European Free Alliance
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European Free Alliance

The European Free Alliance (EFA) is a European political party that consists of various regionalist,[1][2][3] separatist[4] and ethnic minority[3] political parties in Europe. Member parties advocate either for full political independence and sovereignty, or some form of devolution or self-governance for their country or region.[5] The alliance has generally limited its membership to progressive parties;[6] therefore, only a fraction of European regionalist parties are members of the EFA.

Since 1999, the EFA and the European Green Party (EGP) have joined forces within Greens-European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) group in the European Parliament, although 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.

As of 2021, four European regions are led by EFA politicians: Scotland with Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party, Flanders with Jan Jambon of the New Flemish Alliance, Corsica with Gilles Simeoni of For Corsica, and Catalonia with Pere Aragonès from the Republican Left of Catalonia.


Regionalists have long been represented in the European Parliament. In the 1979 election four regionalist parties obtained seats: 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 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 group.[7]

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, UPC, the Occitan Party and the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, CDC), joined forces to form the European Free Alliance.[8][9] Regionalist MEPs continued, however, to sit in different groups also after the 1984 election: 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 Herri Batasuna among Non-Inscrits.[10]

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 (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.[11]

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.[12]

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 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).[13]

In the 2004 European Parliament election, the EFA, which had formally become a European political party,[14] 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 ?danoka of For Human Rights in United Latvia (PCTVL) and László T?kés, an independent MEP and former member of the Democratic Alliance 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 Coppieters Foundation (CF), in September 2007.[15]

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 ?danoka, 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.[16]

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 "The Left for the Right to Decide" (an electoral list primarily composed of the ERC), one for "The Peoples Decide" (an electoral list maily comprising EH Bildu, a Basque coalition including EA), one for "European Spring" (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,[17] the N-VA defected to the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group[18][19] and the EH Bildu MEP joined the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group. Thus, EFA had seven members in the Greens/EFA group and four within ECR.[20]

In the 2019 European Parliament election the EFA gained a fourth seat in the United Kingdom, due to the SNP gaining a third seat to add to Plaid's one. However, the EFA suffered the loss of these seats later in 2019 due to Brexit, which meant SNP and PC MEPs had to leave.


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."[21] The EFA sees itself as an alliance of stateless peoples, striving towards recognition, autonomy, independence 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.[22][23] 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[24][25][26][27] 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 Lorena Lopez de Lacalle (Basque Solidarity), president of the EFA, while Jordi Solé (Republican Left of Catalonia) is secretary-general and Anke Spoorendonk (South Schleswig Voters' Association) treasurer.

The Bureau is completed by ten vice-presidents: Marta Bainka (Silesian Autonomy Movement), Olrik Bouma (Frisian National Party), Anders Eriksson [sv] (Future of Åland), Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru), Fernando Fuente Cortina (Valencian Nationalist Bloc), Victor Gallou (Breton Democratic Union), David Grosclaude (Occitan Party), Wouter Patho (New Flemish Alliance), Nelida Pogagcic (Lista za Rijeku - Lista per Fiume) and Anne Tomasi (Party of the Corsican Nation).

Member parties

Before becoming a member party, an organisation 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.[21]

The following is the list of EFA members and former members.[28]

Full members

Country Party Region / Constituency MEPs
 Azerbaijan Democratic Party of Artsakh[29][30]  Republic of Artsakh / Armenia Ethnic Armenians Not in the EU
 Austria Unity List Slovenia Ethnic Slovenes -
 Belgium New Flemish Alliance  Flanders
 Bulgaria United Macedonian Organization Ilinden-Pirin North Macedonia Ethnic Macedonians -
 Croatia List for Rijeka Rijeka -
 Czech Republic Moravian Land Movement [cs] Moravia -
 Denmark Schleswig Party Germany Ethnic Germans -
 Finland Future of Åland  Åland -
 France Breton Democratic Union  Brittany -
Catalan Unity Catalan Countries -
Let's Make Corsica  Corsica -
Occitan Party  Occitania -
Our Land  Alsace -
Party of the Corsican Nation  Corsica
Savoy Region Movement Savoy Savoy -
 Germany Bavaria Party  Bavaria -
Lusatian Alliance Lusatia / Sorbs -
South Schleswig Voters' Association Denmark Ethnic Danes / Frisians -
 Greece Party of Friendship, Equality and Peace Turkey Ethnic Turks -
Rainbow North Macedonia Ethnic Macedonians -
 Italy Friulian Homeland Friuli -
Pact for Autonomy Friuli Venezia Giulia -
Pro Lombardy Independence Lombardy -
Slovene Union Slovenia Ethnic Slovenes -
South Tyrolean Freedom  South Tyrol -
Tuscany Freedom Committee Tuscany Tuscany -
Valdostan Alliance  Aosta Valley -
Venetian Republic League  Veneto -
The Other South Italy Southern Italy -
 Latvia Latvian Russian Union Russia Ethnic Russians / Latgalians
 Netherlands Frisian National Party Frisians /  Friesland -
 Poland Kashubian Unity[31]  Kashubia / Kashubians -
Silesian Autonomy Movement Germany Upper Silesia / ethnic Germans -
 Romania Hungarian People's Party of Transylvania Hungary Ethnic Hungarians -
 Serbia League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina[31]  Vojvodina Not in the EU
 Slovenia The Olive Tree - Slovene Istria Party Slovene Istria -
 Slovakia Hungarian Christian Democratic Association [hu] Hungary Ethnic Hungarians -
 Spain Andalusia by Herself  Andalusia -
Basque Solidarity Basque Country -
Galician Nationalist Bloc  Galicia -
New Canaries  Canary Islands -
Republican Left of Catalonia  Catalonia / Catalan Countries
Socialist Party of Majorca  Balearic Islands / Catalan Countries -
Valencian Nationalist Bloc  Valencian Community / Catalan Countries -
 United Kingdom Mebyon Kernow  Cornwall Not in the EU
Plaid Cymru  Wales Not in the EU
Scottish National Party  Scotland Not in the EU
Yorkshire Party[32]  Yorkshire Not in the EU

