By David McCorquodale, Delaware
The Green Wave has swept across Europe. We want to thank everyone who has voted for change and climate action. Green parties have exceeded expectations in countries such as Germany, France, Ireland, Denmark, Finland and Austria and will play an ever more important role in shaping the political debate across Europe over the coming years. This trust given to us by voters is both a task and a responsibility to put green polices into action. ~ Ska Keller, President of the Greens / European Free Alliance (EFA) and leading candidate for the European Green Party.
As elections are not about personali-ties, but about issues of concern, recent events have helped to strengthen the showing of Greens, particularly in Western Europe. In all, Greens together with the EFA party, a progressive party with which Greens have joined forces since 1999, won 69 seats. Germany had the greatest increase with 22 seats and the Green Party there is now the most popular party in the country.
Elections in Europe are much different from those in the United States. Voting is for a party, not a particular candidate; multiple parties participate; and seats in the European Parliament are awarded according to the proportion of votes a party receives in each country. As Green Parties across Europe gain seats, up 20 seats from last term, members think the Green Wave can even build larger.
Increasing concerns about climate change, including large public demonstrations, have made the Greens’ platform more appealing. Greens in Europe have strengthened their appeal by tying social justice and human rights with the ecological crisis.
In addition to the success of the German Greens Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Greens won 12 seats in France and 11 in the United Kingdom. The Netherlands is experiencing its fourth successful election in a row and are proving leaders for the progressive movement in all of Europe.
Also it is the ﬁrst time in 15 years that the Irish Green Party has been represented in the European Parliament. On election night, the Ireland Green Party posted on so-cial media, “Having topped the poll with 63,849 ﬁrst preference votes, @CiaranCuffe has exceeded the quota and is now deemed elected as an MEP for Dublin.”
Throughout Europe, voters reported that their children were urging them to vote Green. In France and Germany, voters under the age of 25 were the strongest supporters of the party. Danish voters elected 21-year-old Danish student Kira Peter-Hansen, making her the youngest MEP in history.
The Green Party is now focusing on the Green Parties of Central and Eastern Europe where few Greens were elected and planning to increase the Green Wave even more.