European Free Alliance

European Free Alliance
Alliance libre européenne
President François Alfonsi (PNC)
Secretary-General Jordi Solé (ERC)
Treasurer Lorena Lopez de Lacalle (EA)
Founded 9 July 1981 (9 July 1981)
Headquarters Boomkwekerijstraat 1,
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Think tank Centre Maurits Coppieters
Youth wing European Free Alliance Youth
Ideology Regionalism[1]
Ethnic minority interests[1]
Progressivism (majority)
European Parliament group Greens/EFA (7 MEPs)
ECR (N-VA, 4 MEPs)
GUE/NGL (EH Bildu, 1 MEP)
Colours Purple
European Parliament
12 / 751
European Council
0 / 27

The European Free Alliance (EFA) is a European political party.

It consists of various regionalist[2][3] political parties in Europe advocating either full political independence and sovereignty, or some form of devolution or self-governance for their country or region.[4] The alliance has generally limited its membership to progressive parties,[5] therefore only a minority among European regionalist parties are members of the EFA.

Since 1999 the EFA and the European Green Party (EGP) have joined forces within The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) group in the European Parliament, albeit some EFA members have joined other groups from time to time.

The EFA's youth wing is the European Free Alliance Youth (EFAY), founded in 2000.


Since the 1979 election, regionalists have been represented in the European Parliament. Four regionalist parties obtained seats in that election: the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Flemish People's Union (VU), the Brussels-based Democratic Front of Francophones (FDF) and the South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP). The SNP, although being predominantly social-democratic, joined the European Progressive Democrats, a conservative group led by the French Gaullist Rally for the Republic. The VU and the FDF joined the heterogeneous Technical Group of Independents, while the SVP joined the European People's Party.[6]

In 1981 six parties (VU, the Frisian National Party, Independent Fianna Fáil, the Party of German-speaking Belgians, the Party for the Organization of a Free Brittany and the Alsace-Lorraine National Association), plus three observers (the Union of the Corsican People, the Occitan Party and the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, CDC), joined forces to form the European Free Alliance.[7][8] Regionalist MEPs continued, however, to sit in different groups in the European Parliament: the SNP in the Gaullist-dominated European Democratic Alliance; the VU, the Sardinian Action Party (PSd'Az) and Basque Solidarity (EA) in the Rainbow Group, together with Green parties; the SVP in the European People's Party group; the CDC with the Liberal Democrats; and Batasuna among Non-Inscrits.[9]

Only after the 1989 European Parliament election did EFA members form a united group, called Rainbow like its green predecessor. It consisted of three Italian MEPs (two for Lega Lombarda and one for the PSd'Az), two Spanish MEPs (one each for the PNV and the Andalusian Party, PA), one Belgian MEP (for VU), one French MEP (Union of the Corsican People, UPC), one British MEP (SNP) and one independent MEP from Ireland. They were joined by 4 MEPs from the Danish left-wing Eurosceptic People's Movement against the EU, while the other regionalist parties, including the SVP, Batasuna and the Convergence and Union of Catalonia (CiU) declined to join.[10]

In the 1994 European Parliament election the regionalists lost many seats. Moreover, the EFA had suspended its major affiliate, Lega Nord, for having joined forces in government with the post-fascist National Alliance. Also, the PNV chose to switch to the European People's Party (EPP). The three remaining EFA MEPs (representing the SNP, the VU and the Canarian Coalition) formed a group with the French Énergie Radicale list and the Italian Pannella List: the European Radical Alliance.[11]

Following the 1999 European Parliament election, in which EFA parties did quite well, EFA elected MEPs formed a joint group with the European Green Party, under the name The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA). In the event the EFA supplied ten members: two each from the Scottish SNP, the Welsh Plaid Cymru, and the Flemish VU, and one each from the Basque PNV and EA, the Andalusian PA and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG).[12]

In the 2004 European Parliament election, the EFA, which had formally become a European political party,[13] was reduced to four MEPs: two from the SNP (Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith), one from Plaid Cymru (Jill Evans) and one from the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC; Bernat Joan i Marí, replaced at the mid-term by MEP Mikel Irujo of the Basque EA). They were joined by two associate members: Tatjana Ždanoka of For Human Rights in United Latvia (PCTVL) and László Tőkés, an independent MEP and former member of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UMDR). Co-operation between the EFA and the Greens continued.

