The Development of European Standards on Political Parties and their Regulation

Authors: Fransje Molenaar | Published in: working paper series on the legal regulation of political parties, no. 04, March. | Date of publication: 2010


Over the last decade many European countries have increased both the scope and content of national party regulation. This trend is mirrored by an ever-increasing interest within European governmental and non-governmental organizations to guide this process and to determine the direction as regards its content. Little systematic scholarly attention has been paid to this supranational dimension, however. First of all, this working paper focuses on the identification of European normative conceptions of the role of political parties in modern democracies through an analysis of the rise of European standards regarding political party legislation. Secondly, it analyzes the (direct or indirect) impact on the national parties and party systems of the legislation adopted at the European level to determine whether these new norms matter. Towards these ends, this paper analyzes the regulation of political parties by supranational European organizations, concentrating in particular on the regulations, guidelines and recommendations adopted by the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights.

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