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The goal of this book is to highlight the role and significance of European Political Parties at a time when the EU is engaged in a process of constitutionalisation. The European political parties are little known, even amongst those who study European law and European politics. They are often confused with the party groups in the European Parliament. The book studies the origins and significance of the supranational European Political Parties, which are parties of parties whose members are national parties from the Member States, grouped in party federations. It concentrates on four key themes: the institutional and organisational forms which the parties have taken on, most recently as a result of the European Party Statute Regulation passed in 2003 and the 2006 Leinen Report on European Political Parties; within the parties themselves, the ideas and streams of influence which contribute to their effectiveness; their contribution to 'forming European political awareness and to expressing the will of citizens of the Union' as laid out in the Reform Treaty; and the enlargement of the Parties to include members from the new Member States, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
The book concludes that at the present time, European Political Parties face their greatest potential crisis, in terms of their capacity to be important political actors, just at the point of potentially their most significant development.