Volt Europa

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Volt Europa
Co-PresidentsValerie Sternberg
Reinier van Lanschot
TreasurerMihaela Sirițanu
Founded29 March 2017; 3 years ago (2017-03-29)
HeadquartersBelgium
IdeologyEuropean federalism[1]
Pro-Europeanism[2]
Social liberalism[3]
Progressivism[4]
Political positionCentre[5] to centre-left[6]
European Parliament groupGreens/EFA (elect)
Colours     Purple
European Parliament
1 / 705
Website
volteuropa.org
Flyers by Volt in Germany

Volt Europa (frequently abbreviated Volt) is a pro-European and European federalist political movement that also serves as the pan-European structure for subsidiary parties in several EU member states. Volt candidates stood on a common, pan-European manifesto in eight member states at the European Parliament elections in May 2019. The organisation follows a "pan-European approach" in many policy fields such as climate change, migration, economic inequality, international conflict, terrorism and the impact of the technological revolution on the labour market.[7] During the European Parliament elections in May 2019 the party won one seat by winning 0.7 percent of votes in Germany, with Damian Boeselager its first Member of the European Parliament.[8]

History[edit]

European elections 2019 promo by Volt Netherlands, May 2019

Volt Europa was founded on 29 March 2017 by Andrea Venzon, along with Colombe Cahen-Salvador and Damian Boeselager, on the same day that the United Kingdom formally announced its intention to leave the European Union under Article 50 TEU. According to the trio, Volt's foundation was a reaction to growing populism in the world as well as to Brexit.[9][10] In March 2018, the first national subsidiary party was founded in Hamburg, Germany. Volt has since established local teams in every EU member state with and is registered as a legal party in a number of these countries. The subsidiary with the most members is Italy, the home country of Andrea Venzon.[11] Today, the movement claims to have 25,000 members and supporters in more than 30 European countries.[12] Around 70% of the current members are reported to not have been politically active before joining Volt.[13]

From 27 to 28 October 2018 Volt Europa hosted its General Assembly meeting in Amsterdam, agreeing its Amsterdam Declaration, which also served as its manifesto programme for the European Parliament elections.[14]

From 22 to 24 March 2019 Volt Europa hosted its first European Congress in Rome,[15] presenting its candidates for the 2019 European Parliament election. The keynote speakers list included Paolo Gentiloni (former Prime Minister of Italy and President of the Italian Democratic Party), Emma Bonino (Italian senator and former European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety), Enrico Giovannini (former Italian Government minister), Marcella Panucci (Director General of the General Confederation of Italian Industry), Sandro Gozi (President of the Union of European Federalists) and Antonio Navarra (President of the Mediterranean Center for Climate Change).

On 9 June 2019, following a pan-European vote of party members, Volt elected to join the Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament.[16] In the future, Volt hopes to be able to form its own political group in the European Parliament, which would require a minimum of 25 MEPs from at least seven different member states.

From 12 to 13 October 2019 Volt Europa hosted its General Assembly meeting in Sofia, to elect the new Board of Volt Europa. The movement elected former Volt Deutschland President Valerie Sternberg and the former MEP Lead candidate of Volt Nederland, Reinier van Lanschot, as Co-Presidents of Volt Europa. The newly elected treasurer is the former MEP candidate of Volt Luxembourg Julia Pitterman. The elected non-executive board members consist of Konrad Ritter, Eileen O'Sullivan, Bruno Sánchez-Andrade Nuño, Sofia Gentiloni Silveri, Joel Boehme and Cornelia-Florina German.[17]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Volt did not host its Spring 2020 General Assembly in Lisbon as planned, but instead became the first pan-European political movement to publicly host a digital general assembly, including a vote on its programme until 2024.[18][19]

Name[edit]

