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Reconsidering the Role of Parties at European Level: Constructing Actorness for the Christian Democrat and Socialist Political Groups in the EP using an International Relations Framework

George Zammit

This paper argues that parties at European level have, as mandated by Article 191 of the TEU, accumulatively acquired actorness capabilities at an international level. By looking at the two main political groups in the EP, namely the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats and assessing how they seek to achieve this within a regional perspective, i.e. the Mediterranean. The thrust behind the argument is that Groups, beyond their legislative capacity, engage in interactions with actors beyond EU borders enhancing their international profile as a result, and increase their political legitimacy in the EU and international domain.I contend that shedding light on the political process, reveals the dynamics of how actorness is constructed. This is set against a liberal (pluralist) backdrop wherein political groups are considered nonstate actors, now significantly stronger than the party federations that conceived them. The political process is assessed by adapting an IR model of decision-making that helps us construe the various inputs towards policy-making. The investigation underlines the normative implications of the Groups' political choices and their nuanced engagement (such as role of religion) with actors in the region. I suggest that these observations require some theoretical discussions which help us view political groups from a different lens.

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