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Pro-EU Volt party opts to stay with Greens

Volt's Damian Boeselager addresses the European Parliament in April 2024
Volt's Damian Boeselager addresses the European Parliament in April 2024 Copyright European Union 2024 - Source : EP
Copyright European Union 2024 - Source : EP
By Jack Schickler
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The decision over the federalist grouping’s five MEPs spells more bad news for Emmanuel Macron’s liberal Renew coalition.

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Volt, the European federalist movement that secured five MEPs in recent European elections, has voted to stay in the European Parliament’s Green grouping. 

The decision, taken by a poll of party members, puts an end to rumours that they might instead join Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renew party. 

After EU elections held 6-9 June, parties are racing to see who can coalesce into the biggest groups – the channel by which funding and influence is distributed within the Parliament.

The decision – supported by 87% of Volt's members – seems partly motivated by Renew’s failure to punish the Dutch VVD party for forming a government with Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom.  

“The credibility of fighting this right-wing populism was higher within the Greens,” Dutch Volt MEP Reinier van Lanschot said. “VVD has not received sanctions that we find sufficient at all.” 

That chimes with the Greens’ position that they’ll only support Ursula von der Leyen’s reappointment as President of the European Commission of she doesn’t swerve right by working with the likes of Italy’s Giorgia Meloni.  

"We’re clear on the direction that we want: continuation of the green deal, with no backtracking,” the Greens’ Terry Reintke told reporters, saying she also hoped for stronger rule of law, freedom, and Europe acting geopolitically.

Race for the biggest groupings

It was clear as polls closed that the European People’s Party and socialists would constitute the two biggest coalitions in the European Parliament.  

But now Renew appears to be losing the race for third place to the right-wing Conservatives and Reformists group, ECR, as talks advance. 

Last week, Renew lost seven lawmakers from Czechia’s ANO, the party of controversial former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, while ECR welcomed six more from the nationalist Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR). 

Renew can now boast 74 of the chamber’s 720 MEPs, down from 102 before the elections, while ECR has 83. Including all Volt members, the Greens – who also suffered heavy losses this year – have 53.

The EU party of France’s President Macron was hammered by an angry electorate, presaging further losses in snap legislative elections set to begin in France on 30 June. 

The EU election campaign normally responds to a domestic political agenda, often with eurosceptic parties to the fore. In contrast, Volt took a vociferously pro-European stance, and ran under the same electoral programme in 16 different states.

In the last session, Volt sat in the Greens with a single lawmaker, Germany’s Damian Boeselager, but now has two further MEPs from Germany and two from the Netherlands. 

Group memberships will be confirmed at the Parliament’s first meeting on 16 July, but can still evolve over its five-year term.

UPDATE (24 June, 11:45am):adds detailed voting results, quotes from van Lanschot and Reintke.

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