Volt Europa

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Volt Europa
AbbreviationVolt
Co-PresidentsFrancesca Romana D'Antuono
Reinier van Lanschot
Board MembersInes Consonni, Anouk Ooms, Lucia Nass, Thor Larholm, Charles Evain, Lucas Amorelli Ribeiro Kornexl
TreasurerJohannes Heinrich
Founded29 March 2017; 5 years ago (2017-03-29)
HeadquartersBrussels
Membership (June 2022)Increase 22,242
IdeologyEuropean federalism[1]
Social liberalism[2]
Progressivism[3]
Pro-Europeanism[4]
Political positionCentre[5] to centre-left[6]
European Parliament groupGreens/EFA
Colours  Purple [7]
European Parliament
1 / 705
Dutch House of Representatives
2 / 150
Bulgarian National Assembly
2 / 240
Website
volteuropa.org

Volt Europa (frequently abbreviated as 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.[8] The party endorses "evidence-based policy" and the sharing of best practice between EU member states.[9]

It was founded on 29 March 2017. In March 2018, the first national subsidiary party was founded in Hamburg, Germany. Volt has since established local teams in every EU member state, as well as in Albania, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, and is registered as a legal party in several of these countries.[7]

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

Volt Europa was founded on 29 March 2017 by Andrea Venzon, 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.[10][11][12] According to their own statement, Volt's foundation was a reaction to growing populism in the world as well as to Brexit.[13][14] Venzon became founding President, Boeselager Vice President, and Cahen-Salvador policy leader.[15][16][11]

National sections of Volt Europa. The borders of the European Union are shown in red.

First European Parliament election (2019)[edit]

European elections 2019 promo by Volt Netherlands, May 2019
Damian Boeselager, Volt's first Member of the European Parliament

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.[17] The party previously gathered in Berlin, Bucharest, and Paris.

From 22 to 24 March 2019 Volt Europa hosted its first European Congress in Rome,[18] 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).

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.[19]

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.[20] 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.

Election of new board and first pan-European digital assembly (2019–2020)[edit]

Reinier van Lanschot, Volt Europa's co-president since 2019

From 12 to 13 October 2019, Volt Europa hosted its general assembly 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 (es), Sofia Gentiloni Silveri, Joel Boehme and Cornelia-Florina German.[21]

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.[22][23]

First involvement in national politics (2021)[edit]

Volt contested the 2021 Dutch general election, with Laurens Dassen leading the party list. Volt Netherlands ultimately won 2.4% of votes, their best national performance in any election to date, and three seats, marking their first entrance into a national legislature.[24][25]

Volt Bulgaria participated in all three Bulgarian parliamentary elections in 2021, the first two as part of the anti-government coalition ISMV then under PP for the third election. The first coalition won seats in both elections but none of them were allocated to members of Volt.[26] However, the second coalition won more seats, with Volt taking two seats in the Bulgarian National Assembly.

Volt UK's Scottish branch, Volt Scotland, formed an electoral pact with Renew Scotland, which saw candidates from Volt Scotland joining the Renew party list for the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.[27] For the Scottish Parliament elections, Volt joined Renew in calling for a multiple-choice referendum on the issue of Scottish independence.[28] Renew candidates received 493 votes or 0.02% of the vote for their regional lists and failed to return any MSPs.[29]

From 16 to 17 October 2021, Volt Europa hosted its General Assembly in Lisbon, Portugal. It was the first physical General Assembly since 2019. During the 2021 General Assembly, Reinier van Lanschot who has been co-president since the General Assembly in Sofia 2019 was reelected. Francesca Romana D'Antuono from Italy was elected as co-president. Johannes Heinrich from Switzerland was elected as treasurer. The six non-executive board members elected were: Ines Consonni, Anouk Ooms, Lucia Nass, Thor Larholm, Charles Evain and Lucas Amorelli Ribeiro Kornexl.

