The Good Lobby unveils how civil society organisations, citizens movements and individual citizens may contribute to the Europarties’ election manifestos. This work has been featured in the Politico EU Influence newsletter highlighting the growing need for input to these manifestos as “Parties are soliciting new ideas earlier and with greater intensity than ever”!

In the run-up to the 2024 European Parliament elections, Europarties – such as the Greens, ALDE and PES – are slowly beginning to prepare their European electoral programmes, also known as “Euromanifestos”. While the publication by most Europarties of a European election manifesto for every European election does not mean that these Euromanifestos have the same relevance for European elections as national manifestos do for national elections, this may reveal an unmissable opportunity for any organisation willing to shape the future EU policy agenda.

It’s important to note that these manifestos are evolving from mere documents to potential avenues for long-term influence. They act as the parties’ wish lists for shaping the work program of the next Commission. This makes them potentially significant not just for influencing the Commission and Parliament but also the Council. Moreover, Europarties are also feeling the pressure to be more visible to the average voter.

Yet the process behind these programmatic documents has historically been opaque, hindering civil society’s ability to understand and prepare for future election cycles. Hence our effort at popularising and demystifying the complex processes behind the preparation of political manifestos.

We do this by first unpacking the various opportunities, be they formal or informal, open or closed-door, offered by the Europarties themselves. Second, we offer a set of recommendations on how to find inroads into Euromanifestos even when the preparation of the latter does not explicitly foresee opportunities for external input. Ultimately, to ensure Europarties’ adherence to EU values – as enshrined in all Europarties’ Charters – requires an understanding of the processes through which they prepare for the next EP elections.

Key opportunities to contribute

The table below identifies the key opportunities to contribute to different election manifestos. The traffic light colours indicate the level of openness of each individual Europarty vis-à-vis third party input, with a gradient from red (no formal process nor accessibility), amber (some process, some accessibility) to green (formal process and formalised opportunities to contribute).

When?

Online public consultation, April-September 2023

Town hall meetings in Member States, April-September 2023

How?

  • Participate in online public consultation
  • Engage with the Manifesto Drafting Committee & ALDE Secretariat
  • Participate in town halls &  upcoming ALDE events
  • Reach out to  ALDE’s national members  re: opportunities at national level for contribution

When?

Online public consultation by 30 June 2023

38th Congress,  1-3 December 2023, online

Electoral Congress, 2-4 February 2024, Lyon, France

How?

  • Participate in online public consultation
  • Engage with the Greens’ Secretariat and Editorial Working Group (body in charge of Greens’ Manifesto Process)
  • Reach out to Greens’ national members regarding opportunities at national level for contribution
  • Attend the 38th Congress & Electoral Congress

When?

Civil society consultation, April-September 2023

13th Congress, 10-11 November, Malaga, Spain

Electoral Congress, January-March 2024

How?

  • Contact PES secretariat to receive an invitation to the consultation.
  • Engage with PES staff on specific issues
  • Reach out to PES national members regarding opportunities at national level for contribution
  • Attend the 13th Congress & Electoral Congress

When?

EFA Party Congress, 13-14 October in Strasbourg, France

How?

  • Contact the EFA Secretariat
  • Attend the EFA Party Congress
  • Reach out to EFA national members regarding opportunities at the national level for contribution

When?

  • EDP Congress, 14th October 2023, Mainz, Germany.
  • EDP Convention, January-March 2024.

How?

  • Contact the EDP Secretariat
  • Attend the EDP Congress and Convention
  • Reach out to EDPs’ national members regarding opportunities at national level for contribution

When?

Summer University, 6-9 July 2023, Ljubljana, Slovenia

How?

  • Join the Summer University
  • Engage with members of the Executive Board
  • Reach out to the European Left national members regarding opportunities at national level for contribution

When?

EPP Party Congress, 6-7 March 2024, Bucharest

How?

  • Contact the EPP Secretariat regarding opportunities for contribution
  • Attend the EPP Party Congress
  • Reach out to EPP national members regarding opportunities at the national level for contribution

When?

This party has yet to decide on its manifesto process

How?

It is recommended to reach out to:

  • Individual members
  • National parties
  • European Parliamentary Groups
  • Political Foundations (e.g. New Direction)
ID Party

When?

This party has yet to decide on its manifesto process

How?

It is recommended to reach out to:

  • Individual members
  • National parties
  • European Parliamentary Groups
  • Political Foundations 

When?

This party has yet to decide on its manifesto process

How?

It is recommended to reach out to:

  • Individual members
  • National parties
  • European Parliamentary Groups
  • Political Foundations 

Why are manifestos so invisible and inaccessible?

There are many reasons for the historical reluctance of Europarties to allow for external input in the preparation of their manifestos. First, EU-wide elections are still the domain of national parties, who select their candidates, draft their national programmes, at the domestic level. Second, the Europarties themselves are ‘parties of parties’ that do not compete for the votes of the whole European electorate, but only of their national electorates. Third, only a few Europarties follow a transnational and structured process leading to the definition of a pan-EU political manifesto.

This might however be changing. If the German, Polish, Romanian and other national party members of the same Europarty – be they the Greens, EPP, or Liberals – share similar political priorities, then a programme can be proposed across the EU transcending national borders of the individual member countries. In other words, when the policy agendas of the national parties grouping in the same Europarty can be successfully aggregated, Europarties may suddenly offer coherent and competing electoral programmes to the European citizens.

However, being typically untransparent and obscure to most civil society organisations and citizens who are outside of party circles, the preparation of manifestos risks remaining impenetrable. Hence our interest in mapping out and understanding the various processes to not only make them more visible, inclusive and potentially accountable to the greater public, but also to allow civil society organisations and citizens to be better prepared for future election cycles.

Watch this space

The Good Lobby intends to provide further guidance in the coming months on how civil society organisations, citizen movements and individuals may engage with Europarties ahead of the next European Parliament elections. Watch this space for more information in the coming weeks!

Methodology

This applied research work was prepared by Professor Alberto Alemanno with the support of The Good Lobby team. It relies upon dozens of interviews with political parties’ representatives, and academics as well as desk research and relevant academic literature.

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