The lack of knowledge in Europe and elsewhere about the European Union is immense. Let’s take a sample question. Can you name offhand the political groupings in the EU Parliament? Hardly anyone can. There are seven (eight if you count the independents):
1. EPP-ED – Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats
These are the conservatives. This is the center-right (centre-right) party. We might compare this group to the Republicans in the USA or the Conservatives in the UK (the Tories) or the CDU/CSU in Germany.
2. PES – Socialist Group in the European Parliament
These are the social democrats. This is the center-left (centre-left) party. This group includes representatives from the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the Labour Party in the UK, who define themselves as “democratic socialists”. We might compare them to the Democratic Party in the USA.
3. ALDE – Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
In Germany, the liberals (FDP) are the group between the right and the left. This group corresponds to the Liberal Democratic Party in the UK.
4. Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
These are the environmentalists.
5. Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left
This group includes the Communists and the German “Linkspartei” PDS (successor to the former East German political party SED), recently renamed “die Linkspartei” (Left Party).
6. Independence/Democracy Group
This group consists of members who are eurosceptics. They hope to reject the EU Constitution and they oppose all forms of centralization, some even supporting their country’s withdrawal from the EU.
7. UEN – Union for Europe of the Nations Group
This is a group which opposes strong federalism in the EU.
8. Non-Attached Members (29 members)
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Crossposted to EU Pundit.