Pro-independence and pro-autonomy parties have gathered in Barcelona on March 26-28 to hold the fifth general assembly of the European Free Alliance (EFA) −the only European party openly in favour of the right to self-determination for stateless nations− under the slogan “Making Europe grow”. The meeting has been organized by Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC, Catalan Republican Left) and has dealt with the European Union internal enlargement, that is to say, the emergence of new countries out of current member states.
In her final statement President of EFA Nelly Maes has assessed the five years-old party positively, and has said that EFA “not only represents minorities and stateless nations and regions but also emerging new states like Països Catalans, Scotland and Wales”. Maes has also underlined the need for Europe to become “more social”, and called for solidarity to grow between big and small parties within EFA.
The president further added that “Europe should grow, grow up and become greener” −EFA runs elections alongside the European Greens. The party has also announced the decision “to embrace small states who are a minority within the enlarged EU-27 context”.
The assembly revealed the list of new full members in EFA: Die Friesen (“The Frisians”, East Frysian minority in Germany), Strana Regiónov Slovenska (SRS, multiethnic regional party in the Slovak Republic) and Sud Tiroler Freiheit (“South Tyrolean Freedom”, party representing the German speaking minority in the Italian Tyrol). New observers in EFA are: Südschleswigschen Wählerverbandes (SSW, party representing Frisian and Danish minorities in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany); Lista per Fiume-Lista za Rijeku (pro-autonomist party from the city of Rijeka, Croatia); the Hungarian Roma Party (MMRÖP); Movimento per l’Indipendenza della Sicilia (MIS, pro-independence party of Sicily); Wendische Volkspartei (SLS, Wend Popular Party, representing Sorbian minorities within Saxony and Brandenburg, Germany), and ProDG (Die Unabhänginge Kraft für Ostbelgien, representing Germans in Belgium).
The EFA-Green coalition currently holds 43 seats in the European Parliament, 6 of which belong to EFA parties. Some of the most significant parties within the European Free Alliance are the Scottish National Party (2 seats), Plaid Cymru (Wales), Eusko Alkartasuna (Basque Country) and ERC (Catalan Countries).