ASDE Martin Schulz - J. Worth montage
ASDE Martin Schulz - J. Worth montage

Britain has ASDA, a rather lousy supermarket chain owned by Wal-Mart. Now Brussels has ASDE, the new name for the Socialist Group in the European Parliament. The name stands for the Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. Which means the name is not too far away from ALDE, the acronym for the Liberals in the EP, and even the EPP has its ED (European Democrats) adjunct. So everyone’s a democrat. Isn’t that nice. Everyone has an alphabet soup of names. That’s perhaps less nice.

So what are the reasons? Julien Frisch has a breakdown, and also a video from Europarl TV explaining the rationale. Essentially the Italian Partito Democratico did not know which group to join, wanted the socialists to sound a bit more moderate, and hence the name change. So Martin Schulz can now preside over approximately 170 MEPs rather than 150. Woo hoo. Forget the coherency, forget the brand, forget the fact you sound like a supermarket chain, forget even how things will have to be explained at the 2014 elections. That’s a long way off…

(Photo credit: image adapted from this Flickr / CC image)


  1. As a Pes activist and a PD member, I fill a bit ashamed by the clumsiness of this deal.
    I don’t like the new name…probably something like Socialist and Democrats would be better.
    But at least we’ve got a working name that can be fixed later.
    Now, let’s find some working ideas…

  2. Tommaso

    Dear Bossito,
    I find your comment a bit rude.
    The PD is the heir of the biggest communist party of all Western Europe and the leftish component of the Democrazia Cristiana. It is a project that is the effort of the the best left people present in Italy nowadays. The future of the left parties across Europe is linked to the future of the left in Italy.
    I think the administration costs involved should be the last problem when reforming a political movement.

  3. Stephen SPILLANE

    I really should have copyrighted that ASDA thing! 😉

  4. Henning

    From a branding point of view this is a disaster! No differentitaion, no identity, no product! How on earth are people expected to explain that ASDE is the parliamentary arm of the PES? This just makes no sense at all!

    The term ‘socialist’ does more harm than it does good. It is a linguistic minefiled and I personally would much more prefer the term social democrat. It is ethymologically less abused.

    But if such a “rebranding” happens you don;thave to worry about specific terms. What a nonsense!

  5. This is trully stupid. How long do they think PD will last? What’s the average time of survival of center-left parties in Italy? So much trouble for this? Before they have time to change all the office logos, website, etc etc etc etc PD will be forgotten and replace by some Olive Coalition or Spaghetti Democratici… Total waste of time, money and identity.

    Although I do agree that “socialist” doesn’t apply to the vast majority of the parties in PES. “Social-democrat” with be more correct. “Labour” could work fine as well. But I would definitly prefer “Progress Party”.

  6. A new shape for the European is needed anyway. The collapse of the UK Labour and the French PS are telling the same story. The Italian PD is simply the excuse to start from a formal point of view this process.
    If now the new name is not so nice it is not relevant. The important thing is that the European left has an urgent need of new ideas and contents.

  7. I can’t help but look at “ASDE” and read it as “ARSE”.

    Why the “E” on the end? Why not take another unnecessary letter from one of the other words? And why the superfluous “Alliance”? Why not just Socialists/Democrats – the SODs?

  8. @Miller 2.0 – what particularly is rubbish? The line of my post overall? As far as I’m concerned the PES and its member parties have to share the responsibility for the election problems faced, although the PES’s hands have been tied by the member parties since the autumn when Zapatero and Socrates announced they were backing Barroso.

    As for the word ‘socialist’ – does it cause tensions, make people think back and not forward? I don’t know… Would ‘European Social Democrats’ be more appropriate? I honestly don’t know.

  9. This is rubbish.

    Not sure what Ralf means about being wedded to the past. I don’t think the showing of the PES relates as much to itself as to the failure of it’s member parties.

  10. The voters failed to be convinced by the political message of the PES, so now the group brand is lost too.

    In a longer perspective the ‘socialist’ part of the PES name sounds outdated, but some of the member parties seem to be firmly wedded to the past.

    The EPP probably can shed the ED, when the nationalists form their own anti-federalist political group outside the EU mainstream.

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