Name[edit]

Volt Europa was incorporated as a non-profit association in Luxembourg under the name Volt Europa,[30] abandoning a previous name of Vox Europe to avoid any confusion with a similarly named far-right Spanish party.[31] "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).[32]

Ideology and policies[edit]

In 2018, Volt identified "the 5+1 fundamental challenges":[33]

On economic issues, Volt Europa supports digitisation, investment in the green and blue economy, measures to address poverty and inequality (including a European minimum wage), a more integrated European tax system, and the use of public-private partnerships; it also supports increased spending on welfare, in particular related to education and healthcare.[33] On social policy, Volt opposes sexism and racism and supports LGBT+ rights. It also supports deep reforms to EU institutions, including common management of migration, a European army, and eurobonds.[34][35][33] Volt argues that the relationship between the EU and NATO should be reviewed in the long term.[36]

Volt supports the idea of a federal Europe with a strong European Parliament,[37][38] in order to create a united European voice on the global stage.[39]

Unlike other pro-European movements, such as Pulse of Europe or the European Federalists, Volt 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.[40][41]

Co-Presidents of Volt Europa[edit]

Co-Presidents
Year Name Country Chapter Term
2017–2019 Andrea Venzon Volt Italia 1st
Damian Boeselager Volt Deutschland 1st
2019–2021 Valerie Sternberg Volt Deutschland 1st
Reinier Van Lanschot Volt Nederland 1st
2021– Francesca Romana D'Antuono Volt Italia 1st
Reinier Van Lanschot Volt Nederland 2nd

National sections[edit]

Albania[edit]

Volt Albania is not registered as a party in Albania, but engages as a movement on the ground and participates at the European level of Volt.[42]

Austria[edit]

Volt Österreich is Volt's registered political party in Austria. The party planned to take part in the European elections in 2019,[43] but did not succeed in collecting the required 2,600 signatures in time to qualify for the ballot.[44] Since then, the party contested some local elections, but did not receive a mandate.

Belgium[edit]

Volt Belgium/Belgique/België/Belgien is Volt's registered political party in Belgium.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47]

Bulgaria[edit]

Волт България (Volt Bulgaria) is Volt's registered political party in Bulgaria. In the national parliamentary elections in November 2021, Volt achieved a mandate in the National Assembly for the first time as part of the electoral alliance We Continue the Change. In December 2021, Volt Bulgaria achieved a second mandate, when a Member of Parliament from their coalition became a minister and freed up an MP spot for Volt Bulgaria.

Cyprus[edit]

In Cyprus, Volt cooperates with the movement New Wave - The Other Cyprus. The Cypriot movement and Volt signed a memorandum of understanding for a merger in November 2021. As a result, New Wave was renamed "New Wave || Volt Cyprus - The Other Cyprus". The plan is to merge to form the Volt Cyprus party after the 2023 presidential elections.[48][49]

Czech Republic[edit]

Volt was founded 2019 and operated from 11 April 2021 to 28 June 2022 in the Czech Republic as the registered association Volt Česká republika, z.s,[50] with Karolina Machová and Adam Hanka as the chairs of the association and Jan Klátil as the treasurer.[51] Volt is now registered as a political party, Volt Česko.[52]

In the 2022 local elections in Prague, the party contested an election for the first time.[53] Volt received 4 816 votes (0.14 %) and thus did not win a mandate.[54]

Denmark[edit]

The Danish chapter of Volt, Volt Danmark, was founded on 21 July 2018.[55] The party contested an election for the first time in November 2021 with the municipal election in Frederiksberg,[56][57] Volt received 105 votes (0.2 %) and thus did not win a mandate. To be eligible for national elections, to be held in 2023 at the latest, the party needs 21,000 digital signatures. To run in the European Elections in 2024, the party needs 71,000 digital signatures.[58]

France[edit]

Volt France was founded as the ninth national branch of Volt Europa, and has nine active branches, with "city teams" in Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Rennes, and two cross-border branches in Ain-Geneva and 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 municipal elections. The party ran in coalition with the Greens in Lille, where they received 24.5% in the first round, and lost in the second round with 39.4%;[59] as a coalition with "100% citoyens" in Lyon, receiving 3.4%[60] and 1.6%[61] in two districts; and alone in Paris' 9th district, receiving 0.5% in the first round.[62]

In the 2022 general elections, the party contested in a number of constituencies, including overseas constituencies.[63]

Germany[edit]

