Note on this edition

This text was first published in the summer of 1997. It has been updated to take into account developments up until the European elections of June 1999, but it also refers to some later events. However its main purpose is to act, not as an historical record of the parties, but as an analysis of their underlying deas and tendencies. In this respect it is intended to retain its relevance even fter particular issues and controversies have ceased to matter.

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