Inside the European Parliament: A Closer Look at the Political Groups Shaping EU Legislation


Good to know

During the elections, you are going to vote for your national party and usually, they are also going to be part of one of the major European groups with representatives from different countries.

Learn more about your national parties and their current position in the European parliament!

What is the European Parliament

The European Parliament (EP) is one of the legislative bodies of the European Union (EU) and one of its seven institutions. It works alongside the Council of the European Union (also known as the Council) to adopt European legislation, following proposals made by the European Commission.

The European Parliament is composed of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who are organized into several political groups, each representing a spectrum of ideologies. These groups are not based on nationality but on political affiliation.

Here’s a brief overview of the major political groups:

  • EPP – Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)
  • S&D – Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
  • Renew Europe – Renew Europe Group
  • Greens/EFA – Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
  • ID – Identity and Democracy Group
  • ECR – European Conservatives and Reformists Group
  • The Left – Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left
  • NI – Non-Inscrits” (Non-Attached Members)

Each group has its own set of core principles and policies, and they work together to influence legislation and policy within the European Union.

Overview of the major political groups

The Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) is a political group in the European Parliament composed of center-right and Christian-democratic parties from across the EU. It is one of the biggest and most influential groups in the Parliament, with 182 seats as of 2019 and Manfred Welbeg as its president. Hence, it holds the presidency of the European Parliament.

The 44 group’s members come from various European countries and represent a diverse range of political ideologies within the center-right spectrum. The EPP promotes European integration and cooperation while prioritizing issues such as economic growth, security, and stability.

Overall ideology

The EPP advocates for conservative and center-right policies, focusing on economic liberalism, social conservatism, a strong European Union, and sustainable development as their main values.

What are their environmental convictions? 

The official EPP’s 2019 environmental vision called for a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050, prioritizing ambitious climate targets. To encourage the reduction of emissions, they backed carbon pricing, emissions trading, and sustainable economic policies. Their main goals included developing a circular economy, sustainable agriculture, and the shift to clean energy. Global leadership in sustainability, social considerations, and green innovation were also highlighted. In general, the EPP aimed to strike a balance between economic prosperity and climate action, placing a strong emphasis on social responsibility, innovation, and collaboration when addressing environmental issues.

The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) represents the center-left. As a significant faction in the Parliament, it advocates for policies that focus on social justice, equality, and sustainability. With a focus on issues like workers’ rights, social protection, environmental sustainability, and inequality, the S&D group aims to promote a socially conscious Europe. Thus, social democratic, socialist, environmental, and labor parties from throughout the European Union are among their values. With Iratxe García Pérez as their president, the group’s members come from diverse national backgrounds and share a common goal of advancing policies to build a more equitable society.

Overall ideology

The S&D seeks to balance economic growth with social welfare, advocating for policies that protect vulnerable groups in society.

What are their environmental convictions? 

S&D advocates for immediate action to combat climate change and envisions comprehensive environmental values centered on the Green Deal. Sustainable policies were highlighted, such as investments in clean energy, support for agriculture, and restoration of the environment. Prioritising a just transition, S&D struck a balance between social equity, environmental protection, and job preservation. They supported laws that set aggressive goals for reducing emissions, such as the European Climate Law and the Nature Restoration Law. In addition, they put forth a zero-pollution plan and attempted to harmonise fisheries and agriculture policies with climate goals. In order to achieve a sustainable and socially just future, they placed a strong emphasis on social cohesion and worked to enact environmental regulations in conjunction with the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Renew Europe supports policies that emphasize individual freedoms, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, alongside environmental sustainability and digital innovation. The group advocates for an open economy with fair competition, aiming for a balanced approach that fosters economic growth while ensuring social justice and protection for all citizens. Within the Parliament, it promotes a centrist agenda that aims to bridge the gap between the left and right. Renew Europe’s influence in discussions on EU governance includes areas such as the digital single market and climate change, advocating for reforms and regulation.

Overall ideology

The Renew Europe Group is a political group in the European Parliament representing a coalition of liberal, centrist, and pro-European parties from across the EU.

What are their environmental convictions? 

Renew Europe’s environmental agenda emphasizes fulfilling the objectives of the Paris Agreement and promoting the shift to a society that is climate neutral by 2050. They underlined that in order to mainstream environmental and climate objectives and expedite the ecological transition, coherence across all EU policies is essential. Innovation, environmentally friendly sectors, and international climate leadership were given top priority by Renew Europe. They demanded bold legislation to increase emission reduction targets, such as an updated European Green Deal and an efficient Climate Law. They also stressed the need to preserve the environment, move toward a circular economy, and guarantee the quality of the air and water. Renew Europe promoted innovation, sustainable production, and renewable energy while attempting to incorporate environmental goals into trade, agriculture, and fisheries policies.

The Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) is composed of green, regionalist, and minority parties from across the European Union. This group, with its 74 seats in 2019, is known for advocating for environmental protection, climate action, and sustainability, pushing for policies to combat climate change and preserve biodiversity. The Greens/EFA prioritise stances on social issues, including human rights, gender equality, and social justice, reflecting a commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive society, while also supporting a transition to renewable energy, sustainable transport, and a circular economy. The group emphasizes transparency, democracy, and civil liberties within the EU, advocating for citizen participation in European decision-making. Through its work in the European Parliament, the Greens/EFA seeks to influence EU policy and legislation towards sustainable and socially responsible directions.

Overall ideology


What are their environmental convictions? 

The Group’s environmental agenda aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees. They advocate for increased renewable energy targets, simplifying administrative processes for renewable projects, and promoting electric vehicles while opposing liquefied natural gas in transport. They also call for the end of free emissions allowances, integrating aviation and shipping emissions into the Emissions Trading System, and implementing a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism for imported goods. Additionally, they focus on addressing energy and transport poverty through the Social Climate Fund, supporting emissions reduction targets in forestry and land use, and advocating for stringent ecodesign requirements for vehicles, along with a ban on new petrol and diesel cars within the next decade.

Established in 2009, the ECR was founded on the principles of Eurorealism, advocating for EU reform, decentralization, and the respect of national sovereignty over deeper European integration. With its 62 seats, the group emphasizes free market economics, individual liberty, and reducing the power of the EU institutions in favor of giving more control back to member states. Accordingly, the ECR has advocated for the preservation of traditional values, stricter immigration laws, and a strong stance on law and order. The group actively engages in the legislative process to influence policies that align with its vision of a more flexible and decentralized European Union, despite its eurosceptic position.

Overall ideology

The European Conservatives and Reformists Group represents a political grouping of conservative, eurosceptic, and right-wing parties from across the European Union.

What are their environmental convictions? 

The European Conservatives and Reformists prioritise initiatives like the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while safeguarding European industries. ECR-led efforts focus on improving air quality through cross-border collaboration and setting stringent emissions ceilings. They address the illegal wildlife trade by outlining challenges and proposing solutions. In fisheries, they advocate for sustainable practices balancing environmental protection, consumer demand, and the livelihoods of fishermen. ECR stresses the importance of science and technology in farming and fishing for sustainable resource management. They aim to protect the environment while ensuring economic prosperity and food security.

The Identity and Democracy (ID) Group in the European Parliament is composed of nationalist and eurosceptic parties from the European Union (EU). Established in June 2019, following the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group, ID consists of parties that focus on national sovereignty and express concerns about the EU’s approach to federalism. ID advocates for a model where EU member states cooperate on an intergovernmental basis and seeks a reevaluation of powers between the EU and its member states.

Overall ideology

ID represents a perspective in the European Parliament that prioritizes the interests and sovereignty of individual nations, aiming for a more decentralized EU structure. 

What are their environmental convictions? 

On their website, they remain silent.

Established in 1995, the group focuses on reforms in the EU related to social justice, workers’ rights, environmental sustainability, and wealth redistribution. GUE/NGL emphasizes peace, democracy, solidarity, sustainable development, and a transition towards renewable energy. With 41 seats in the Parliament, GUE/NGL participates in policy discussions, aiming to influence EU policies in the direction of social, economic, and environmental considerations.

Overall ideology

The Left group consists of left-wing, socialist, communist, and anti-capitalist parties from the European Union.

What are their environmental convictions? 

The Left emphasises environmental justice, advocating for nature conservation, protection of biodiversity, and strict regulation of toxic chemicals. They prioritise animal rights and welfare alongside sustainable agricultural and fisheries policies, emphasizing support for small communities. They scrutinise trade agreements like the EU-Chile AFA; they highlight concerns over environmental degradation, indigenous rights, and corporate interests. The Left currently calls for trade policies aligned with fairness, solidarity, and ecological integrity, rejecting deals favoring corporate profits over sustainability. They also focus on legislative efforts like the Nature Restoration Law, pushing for strong measures to restore ecosystems. They also address issues such as GMO authorisation and food price crises. They emphasize safety assessments, consumer choice, and fair pricing, advocating for policies benefiting both people and the planet.

Independent MEPs in the European Parliament, often referred to as non-attached members, are those who do not belong to any of the recognised political groups. They may choose to be independent for various reasons, such as differences in ideology or political strategy.