The EPP strives for a democratic, transparent and efficient Europe that is close to its citizens. The EPP wants a prosperous Europe through the promotion of a free market economy with a social consciousness.
The EPP is the EU’s centre-right party and its largest and most influential political family. The EPP currently includes 80 parties and partners from 43 countries, the President of the European Commission, 9 EU and 3 non-EU heads of state and government, 9 members of the European Commission and the largest Group in the European Parliament.
In 2009 the EPP conducted – in close cooperation with its national member-parties – its first Europe-wide campaign for the June 2009 European elections and reinforced its leading position in the European Parliament.
In the following years, the EPP conducted two further European elections campaigns in 2014 and 2019. Next to that, the EPP has started a partnership program with parties from the Middle-East and North Africa region, such as Lebanon and Morocco.
In the second part of the decade, the EPP’s enlargement efforts have focused on supporting centre-right, reformist national parties in their efforts to consolidate democracy and the rule of law.
The development of the EPP has reflected that of the EU itself; the inclusion of centre-right parties from accession countries in Central and Eastern Europe has been particularly successful. The new members have brought a new dimension to the EPP and consolidated it as the pre-eminent European force of the centre-right.
With the prospect of Central and Eastern European countries joining the European Union, the previous arguments supporting EUCD membership lost relevance – this led to the merger of the EUCD with the EPP in 1999.
And since the EPP had accepted most European conservative parties from the EU and beyond, the EDU also lost relevance, leading to its merger with the EPP in 2002.
In April 1991, party and government leaders of the EPP decided that, while the party would be open to the British and Nordic conservative parties, Christian Democracy would be preserved as the cornerstone of the EPP’s identity.
The EPP needed to integrate like-minded forces in order to achieve the majority needed to make ideas and concepts a reality.
The EPP soon politically outweighed the EUCD.
The issue of merging the two organisations re-surfaced when Spain and Portugal joined the European Community in 1986, but the revolutionary events which took place in Moscow and in other Eastern European capitals delayed the idea of a “big” EPP.
Once the EPP had been founded, a degree of pressure to establish formal links between Christian Democratic and conservative forces was exerted by EUCD parties in countries that were not European Community members.
Yet the EPP’s strong insistence on the federal model of European integration led to the formation of the European Democratic Union (EDU), a broader pan-European organisation. Thus three parallel political organisations of Christian Democrats and conservatives were now in place.
The formal establishment of the European People’s Party (EPP) took place in 1976 in Luxembourg, with member parties from the following EEC countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, with Belgian PM Leo Tindemans as its first president.
The platform was the result of considerable consensus and expressed a common intention to promote integration in the context of the European Community, leading to a political union equipped with federal and democratic institutions.
With the European Coal and Steel Community and the foundation of the European Economic Community (EEC), practical cooperation among Christian Democrats gradually shifted in favour of the framework presented by the Common Assembly and the European Parliament.
The organisation revitalised itself by changing its name to the European Union of Christian Democrats (EUCD) and revising the key aims of the organisation. The EUCD forged a closer relationship with the Parliamentary group of European Christian Democrats and the national member parties, and steadily grew more ambitious in its vision for Europe. With the decision to organise direct elections for the European Parliament in 1979, the need for a truly European party became evident.
The lessons and experiences of cooperation between 1925 and 1939 were key when leaders of the re-established or newly founded Christian Democratic parties in Europe formed the New International Teams (Nouvelles Équipes Internationales, NEI) in 1946 after World War II.
Political formations of the centre-right can be tracked back to the early 1920s.
The first attempt at cooperation between like-minded Christian Democrats was made in 1926, when the International Secretariat of Democratic Parties of Christian Inspiration (Secrétariat International des Partis Démocratiques d’Inspiration Chrétienne, SIPDIC) was founded.
Angela Merkel (born 17 July 1954) is the Federal Chancellor of Germany, in office since November 2005. Merkel, a physical chemist by training with a PhD, was elected to the German Parliament by Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the first post-reunification elections in 1990.