Following the 2008 revision of the EU Regulation that governs European political parties allowing the creation of European foundations affiliated to European political parties, the EFA established its official foundation/think tank, the Centre Maurits Coppieters (CMC), in September 2007.[14]

In the 2009 European Parliament election, six MEPs were returned for the EFA: two from the SNP (Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith), one from Plaid Cymru (Jill Evans), one from the Party of the Corsican Nation (PNC; François Alfonsi), one from the ERC (Oriol Junqueras), and Tatjana Ždanoka, an individual member of the EFA from Latvia. After the election, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) also joined the EFA. The EFA subgroup thus counted seven MEPs.[15]

In the 2014 European Parliament election, EFA-affiliated parties returned twelve seats to the Parliament: four for the N-VA, two for the SNP, two for L'Esquerra pel Dret a Decidir (an electoral list primarily composed of the ERC), one for Los Pueblos Deciden (an electoral list maily comprising EH Bildu, a Basque coalition including EA), one for Primavera Europea (an electoral list comprising the Valencian Nationalist Bloc, BNV, and the Aragonese Union, ChA), one from Plaid Cymru, and one from the Latvian Russian Union (LKS). Due to ideological divergences with the Flemish Greens,[16] the N-VA defected to the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group[17][18] and the EH Bildu MEP joined the European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group: the EFA representation within the Greens/EFA group was thus of seven MEPs.[19]


In the Brussels 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."[20] The EFA sees itself as an alliance of stateless peoples, which are striving towards independence, autonomy, recognition or wanting a proper voice in Europe. It supports European integration on basis of the subsidiarity-principle. It believes also that Europe should move away from further centralisation and works towards the formation of a "Europe of regions". It believes that regions should have more power in Europe, for instance participating 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 EU.

The EFA broadly stands on the left-wing of the political spectrum. The Brussels declaration emphasises the protection of human rights, sustainable development and social justice. In 2007 the EFA congress in Bilbao 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 immigrants, including voting rights.

EFA members are generally progressive, although there are some notable exceptions as the conservative New Flemish Alliance, Bavaria Party, Schleswig Party and Future of Åland, the Christian-democratic Slovene Union, the centre-right Liga Veneta Repubblica and the far-right[21][22][23][24] South Tyrolean Freedom.


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

General Assembly

In the General Assembly, the supreme council of the EFA, every member party has one vote.

Bureau and Secretariat

The Bureau takes care of daily affairs. It is chaired by François Alfonsi (Party of the Corsican Nation), president of the EFA, while Jordi Solé (Republican Left of Catalonia) is secretary-general and Lorena Lopez de Lacalle (Basque Solidarity) treasurer and first vice-president. The Bureau is completed by other nine vice-presidents: Olrik Bouma (Frisian National Party), Chantal Certan (ALPE), Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru), Anders Eriksson (Future of Åland), David Grosclaude (Partit Occitan), Flemming Meyer (SSW Landesverband), Ana Miranda (Galician Nationalist Bloc), Wouter Patho (New Flemish Alliance) and Natalia Pinkowska (Silesian Autonomy Movement).[25]

Member parties

This is a list of EFA member parties.[26]

Full members

Before becoming a member party, an organization needs to have been an 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 EFA, the first party needs to agree, at which point these two parties will then form a common delegation with one vote. The EFA also recognises friends of the EFA, a special status for regionalist parties outside of the European Union.[20]

