Earlier this year European voters swept an insurgent party to the top of the polls for the new European parliament. But, contrary to widespread polls and media speculation, it was not the far-right populists who triumphed at the ballot box in Brussels, Berlin and Dublin. Instead, it was the Green Party who won the highest number of votes, spearheading a continent-wide surge that looks likely to transform their political role within the European Union.
The European Green Party was founded on February 22, 2004. It is made up of thirty-four Green parties from all over Europe, and its aim is to coordinate the activities of all said parties to reach their goals of environmental protection. Despite starting out as a relatively small group, the Greens have gradually been growing a larger voter base as concerns over rising temperatures and unstable climate have become more prominent in European politics. The Greens lack a charismatic star to represent them, and this is perhaps one of the reasons that their steady rise sometimes goes unnoticed. However, they have benefited from growing civil protests, including the Extinction Rebellion movement and school strikes led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.
In recent months, Europe suffered yet another summer of record-breaking heat waves, a result of the raid climate change which is transforming our environment. This gave rise to growing urgency over global warming, with 90 per cent of Europeans naming it an important issue. This was reflected in the voting patterns seen in this past election, with the Greens gaining more votes than ever before.
But what policies have the greens proposed in order to combat climate change? Being that they serve as a federation of green parties across Europe, their goals for legislation vary slightly from country to country. However, they have outlined common goals which they seek to achieve. Tackling climate change was and still is the green party's main priority, which they seek to achieve primarily through accelerating energy transition to renewable resources, as well as ensuring a rapid expansion of renewable energies. In addition to this, they aim to put more electric cars on the roads and to create more natural areas in the country.
Whether they will be able to make sufficient progress in these fields is yet to be seen, and it is important to remember that the Greens face growing competition from rival left-wing parties for climate-conscious voters, and they should keep their promises - or risk getting replaced.
“Europeans More Likely to Vote Green after Extreme Weather Events.” The Guardian, 12 Feb. 2022, www.theguardian.com/news/2022/feb/12/europeans-more-likely-to-vote-green-after-extreme-weather-events?CMP=twt_a-environment_b-gdneco. Accessed 29 Aug. 2022.
“Greens Grow in Europe, but Politicians Can’t Take All the Credit.” The Guardian, 10 Sept. 2020, www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/10/greens-grow-in-europe-but-politicians-cant-take-all-the-credit. Accessed 29 Aug. 2022.
Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. “What Do the German Greens Want If They Gain Power? | DW | 19.04.2021.” DW.COM, www.dw.com/en/what-do-the-german-greens-want-if-they-gain-power/a-572489