There is too little space here to explore all of the aspects of the European Parliament. Here we provide a few links to articles explaining some of the political groupings to which our national parties belong.
The key point in all of this is that no single political ‘unit’ has an overall majority within the Parliament, so compromise and consensus are the key ideas. It is interesting, too, to see where our own national parties sit within these seven blocks that form the bulk of the parliament.
For a simple overview of political grouping within the parliament, the best starting place is the parliament’s own summary at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/007f2537e0/Political-groups.html
The next step is to know a little about the names and sizes of the current groupings within the parliament. Again, a good simple overview is provided by the BBC’s http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11721146
To see the names and nationalities of MEPs in each group, try http://www.itsyourparliament.eu/groups/ and also which national political party each member represents. This also gives a flavour of the power-balance that exists within the current parliament.
For an overview of European Parliamentary politics against a background of historical developments and with an eye to A-level examination-level understanding, this takes some beating: http://www.civitas.org.uk/eufacts/FSINST/CIT3.php