The new grassroot movements looking to shake-up EU elections

The new grassroot movements looking to shake-up EU elections
By Isabel Marques da SilvaDamon Embling
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"We want to come up with an approach that is completely innovative, that has not been seen in politics"


The European Parliament has started its summer break, but after the holidays the political parties will accelerate preparations for the European elections in May. 

Although transnational lists were refused a few months ago, new pan-European movements will now be trying to conquer a place in the European Parliament.

'Committed Europeanists'

Diem25 is one of them. It describes itself as progressive and is making strategic partnerships with radical left movements in Europe.

One of its leading figures is Yannis Varoufakis, former Greek finance minister.

"Our European Spring message is to say that we do not have to pick between neither/nor, there is a third option, alternative, that positions itself in the progressive way," explained Davide Castro, Diem25's Social Media Manager.

"You can be pro-European, as we are committed Europeanists, but against the Europe that we have now. Because the Europe we have now, with its policies of austerity and so on, are contributing to the rise of the nationalist right, which is actually tearing Europe apart."

The movement is made up of national collectives. It's already set up some of them in the UK, Belgium, Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy.

During the campaign, it will try to meet electoral law requirements to create a new group in the European Parliament - at least 25 MEPs from seven different member states.

Castro commented: "We 70-thousand members in Diem25 plus the hundreds of thousands of other members in the other parties and movements involved in the European Spring, and those are ready to take the streets, to campaign, to use social media in innovative ways."

An 'innovative' approach

VOLT is a similar movement, created at a grassroots level. It emerged after the infamous Brexit referendum in 2016.

To defend their six main proposals, it has working groups all over Europe. But's it's also registered as political party in Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.

So, what is VOLT's vision?

Stephanie Le Clercq, from VOLT Belgium, told Euronews: "Instead of positioning ourselves, going 70 years backwards, using ideas that were used in the 1930s, which had - lets say - catastrophic consequences - and I am speaking about the migration crises, the economic crisis; the environmental issues, we want to go one level up, we want to come up with an approach that is completely innovative, that has not been seen in politics."

The movements are going to choose leading candidates to mobilise the electorate. As with Diem25, VOLT is also organising their campaign strategy at different levels.

"We have an European team that is organising events across Europe and, in addition to that, we have big social media outreach which we wish to expand as well," explained Le Clercq.

"So, basically, social media and on the ground campaigning."

The Bannon effect

And then there's former White House chief advisor Steve Bannon. He's planning to set up a foundation in Europe called The Movement - aiming to increase votes in right-wing and eurosceptic populist parties. He recently met France's Marine le Pen and Hungary's Viktor Orban.

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