Under Chancellor Kohl, she was Minister for Women and Youth and later for Environment and Nuclear Safety.
She was the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1998 to 2018 and was Chairwoman of the CDU-CSU parliamentary group between 2002 and 2005, when she was first elected as Chancellor.
Klaus Iohannis (born 13 June 1959) is the President of Romania since 2014.
He became leader of the National Liberal Party in 2014, after having served as leader of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania from 2001 to 2013.
Iohannis was first elected mayor of the city of Sibiu in 2000, representing the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania. On February 20, 2013, he joined the PNL, announcing this during a press conference.
At an extraordinary PNL congress, he was elected First Vice President of the Party. On 28 June 2014, he was elected President of PNL with 95% of the votes.
Nicos Anastasiades (born 27 September 1946) is the President of Cyprus since February 2013. On 4 February 2018, he was re-elected for a second five-year term.
After studying law in Athens and London, he was first elected to the Cypriot Parliament in 1981 with the Democratic Rally (DISY) and became leader of his party in 1997.
He ran in the 2013 presidential elections and was supported by a broad coalition of parties against the candidate of the incumbent communist government. He won by a landslide, finishing almost 15 percentage points ahead of the competition.
Anastasiades is one of the most committed EPP leaders, rarely missing an EPP Summit.
Andrej Plenković (born 8 April 1970) is the Prime Minister of Croatia and the President of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). Plenković was elected Prime Minister following the parliamentary elections which took place on 11 September 2016. Plenković has also served as Member of the European Parliament from 1 July 2013 until his election as Prime Minister of Croatia.
Ingrida Šimonytė (born 15 November 1974) is a Lithuanian politician and economist who is the current Prime Minister-designate of Lithuania, expected to take office in November 2020. She will be the second woman to hold the office, following Kazimira Prunskienė. Šimonytė has additionally served as a member of the Seimas for the Antakalnis constituency since 2016, and was minister of finance in the second Kubilius cabinet from 2009 until 2012. She was a candidate in the 2019 presidential election. Šimonytė is an independent politician, although she has been affiliated with the Homeland Union.
Born in Vilnius, Šimonytė graduated from Vilnius University with a degree in business in 1996, later receiving a master's degree as well in 1998. She began her career as an economist and public servant, working as chief of the tax division within the Ministry of Finance until 2004. She remained within the ministry's tax division until being nominated to serve as finance minister in 2009, tasked with stimulating the Lithuanian economy in the aftermath of the Great Recession. She resigned from the position in 2012, and afterwards was appointed deputy chairperson of the board of the Bank of Lithuania, while also becoming a professor of economics at the Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science, and of public finance at ISM University of Management and Economics.
Šimonytė returned to politics in 2016, when she ran as an independent candidate in the 2016 parliamentary election to represent Antakalnis constituency in Vilnius, ultimately winning a seat in parliament. In 2018, Šimonytė announced her campaign in the 2019 presidential election, and won the nomination of the political party Homeland Union. She narrowly won the first round of the election on 12 May 2019, before placing second behind Gitanas Nausėda in the run-off on 26 May.
Alexander Schallenberg (born 20 June 1969) is the Federal Chancellor of Austria as of 11 October 2021.
Alexander Schallenberg served as Foreign Affairs Minister from June 2019 until October 2021, when he became Federal Chancellor. Schallenberg was born in 1969 in Bern, Switzerland, where his father had been posted as the Austrian ambassador. As the son of a diplomat, he was raised in India, Spain and France. From 1989 to 1994 he studied law at the University of Vienna and the University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas. After his graduation he continued his studies at the College of Europe until 1995.
Krišjānis Kariņš (born December 13, 1964) is the Prime Minister of Latvia, in office since 23 January 2019. He was the Unity candidate for the Latvian premiership at the 2018 election. On 7 January 2019, he was tasked by the Latvian President with forming the next government.