Volt Germany (German Volt Deutschland) became a registered political party in Germany in 2018, allowing it to compete in German elections.[64] Volt Deutschland's basic programme is based upon a policies proposal, which is also fundamental for Volt Europa.[65] The German branch's initial focus was the five "challenges" of "an intelligent state, social equality, economic renaissance, politically active citizenship" and "global balance". It also seeks to implement an overarching policy of transnational EU reform in accordance with the programmes of both Volt Deutschland and Volt Europa.[65] Volt Deutschland's programme for the 2019 European elections 2019 was identical to that of all other European sections. It was adopted as the "Amsterdam Declaration" by all Volt sections in October 2018.[65]

In the 2019 European Election "Volt Deutschland" received 248,824 votes, 0.7% of the total votes in Germany. As a result, Volt Deutschland's leading candidate Damian Boeselager won one of Germany's 96 seats in the European Parliament.[66][67]

Volt Deutschland has won individual seats on a number of city councils. In local elections occurring the same day as the European Elections in 2019, Volt received 1.2% of the votes for the election to the City Council in Mainz, winning 1 seat.[68] In Bavaria's 2020 local elections, the party won one seat each in Bamberg and Munich.[69][70] In Munich, Volt subsequently became part of the governing coalition with the Social Democrats.[71][72] Later that year, the party won seats on the city councils of Cologne, Bonn, Aachen, Siegen, Münster, Düsseldorf, and Paderborn. Volt was particularly strong in Cologne and Bonn, where it received around 5% of the votes, resulting in four and three seats, respectively.[73][74] In March 2021, the party also won seats in Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Fulda and Heusenstamm in the 2021 Hessian local elections.[75] The 6.5% vote share in Darmstadt, to win five of the 71 seats, was the party's best ever result in a German council.[76]

Greece[edit]

Volt Greece (Greek Βολτ Ελλάδας) was founded in 2018.[77] In July 2022, the group elected its first executive secretariat and an ethics committee, which were tasked with preparing its establishment as a party.[78] On 4 October 2022, the party was officially registered, becoming the 18th registered party of Volt Europa.[79] In December 2022, Volt founded the new political alliance Prasino+Mov (Greek ΠΡΑΣΙΝΟ & ΜΩΒ / English Green & Purple) together with the parties Ikologi Prasini, Pirate Party of Greece, Greens – Solidarity, Greek Party for the Animals and the ecofeminist movement Kyklos.[80]

Ireland[edit]

Volt Ireland (Volt Éire in Irish) formed in the run-up to the 2019 European elections, but did not initially register as a party, holding meetings in various cities. In October 2021, the group launched an attempt to register as a party.[81] To do so, 300 signatures are required from Irish citizens and EU citizens living in Ireland.[82]

Italy[edit]

Volt Italy (Italian Volt Italia) was founded on 18 July 2018. Gianluca Guerra and Eliana Canavesio are party leaders and Paolo Manetta is treasurer.[83]

The party was unable to take part in the 2019 European elections, failing to obtain the required 150,000 notarised supporter signatures.[84] Since then, the party has taken part in a number of regional and local elections, winning mandates in Mantua and Isernia, among other cities, where Federica Vinci, then chair of Volt Italia, was elected deputy mayor.[85]

Luxembourg[edit]

Volt Luxembourg was founded in 2019 and received around 2% of the vote in the 2019 European Parliamentary Elections.[86]

Malta[edit]

Volt Malta was officially registered as a political party in Malta in May 2021 and is contesting the 2022 elections for the national parliament, with two candidates covering four districts.[87]

In early March, the party stated its support for the legalization of abortion. Kass Mallia was Malta's first transgender politician to run for election. Volt Malta presented a proposal for AirMalta to become a public limited company through an initial public offering, look for North American travel markets, and a Diaspora Pass to entice the Maltese diaspora to visit Malta.

The party received 382 votes (0.13%), receiving no seats in parliament.

