The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR)

  • Manchester University Press
  • 2020
  • 0
  • English
  • 1
  • 9781526139160

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) are now established as one of the larger groups in the European Parliament and from 2014 to 2019 had more MEPs than the Liberals, Greens or radical left and right-wing factions. Despite this, ECR has so far been largely dismissed by political scientists, journalists and Brussels policy-makers as merely another Euro-sceptic faction. Representing the first major study of the political activities of ECR and its 'Euro-realist' agenda, this book argues that ECR ought to be recognised as the main voice for Conservatism in Strasbourg, promoting 'Anglosphere' free market values and the role of NATO in international relations. The book begins with an examination of the origins and early development of ECR, when British Conservative leader David Cameron established the group in a Euro-sceptic gesture to his party. Cameron failed, however, to see the isolating long-term consequences of withdrawing his MEPs from the powerful European People's Party (EPP). Other chapters examine the role of ECR member parties in its development and profile - including Law and Justice (PiS) from Poland, the Czech Civic Democrats (ODS), the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) and the Danish People's Party (DF). Drawing on interviews with MEPs and other key figures, the book concludes with an analysis of the leadership and policy activities of ECR politicians in Brussels and Strasbourg in an attempt to measure influence.