He served as a MEP in two terms, between 2009-2019. He was Member and European People`s Party Coordinator for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, Member of the TAX3 Special Committee, Member of the Delegation for Relations with the United States, Substitute of the ECON Committee, Substitute of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, Substitute of the DSCA Delegation and Head of the Latvian delegation to the EPP.
Between 2007 – 2008 he was the Chairman of the New Era political party. Between 2004 – 2006 he was Minister of Economy of Latvia and between 2002 – 2009 he was Member of the Latvian Parliament.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis is a Greek politician who is currently the Prime Minister of Greece and the President of New Democracy.
He has been a Member of the Hellenic Parliament for Lasithi since 2004. He has been a Member of the Hellenic Parliament (MP) for Athens B since 2004, and served from 2013 to 2015 as the Minister of Administrative Reform and e-Governance in the Cabinet of Antonis Samaras.
On July 7, 2019, his party won the 2019 National Elections - securing 158 seats to form a majority government and Mitsotakis to be elected Prime Minister.
Maia Sandu (born 24 May 1972) is a Moldovan politician and the President of Moldova. She is the current leader of the Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS), and former Prime Minister of Moldova (from 8 June 2019 until 14 November 2019).
Sandu was Minister of Education from 2012 to 2015 and member of Parliament of Moldova from 2014 to 2015 and in 2019. Sandu was selected as the joint candidate of the pro-European PPDA and PAS parties for President of Moldova in the 2016 election, however she was defeated in the subsequent runoff by the pro-Russian PSRM candidate, Igor Dodon, losing the popular vote by a margin of 43%-57%. In a rematch between Dodon and Sandu in the 2020 election she came as the winner, flipping the results of the previous elections by a margin of 58%-42%. She is Moldova's first female president.
Aleksandar Vučić (born 5 March 1970) is a Serbian politician and lawyer who has been the President of Serbia since 31 May 2017. He is also the leader and president of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS).
Before his tenure as his country's president Vučić served as the Prime Minister of Serbia in two terms from 2014-2016 and from 2016 until 2017, as well as Minister of Information from 1998 to 2000, Minister of Defence from 2012 to 2013, and later as First Deputy Prime Minister from 2012-2014. He is a graduate of the Belgrade Law School.
Leo Varadkar (born 18 January 1979) is an Irish Fine Gael politician and the current Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) of Ireland. Varadkar is also Minister for Jobs.
He has been the Taoiseach of Ireland from June 2017 to June 2020.
Following the retirement of Enda Kenny, he was elected as Leader of the Fine Gael Party on 2 June 2017. On 14 June, he was nominated as Taoiseach by Dáil Éireann and this nomination was approved by the President of Ireland.
He has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin West constituency since 2007. He held the ministries of Transport, Tourism and Sport (2011 to 2014), Health (2014 to 2016), and Social Protection (2016 to 2017).
During the 2015 Irish Marriage referendum he became the first openly gay Irish government minister.
Vincent Van Peteghem (born 28 October 1980 in Gent) is the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in Belgium since October 2020.
In 2019 he was elected as Member of the Belgian Parliament. He is a member of Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V).
Hugo De Jonge (born 26 September 1977) is a Dutch politician serving as first Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport since 26 October 2017 in the Third Rutte cabinet.
He is a member of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).
Viola Amherd, born June 7, 1962 in Brig-Glis, is a Swiss politician, member of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC). She has served as one of the seven members of the Swiss Federal Council since 1 January 2019. She is head of the Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sports.
She began her political life as a member of the City Council of Brig-Glis in 1992 and became Vice-President in 1996 and President in 2000. From 1994 till 2006, she was also a part-time judge of the Federal Appeals Board.
National Councilor since May 31, 2005 where she succeeded Jean-Michel Cina, she was a member of the steering Committee and the Presidential Committee of the PDC of Upper Valais.
On 24 October 2018, following the withdrawal of Doris Leuthard, Amherd announced her candidacy to succeed her to the Federal Council. On 5 December, she was elected by the Federal Assembly with 148 votes out of 240 in the first round, becoming the first female representative of the canton Valais to be elected to the Federal Council.
