E Pluribus Unum? The European Left Party and the 'Left Europeanism' of Radical Left Parties
: Towards a convergence of Visions and Strategies?

  • Nikolaos Nikolakakis

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis is an exploration of the EL, one of the pan-European party federations, which is concurrently one of the most recently-launched transnational parties. The work explores the theoretical literature on Europeanisation of parties and applies a three-pronged theoretical framework, involving the theoretical insights of Johansson and Raunio, Charalambous’ ‘communist dilemma’, as well as discourse analysis to the EL and some of its most important national components. These are constituted by the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left, the French Communist Party, the Spanish United Left, and the Italian Rifondazione Comunista. The analysis covers the pan- European level, seeking to reconstruct the EL’s vision of the European Union, as well as its organisational and ideological capacity to influence the Union’s direction, and its degree of institutionalisation and Europeanisation. Concurrently, it addresses the national level, involving the aforementioned case studies of Greece, France, Spain, and Italy, as well as the internal party dimension by seeking to evaluate the importance of the parties’ long-standing factions with regards to the parties’ stance towards the process of European integration. Its most salient findings relate to the high degree of convergence between the parties under analysis, both with regards to their ideological core, as well as their policy proposals, something that could initially verify the argument of policy transfer between national and European level. Moreover, the thesis findings suggest that the financial crisis that has been affecting the whole of the EU ever since 2008 has strengthened the parties’ distinct left Europeanism. Finally, the thesis’ findings suggest that there is indeed a unified political discourse of the European radical left that has been fighting for hegemony inside the EU for the last decade and that at the moment of the drafting of the present thesis has been able to create a growing consensus inside the EL with regards to the party’s future direction and to the means of bringing about the radical changes that it professes with regards to the Union’s alternative future.
    Date of Award2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRichard Dunphy (Supervisor) & Christian Kaunert (Supervisor)

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