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The European Free Alliance (EFA) is a European political party. It consists of various European political parties which advocate either full political independence (statehood), or some form of devolution or self-government for their country or region. The alliance has generally limited its membership to progressive parties. Therefore not all European regionalist parties are members of EFA. It participates in the European Greens–European Free Alliance in the European Parliamentmarker. Their youth wing is EFAY.

History

Since the 1979 European Parliament election regionalists and separatists have been represented in the European Parliamentmarker. In that election five regionalist parties got seats: the Northern-Irish Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Scottish National Party, the Flemish People's Union (VU), the Waloon Democratic Front of Francophones (FDF) and the South Tyrolean People's Party won seats. The SNP, although being a social-democratic party, joined the European Progressive Democrats, which was led by the Gaullist Rally for the Republic, the SDLP the Socialist Group, VU and FDF the Technical Group of Independents, which comprised both conservative and left-wing MEPs, and the SVP joined the group of the European People's Party.

In 1981 several European regionalist parties joined together to form a pan-European political alliance, called the "European Free Alliance". It was not until the 1989 European Parliament election that the EFA members formed a united group in the European Parliament. Before the regionalists had been seated divided, with the SNP with the Gaullist European Democratic Alliance, VU, the Valdotanian Union and the Basque Nationalist Party in the Rainbow Group, together with green parties, and Batasuna sat among non-iscrits.

In 1989 the regionalists, including EFA-members, formed a group called the Rainbow Group as well. It consisted out of three Italian MEPs (for Lega Nord and the Sardinian Action Party), two Spanish MEPs (for the Basque Nationalist Party and the Andalusian Party), one Belgian MEP (for VU), one French MEP (for the Union of the Corsican People, one British MEP (for the SNP) and one Irish MEP (Neil Blaney, independent). They were joined by 4 MEPs from the left-wing Danish Eurosceptic People's Movement against the EU, while all the other regionalist MEPs, including those of the SDLP, the SVP and the Convergence and Union of Catalonia refused to join EFA.

In the 1994 European Parliament election the regionalists lost considerably. Moreover they had suspended the membership of Lega Nord for entering in a government with the post-fascist National Alliance and the Basque Nationalist Party had joined the European People's Party. The three remaining EFA-members in the Parliament (SNP, VU and Canarian Coalition) formed a common group with the Energie Radicale-list. This group was called European Radical Alliance.

Following the 1999 European Parliament election the EFA-members in parliament formed a common group with the European Greens called European Greens–European Free Alliance. The EFA supplied ten members from the Scottish National Party (2 MEPs), the Welsh Plaid Cymru (2), the Flemish People's Union (2), the Basque Nationalist Party (1), Basque Solidarity (1), the Andalusian Party (1) and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (1).

In the 2004 European Parliament election the EFA was reduced to four MEPs (two of the SNP, one of Plaid Cymru and one of the Republican Left of Catalonia, replaced at the mid-term by a MEP of Basque Solidarity) plus two affiliate members. The cooperation between and the Greens was continued. In 2004 the EFA became a European political party.

In the 2009 European Parliament election the EFA got six MEPs elected: two from the Scottish National Party (Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith), one from the Plaid Cymru (Jill Evans), one from the Party of the Corsican Nation (François Alfonsi), one from the Republican Left of Catalonia (Oriol Junqueras and Tatjana Ždanoka, individual member of the EFA, in Latviamarker. After the election also the New-Flemish Alliance joined EFA.

Ideology

In the Brusselsmarker Declaration of 2000 the EFA codified its political principles. The EFA stands for "a Europe of Free Peoples based on the principle of subsidiarity, which believe in solidarity with each other and the peoples of the world."

The EFA sees itself as an alliance of stateless peoples, which are striving towards independence or autonomy. It supports European integration on basis of the subsidiarity-principle. It believes however that Europe should move away from further centralization. It works towards the formation of a Europe of Regions. It believes that regions should have more power in Europe, for in stance participate in the Council of the European Union, when matters within their competence are discussed. It also wants to protect the linguistic and cultural diversity within the European Union.

The EFA stands on the left of the political spectrum, and in the Brussels declaration it emphasizes the protection of human rights, sustainable development and social justice. In 2007 the EFA congress in Bilbaomarker added several progressive principles to the declaration: including a commitment to fight against racism, antisemitism, discrimination, xenophobia and islamophobia and a commitment to get full citizenship for migrants, including voting rights.