Pablo Casado Blanco (born in 1981) is a Spanish politician and President of the People's Party (PP) since July 2018.
He was designated spokesman of the Campaign Committee of the PP for the local and regional elections of May 2015. He served as Vice Secretary-General of Communication of the People's Party (PP) between 2015 and 2018.
He is also one of the three deputies for Ávila in the national Congress of Deputies and has held that office since 2011.
Christian Jacob (born 4 December 1959) is the president of Les Républicains.
Jacob was the Minister of French Civil Service in Jacques Chirac's second term as President of France. Before being appointed to cabinet position in 2002, he was deputy for the 4th circonscription of Seine-et-Marne (Provins).
A farmer, Christian Jacob has been in position of responsibility in farm trade unions, local, départemental, regional then national.
He was the President of the CNJA (Centre National des Jeunes Agriculteurs) from 1992 to 1994.
Jacob was elected president of Les Républicains on the 13th of October 2019.
Rui Fernando da Silva Rio, (born 6 August 1957 in Porto) is a Portuguese politician and former Mayor of Porto (Presidente da Câmara Municipal). On 13 January 2018, he was elected President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) with 54% of the votes, in which position he acts as the Leader of the Opposition.
Rio studied at the Colégio Alemão do Porto (Porto's German School), and earned his degree in economics at the University of Porto, where he was president of the Student Association, and a member of the Pedagogical Council.
Rio began his political career as part of the Juventude Social-Democrata (JSD), the Social Democrats' youth organization. He was Vice President of its National Political Commission from 1982 to 1984. At the same time he was a member of the National Political Commission of the Social Democratic Party, under Pinto Balsemão and later Mota Pinto. He was also deputy to the Assembly of the Republic, elected for the district of Porto, between 1991 and 2001. He was, during this period, the party's spokesman on economic and financial questions. He was also Secretary General of the party during the presidency of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
Donald Tusk was born on 22 April 1957 in Gdańsk, Poland. His father worked as a carpenter on the railway, his mother as a secretary at a hospital. When he was 14 years old, his father died.
In 1976 he started studying history at Gdańsk University, where he became involved in illegal activities against the Communist regime. At the time he cooperated inter alia with the underground Free Trade Unions and met the future Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa.
In 1980 Donald Tusk founded an Independent Students’ Association, NZS, which was part of the ‘Solidarity’ movement. He became the leader of ‘Solidarity’ at his place of work and a journalist on a newspaper published by ‘Solidarity’.
After martial law was imposed in December 1981 by General Jaruzelski, he remained in hiding for some time. He then worked as a bread seller and later, between 1984 and 1989, he earned his living as a manual labourer specialising in work at high altitudes with the aid of climbing equipment.
At the same time he was an activist in the underground Solidarity movement. After being arrested for a short time, he was set free following an amnesty for political prisoners announced by General Jaruzelski.
In 1983, Donald Tusk founded an illegal monthly ‘Political Review’, propagating economic liberalism and rules of liberal democracy. An informal think-tank supporting Lech Wałęsa was centred around the periodical. After the collapse of communism, think-tank members known as ‘Gdańsk liberals’ formed a government after the first free presidential elections in Poland.
Simultaneously they founded the first pro-business and pro-Europe party in Poland, the Liberal Democratic Congress, with Donald Tusk as its leader. He was also responsible for de-monopolising and privatising the former communist state-owned press concern.
In the 1990s, Donald Tusk was a Member of Parliament, inter alia deputy Speaker of the Senate. In these years he published a series of books on the history of Gdańsk, some of which turned out to be bestsellers. In 2001, Donald Tusk was one of the initiators of the new centrist party called the Civic Platform and in 2003 he became its leader.
In 2007, after a tough campaign he defeated the ruling rightist party and became Prime Minister. He was in office for seven years, which made him the longest-serving Prime Minister in democratic Poland, and the first one to be re-elected. During his seven-year term, Poland continued to maintain economic growth, and in the time of crisis the Polish economy grew by almost 20%, a record performance in Europe.
