Seven Year Itch? The European Left Party: Struggling to Transform the EU

Richard Dunphy, Luke March

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It's an apposite moment to analyze the European Left Party (EL), one of the newest transnational parties (TNPs) founded in 2004, which gathers a large number of radical left parties situating themselves to the left of social democracy. Despite the ostensibly beneficial crisis environment across the EU, radical left parties as a whole have so far failed to make significant gains. The EL's third congress in Paris in 2010 recognized significant future challenges in order to react to the adoption of the Lisbon treaty and to ‘build a Europe of social change’. In this paper we examine this relatively under-analyzed TNP's organizational development and cohesiveness by focussing on the interaction between national parties, the party at European level and the GUE/NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left) European parliamentary group. The EL's 2010 congress showed it struggling to combine the ‘deepening’ of its organizational cohesion with the ‘widening’ of its political representation. Although the EL's development to date marks a significant intensification of radical left European co-operation in historical terms, it remains ill-equipped to become an organizationally and strategically effective organization.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPerspectives on European Politics and Society
Early online date20 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2013


  • European Left
  • transnational parties
  • Europeanization


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