The European Green parties are celebrating gains which have given the ecology block more than 50 seats in the European parliament so far.
The resurgent Greens have benefitted from voter disillusionment with mainstream parties and the rise of climate change up the political agenda.
In France the combined ecology movement has become an important force in national politics.
“On the one hand, I think it’s a shame that the party is based entirely on ecology. I think all parties should have little ecological element, but it shows the interest everyone has in ecology,” was one voter’s opinion.
“European Greens have done well and it gives us a little hope of a real majority in the European parliament and for a real political debate on the European Commission’s constitution,” said an activist.
The leader of the major French Green party Daniel Cohn-Bendit believes the movement can now control European policy on ecological issues.
“There is the possibility of an alliance in the European parliament of independent groups to give political direction, and for example, create a majority against (Jose Manuel) Barroso. That’s what going to happen, and I think we can obtain this majority.”
In Germany, the Green party, led by Claudia Roth, one of two current party chairs, is traditionally strong. Its historic showing, winning 12% of the vote, has pushed traditonal coalition partners the FDP into fourth place with 11%.
Despite competition from rival fringe parties banging the drum for environmental issues in harness with the French and the rest of Europe’s Green MEPs, including a beefed-up contingent from the UK, could indeed produce the “Green New Deal” promised during the election campaign.
Greens break out of minority ghetto