In 2014, Donald Tusk was elected to the position of President of the European Council and in 2017 re-elected for the second mandate of 2.5 years. His term ended on 30 November 2019.
In December 2019, he published a diary “Szczerze”, based on his five-year-term as President of the European Council, which became a bestseller in Poland. On December 2019, Donald Tusk assumed office of the President of the European People’s Party.
Since October 24, 2021 he is the Chairman of the Civic Platform (PO).
Boyko Borissov (born 13 June 1959) is the leader of GERB since January 2010. He served as Prime Minister of Bulgaria since 2017 until May 2021.
From 1985 to 1990 he worked as a lecturer at the Higher Institute for Police Officers Training and Scientific Research of the Ministry of Interior. He received a PhD for his dissertation thesis "Psycho-Physical Training of the Operational Staff".
On 1 September 2001 he was appointed Secretary General of the Interior Ministry by Decree 194/2001 of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria. He was promoted to 'Colonel' pursuant to an ordinance of the Minister of Interior and was awarded the rank of 'Major General' by Decree 32/2002 of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria.
On November 10 2005 he was elected Mayor Bulgaria’s Capital City Sofia by virtue of a Sofia Municipal Council Decision. From May 2013 until July 2014, he served as a Member of Parliament in the GERB Parliamentary Group in the 42nd National Assembly.
He served as Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria from 27 July 2009 to 21 February 2013 and from 7 November 2014 to 27 January 2017. Then since May 2017 until May 2021.
Miroslav Kollár (born 13 August 1969, in Slovakia) is the chairman of SPOLU, elected on the 25th of September 2021.
He is a former journalist, activist, analyst, chairman of both the STV and RTVS councils, the executive director of the Institute for Public Affairs and the general director of SITA. He is the co-author and editor of several publications, including the Summary Reports on Slovakia, the National Report on Cultural Policy, and the Vision of the Development of the Slovak Republic until 2020.
Claude Wiseler (born 30 January 1960 in Luxembourg City) is a Luxembourgish politician, President of CSV and member of the Luxembourg Parliament. He has been a member of the Christian Social People's Party (CSV) since 1983, and served in the government led by Jean-Claude Juncker until 2013.
He attended the Athénée de Luxembourg, before studying literature in Paris. He returned to the Athénée to teach language in 1983, which he continued to do until 1988. From 1987 to 1999, he served as an adviser to the government on education issues.He became General Secretary of the Christian Social People's Party in 1995.
He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in the 1999 election, finishing sixth amongst CSV candidates in the Centre constituency, where six CSV deputies were elected. In the communal elections of October 1999, Wiseler was elected to Luxembourg City's communal council in third-place amongst CSV candidates (six were elected).
Ulf Kristersson is the leader of the Moderate Party. He has been the party leader since October 2017.
Between 2010 and 2014 he served as Minister for Social Security.
In December 2014 he was appointed Shadow Finance Minister of the Swedish Moderate Party and spokesperson for economic policy.
Helir-Valdor Seeder (born 7 September 1964) is an Estonian politician.
He is a Member of the Parliament, current Chairman of the Isamaa Party and served as Minister of the Agriculture from 2007 to 2014.
Silvio Berlusconi 's political career began in 1994, when he entered politics. He subsequently served as Prime Minister of Italy from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011.
He was the leader of the centre-right party Forza Italia from 1994 to 2009, and its successor party The People of Freedom from 2008 to 2013.
He served as member of the Chamber of Deputies, Italy's lower house, for many years and became a member of the Senate after the 2013 general elections.
Since November 2013, he has led a revived Forza Italia.
Marian Jurečka (born 15 March 1981) is a Czech politician who served as the Minister of Agriculture in the government of Bohuslav Sobotka from 2014 to 2017. He sits in the Chamber of Deputies for the Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party (KDU-ČSL). In January 2020, he was elected chairperson of KDU-ČSL.
Petteri Orpo (born 3 November 1969) is a Vice President of the European People's Party and the party leader of Kokoomus. He served as Deputy Prime Minister of Finland from June 2017 to June 2019, and was the Economic and Financial Affairs Minister of Finland from June 2016 to June 2019.
