Volt Europa (frequently abbreviated 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. It was founded in 2017 by Andrea Venzon, supported by Colombe Cahen-Salvador and Damian Boeselager. 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. During the European Parliament elections in May 2019 the party won one seat by winning 0.7 percent of votes in Germany making front runner Damian Boeselager its first Member of the European Parliament.
Reinier van Lanschot
|Founded||29 March 2017|
|European Parliament group||Greens/EFA (elect)|
|European Parliament (German seats)|
1 / 96
Volt Europa was founded on 29 March 2017 by Andrea Venzon, along with 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. According to the trio, Volt's foundation was a reaction to growing populism in the world as well as to Brexit. In March 2018, the first national subsidiary party was founded in Hamburg, Germany. Volt has since established local teams in every EU member state with and is registered as a legal party in a number of these countries. The subsidiary with the most members is Italy, the home country of Andrea Venzon.
Volt Europa was incorporated as a non-profit association in Luxembourg under the name Volt Europa, abandoning a previous name of Vox Europe to avoid any confusion with a similarly named far-right Spanish party. Today, the movement claims to have 25,000 members and supporters in more than 30 European countries. Around 70% of the current members are reported to not have been politically active before joining Volt.
From 27 October 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.
From 22 to 24 March 2019 Volt Europa hosted its first European Congress in Rome, 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).
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. 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.
From 12 October to 13 October 2019 Volt Europa hosted its General Assembly meeting in Sofia, adopting new election rules for adopting online elections which then got used for the election of the new board from Volt Europa. The election results left the founders Andrea Venzon, Damian Boeselager & treasurer Mihaela Siritanu leaving the positions and electing the german MEP candidate Valerie Steinberg and the candidate and leader from Volt Netherland Reinier van Laschot as Co-Presidents of the party. New treasurer is Julia Pitterman, the MEP candidate for Volt Luxembourg.
Ideology and policiesEdit
Economically, Volt Europa supports digitization, investment in the green and blue economy, the fight against poverty and inequality (also with the establishment of a European minimum wage), a more unified European tax system and the public-private partnerships to revive economic growth and reduce unemployment; it also supports solid investments on welfare policies, in particular related to education and healthcare.
Socially, Volt supports anti-sexism, anti-racism and LGBT+ rights. Institutionally, it supports vast reforms of the European Union: a common management of migratory phenomena, a European army and eurobonds.
In media reporting, the organisation is described as aiming to foster democracy on the EU level. It stresses the importance of a united European voice that is heard in the world. Also, it supports the idea of a federated Europe with a strong European Parliament in which the citizens become the very center of European democracy.
Volt is distinct from other pro-European movements such as Pulse of Europe or the European Federalists as it aims to participate in European, local and national elections through its subsidiary organisations in EU member states. Its first major objective is the European Parliament elections in May 2019.
As "Volt Österreich", the movement is also registered as a party in Austria and was planning to take part in the European elections in 2019. The 2600 signatures necessary for this were not collected in time, Volt Europe was therefore not eligible for election in Austria. The party will attempt to run again in the upcoming national election in Austria 2019.
"Volt Deutschland" is Volt's registered political party in Germany, allowing it to compete in elections within the Federal Republic of Germany. Volt Deutschland's basic programme is based upon a Policies Proposal, which is also fundamental for Volt Europe. The initial focus will be on five "challenges" which Volt Deutschland wants to address at local, regional and national level, namely "an intelligent state, social equality, economic renaissance, politically active citizenship" and "global balance". In addition to these, it seeks to implement an overarching policy of transnational EU reform in accordance with the programmes of both Volt Deutschland and Volt Europa. Volt Deutschland's programme for the 2019 European elections 2019 is identical to that of all other European sections. It was adopted as the "Amsterdam Declaration" by all Volt sections in October 2018.
In the 2019 European Election "Volt Deutschland" gained 248 824 votes which is equivalent to 0.7% of total votes in Germany. As front runner Damian Freiherr von Boeselager will get one of the 96 seats from delegates from Germany in the European Parliament.
"Volt Deutschland" was especially strong in German cities. With 2.9% the highest percentage of votes was gained in the city of Heidelberg. In Munich and Karlsruhe "Volt Germany" gained 2.2% of the votes. In the two largest German cities, Berlin and Hamburg, Volt's vote share was 1.2%. Volt also received 1.2% of the votes for the election to the City Council in Mainz, which was held on the same day as the European Parliament elections, and gained one seat.
Volt Netherlands (Dutch: Volt Nederland) was founded on 23 June 2018 in Utrecht and participated in the European Elections in May 2019. According to the preliminary official result, it achieved 1.9% of the votes and thus received none of the 26 seats.
In Switzerland, Volt Europa reports regular meetings in Geneva and Zurich, but is neither registered as a party nor takes part in elections. This is partly due to Switzerland's lack of membership of the European Union.
|Member state||Leading candidate||Result||Seats||Note|
|Germany||Damian Freiherr von Boeselager, Marie-Isabelle Heiß ||0.67%||1||–|
|The Netherlands||Reinier van Lanschot||1.9%||0||–|
|Belgium||Christophe Calis, Marcela Válková||0.48||0||Only participated in Belgium's|
Dutch-speaking electoral college
|Luxembourg||Rolf Tarrach Siegel||2.1%||0||–|
|Spain||Bruno Sánchez-Andrade Nuño||0.14%||0||–|
In France (unable to raise €800,000 in funding to meet legal requirement to print its own ballot papers), Italy (failed to collect 150,000 signatures), Austria (failed to collect 2,600 signatures) and Portugal (failed to collect 7,500 signatures), Volt had intended to participate in the European Parliament elections but was unable to meet local requirements in time.
The party uses crowdfunding as well as direct donations to fund itself. The party 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. As the two largest donors, the party's website lists the Open Society Initiative for Europe with 19,191 Euros as well as the businessman Christian Oldendorff, founder and CEO of ParkU,, with a donation of 25,000 Euros (date 27.05.2019).
The website of the German section lists several more donors. Among them are Christian Oldendorff with a donation of 95,000 Euros, Claus von Loeper with a donation of 20,000 Euros as well as several more donors listed with donations of 10,000 Euros or 5,000 Euros.
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