Guide to the European Parliament

European Parliament groups
  • EPP - European People's Party (Christian Democrats)
  • S&D - Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in Europe (centre-left)
  • ALDE - Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (liberal)
  • EUL/NGL - European United Left-Nordic Green Left (left-wing)
  • Greens/EFA - Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens and regionalists/nationalists)
  • ECR - European Conservatives and Reformists Group (right-wing)
  • EFD - Europe of Freedom and Democracy (Eurosceptic)
  • NA - Non-attached (MEPs not part of any group)

At the 2014 European elections the total number of MEP seats is being reduced to 751, in line with the Lisbon Treaty.

Most MEPs belong to one of the parliament's political groups. None has an overall majority, so amendments need the support of more than one group to get through. On most issues the parliament divides along classic left-right lines.

In recent years the parliament has grown, taking in MEPs from new member states - Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.

For a group to be recognised, it needs at least 25 MEPs from seven different countries.

The larger the group, the more funding it receives, the more key committee posts it gets and the longer it can speak in debates.

Some groups remained broad churches after the 2009 European election. The new Socialist group expanded to include some Italian MEPs who used to sit with the liberals.

But the British Conservatives left the EPP-ED, regarding it as too enthusiastic about EU integration. The Conservatives lead the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, which includes right-wing MEPs from the Czech Republic and Poland.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • BBC CultureBest of 2014

    BBC Culture weighs in on the ten most important blockbusters of the year

Programmes

  • HoverboardClick Watch

    Testing the hoverboard's magnetic levitation - but will it ever replace the bicycle?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.