He was the Finnish Minister of Interior from 2015 until 2016. From 2014 to 2015 he was the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry in Prime Minister Alexander Stubb's cabinet.
He was elected as party leader of Kokoomus in June 2016.
Erna Solberg (born 24 February 1961) is the President from Høyre and was the Prime Minister of Norway from 2013 to October 2021.
First elected to the Parliament in 1989, Solberg went to serve as Minister of Local Government and Regional Development in the Government of the Christian Democrat Kjell Magne Bondevik between 2001 and 2005.
In 2002 she became deputy leader of Høyre and two years later she succeeded Jan Petersen at the helm of the party. After the 2013 parliamentary elections, Solberg negotiated an agreement to build a new Government with the support of other centre-right parties ending eight years of socialist rule.
Serzh Sargsyan (born 30 June 1954) was the President of Armenia between 2008 and 2018.
He has held several political positions in his country since independence. Between 1993 and 1995 he was Minister of Defence and after that, Minister of Interior until 1999, being reappointed to the Defence portfolio between 2000 and 2007.
In 2006 he was elected president of his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and the following year he became Prime Minister.
In 2008 he ran and won the presidential elections, being re-elected for a second term in 2013.
Lumir Abdixhiku (born 22 April 1983) is a member of Assembly of Kosovo and the president of Democratic League of Kosovo. He served as Kosovo's former Minister of Infrastructure and Environment under Kurti cabinet. Prior to that, Abdixhiku served as Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee in Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo between 2017-2019. In elections of 2019, Abdixhiku was 9th most voted politician in Kosovo and started his second term as Member of Parliament.
Ursula von der Leyen (born 8 October 1958) is the President of the European Commission and as such, an ex officio Vice-President of the EPP.
Von der Leyen served in the federal government of Germany from 2005 to 2019 as the longest-serving member of Angela Merkel's cabinet.
She was born and raised in Brussels, where her father Ernst Albrecht was one of the first European civil servants. She was brought up bilingually in German and French, and is of German and British American descent. She moved to Hanover in 1971, when her father entered politics to become Minister President of the state of Lower Saxony in 1976. As an economics student at the London School of Economics in the late 1970s, she lived under the name Rose Ladson, the family name of her American great-grandmother from Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating as a physician from the Hanover Medical School in 1987, she specialized in women's health. In 1986 she married fellow physician Heiko von der Leyen of the noble von der Leyen family of silk merchants. As a mother of seven children, she was a housewife during parts of the 1990s and lived for four years in Stanford, California, while her husband was on faculty at Stanford University, returning to Germany in 1996.
In the late 1990s, she became involved in local politics in the Hanover region, and she served as a cabinet minister in the state government of Lower Saxony from 2003 to 2005. In 2005, she joined the federal cabinet, first as Minister of Family Affairs and Youth from 2005 to 2009, then as Minister of Labour and Social Affairs from 2009 to 2013, and finally as Minister of Defence from 2013 to 2019, the first woman to serve as German defence minister. When she left office she was the only minister to have served continuously in Angela Merkel's cabinet since Merkel became Chancellor. She has been deputy leader of the CDU since 2010.
von der Leyen is the first woman to become President of the European Commission.
The EPP Manifesto, also adopted at the 2012 EPP Congress in Bucharest, outlines the basic principles of the Party summarising who we are, what our values are, what challenges are we facing and what vision we have for the future. The Manifesto was developed in parallel to the EPP Platform document within the EPP Working Group 1 for “European Policy”.
The Party Platform was developed in EPP Working Group 1 for “European Policy” chaired by EPP President Wilfried MARTENS ?and EPP Vice President Peter HINTZE. The Working Group consists of delegates of EPP member parties who prepared and worked?on this document for more than two years and received input?from the drafting committee as well as senior and young experts. The document was adopted at the 2012 EPP Congress in Bucharest, thus replacing the Basic Programme of Athens from 1992.
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