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Organizzazione e funzioni dei partiti politici a livello europeo : il caso del Partito della sinistra europea

Calossi, Enrico (2009) Organizzazione e funzioni dei partiti politici a livello europeo : il caso del Partito della sinistra europea. Advisor: Bardi, Prof. Luciano. pp. 252. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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The theme of so-called Europarties generally has been analysed from two main different points of view: one stressing on the party parliamentarian organisations (the Eurogroups) and one focusing on transnational federations (Parties at European Level) (Hix and Lord 1997, Kreppel 2002, Marks and Steenbergen 2004). The aim of my thesis is the empirical application of the theoretical framework of organisation and functioning of the extraparliamentarian federation to the case of the European Left. The first chapter of the thesis is devoted to define the object of the analysis. In literature a persistent lack of clarification in the use of terms such as Europarties, supranational parties, European party federations and Eurogroups still exists. This confusion is not longer acceptable after the approval of the EU regulation 2004/2003 that fixes the term of Political Party at European Level to define the European party federations. The analysis of these parties has been conducted from two different points of view. The first is based on an organisational approach. The well-known theory of cartel party, by Peter Mair and Richard Katz (1995), divides party organisation in three faces: the party in institutions (Party in Central Office/PPO);the extraparliamentarian structures (Party in Central Office/PCO); the membership and base units (Party on the Ground). This party organisation leads to a growing autonomy (stratarchy) of each part towards the others (Carty 2006). This model seems to function well for those parties operate at European level. Using this approach we can interpret the process of institutionalisation of Parties at European Level as the application of PCO concept in the European domain. Eurogroups and National Parties would be identified respectively with party in Public Office and with Party on the Ground. In this view the expression “Europarty” should be used to identify the amount of relations amongst these three faces. In this optical this work tries to define the ideal typical organisation of the Political Party at European Level, devoting particular attention to its bodies (congress, council of national leaders, executive board, and president), reporting the data of funds received from European Parliament and describing the growing role of the political foundations at European level. Parties at European level are then analyzed also along a functionalist approach, that is how parties perform their role of mediation between public institutions (the State) and society (the citizens). In classic literature (Bryce 1921, Schattschneider 1942, Neumann 1956, King 1969, Sartori 1976) the main party functions are: interests’ articulation and aggregation, vote structuring, political communication and citizens’ education, development and organization of citizens’ participation, and policy-making. In the analysis of these variables, chiefly on the review of the political parties at European level having lost much power in managing these functions. It seems they have devoted much power to the other faces of Europarty: National Parties and Eurogroups. Before facing the real application of ideal typical framework to the empirical case of the European Left, the first historical efforts of coordination of the alternative Left have been reconstructed. The first and the second Labour and Socialist Internationals were the earliest organisations to promote the cooperation of national groups, movements, trade union and parties at the international level. For this it can be said that Left parties have been the first partied to face with the problems related to international cooperation. After the critical juncture of the Russian Revolution a split occurred inside the Left parties’ family creating the apparently incurable dichotomy between the socialdemocratic and reformist Left and the other Left, nicknamed, according to different point of view, as Alternative, Extreme, Radical, Revolutionary, etc… At the beginning the coordination of this not-reformist Left has been directly managed by the Soviet Communist Party and by the Soviet Government. During the 70s the experiment of Eurocommunism tried to find a “third” way between Soviet Communist and pro-west Socialdemocracy. Only after the fall of the Soviet Union the Alternative Left succeded in creating its autonomous and not-governmental forms of coordination. In 1991 the New European Left Forum has been the first loose not-institutional attempt to coordinate again these parties. In 1994 the Eurogroup of the Ghauce Unitaire Européenne – Nordic Green Left (GUE-NGL) has been the first institutional coordination in the European Parliament. These organisations have bene the first steps towards the foundation of the Party of the European Left (EL) whose break-in in the European political system has been promoted just by some parties that were used to meet each other in these two preceding organisations. After having described the formation process of the European Left, in the third chapter, the general framework described in the first chapter, has been applied on the empirical case. Thus I have analyzed the party organizational structure and the functions’ performing of the European Left, taking care of the different party bodies and pointing out their real functioning. These studies have been carried out through the analysis of the official story (i.e. party Statutes, internal Regulations and financial budgets) and the interviews of privileged observers (EL President, members of internal bodies, party employees, etc…). In the analysis of budget I have stressed that only a minor part of the party expenses are dedicated to the organization and the strengthening of the relationships between the EL and the European citizens. Rather the largest part of funds is devoted to the organisation of meeting (of party organs or with other organisations or movements). This is also at the basis of what I have discovered in analyzing the EL role in performing party functions as they have been described in the first chapter. The main point I have stressed out is the general lack of contacts with the European citizens. This poor performance of the European Left is not only due to the common behavior of political parties at European level that devolve much power and many functions directly to Eurogroups and, especially, to National Parties. That is also reinforced by the fact that only a part of the national parties involved in the Cofederal Group of GUE-NGL are actually members of the Party of the European Left. This weak overlapping amongst parties of the same political family causes the feeble capacity of inclusivity and the partial presence of the EL in the European countries (some important countries are not covered by EL because the chief national Left party of the country is not EL member). This differentiation of parties’ behavior towards such an institutional supranational coordination is a symptom of huge and relevant divisions inside the political family EL would aim to represent. The state of division in the Alternative Left is significantly higher than in the other political families. Such a situation has motivated the fourth and last part of the thesis in which political lines of different political subgroups of Left parties are analysed. Previously the political positions of European Left (through the official positions in electoral platforms, statutes, congress thesis) have been divided in some issues: economy and job policy, civil rights and freedoms, environment, international relations and peace, alliances’ strategy and relation with other parties, EL cultural heritage and the historical judgment over the East-European regimes. These positions, analysed thought a qualitative approach, are confronted with those of several groups of Left parties (taken mainly from the electoral platforms for the European elections). The first is composed by the member parties of European Left. Then there are the political positions and strategies of the observer parties of EL, those of the so-called “communist” parties (the orthodox communists), those of the members of the Nordic Green Left Association (one of the official sub-group of GUE-NGL), those of the AntiCapitalist Left (of Trotskyist origins), and those of parties without any international affiliation that I define as “cani sciolti” (mavericks). These bilateral confrontations lead to some conclusions. For example the different positions on the East-European regimes is the key reason of not-affiliation of the “communists” to the EL (the Hungarian Communist Party has left the EL in the April 2009 just criticizing the EL position towards “Eastern experience”). Again for example NGLA and EL are divided especially over the idea of Europe: the EL (and EL parties) is pro-integrationist while the Nordic (Scandinavian) parties are strongly Eurosceptic. Without going on describing all the differences it is important to conclude this abstract affirming that the differences in more concrete policy field (as the Economic and labour policy, the environmental policy, the questions of civil rights, and the question of peace and opposition to war) are not so important for the political divisions within the Alternative Left parties. The idea of Europe, the strategy of alliances (at European and nation level) and, quite surprisingly, the judgment over real socialism in Eastern Europe are the main element of different international affiliation for the Alternative Left parties of the European Union.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
PhD Course: Political Science and Institutional Change
Identification Number: 10.6092/imtlucca/e-theses/69
NBN Number: urn:nbn:it:imtlucca-27104
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2012 12:48
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/69

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