“Possible Future European Union Party-Political Systems”, Martin Westlake (CoE, Bruges)

in Bruges Political Research Papers no.60

The paper passes in review the post-war steps to a parliamentary European Union and a partypolitical European Union and concludes that these are irreversible. It further considers the Spitzenkandidaten/Lead Candidate procedure, first used in 2014, and assumes, more debatably perhaps, that it, too, is probably irreversible. The paper acknowledges six ‘known unknowns’ that could have considerable consequences for the evolution of the Union’s party-political system. The paper then considers some basic questions about the model the Union has cumulatively chosen before considering some of the ‘discontents’ of some party-political systems and their potential relevance to the EU’s emerging system. The paper briefly considers whether the early evolution of the US party political system can shed any light on possible developments and identifies similarities. It concludes by pointing out that the existence of a parliamentary party-political system, with electoral linkage between the executive and the legislature, is a necessary but far from sufficient condition for viable governance – and opposition.

Read it here