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definition - Group_of_the_Alliance_of_Liberals_and_Democrats_for_Europe

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Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

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Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
European Parliament group
NameAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
English abbr.ALDE
IdeologyLiberalism, Social liberalism, Conservative liberalism
European partiesEuropean Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
European Democratic Party
FromJuly 20 2004[1]
Chaired byGuy Verhofstadt MEP
MEP(s)84 (30 june 2009)

The Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) is the current liberal/centrist political group of the European Parliament. It is made up of MEPs from two Europarties, the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party and the European Democratic Party, which collectively form the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

ALDE is one of the three oldest Groups, dating its unofficial origin back to September 1952 and the first meeting of the Parliament's predecessor, the Common Assembly. Founded as an explicitly Liberal Group, it has expanded its remit to cover the different centrist traditions of each new Member State as they acceded to the Union, progressively changing its name in the process.

It is the third-largest Group in the Parliament and does not participate in the Grand Coalition (the coalition designed to provide a majority) for the Sixth Parliament (2004-2009). It did however partner with the EPP-ED to form the Grand Coalition for the Fifth Parliament, during which time it achieved its sole President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox.



The Group can trace its unofficial ancestry back to the Liberal members present at the first meeting of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community (the Parliament's predecessor) on 10 September 1952,[2] but the Group was officially founded as the Group of Liberals and Allies[1] on 23 June 1953.[1]

As the Assembly grew into the Parliament, the French Gaullists split from the Group on 21 January 1965[3] and the Group started the process of changing its name to match the liberal/centrist traditions of the new member states, firstly to the Liberal and Democratic Group[4][1] in 1976,[1] then to the Liberal and Democratic Reformist Group[5] on 13 December 1985,[1] then to the Group of the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party[6][4][1] on 19 July 1994[1] to match the European political party of the same name.

In 1999, the Group partnered with European People's Party–European Democrats (EPP-ED) group to form the Grand Coalition for the Fifth Parliament. The customary split of the Presidency of the European Parliament between Groups in the Coalition meant that the Group achieved its first President of the European Parliament on 15 January 2002, when Pat Cox was elected to the post to serve the latter half of the five-year term. The Group lost its Grand Coalition status after the 2004 elections.

On 13 July 2004 the Group approved a recommendation to unite with MEPs from the centrist and social-liberal European political party called the European Democratic Party founded by François Bayrou's Union for French Democracy, the Lithuanian Labour Party and the Italian Margherita.

The Group accordingly became the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe[1] (ALDE) on 20 July 2004,[1] to match the eponymous transnational political alliance, although the two Europarties remained separate outside the European Parliament. The MEP Graham Watson of the British Liberal Democrats became the first chair of ALDE.



ALDE is a coalition of centrist and liberal MEPs from the European centre. It does not have formal subgroups, although the MEPs fall naturally into two informal subgroups, depending on whether they associate with the ELDR or the EDP.


The Bureau is the main decision making body of the ALDE Group and is composed of the leaders of the delegations from each member state that elects ALDE MEPs.[7] The Bureau oversees the ALDE Group's main strategy and policies and is headed by a chair (referred to as the Leader). The day-to-day running of the Group is performed by its secretariat, led by its Secretary-General.

The senior staff of ALDE as of 24 October 2008 are as follows:

The chairs of ALDE and its predecessors from 1953 to 24 October 2008 are as follows:


Membership by party in Sixth and Seventh Parliaments

The national parties that are members of ALDE are as follows:


National Party

European Party

MEPs 2004-2009

MEPs 2009-2014
 AustriaLiberal ForumELDR1-
 BelgiumFlemish Liberals and DemocratsELDR33
Reformist MovementELDR32
 BulgariaNational Movement for Stability and ProgressELDR22
Movement for Rights and FreedomsELDR33
 CyprusDemocratic Party(note: left ALDE for PES in 2009)none1-
 DenmarkVenstre - Liberal PartyELDR33
Danish Social–Liberal PartyELDR1-
 EstoniaCentre Party of EstoniaELDR12
Estonian Reform PartyELDR11
 FinlandCentre PartyELDR43
Swedish People's PartyELDR11
 FranceDemocratic MovementEDP76
Civic Alliance for Democracy in EuropeELDR3-
 GermanyFree Democratic PartyELDR712
 HungaryAlliance of Free DemocratsELDR2-
 IrelandFianna FáilELDR-3
Marian Harkin (Independent)EDP11
 ItalyDemocracy is Freedom – The Daisy (note: merged into PD in 2007)EDP9-
Italy of ValuesELDR17
Italian RadicalsELDR2-
 LithuaniaLabour PartyEDP51
Liberal and Centre UnionELDR2-
Liberals' Movement of the Republic of LithuaniaELDR-1
 LuxembourgDemocratic PartyELDR11
 NetherlandsPeople's Party for Freedom and DemocracyELDR43
Democrats 66ELDR13
 PolandDemocratic Party – demokraci.plELDR4-
Paweł Piskorski (Independent)none1-
Marek Czarnecki (Independent)none1-
 RomaniaNational Liberal PartyELDR65
 SloveniaLiberal Democracy of SloveniaELDR21
 SpainDemocratic Convergence of CataloniaELDR11
Basque Nationalist PartyEDP11
 SwedenLiberal People's PartyELDR13
Centre PartyELDR11
Feminist Initiativenone1-
 United KingdomLiberal DemocratsELDR1111
Total ELDR7074
Total EDP269
Total Other40