Netherlands[edit]

Volt Netherland is Volt's registered political party in the Netherlands and was founded on 23 June 2018 in Utrecht.[88] The party received 2.42% of the vote in the 2021 general election, taking three seats in the Dutch House of Representatives. It has since then lost 1 seat due to the removal of Nilüfer Gündogan from the party.[89]

Portugal[edit]

In October 2019, Volt Portugal submitted more than the 9,000 signatures needed to register as a political party.[90] After multiple delays, the Constitutional Court approved Volt Portugal as the country's 25th party in June 2020.[91] Volt Portugal initially planned to contest regional elections on the Azores in Autumn 2020, but was unable to do so due to a slow registration process, which did not allow enough time to recruit candidates.[92][93]

In the September 2021 local elections, the party contested in Lisbon (0.58%), Porto (0.42%), Tomar (1.36%), Coimbra (coalition 43.92%) and Oeiras (coalition 7.57%), winning a mandate in Coimbra.[94] Independent MEP Francisco Guerreiro supported the party in the local elections and announced he would join the party after his mandate expired.[95]

In the January 2022 general election, Volt Portugal contested a national election for the first time, running in 18 of 20 districts.[96] The party received 0.1% of the vote and did not win any seats.[97]

Romania[edit]

Volt România is Volt's registered political party in Romania. It was registered in February 2021, the 15th registered national party of Volt Europa.[98] The group has been active in the country since 2017, participating in initiatives against attacks on the rule of law and mobilising the diaspora to participate in the elections.[99]

Spain[edit]

Volt Spain (Spanish: Volt España) was officially registered as a party in Spain on 15 June 2018 as the third national section. The party won 32,291 votes in the 2019 European Parliament election.[100] In May, the party contested the local elections in Madrid for the first time since the European elections, but failed to win a mandate.[101] During the elections, a representative of the right-wing populist Vox warned against confusion with his own party, as the placement of the ballot papers next to each other was, according to him, intended to cause confusion.[102] Volt's average age in Spain is below 35, and its chairpersons are Rachele Arciulo and Cristian Castrillón.[103]

Sweden[edit]

Volt Sverige is Volt's registered political party in Sweden. Michael Holz and Alexander Löf are party leaders and Joel Boehme is treasurer. The party campaigned for the 2019 European Parliament elections, but as a write-in party without its own ballot papers, relying on voters to write the party's name on blank ballot papers. Volt Sverige received 146 votes in this way.[104]

In early November 2021, the Ljusnarsberg branch of Liberalerna (The Liberals) announced its intention to become an association and run for Volt in the local elections. The party's local elected representative joined Volt, becoming the first and only Volt representative in Sweden.[105][106]

The party participated in the 2022 Swedish general election and received 89 votes. [107]

Switzerland[edit]

Volt Switzerland was founded on 9 October 2019.[108] There are teams in Geneva, Zurich, Basel, Bern and Lugano.[109] In February 2020, Volt participated in the Unity Committee for the Free Movement of Persons. It is intended to address concerns of foreigners and Swiss with a migration background to achieve greater participation in Swiss public life and was also directed against the citizens' initiative "For moderate immigration (limitation initiative)".[110]

In the municipal elections in Zurich in February 2022, Volt stood for the first time in an election in Switzerland and fielded candidates in 2 out of 9 constituencies.[111][112] In constituency 7+8 the party achieved 0.24%, in constituency 10 0.34%, which means that it did not win a mandate.[113][114]

The party is part of the Swiss Europe Initiative, which calls for the Parliament and the Federal Council to start negotiations with the EU on institutional issues and cooperation.[115]

Ukraine[edit]

Volt Ukraine (Ukrainian: Вольт Україна, romanizedVolʹt Ukrayina) was founded in July 2022.[116] Its founder and chairman is Mykhaylo Pobigay, a war veteran and the head of the non-profit organisation Land of The Free. Volt Ukraine advocates for Ukraine to join the EU, as well as more military support and a European orientation for Ukraine. Members of Volt Ukraine also help support refugees and arrange accommodation in Europe.[117]

United Kingdom[edit]

Volt UK was registered with the British Electoral Commission in January 2020,[118] and campaigns for the UK to rejoin the European Union.[119]

European Parliament elections[edit]