Volt Europa was incorporated as a non-profit association in Luxembourg under the name Volt Europa,[20] abandoning a previous name of Vox Europe to avoid any confusion with a similarly named far-right Spanish party.[21] "Volt" was chosen as a name due to its similarity to the initial name and the added meaning of figuratively bringing voltage into politics. Added to that, both the term "Volt" and the Latin version of name of the European continent have in common that they are understood in all European languages, hence as a transcontinental movement Volt Europa loses the need to adopt translations of its own name, except for languages where non-Latin alphabets are used (like Bulgaria and Greece).[22]

Ideology and policies[edit]

Volt auto-defined (in 2018) what it called The 5+1 fundamental challenges[23] which are:

Economically, Volt Europa supports digitisation, investment in the green and blue economy, the fight against poverty and inequality (also with the establishment of a European minimum wage), a more unified European tax system and the public-private partnerships to revive economic growth and reduce unemployment; it also supports solid investments on welfare policies, in particular related to education and healthcare[23] Socially, Volt supports anti-sexism, anti-racism and LGBT+ rights. Institutionally, it supports vast reforms of the European Union: a common management of migratory phenomena, a European army and eurobonds.[24][25][23]

In media reporting, the organisation is described as aiming to foster democracy on the EU level. It stresses the importance of a united European voice that is heard in the world.[26] Also, it supports the idea of a federated Europe with a strong European Parliament in which the citizens become the very center of European democracy.[27][28]

Volt is distinct from other pro-European movements such as Pulse of Europe or the European Federalists as it aims to participate in European, local and national elections through its subsidiary organisations in EU member states. Its first major objective was the European Parliament elections in May 2019.[29][30]

National sections[edit]

Austria[edit]

Volt Österreich
PresidentMarlies Steinhauser
Vice-PresidentAlexander Harrer
TreasurerIna Dimitrieva
Founded11 October 2018 (2018-10-11).
HeadquartersVienna, Austria
Website
https://www.voltoesterreich.org/

"Volt Österreich", is Volt's registered political party in Austria. The party planned to take part in the European elections in 2019.[31] However the party did not succeed in collecting the required 2600 signatures in time, therefore Volt was not eligible to take part in the European elections in Austria.[32] The party plans on taking part in upcoming local election in 2020.[needs update][33]



Belgium[edit]

Volt Belgium
Co-PresidentJordy Vanpoucke
Co-PresidentOlivia ten Horn
TreasurerJérôme Tancrez
SecretaryArno Sterck
Founded28 July 2018 (2018-07-28).
Website
https://www.voltbelgium.org

''Volt Belgium/Belgique/België/Belgien'' is Volt's registered political party in Belgium. Volt Belgium was the first section to participate in elections, when they took part in the 2018 Belgian local elections in Ixelles, Etterbeek and also shared a list with the local Pirate Party (Paars) for Antwerp.[34] During the 2019 European Parliament elections, Volt participated in the Dutch Speaking electoral college, receiving 0.48% of the vote, not enough for a seat.[35]



Bulgaria[edit]

Volt Bulgaria
ChairpersonNastimir Ananiev
Vice ChairpersonBoris Borisov
Founded19 May 2018 (2018-05-19).
HeadquartersSofia, Bulgaria
Locally Elected Officials3
Website
https://www.voltbulgaria.org

''волт българия (Volt Bulgaria)'' is Volt's registered political party in Bulgaria. During the 2019 European Parliament Elections, the party earned 0.18% of the Vote. Volt Bulgaria participated in the 2019 Bulgarian Local Elections, with the ''Together for Change'' Coalition list, and obtained 7.12% of the votes in Haskovo[36], 6.12% in Rodopi[37], and 6.39% in Sopot[38], earning Volt a seat in each of those localities.


Denmark[edit]

As ''Volt Danmark'', the movement is active in Denmark and was founded on 21 July 2018 and is currently based around Denmark’s major cities.[39] The Danish chapter member ran in the European Parliamentary elections in 2019 for Volt Belgium and gained 1200 personal votes. To run in the Municipal Elections in 2021, Volt Danmark needs 25 signatures in each municipal election in which they run - to run in national elections, the party needs 21,000 and to run in the European Elections in 2024, the party needs to collect 71,000 digital signatures.