Former members

Country Party Region / Constituency Notes
 Belgium Party of German-speaking Belgians German Community Merged into ProDG in 2008
People's Union  Flanders Split into the New Flemish Alliance and Spirit
Pro German-speaking Community German Community No longer a member
Social Liberal Party  Flanders Dissolved in 2009
Walloon Popular Rally  Wallonia Dissolved as party in 2011
 Czech Republic Moravané Moravia No longer a member
 France Alsace-Lorraine National Association  Alsace /  Lorraine Dissolved
Savoyan League Savoy Savoy Dissolved in 2012
Party for the Organization of a Free Brittany  Brittany Dissolved in 2000
Union of the Corsican People  Corsica Merged into the PNC in 2002
 Germany The Frisians Frisians / East Frisia No longer a member in 2018
 Hungary Renewed Roma Union Party of Hungary [hu] Romani people Dissolved in 2012
 Ireland Independent Fianna Fáil Ireland United Ireland Dissolved in 2006
 Italy Autonomy Liberty Participation Ecology  Aosta Valley Merged into Valdostan Alliance in 2019
Emilian Free Alliance Emilia Dissolved in 2010
Lombard League Lombardy Joined Lega Nord in 1991
Movement for the Independence of Sicily  Sicily No longer a member
Northern League  Padania Suspended in 1994, left in 1996 and joined ELDR
Sardinian Action Party  Sardinia Expelled in 2020 for allying with the Lega Nord.
Union for South Tyrol  South Tyrol Expelled in 2008 for opposition to the Bilbao declaration
Valdotanian Union  Aosta Valley Expelled in 2007 after lack of activity in EFA structures
Venetian League  Veneto Joined Lega Nord in 1991
 Lithuania Lithuanian Polish People's Party [lt] Poland Ethnic Poles Dissolved in 2010
 Romania Transilvania-Banat League [ro] Transylvania / Banat Dissolved
 Slovakia Hungarian Federalist Party Hungary Ethnic Hungarians Banned in 2005[33]
 Spain Andalusian Party  Andalusia Dissolved in 2015
Aragonese Union  Aragon No longer a member in 2018
Aralar Party Basque Country Dissolved in 2017
Basque Nationalist Party Basque Country Left in 2004 and joined the EDP
Canarian Coalition  Canary Islands Left in 1999 and joined the ELDR Group
Democratic Convergence of Catalonia  Catalonia / Catalan Countries Joined the LDR Group in 1987

See also


  1. ^ David Hanley (2007). "Parties, Identity and Europeanisation: An Asymmetrical Relationship?". In Marion Demossier (ed.). The European Puzzle: The Political Structuring of Cultural Identities at a Time of Transition. Berghahn Books. pp. 152-. ISBN 978-0-85745-863-6.
  2. ^ Richard Corbett (2012). "Democracy in the European Union". In Elizabeth Bomberg; John Peterson; Richard Corbett (eds.). The European Union: How Does it Work?. Oxford University Press. pp. 155-. ISBN 978-0-19-957080-5.
  3. ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "European Union". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "What's EFA and history". Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ Gupta, Devashree (April 2008). "Nationalism across borders: transnational nationalist advocacy in the European Union". Comparative European Politics. 6 (1): 61-80. doi:10.1057/palgrave.cep.6110127. S2CID 144152782.
  7. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Retrieved 2013.
  11. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 2013.
  12. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 2013.
  13. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 2013.
  14. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 2013.
  15. ^ "Centre Maurits Coppieters (CMC) - Ideas for Europe". Retrieved 2013.
  16. ^ Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  17. ^ "Will Flemish separatists save the Tories in Europe?". EurActiv - EU News & policy debates, across languages. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ Van Overtveldt, Johan (18 June 2014). "N-VA kiest voor ECR-fractie in Europees Parlement" [N-VA chooses ECR Group in the European Parliament]. (in Dutch). Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ "N-VA joins ECR group in European Parliament". Retrieved 2015.
  20. ^ "Up-to-date list of the MEPs for the new legislative period". Retrieved 2015.
  21. ^ a b "European Free Alliance". Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ Gould, Andrew C.; Messina, Anthony M. (17 February 2014). Europe's Contending Identities: Supranationalism, Ethnoregionalism, Religion, and New Nationalism. ISBN 9781139867757.
  23. ^ "European Parliament: Guide to the political groups". BBC News. 21 October 2015.
  24. ^ "I separati dell'Alto Adige". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 2014.
  25. ^ "Digos e carabinieri nella sede del partito -- Alto Adige dal " Ricerca". 14 October 2010. Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ "Frattini denuncia il "diario" della Klotz -- Cronaca -- Alto Adige". 24 July 2012. Archived from the original on 13 August 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  27. ^ "La Stampa -- Nel diario scolastico sudtirolesei terroristi si scoprono eroi". La Stampa. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ "Member Parties". European Free Alliance. Retrieved 2020.
  29. ^ "Member Parties". European Free Alliance. Retrieved 2015.
  30. ^ "Democratic Party of Artsakh is the Associated Member of the European Free Alliance". Democratic Party of Artsakh. Retrieved 2015.
  31. ^ a b "Corsica joins 12 other stateless nations and governments, building #AnotherEurope with EFA". Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 December 2014. Retrieved 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ "EFA PARTY IN SLOVAK REPUBLIC BANNED". Retrieved 2015.

External links

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