In the European Parliament, the MEPs do not sit in their national delegations, but rather within their political group. The political groups of the European Parliament are not political parties in the traditional sense; they are the legislative branch of a pan European political party. The political groups of the European Parliament are formed on the basis of ideology as opposed to national political lines.
In Europe, Fine Gael is a member of the European People’s Party (EPP) with 265 members and is a centre-right pro-European political party.
The European People’s Party is the largest group in the European Parliament, which means that Mair√©ad and her Fine Gael colleagues; Mr. Gay Mitchell, MEP (the head of the Fine Gael delegation), Mr. Sean Kelly, MEP and Mr. Jim Higgins, MEP, are very well positioned to express their views and the concerns of their constituents.¬†
The European People’s Party outside of the European Parliament is a family of the progressive centre right parties from across the European Union. The Party is comprised of Presidents, Vice- Presidents and delegates from the various centre rights parties it encompasses. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny is a Vice-President of the EPP and chairs the party in Ireland.
The EPP has ten priorities for the Parliament session 2009-2014:
- Upholding strong values.
- Effective transatlantic solidarity.
- Sharing European values with our neighbours.
- Pragmatic and targeted responses to the financial crisis, better coordination of economic policies and completion of an efficient single market.
- Reform of the European budget and its financing.
- Stepping up the fight against terrorism and protecting the public from organised crime.
- Developing a coherent energy policy in the context of measures to combat climate change and sustainable development.
- Ensuring food safety and security.
- Developing a joint immigration policy.
- Greater solidarity between the Member States as part of the cohesion policy and upholding the values of the European Social Model.