The first pan-EU po­lit­i­cal party?

A new po­lit­i­cal party for all EU coun­tries?

Vocable (All English) - - Édito Sommaire -

THE ECON­O­MIST (UK)

Volt, a young pan-Eu­ro­pean po­lit­i­cal move­ment ready to take on the Eu­ro­pean Par­lia­ment.

Volt has some things go­ing for it: young, clever lead­ers who look good on tele­vi­sion.

With only a few months to go be­fore the Eu­ro­pean elec­tions, a young po­lit­i­cal move­ment called Volt is mo­bil­is­ing. Launched last year by young Euro­peans dis­ap­pointed by Brexit, the move­ment has grown very quickly with mem­bers in over thirty coun­tries. Volt’s ob­jec­tive is to be­come the first po­lit­i­cal panEuro­pean group in the Eu­ro­pean Par­lia­ment. So who are the young peo­ple mak­ing up this move­ment?

Every­one agrees that the Eu­ro­pean Union is not demo­cratic enough, but they dis­agree on what to do about it. In 2016, shocked by the Brexit ref­er­en­dum, a group of young Euro­peans who had stud­ied in Britain de­cided that one so­lu­tion might be a pan-Eu­ro­pean po­lit­i­cal party. Their brain­child, Volt, now has thou­sands of mem­bers across 30 coun­tries (the EU28 plus Al­ba­nia and Switzer­land), and will run in the Eu­ro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions next year. In Oc­to­ber about 450 del­e­gates met in Am­s­ter­dam to ap­prove the party’s pro­gramme, in a sea of youth­ful op­ti­mism and mul­ti­lin­gual pol­icy wonkery.

2. The prob­lem with Eu­ro­pean par­ties is that there aren’t any, ex­plains Volt’s pol­icy chief, Colombe Ca­hen-Sal­vador, a 24-year- old French hu­man-rights lawyer. Ev­ery coun­try has its own par­ties. In Eu­ro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions, vot­ers back var­i­ous na­tional par­ties, which form groups at the Eu­ro­pean level. Cit­i­zens can­not be sure what they are get­ting. DIEM25, a new left­ist move­ment, tries to fix this by get­ting par­ties in dif­fer­ent coun­tries to adopt one plat­form.

“THE SAME BRAND ACROSS EUROPE”

3. In con­trast, Volt has “the same brand and the same poli­cies all across Europe”, says An­drea Ven­zon, a 26-year-old Ital­ian ex-McKin­sey con­sul­tant who founded the party with Ms Ca­hen-Sal­vador and a Ger­man friend, Damian Boe­se­lager. Volt’s mem­bers have spent 18 months de­bat­ing poli­cies in in­ter­net groups and live meet-ups. Dif­fer­ent coun­try chap­ters dis­agreed over how em­phat­i­cally to sup­port gay mar­riage and the fight against cli­mate change, but backed both, along with an EU-wide refugee sys­tem and gen­der quo­tas on cor­po­rate boards. 4. Volt will face tremen­dous hur­dles. It is reg­is­tered in only ten coun­tries and may suc­ceed in field­ing can­di­dates in even fewer. It will strug­gle to take votes from es­tab­lished pro-EU out­fits, such as green and lib­eral par­ties. It also has some things go­ing for it: young, clever lead­ers who look good on tele­vi­sion and a bot­tom-up or­gan­i­sa­tion suited to an age of di­rect democ­racy. Be­sides, the line be­tween the prag­matic and the ide­al­is­tic is not al­ways so clear. For ex­am­ple, Volt wants to slash the par­lia­ment’s enor­mous in­ter­nal trans­la­tion costs by re­quir­ing MEPs to be min­i­mally flu­ent in English. Talk about Utopi­anism.

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