Rules on political groups in the European Parliament

Briefing 14-06-2024

Members of the European Parliament may form political groups; these are organised by political affiliation, not by nationality. Since the first direct elections in 1979, the number of political groups has fluctuated between seven and ten. Following the 2024 elections, the number, size and composition of political groups is likely to continue to fluctuate, with the possible dissolution of some political groups and the creation of new ones. A minimum of 23 Members, elected in at least one quarter (currently seven) of the EU's Member States, is required to form a political group. Those Members who do not belong to any political group are known as 'non-attached' Members (non-inscrits, known as NI). Although the political groups play a prominent role in Parliament, individual Members and/or several Members acting together also have many rights, including in relation to the exercise of oversight over other EU institutions, such as the European Commission. However, belonging to a political group is of particular relevance when it comes to the allocation of key positions in Parliament's political and organisational structures, such as committee and delegation chairs and rapporteurships on important dossiers. Moreover, political groups receive higher funding for their collective staff and parliamentary activities than non-attached Members. Political group funding, however, is distinct from funding granted to European political parties and foundations, which, if they comply with the registration requirements, may apply for funding from the European Parliament. This briefing updates the previous edition of June 2019, by Laura Tilindyte, which itself updated an earlier edition of June 2015, by Eva-Maria Poptcheva.