The most surprising online advertisement I’ve ever had. I’m at home in Istanbul, click on the (UK) Independent cricket section and see that I’m invited to show support for the chairman of the Finnish part Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) with regard to upcoming Finnish elections and his role as vice-president of the European People’s Party (grouping of centre-right parties in EU countries)? Why does such an advert exist, and why am I seeing it. The point seems to be partly to publicise the EPP and get people to sign up for their Email. All rather strange. Also the UK is not represented in the EPP since the Conservative Party pulled out. AKP (Turkish government party) does have associate status, which is somewhat ironic since the strongest opponents of Turkey joining the EU are in the EPP. I suppose this is a way of publicising the EPP, but why now and why in this way?
I’m an ELDR man myself, and belong to its main UL constituent party (Liberal Democrats). ELDR stands for European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party, but appears to have switched to European Liberal Democrats as its normal name. It groups liberal parties in the EU and centrist parties which might not find the liberal identity comfortable, which explains the cumbersome name. Given the change to ‘European Liberal Democrats’, I don’t think that’s an issue any more and the full name is a historical left over from 1986, when the European Liberal Democrat Federation became ELDP. The ‘party’ label for ELDR, EPP and the Party of European Socialists comes from EU moves to encourage genuine cross national parties, so far a symbolic achievement only. As far as I remember, it was the Portuguese Social Democrats (a centre-right party now sitting in EPP) who did not like the pure ‘liberal’ label. As far as I can make out, this was because it sounded to right-wing, and I can only presume this itself was a historical legacy of the 1974 Revolution in Portugal when a rightist dictatorship fell, the country adopted a socialist leaning constitution, nearly became a Marxist state, and all parties had at least superficially a leftist identity.
This level of interest and knowledge in EU politics, and I’m no expert, is not at all widespread, I’m sorry to say, as an enthusiast for European political union, based on greater powers for the EU parliament, though mainly in relation to the Commission and the Council of Ministers, not national governments. Definitely no more transfers of power upward for some time, until there is a genuine European public political sphere.