Current state(s)PartySeeking to representJoined
 AustriaUnity ListSlovenia ethnic Slovenes2005/20060
 BelgiumNew Flemish Alliance Flanders20104[27]
 BulgariaUnited Macedonian Organization Ilinden–PirinRepublic of Macedonia ethnic Macedonians2006/20070
 Czech RepublicMoravané Moravia20060
 CroatiaList for Rijeka Rijeka2009/20100
 DenmarkSchleswig PartyGermany ethnic Germans in North Schleswig20110
 FinlandFuture of Åland Åland2005/20060
 FranceSavoy Region MovementSavoy Savoie19910
 FranceOccitan Party Occitania19820
 FranceParty of the Corsican Nation Corsica19810
 FranceBreton Democratic Union Brittany19870
 FranceOur Land Alsace19910
 FranceCatalan UnityCatalonia Northern Catalonia, Catalan Countries19910
 GermanyBavaria Party Bavaria2007/20080
 GermanyThe Friesen East Frisia2008/20090
 GermanyLusatian Alliance Sorbs, Lusatia2009/20130
 GermanySouth Schleswig Voters' AssociationDenmark ethnic Danes, North Frisia2009/20100
 GreeceRainbowRepublic of Macedonia ethnic Macedonians1999/20000
 ItalySouth Tyrolean Freedom South Tyrol20090
 ItalyLiga Veneta Repubblica Veneto1999/20000
 ItalySardinian Action Party Sardinia19840
 ItalySlovene UnionSlovenia ethnic Slovenes19910
 ItalyAutonomy Liberty Participation Ecology Aosta Valley2007/20110
 NetherlandsFrisian National Party Friesland19810
 PolandSilesian Autonomy Movement Upper Silesia2002/20030
 Romania Hungarian People's Party of Transylvania Hungaryethnic Hungarians 2015/2016 0
 SlovakiaHungarian Christian Democratic AssociationHungary ethnic Hungarians2008/20090
 Spain /  FranceAralar Party Basque Country2012/20130
 Spain /  FranceBasque Solidarity Basque Country19861[27]
 Spain /  FranceRepublican Left of CataloniaCatalonia Catalonia, Catalan Countries19892[27]
 SpainAragonese Union Aragon2003/20040
 SpainSocialist Party of Majorca Balearic Islands, Catalan Countries2000/20080
 SpainGalician Nationalist Bloc Galicia1994/20000
 SpainValencian Nationalist BlocValencian Community Valencia, Catalan Countries2012/20131[27]
 United KingdomMebyon Kernow Cornwall20030
 United KingdomPlaid Cymru Wales19831[27]
 United KingdomScottish National Party Scotland19892
 United KingdomYorkshire First[28] Yorkshire2015/20160

Observer members

Current state(s)PartySeeking to representJoined
(as observer)
 ItalyThe Other South Sicily20140
 ItalyPro Lombardy IndependenceLombardy20150
 LatviaLatvian Russian UnionRussia ethnic Russians, Latgalians20101[27]
 PolandKashubian Unity (KJ)[29]  Kashubia20160
 SpainNew Canaries Canary Islands20130
 Greece Party of Friendship, Equality and Peace Turkey ethnic Turks in Western Thrace 2015 0

Associate members

Current state(s)PartySeeking to representJoined
(as associate)
 AzerbaijanDemocratic Party of Artsakh[30][31] Nagorno-Karabakh20150
 SerbiaLeague of Social Democrats of Vojvodina (LSV)[29]  Vojvodina20160

