Thursday

17th Oct 2019

'Pan-European' Volt and DieM25 manage one MEP each

  • Volt Europe campaigning in the Netherlands, where it received 1.9 percent of the votes - not enough for a seat there. But the German Volt MEP managed to get elected. (Photo: Peter Teffer)

Two new pan-European movements managed to be elected to the European Parliament on Sunday (26 May) - but, ironically, with only one MEP each.

The new pro-EU Volt Europe party participated in eight EU countries on the same political platform.

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  • Yanis Varoufakis received only 0.3 percent of the votes in Germany, not enough for a seat (Photo: Aleksandra Eriksson)

Volt wants "a strong political [European] Union" and a "truly progressive Union".

The idea was that if elected in all countries, it would be able to form a political group in the EU parliament that was united on all issues.

Now, national parties sit together in political groups that do not always agree amongst themselves.

Volt managed to enter the EU parliament at its first attempt - but with only one MEP.

That newcomer received 0.7 percent of the vote in Germany, which was enough for one seat - because Germany elects the most MEPs of all EU states, 96.

Volt MEP-elect Damian Boeselager, born in 1988, said on Monday that the day before had been "the most exciting day of my life".

While the party also received 2.1 percent of the votes in Luxembourg, and 1.9 percent of the votes in the Netherlands, those countries have far fewer seats up for grabs.

Varoufakis flops

Also in Germany, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis failed to become elected as an MEP.

Varoufakis had launched the far-left pan-European Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DieM25) in 2016.

DieM25, also called European Spring, participated in eight EU member states.

The movement campaigned for a "post-capitalist economic and social model" and democratisation of the EU.

German voters, however, gave DieM25 only 0.3 percent of their votes. Varoufakis may not mind, if he spoke the truth when he gave an interview to Sueddeutsche Zeitung days before the election.

"I do not want to go to the European Parliament," Varoufakis told the German newspaper. "I just want to debate and for that I use the election campaign."

However, in his native Greece, DieM25 did win a seat, by securing three percent of the vote.

The Greek party is called MeRA25, for European Realistic Disobedience Front.

The DieM25-associated party in Denmark, Alternativet, did even better with 3.4 percent of the Danish votes - yet that was not enough to win a seat.

The movement's French division, Generation S, remained below the five-percent threshold with 3.3 percent of the French votes.

The result is therefore that both Volt and DieM25 will be represented in Brussels and Strasbourg - but without any friends from other member states.

The difficulty for the pan-European movements operating in the current system is that votes are lost if they fail to reach a national threshold.

Last year, EU leaders shelved an idea to have transnational lists.

The idea would have meant that EU citizens would have been able to vote for candidates from all over Europe, and not just in their own member state.

French president Emmanuel Macron was a supporter of the idea, but the European People's Party effectively killed it.

More Pirates

For the third time in a row, another pan-European movement showed it had staying power.

The Pirates will return to the European Parliament, bigger than ever.

The Czech Pirate Party came third, with 14 percent of the votes, gaining three seats.

German voters also voted the Pirate Party back in - during the last parliament, Germany's Julia Reda had been the only Pirate in the EP.

They also did well in other countries, with 7.7 percent of the Luxembourgish votes - although that was not enough for a seat.

It is the first time that Pirates from more than one country will sit as MEPs. In 2009, two Pirate MEPs were elected in Sweden. In the 2014 election, when Reda was elected, the Swedes were not.

With four Pirate MEPs, it is also the largest contingent of the movement, which aims to defend internet freedoms and direct democracy.

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