Thursday 11 June 2009

PES becomes ASDE

Update (17 June 2009): See new developments that indicate "ASDE" might not be the final word.

(Via The Lobby, confirmed by Italian news sources)

In a strange move that is just done to please the Italian Partito Democratico, the PES group in the European Parliament will be re-branded into ASDE, the Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

I think this will ruin any move to brand the term "PES" which until now was both, the name of the party and of the political group. It will make future campaigning more difficult, and it will also make it more difficult for people in the member states to recognise the differences between the parties and the politics.

Having the "Alliance" and "Democrats" in ALDE and ASDE will for sure lead to confusions and to misunderstandings, not to mention that the EPP also has an "-ED" in its parliamentary group.

This will blur the lines and the concepts, and this can only be bad for the European democracy that is already in bad shape today.

So I think the re-branding as ASDE is wrong, even if it will bring 21 additional seats to the Socialist group, wrong for the socialist group and wrong for the European Parliament in general.

Update 2: Since ASDE sounds pretty much like a UK/Ireland-based supermarket chain called ASDA, Jon Worth was again able to prove his marvellous graphical skills by bringing ASDE and ASDA together.

Update 1: Interview with PES/ASDE member Robert Goebbels on EuroparlTV


Eurocentric said...

This is just plain stupid. Then "Party of European Socialists" has worked well, I think - it didn't need to be "The Alliance of Labour parties, Socialists and Social Democracts and other Generally Left-Leaning parties" (ALSSDLL), and the longer the names get, the less unitied and credible they sound.

If the change really had to happen, then why not go for the easy option of adding on a "D"? It would have mainly left the PES image intact as the PESD.

Ralf Grahn said...

I agree with both of you. You shouldn't spoil the brand, even if it is in need of new thinking.

Still, this brings the group to 182 MEPs.

Stephen Spillane said...

But EPP-ED is becoming EPP as the ED part, UK Conservatives etc are moving away to form a new group. No thats one less Democrat in name group!

I agree with the sentiments though.

Aaron said...

Unfortunately, names of political groups are still unimportant to the average voter. So whanging that name won't be that dramatic.

But it's sure to slow down further identification with parties, especially for local activists. I long for more the Spanish-Portuguese PES rallies, or Sarkozy-Merkel common electoral stances.

I, too, agree with Eurocentric. PES-DoE or PES-ED would sound good, and would preempt the term "Democrat" from the new Eurosceptic group.

Ralf Grahn said...


The names and identities of the political groups are important to everyone who writes and speaks about them, including the institutions themselves, officials, journalists, bloggers and whatnot who act as intermediaries.

Now without the ED, the European People's Party (EPP) and its group can be understood by a first time reader.

The more complicated a name gets, the more it needs introductory explanations, which are a waste of time and space.

Anonymous said...

European Democrats - right wing, anti-EU

European Democratic party - center right, pro European

EUDemocrats - centre left, anti- EU

Unknown said...

I am a supporter of the cause of this ASDE problem, The italian "partito democratico". Well I understand your view, but to me the problem here is whether in Europe we should mainly still think od of Socialists/liberals/democrats or simply re-organised fields around key issue like global warming, civil rights, european integration. Same answers to these key questions could be given across old families.. Probably "This will blur the lines", but maybe (i say maybe) "lines" have to be revised.

Julien Frisch said...

Dear Filippo,

thanks a lot for your comment!

The problem is not that lines are blurred, I am a big fan of unity over issues that need to be tackled jointly.

But if you form common but still separate political groups, you should make clear where this difference is, and if there is a difference, not to chose names that sound so similar to those of other groups that citizens who are not as actively following EU politics as the Euroblogosphere is doing can still recognise that there is a difference.

In the end, elections are also about choices, personal and programmatic choices, and only if there is this choice, people will see a value in elections as a method to chose representatives that represent the visions, ideals, and interests of those who voted for them.

So yes to working across lines, blurring differences, but no to creating politically separate groups without and not making clear what this separation means.

Unknown said...

Thank you for replying to me.
But I do not think that here we are only talking about single issues that have to be tackled jointly, but, on the long run, we are talking about strategic policy choices and new political entities that could replace families created when the world was pretty different. I understand that "ASDE" does not clarify things at all(now we actually can choose between doing our shopping in ASDA or in ALDI :)), but I belive that a common group that goes firmly beyond the socialist identy, but still in the progressive field, is not a mistake, but an important first step.

Julien Frisch said...

The question is, whether the "progressive field" will be cohesive enough...

Unknown said...

please think a second of how much cohesion we saw in the socialist field on the EU Constitution. Just to mention an irrelavant point for an EP political group..

Anonymous said...

1) Letting the PD in: ok, as long as they broadly speaking share the PES values. And I think they do.

2) Changing the name PES to ASDE: absolute rubbish.

-It sounds like ALDE.
-What a way to communicate with the activists who supported the PES campaign.
-The PES campaign may not have resulted in an election victory, but I do think it did much for getting the name 'PES' more known.
-If it is only the Group in the EP changing its name, and the not the Party, I would be more mild in my judgement. A different name for the Group (preferably not ASDE) would even make it more easy for people to distinguish the Group from the Party (PES).

ASDE is a bad name though.

Alternative names:

European Socialists and Democrats (ESD)
Party of European Socialists and Democrats (PESD)

Progressives, Socialists and Democrats (PSD)

European Socialists and Progressives (ESP)

Anonymous said...

Terrible, terrible idea.

No thanks, Filippo. Italian Left parties have form - corruption, continual losing, then disappearance. You can stick it, frankly!