So, with the European Parliament elections rapidly approaching, the horse-trading between political parties from across the whole spectrum has intensified as factions look to the future and, more importantly, for new buddies to befriend in the next Parliament. Conflicting visions of Europe, party strategies to get more seats and personal rivalries for top jobs are already resulting in the dismantling and creation of European political parties.

The UK Tories announced some time ago that they would leave the EPP-ED after the elections to form their own euro-sceptic party.

Now it looks like the ALDE is facing problems on several fronts. First up, the next Commission President… a fringe of the party is not supportive of Barroso, favouring instead the Italian Mario Monti or the Belgian Guy Verhofstadt. Add to the equation that the Italian members of ALDE might join the Socialists because of a recent merger between the Italian socialist and centrist parties, and it appears that the Liberals could be a much-changed entity in the new Parliament.

Finally, rumor has it that the new name of the Party of European Socialists could be changed into the ‘Alliance of Socialists and Democrats’ to reflect the possible absorption of the Italian dissidents. When vying for seats in the EP, changing party names and alliances do not seem to matter so much: ‘a rose by any other name will smell as sweet’.

– Michele and Victoria

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