European political parties have been the object of keen interest in the academic literature, as important actors in the EU’s development. Until recently, European political groups have not been the focus of comparable attention. This is no doubt surprising as for a long time they were, politically and organisationally, the most relevant component of European political parties and, as such, they were instrumental for their growth. European political parties are indeed strong in the European Parliament (EP) where the groups have exhibited high levels of cohesiveness and inclusiveness. It is high time for dedicated studies of the political groups’ distinctive role, their development over time and their influence on European integration at large. One first important step in this direction has come with the recent EUI-based study of the European People’s Party (EPP) group, which traces its institutional, organisational and political trajectory in the EP, after the first direct elections of 1979.
In this presentation, Luciano Bardi and Jacopo Cellini will address the feasibility and the scientific relevance to extend to the S&D Group, and possibly to other EP political groups, the line of research established with the study on the EPP Group. In particular, they will present an overview of the historical sources and data, which allow for an analysis of the Socialist Group’s history, evolution and institutional relevance.