As of 2020, Volt Denmark aims to run with candidates in the major cities in Denmark for the municipal election on 16 November 2021 on a pro-European, green and progressive platform, currently containing digital and physical presence in the cities of Aalborg, Aarhus, Copenhagen, and Odense.

France[edit]

Volt France
PresidentsCharles Evain
Vice-PresidentsAnne Chamayou
TreasurerEmilien Oumehdi
Founded16 August 2018 (2018-08-16).
HeadquartersParis, France
Website
https://www.voltfrance.org/

Volt France was founded as the 9th country chapter of Volt Europa and is active with nine so called "city teams" in Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Reindeer, and the two border chapters Ain-Geneva as well as Strasbourg-Kehl.

The party was unable to participate in the European Elections 2019 due to a lack of funding. In 2020, Volt France participated in the municipal elections, electable as a coalition with the Greens in Lille and received 24.5% in the first round, entering the second round where they narrowly lost, receiving 39.4%.[40], as a coalition with "100% citoyens" in Lyon and receiving 3.4%[41] and 1.6%[42] in two disctrict, and running alone in Paris' 9th district where it received 0.5%[43] in the first round.


Germany[edit]

Volt Deutschland
PresidentsPaul Loeper, Friederike Schier
Vice-PresidentsPaulo Alexandre, Konstantin Feist, Caroline Flohr, Sophie Griesbacher
TreasurerLeo Lüddecke
Founded3 March 2018 (2018-03-03).
HeadquartersBerlin, Germany
European Parliament
1 / 96
Locally Elected Officials5
Website
https://www.voltdeutschland.org/

"Volt Deutschland" is Volt's registered political party in Germany, allowing it to compete in elections within Germany.[44] Volt Deutschland's basic programme is based upon a policies proposal, which is also fundamental for Volt Europe.[45] The initial focus will be on five "challenges" which Volt Deutschland wants to address at local, regional and national level, namely "an intelligent state, social equality, economic renaissance, politically active citizenship" and "global balance". In addition to these, it seeks to implement an overarching policy of transnational EU reform in accordance with the programmes of both Volt Deutschland and Volt Europa.[45] Volt Deutschland's programme for the 2019 European elections 2019 is identical to that of all other European sections. It was adopted as the "Amsterdam Declaration" by all Volt sections in October 2018.[45]
In the 2019 European Election "Volt Deutschland" gained 248 824 votes which is equivalent to 0.7% of total votes in Germany. As front runner Damian Freiherr von Boeselager got one of the 96 seats from delegates from Germany in the European Parliament.[46][47]
"Volt Deutschland" was especially strong in German cities. With 2.9% the highest percentage of votes was gained in the city of Heidelberg. In Munich and Karlsruhe "Volt Germany" gained 2.2% of the votes. In the two largest German cities, Berlin and Hamburg, Volt's vote share was 1.2%.[48]

During the local elections taking place on the same day as the 2019 European Parliament elections, Volt received 1.2% of the votes for the election to the City Council in Mainz, gaining 1 seat.[49][50]

On 15th March 2020 during the Bavarian Local Elections , ''Volt Deutschland'' won 2.1% of the vote in Bamberg, securing 1 seat, and also won 1.8% of the vote in Munich, also securing 1 seat there.[51] [52] In Munich, Volt created a joint faction with the Social Democrats and entered the governing coalition of the city.[53][54]

The Netherlands[edit]

''Volt Nederland'' is Volt's registered political party in the Netherlands and was founded on 23 June 2018 in Utrecht.[55] Volt participated in the European Elections in May in Netherlands in 2019 and achieved 1.93% of the votes and thus received none of the 26 seats.[56] Volt is participating in the 2021 Lower House elections ('Tweede Kamer verkiezingen'). In 2020 the members elected Laurens Dassen as the party leader for these elections.

