EU political integration index: where does each party stand?

EU political integration index: where does each party stand?

This real-time index measures the actual positions of all national political parties represented in the European Parliament, based on how they are voting on decisions or proposals that impact on the EU's political and institutional integration. Given the changing geo-political and economic context, the positions of political parties can suffer substantial shifts, reason for which we found it useful to help the stakeholders and the public keep these developments. 

Note: we are working on similar analyses for other topics. 

In practice, this research measures how supportive / critical each European party is in relation to EU integration (compared to the other parties in the EP). Some political parties believe that the EU institutions should receive more powers, others that the powers should be repatriated back to the national governments, while many have more nuanced views. 

The votes in the European Parliament allow us to take very accurate snapshots, as all the parties across the EU vote on the exact same political statements at the same time (hence in the same circumstances), which provides the necessary ground for a solid and objective comparison (as opposed to looking at scattered statements issued in different contexts). 

How to access the data: at the bottom of this article you will find the interactive infographic and spot the positions of all parties. However, if this is the first time you are reading this, we suggest that you first go through the methodological and contextual notes below, to make the most of this information. 

There are currently over 200 parties in the European Parliament, coming from the 27 EU member states, and this research makes it easy to make comparisons between them, since all these parties have voted on the exact same proposals at the exact same time. 

This index uses objective data from the voting sessions of the European Parliament to determine what is the real position of each party, in order to reduce the distortions generated by inaccurate news. The index is transparent and you can easily track how it was built, as we are providing the full list of votes that we took into account (you can then check how the MEPs voted on each vote by navigating through the EP website, or ask for a premium subscription to our own analytical database).

In total, we have found over 190 key votes that concern decisions or proposals to expand EU political and institutional integration since the beginning of the EP term (July 2019). We have looked into all of these, interpreted their meaning and checked how each party voted on each of them.  These votes concern decisions or proposals made that regard: the size of the EU budget (20 votes), own EU financial resources (19), Europeanisation of EP elections (18), extending majority voting in the Council (47), promotion of the EU and its institutions (26), supervision of the rule of law and fundamental values (14), legal consolidation of the powers of the EU institutions (43), funding for EU agencies (5). 

This index was last updated to include the votes that took place in the European Parliament in early October 2022.

Note: this assessment is based on behaviour in the European Parliament, which might occasionally differ from the positions adopted by the leaders of the parties at home. It shows the positions the delegations of parliamentarians that these parties have sent to represent them in European decision-making. These parliamentarians sometimes have (or develop) their own views, especially as a result of interaction with their colleagues from the other countries (the so-called “European socialisation effect”).

Key findings so far:

The EPP, Renew, S&D and the Greens are, broadly-speaking, supportive of further political and institutional integration, with slight variations. While Green parties are rather homogenous on this topic, within the EPP there is a certain degree of variation, especially in what concerns the delegations coming from the two "engines": while the French Republicans are the least supportive, their German conservative colleagues from CDU/CSU are among the strongest advocates of further integration within the EPP.

ECR-affiliated parties are generally opposed to political and institutional integration, with certain variations: whereas the Swedes, the Czechs and Spaniards stand at the anti-integration “extreme”, the Belgian and the Italians have less drastic views. Within The Left group, the parties share a wider range of attitudes, with the Dutch and the Irish parties leaning more towards euroscepticism, and the Greek and Spanish delegations being the most favourable towards EU integration. 

Not surprisingly, the parties affiliated to the nationalist ID political network are the most eurosceptic. Within the ID group, all parties are on the same side, with the Czech and the Belgian delegations being the most radical. 

Overall, if we disregard the party affiliation of MEPs, we find that the Luxembourgers, the Slovenes and the Romanians are the most supportive of EU integration,  with the Germans not far behind. At the other end,  the Italians, the Czechs and the Poles are the most reluctant to support political and institutional integration, while the French are also in the "bottom group". 

How to read the interactive chart below:

The parties that are at the extreme right of that chart are the least supportive of EU political and institutional integration, meaning that they have voted in favour of policies that safeguard the sovereignty and national identity of member states to the detriment of integrationist proposals. Concretely, in this category you will find ID member parties like Alternative für Deutschland (Germany), Svoboda a přímá demokracie (Czechia), Rassemblement National (France), Lega (Italy) and Vlaams Belang (Belgium), but also several ECR members, such as Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden), Vox (Spain) and Občanská demokratická strana (Czechia).

Conversely, the parties that are at the extreme left of this chart are the most favourable towards EU integration, meaning that they have supported most of the proposals that push for deeper political integration at EU level.  Among these we  find most parties from the Greens and the S&D groups, most parties from Renew, but also a significant number of EPP parties.

NB: on the vertical axis the parties are placed based on the size of their delegation in the European Parliament. 

Tip: click on the names of the political groups to find the outliers in each group. Use the filters to find parties from specific countries that you are interested in.

For more information about the positions of MEPs and Governments on EU integration (or any other) policy, contact us at [email protected].

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