2006 Volume 2006 Issue 26 Pages 63-83,421
The role and significance of national political parties for democracy and representation at the national level has a long and well documented history. By comparison, far less attention has been given to the possibility of transnational party political actors playing a similar role at the transnational level. The goal of this paper is to highlight the possibilities and some of the difficulties associated with such an endeavour. The primary focus will be up the European Political Parties (Euro-parties). In addition examples will be drawn from the global Party Internationals in order to illustrate some of the issues that problematizes the existence and potential future development of these transnational actors. Following a brief introduction of the Euro-parties, the paper will question the significance of transnational ‘party-based’ organizations given a series of historical and contemporary problems. It will be argued that if they are to enhance their role and significance, future development requires these actors to pursue a pathway that lies between the structural rigidity of a party and the flexibility of a network. In addition they will also need to show that they are capable of providing a ‘value-added’.