are not organised by nationality, but by political affiliation. There are currently 8 political groups in the European Parliament.

Each takes care of its own internal organisation by appointing a chair (or two co-chairs in the case of some groups), a bureau and a secretariat.

The places assigned to Members in the Chamber are decided by political affiliation, from left to right, by agreement with the group chairmen.

25 Members are needed to form a political group, and at least one-quarter of the Member States must be represented within the group. Members may not belong to more than one political group. Some Members do not belong to any political group and are known as non-attached Members.

Before every vote in plenary the political groups scrutinise the reports drawn up by the parliamentary committees and table amendments to them. The position adopted by the political group is arrived at by discussion within the group. No Member can be forced to vote in a particular way.

Group of the European People's Party

Founded as the Christian Democrat Group on 23 June 1953 as a fraction in the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, the Group changed its name to the 'Group of the European People's Party' (Christian-Democratic Group) in July 1979, just after the first direct elections to the European Parliament, and to 'Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats' in July 1999. After the European elections in 2009, the Group went back to its roots as the 'Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)'. It has always played a leading role in the construction of Europe.
The Group of the European People's Party (EPP Group) is the largest in the European Parliament with 217 Members. It brings together centre and centre-right pro-European political forces from the Member States of the EU.

Most of the parties represented in the EPP Group also belong to the European People's Party. The EPP was the first-ever transnational political party to be formed at European level, and has the strongest representation in the European Council of Ministers. EPP parties came together to advance the goal of a more competitive and democratic Europe, closer to its citizens, and a social market economy.

As the largest political group in a Parliament where non-socialist parties now enjoy a clear majority, the EPP Group is in a stronger position than any other to set that body's political agenda and to win its most critical votes. This strength is reflected in the fact that, since 1999, the EPP Group has been on the winning side of more votes than any other group in the European Parliament's monthly plenary sessions.

Strength of numbers also ensures that EPP Group Members hold a range of key positions within the Parliament. Within the parliamentary committees, EPP Group Members are best placed to secure the right to author the EP's position on key pieces of draft legislation and other major reports: the Group gets more of these rapporteurships on more important subjects, than any other group.

The Chairman of the EPP Group is Manfred Weber MEP. He chairs its governing bodies and speaks for the Group in keynote debates in the European Parliament. He is supported by coordinators on each of the Parliament's committees and by heads of the national delegations represented in the Group. The operational needs of the Group are serviced by a Group secretariat, providing policy and organisational support.

The Group runs its own think-tank - the European Ideas Network - which brings together opinion-formers from the worlds of politics, business, academia and civic society across Europe, to discuss the major policy issues facing the European Union.