Membership by country at December 2007

File:ALDE percentage map December 2007.PNG
ALDE percentage of MEPs by member state December 2007 (see description for sources).
     0% to 1%      1% to 5%      5% to 10%      10% to 20%      20% to 30%      30% to 40%      40% to 50%      50% plus

A December 2007 European Parliament document[20] gave the percentage of MEPs for each Group and member state at that date. The results for ALDE are given on the diagram on the right.

The document shows that ALDE does not draw its MEPs evenly from throughout the EU. Its smallest support is in the Iberian peninsula, Central Europe, and Greece. Its largest support comes from Scandinavia, the Baltic states and the non-Greek Balkans. Only one member state (Lithuania) has more than 50% of its MEPs sitting with ALDE. Countries with no ALDE MEPs include Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Slovakia.

Membership at formation

In September 1952, the third-largest grouping in the Common Assembly was the Liberal grouping with 11 members.[9] The Group of Liberals and Allies was officially founded on 23 June 1953.[1] By mid-September 1953, it was again the third-largest Group with 10 members.[21]


In the news

Activities performed by ALDE in the period between 2004 and 2008 that resulted in an entry on EUObserver or theparliament.com include:

  • Urging caution in common European anti-terror action.[25][26]
  • Supporting transparency in government and business,[27][28][29][30] free markets,[31][32] communication with voters[33] and greater EU involvement in globalization.[34]
  • Supporting the framework programme for competitiveness and innovation (CIP), EU patent funding and origin labeling[35] reform of the CAP,[36] and compromise on the Services Directive.[37][38]
  • Supporting the expulsion of Daniel Hannan from EPP-ED[39] and deprecating regulatory changes designed to reduce the number of Groups.[40]
  • Calling for the creation of a UN parliamentary assembly,[55] and US Congressional investigation of Libertas funding.[56]
  • Supporting common European approaches for the 2009 elections[57], climate change,[58][59] cross-border healthcare provision,[60] and a common European Migration Policy[61][62] that observes human rights.[63]

Parliamentary activity profile

File:Motions for resolutions put to the vote in plenary in the European Parliament August 1 2004 to August 1 2008.PNG
Group parliamentary activity profile, August 1 2004 to August 1 2008 (see description for sources).
     ALDE: 661 motions

The debates and votes in the European Parliament are tracked by its website[64] and categorized by the Groups that participate in them and the rule of procedure that they fall into. The results give a profile for each Group by category and the total indicates the Group's level of participation in Parliamentary debates. The activity profile for each Group for the period August 1 2004 to August 1 2008 in the Sixth Parliament is given on the diagram on the right. ALDE is denoted in yellow.

The website shows ALDE as participating in 661 motions, making it the second most active Group during the period.


ALDE produces many publications,[65] on its website. Its key documents[66] cover the Treaty of Lisbon, the global financial crisis of 2008, civil liberties and its 10 priorities for the 2009 elections.

