Monday, 28 July 2008

Tracking: EP elections 2009 (V)

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is discussing how to make use of members from national socialist/social democratic parties living abroad for the upcoming 2009 European Parliament elections.

Although this sounds like a very positive idea - and it seems as if in countries like Portugal with a non-negligible amount of expatriates from other European Union countries (in this case: Romanians) there is already some cooperation going on - I have my doubts that in practice this will be of real added value.

As far as I can observe, there won't be real European campaigns from the European parties, but at maximum coordinated campaigns, which in every country will be adapted to the national agendas. And national agendas can be very "particular". Not to forget that all European parties unite quite different national member parties, sometimes several in the same country.

The question is thus whether in those countries with a relevant amount of foreign party members one or several national parties will be able to motivate indirect members to really become active.

If I should estimate, the figures will be very low in the large majority of countries and low in a few other.

Under the category "Tracking: EP elections 2009" am following up national and European activities on the path to the European Parliament elections 2009. So far: (4), (3), (2), (1).


Jon Worth said...

Don't be too hard on the PES - they are at least trying harder with all aspects of the EP election campaigns than the other European level 'parties' are. I've participated in a number of the PES events and the effort to reach out to activists is genuine. OK, it might not lead to much, but their efforts need to be supprted.

Julien Frisch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julien Frisch said...


I appreciate those efforts because they show that the idea of a common European political space is finally becoming a small but visible reality and I also appreciate that the PES is discussing those questions publicly.

My remarks were also not solely directed towards the PES. I just think that the design of European Parliament election campaigns (whether it's the PES or one of the others) in general will undermine plans to have a broad transnational participation of activists.

However: If one of the European parties managed to design a more unified campaign, I would expect that we would also see changes "on the ground".

Nils said...

Hi Julian,

I am working in the PES secretariat and I am reading your comments with high interest.

What we are trying to achieve is to offer our member parties a service. They can decide to use it and add a European dimension to their national campaigns. We offer them an additional "European brand" that they can use for their campaign if they find it helpful.

Part of this strategy are our 10.000 PES activists who are members of PES member parties. Another part are expatriates. I believe that it can be a lot of fun for people on the ground to organise things together and cross-boarder. This is why we will have a success story with these elements.

Also some PES member parties will have much more interest to integrate PES elements than others. This is a best practice process and if the ones using our services see a positive impact, others will follow in the future.

Expatriates are one of our PES elements and it alone like all other elements will not make a notable difference. But if all our offers together are used by a PES member party and should result in some public attention. This will be perceived as an added value and it will certainly lead to more common elements in the future.



Julien Frisch said...

Hi Nils,

thanks for you comment. It is very interesting to get some more details of the work of the European parties.

Do you have any indications (and are allowed to share them), which countries will be more likely to resort to the European elements PES is offering? - Because if my expectations were right, we would also observe more expatriate activities in these countries.

And I have one question: What is a PES activist? Do you have a special list of people from member parties who have signed in to be PES activists? How do you communicate with them?

I am aware that these are quite strategic questions, but I have real interest in it because it is very hard from the outside to understand how the different European parties communicate with their member parties and individual members, especially in view of the upcoming European elections.