EFA members are generally progressive parties, although there are some notable exceptions such as the conservative New-Flemish Alliance and Bavaria Party, the Christian-democratic Party of German-speaking Belgians, the centre-right Liga Veneta Repubblica and the far-right South Tyrolean Freedom.

Organization

The main organs of the EFA organization are the General Assembly, the Bureau and the Secretariat.

In the General Assembly every member party has one vote. It is the supreme council of the EFA. Only member parties can participate in the EFA. The EFA also has observers. Before becoming member a party needs to have been observer of the EFA for at least one year. Only one member party per region is allowed. If a second party from a region wants to join the first party needs to agree, these two parties will then form a common delegation with one vote. The EFA also recognizes friends of the EFA, a special status for regionalist parties outside of the European Union.

The Bureau takes care of daily affairs. It is chaired by Nelly Maes, a former MEP for the FlemishProgressives. Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru), Gustave Alirol (Occitan Party) and Fabrizio Comencini (Liga Veneta Repubblica) are vice-chairpersons. Joan i Mari Bernat (Republican Left of Catalonia is secretary-general), while François Alfonsi (Party of the Corsican Nation) is treasurer. Other members of the Bureau are Ana Miranda Paz (Galician Nationalist Bloc), Alyn Smith (Scottish National Party), Sybren Posthumus (Frisian National Party), Irujo Amezaga (Basque Solidarity), Pavlos Voskopoulos (Macedonian Movement for Balkan Prosperity) and Rolf Granlund (Future of Åland).

Members

Current state(s) Party Seeking to
represent
Joined
(Observer/Member)
MEPs
Unity List Carinthian Slovenes 2005/2006 0
New-Flemish Alliance 2009 1
Party of German-speaking Belgians German speakers 1981 0
Social Liberal Party 1981 0
United Macedonian Organization Ilinden–Pirin ethnic Macedonians 2006/2007 0
Moravané 2006 0
Future of Åland 2005/2006 0
Savoyard League Savoiemarker 1999/2000 0
Savoy Region Movement Savoiemarker 1991 0
Occitan Party 1982 0
Party of the Corsican Nation 1981 1
Breton Democratic Union 1987 0
Union of the Alsatian People 1991 0
Catalan Unity Northern Catalonia 1991 0
Bavaria Party 2007/2008 0
The Friesen East Frisia 2008/2009 0
Rainbow ethnic Macedonians 1999/2000 0
South Tyrolean Freedom 2009 0
Emilian Free Alliance Emiliamarker 1999/2000 0
Liga Veneta Repubblica 1999/2000 0
Sardinian Action Party 1984 0
Slovene Union Slovenes 1991 0
Lithuanian Polish People's Party Poles 2003/2004 0
Frisian National Party 1981 0
Silesian Autonomy Movement Upper Silesia 2002/2003 0
Party of Regions of Slovakia Prešovmarker and Košicemarker 2008/2009
Galician Nationalist Bloc 1994/2000 0
Aragonese Junta 2003/2004 0
Majorca Socialist Party 2000/2008 0
/ Republican Left of Catalonia Catalan Countriesmarker 1989 0
/ Basque Solidarity 1986 1 (Mikel Irujo, for Spain)
Andalusian Party 1999 0
Mebyon Kernow 2003 0
Plaid Cymru 1983 1 (Jillian Evans)
Scottish National Party 1989 2 (Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith)


MEP Tatjana Ždanoka (Latviamarker) and László Tőkés (Romaniamarker) both also sit in the EFA subgroup. They are both individual affiliates of the EFA subgroup, as Ždanoka's party For Human Rights in United Latvia is not a member of EFA and Tőkés is an independent.

Observer members

Current state(s) Party Seeking to

represent
Joined
List for Fiume Rijekamarker 2009
South Schleswig Voter Federation Danes 2009
Wendish People's Party Sorbs 2009
Valdotanian Renewal 2007
Movement for the Independence of Sicily 2009
Renewed Roma Union Party of Hungary Roma in Hungary 2009


Former members

Current state(s) Party Seeking to

represent
Notes
Lega Nord Suspended in 1994, left in 1996
/ Basque Nationalist Party Left in 2004
Valdotanian Union Expelled in 2007 after lack of activity in EFA structures
Union for South Tyrol Expelled in 2008 over its opposition to the Bilbao declaration
Transilvania–Banat League Transylvania and Banat Ceased activity
Hungarian Federalist Party Hungarians Ceased activity


Non-members

Several prominent regional, regionalist, secessionist or minority parties are not members of EFA. These include:


References

External links




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