Academic analysis

Along with the other political groups, ALDE has been analysed by academics on its positions regarding various issues. Those positions are summarized in this article. That article characterizes ALDE as cohesive, gender-balanced centrist Euroneutrals that cooperate most closely with EPP-ED, are ambiguous on hypothetical EU taxes and supportive of eventual full Turkish accession to the European Union.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 ALDE on Europe Politique
  2. Composition of the Common Assembly (10-13 September 1952)
  3. UFE on Europe Politique
  4. 4.0 4.1 Political Groups of the European Parliament
  5. European Parliament archive entry for Simone Veil (incl. Membership)
  6. Group names 1999
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 7.21 7.22 7.23 7.24 7.25 7.26 7.27 7.28 7.29 7.30 7.31 7.32 7.33 7.34 7.35 7.36 7.37 7.38 7.39 7.40 7.41 7.42 7.43 7.44 ALDE website article "Bureau"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Archived article 003730_1 from the Archive of European Integration
  9. 9.0 9.1 Directorate-General for the Presidency - CARDOC unit and archives - Description of the main holdings and collections
  10. European Parliament archive entry for Cornelis Berkhouwer (incl. Membership)
  11. European Parliament archive entry for Jean-François Pintat (incl. Membership)
  12. European Parliament archive entry for Martin Bangemann (incl. Membership)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 ALDE Group press release "ALDE Group backs Watson to continue as Leader", dated 29 November 2006
  14. European Parliament archive entry for Valery Giscard d'Estaing (incl. Membership)
  15. European Parliament archive entry for Yves Galland (incl. Membership)
  16. European Parliament archive entry for Gijs de Vries (incl. Membership)
  17. European Parliament archive entry for Pat Cox (incl. Membership)
  18. European Parliament archive entry for Graham Watson (incl. Membership)
  19. ALDE Group in the European Parliament : Guy Verhofstadt elected unopposed as new ALDE group leader
  20. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/pdf/welcome_brochures/faces/ep_faces_2007_09_en.pdf
  21. Position of the political groups in mid-September 1953
  22. EUObserver article "18129"
  23. the parliament.com article "meps-welcome-eu-treaty-deal-as-victory-for-parliament"
  24. the parliament.com article "liberal-leadership-rivals-back-eu-reform-treaty"
  25. the parliament.com article "eu-debates-anti-terrorist-proposalsnbsp"
  26. the parliament.com article "human-rights-out-dated-argues-eu-presidency"
  27. EUObserver article "25975"
  28. the parliament.com article "socialist-mep-brands-bush-worst-president-in-history"
  29. the parliament.com article "mep-calls-for-more-responsibility-on-eu-accounts"
  30. the parliament.com article "mccreevy-appointment-denounced-by-socialists-in-eu-parliament"
  31. the parliament.com article "eu-lisbon-strategy-not-helping-poor-say-meps"
  32. the parliament.com article "socialist-mep-brands-bush-worst-president-in-history"
  33. EUObserver article "25718"
  34. the parliament.com article "eu-debates-21st-century-globalisation"
  35. EUObserver article "21891"
  36. the parliament.com article "meps-split-over-cap-health-check-proposals"
  37. EUObserver article "19317"
  38. EUObserver article "20921"
  39. the parliament.com article "tory-mep-hits-back-over-alleged-eu-parliamentnbsphitler-jibe"
  40. EUObserver article "26216"
  41. the parliament.com article "taiwan-who-observer-status-bid-fails"
  42. the parliament.com article "eu-should-press-for-end-to-taiwans-isolation-say-meps"
  43. the parliament.com article "china-at-odds-with-taiwan-over-membership-of-un-bodies"
  44. the parliament.com article "eu-urged-to-support-taiwans-un-bid"
  45. the parliament.com article "sarkozy-under-fire-over-support-fornbspone-china-policy"
  46. the parliament.com article "eunbspcommission-expert-urges-peaceful-solution-to-china-taiwan-dispute"
  47. the parliament.com article "taiwan-has-strong-case-to-join-who"
  48. the parliament.com article "china-taiwan-should-be-settled-by-political-dialogue"
  49. EUObserver article "24865"
  50. the parliament.com article "parliament-vice-president-calls-for-eu-to-boycott-olympics"
  51. the parliament.com article "row-flares-after-eu-parliament-endorses-short-sighted-china-resolution-1"
  52. the parliament.com article "meps-concerned-over-russian-grip-on-energy-supply"
  53. the parliament.com article "meps-call-on-eu-leaders-to-condemn-russian-intimidation"
  54. EUObserver article "23811"
  55. the parliament.com article "eu-urged-to-back-creation-of-new-un-body"
  56. the parliament.com article "eu-parliament-calls-for-probe-into-libertas-fundraising"
  57. the parliament.com article "watson-kicks-off-eu-election-campaign"
  58. the parliament.com article "alde-group-launches-eu-wide-climate-campaign"
  59. the parliament.com article "eu-set-for-december-showdown-on-climate-change-deal"
  60. the parliament.com article "eu-gives-patients-the-right-to-travel-for-healthcare"
  61. EUObserver article "25937"
  62. the parliament.com article "cautious-welcome-for-eu-blue-card-scheme"
  63. EUObserver article "17175"
  64. Plenary sittings : Motions for resolutions - Advanced search
  65. ALDE Group in the European Parliament : Documents
  66. http://www.alde.eu/fileadmin/webdocs/key_docs/

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