Former members

Current state(s)PartySeeking to representJoined
 BelgiumPeople's Union Flanders1981Split into the New-Flemish Alliance and SPIRIT
 BelgiumSocial Liberal Party Flanders2001Ceased activity in 2009
 BelgiumWalloon Popular Rally Wallonia1982Ceased activity as party in 2011
 BelgiumParty of German-speaking Belgians German Community1981Merged into ProDG in 2008
 BelgiumPro German-speaking Community German Community2009/2011
 FranceAlsace-Lorraine National Association Alsace,  Lorraine1981
 FranceUnion of the Corsican People Corsica1981Merged into the PNC in 2002
 FranceParty for the Organization of a Free Brittany Brittany1981Ceased activity in 2000
 FranceSavoyan LeagueSavoy Savoie1999/2000 Ceased activity in 2012
 HungaryRenewed Roma Union Party of Hungary Romani people2009Ceased activity in 2012
 IrelandIndependent Fianna Fáil Ireland1981Ceased activity in 2006
 ItalyLega Lombarda Lombardy1989/1990Joined Lega Nord in 1991
 ItalyLiga Veneta Veneto1989/1990Joined Lega Nord in 1991
 ItalyLega Nord Padania1991Suspended in 1994, left in 1996 and joined ELDR
 ItalyEmilian Free Alliance Emilia1999/2000Ceased activity in 2010
 ItalyMovement for the Independence of Sicily Sicily2009
 ItalyValdostan Union Aosta ValleyExpelled in 2007 after lack of activity in EFA structures
 LithuaniaLithuanian Polish People's PartyPoland ethnic Poles2003/2004Ceased activity in 2010
 ItalyUnion for South Tyrol South TyrolExpelled in 2008 for opposition to the Bilbao declaration
 RomaniaTransilvania–Banat League Transylvania, BanatCeased activity
 SlovakiaHungarian Federalist PartyHungary ethnic HungariansBanned in 2005[32]
 SpainDemocratic Convergence of Catalonia Catalonia1981Joined the LDR Group in 1987
 SpainCanarian Coalition Canary Islands1994Left in 1999 and joined the ELDR Group
 Spain /  FranceBasque Nationalist Party Basque Country1999Left in 2004 and joined the EDP
 SpainAndalusian Party Andalusia1999dissolved in 2015

See also


  1. 1 2 Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  2. David Hanley (2007). "Parties, Identity and Europeanisation: An Asymmetrical Relationship?". In Marion Demossier. The European Puzzle: The Political Structuring of Cultural Identities at a Time of Transition. Berghahn Books. pp. 152–. ISBN 978-0-85745-863-6.
  3. Richard Corbett (2012). "Democracy in the European Union". In Elizabeth Bomberg; John Peterson; Richard Corbett. The European Union: How Does it Work?. Oxford University Press. pp. 155–. ISBN 978-0-19-957080-5.
  4. "What's EFA and history". Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  5. Gupta, Devashree (April 2008). "Nationalism across borders: transnational nationalist advocacy in the European Union". Comparative European Politics. Palgrave Macmillan. 6 (1): 61–80. doi:10.1057/palgrave.cep.6110127.
  6. Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  8. Andrew C. Gould; Anthony M. Messina (17 February 2014). Europe's Contending Identities: Supranationalism, Ethnoregionalism, Religion, and New Nationalism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 132–. ISBN 978-1-107-03633-8.
  9. Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  10. Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  11. Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  12. Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  13. Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  14. "Centre Maurits Coppieters (CMC) - Ideas for Europe". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  15. Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  16. "Will Flemish separatists save the Tories in Europe?". EurActiv - EU News & policy debates, across languages. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  17. Van Overtveldt, Johan (2014-06-18). "N-VA kiest voor ECR-fractie in Europees Parlement" [N-VA chooses ECR Group in the European Parliament]. (in Dutch). Retrieved 2014-06-18.
  18. "N-VA joins ECR group in European Parliament". Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  19. "Up-to-date list of the MEPs for the new legislative period". Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  20. 1 2 "European Free Alliance". Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  21. "I separati dell'Alto Adige - Corriere della Sera". Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  22. "Digos e carabinieri nella sede del partito - Alto Adige dal » Ricerca". 14 October 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  23. "Frattini denuncia il "diario" della Klotz - Cronaca - Alto Adige". 24 July 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  24. "La Stampa - Nel diario scolastico sudtirolesei terroristi si scoprono eroi". Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  25. "Members of the Bureau". European Free ALliance. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  26. "Member Parties". European Free Alliance. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  27. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "EFA member parties perform well in the European elections #EP2014". Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  28. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 December 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  29. 1 2 "Corsica joins 12 other stateless nations and governments, building #AnotherEurope with EFA".
  30. "Member Parties". European Free Alliance. Retrieved 26 Aug 2015.
  31. "Democratic Party of Artsakh is the Associated Member of the European Free Alliance". Democratic Party of Artsakh. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  32. "EFA PARTY IN SLOVAK REPUBLIC BANNED". Retrieved 26 August 2015.
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