2019 European Parliament election[edit]

Member state Leading candidate Votes % of valid v. Seats Note
Germany Damian Boeselager, Marie-Isabelle Heiß[120][non-primary source needed] 249,098 0.67%[121] 1
Netherlands Reinier van Lanschot[122][123] 106,004 1.93%[124] 0
Belgium Christophe Calis, Marcela Válková[125] 20,385 0.48%[126] 0 Only in Dutch-speaking electoral college
Bulgaria Nastimir Ananiev[127][non-primary source needed] 3,500 0.17%[128] 0
Luxembourg Rolf Tarrach Siegel[129][130] 4,606 2.11%[131] 0 average is 5,76 votes per ballot
Sweden Michael Holz[132] 146 0.0035%[133] 0 without its own ballot papers
Spain Bruno Sánchez-Andrade Nuño[134][135][136] 32,432 0.15%[137] 0
European Union 416,171 0.22% 1

In France (unable to raise €800,000 in funding to meet legal requirement to print its own ballot papers[138][non-primary source needed]), Italy (failed to collect 150,000 signatures[139]), Austria (failed to collect 2,600 signatures[140]), Portugal (failed to collect 7,500 signatures[141]), 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.[142]

National Parliament elections[edit]

Bulgaria[edit]

Election Political party/Coalition Leader Votes % Seats +/– Government
2021 (April) Volt Bulgaria as part of ISMV Nastimir Ananiev 150,940 (ISMV) 4.65 (#6 ISMV)
0 / 240
[1]
New Snap election
2021 (July) Volt Bulgaria as part of ISMV Nastimir Ananiev 136,885 (ISMV) 4.95 (#6 ISMV)
0 / 240
[2]
- Snap election
2021 (November) Volt Bulgaria as part of PP Nastimir Ananiev 610,273 (PP) 25.46 (#1 PP)
2 / 240
[143]
Increase 2 Coalition

Germany[edit]

Election Political party Leader(s) Constituency Party list Seats +/– Government
Votes % Votes %
2021 Volt Germany Rebekka Müller
Hans-Günter Brünker
78,211 0.2 (#13) 165,153 0.4 (#14)
0 / 735
New Extra-parliamentary

Malta[edit]

Election Political party Leaders Votes % Seats +/– Government
2022 Volt Malta Alexia DeBono
Arnas Lasys
382 0.13% (#6)
0 / 67
New Extra-parliamentary

Netherlands[edit]

Election Political party Lijsttrekker Votes % Seats +/– Government
2021 Volt Netherlands Laurens Dassen 252,480 2.42 (#11)
3 / 150
New Opposition

Portugal[edit]

Election Political party Leader Votes % Seats +/– Government
2022 Volt Portugal Tiago Matos Gomes 5,781 0.11 (#18)
0 / 230
New Extra-parliamentary

Sweden[edit]

Election Political party Leader Votes % Seats +/– Government
2022 Volt Sweden - 89 0.00 (#32)
0 / 349
New Extra-parliamentary

Funding[edit]

According to the party's financial accounts, it generates most of its income through donations & crowdfunding. It 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.[144] On 9 May 2021, Volt announced that they had raised 40,000 Euros in three weeks in a fundraising drive to professionalize Volt in preparation for the 2024 European Parliament election.[145]

Every Volt Chapter commits to the same donation rule of publishing every donation exceeding 3,000 Euros, which can also be observed on the websites of Volt Germany[146] and Netherlands.[147]

Awards[edit]

Year Award Section Issuer
2018 EuroNederlander of 2018[148] Volt Nederland The European Movement Netherlands (EBN)
2019 Political Representative of the Year (2nd Place)[149][150] Volt Europa The Good Lobby

International cooperation[edit]

From 14 to 19 July 2021, Volt Europa delegates travelled to Yerevan, Armenia, to meet with representatives of the European Party of Armenia.[151]

In November 2021, the Cypriot movement New Wave – The Other Cyprus and Volt signed a memorandum of understanding for a merger.[48][49]

Notes[edit]

1.^ ISMV coalition won 13 seats in parliament in the July 2021 Bulgarian parliamentary election, none of which were allocated to members of Volt.[152]
2.^ ISMV coalition won 14 seats in parliament in the April 2021 Bulgarian parliamentary election, none of which were allocated to members of Volt.[26]
3.^ Renew Scotland contested in five regions and no constituencies in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.

References[edit]

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