Italy[edit]

''Volt Italia'' is Volt's registered political party in Italy. ''Volt Italia'' took part to Novi Ligure's 2019 municipal election gaining 1.43% of the votes.[57]. In January 2020, the party also participated in the Emilia-Romagna's regional election, gaining 0.43% of the votes.

Portugal[edit]

Running under the name "Volt Portugal" in Portugal, the movement submitted more than nine thousand signatures needed for the legalisation of a political party in the country.[58] A final decision by the Constitutional Court approved Volt Portugal as the 25th party of the country in June 2020 after the case lasted over half a year; a move that made the chapter Volt's 14th registered national party.[59]

Volt Portugal's president Tiago Gomes initially planned to establish the legal requirements of the party before the elections on the Azores in Autumn 2020, a plan which had to be abandoned due to a slow approval process by the Constitutional Court.[60][61] According to the chapter's president, this will only be reconsidered by Volt Portugal in case a 2nd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic forces the elections to be postponed.[62]

Sweden[edit]

''Volt Sverige'' is Volt's registered political party in Sweden. The party gained 146 votes in the 2019 European Parliament election.[63]

Switzerland[edit]

In Switzerland, Volt Europa reports regular meetings in Geneva and Zurich.[64] However, it is not registered as a party, and nor does it take part in elections, partly because Switzerland is not a member of the European Union.

United Kingdom[edit]

''Volt UK'' is Volt's registered political party in the United Kingdom. The party was registered with the Electoral Commission in January 2020.[65]

Elections[edit]

2019 European Parliament election[edit]

Member state Leading candidate Votes Result Seats Note
Germany Damian Freiherr von Boeselager, Marie-Isabelle Heiß[66] 248.824 0.67%[67] 1
The Netherlands Reinier van Lanschot[68][69] 106.004 1.93%[56] 0
Belgium Christophe Calis, Marcela Válková[70] 20.385 0.48[71] 0 Only participated in Belgium's
Dutch-speaking electoral college
Bulgaria Nastimir Ananiev[72] 3.500 0.18%[73] 0
Luxembourg Rolf Tarrach Siegel[74][75] 26.483 2.1%[76] 0
Sweden Michael Holz[77] 146 0.003%[78] 0
Spain Bruno Sánchez-Andrade Nuño[79][80][81] 32.291 0.14%[82] 0

In France (unable to raise €800,000 in funding to meet legal requirement to print its own ballot papers[83]), Italy (failed to collect 150,000 signatures[84]), Austria (failed to collect 2,600 signatures[85]), Portugal (failed to collect 7,500 signatures[86]), and Denmark (failed to collect a number of voter declarations corresponding to at least 2% of all valid votes at the last general election) Volt had intended to participate in the European Parliament elections but was unable to meet local requirements in time.[87]

Funding[edit]

The party uses crowdfunding as well as direct donations to fund itself. The party states that it publishes every donation exceeding 3,000 Euro per donation or donor per year within 15 days from its receipt on the party's website. As the two largest donors, the party's website lists the Open Society Initiative for Europe with 19,191 Euros as well as the businessman Christian Oldendorff, founder and CEO of ParkU,[citation needed], with a donation of 25,000 Euros (date 27 May 2019).[88]

The website of the German section lists several more donors. Among them are Christian Oldendorff with a donation of 95,000 Euros, Claus von Loeper with a donation of 20,000 Euros as well as several more donors listed with donations of 10,000 Euros or 5,000 Euros.[89]

Awards[edit]

Year Award Section Issuer
2018 EuroNederlander of 2018[90] Volt Nederland The European Movement Netherlands (EBN)
2019 Political Representative of the Year (2nd Place)[91][92] Volt Europa The Good Lobby

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External links[edit]