BrusselsBrussels chooses ecologically: "The Greens are at the top", headlined the Belgian daily "Le Soir". For the eco-party a double reason to be happy, because the Belgians vote on Sunday not only their MEPs, but also a new national parliament. According to polls, the Greens in the Belgian capital account for more than 20 percent of the votes in both ballots and are thus at the top.
Climate change has played a major role in the Belgian election campaign, and that helps the Greens in other parts of the country as well. Although they are not at the top in Flanders and Wallonia, they are also likely to grow significantly here. This creates no other party in the deeply divided Kingdom of Belgium along the language border.
The Dutch-speaking Flemings will probably again make the separatist right-wing party N-VA the strongest force, while French Wallonia has traditionally chosen socialist. The Greens are the only party that is strong everywhere – "the political glue for Belgium," says an election observer.
Belgium's neighbors, the Dutch have already voted on Thursday. According to by-election polls, it has brought the eco-party there to eleven percent, four percentage points more than five years ago. Climate change is also an important topic in the Netherlands, especially since the country is directly affected by rising sea levels due to global warming.
The eco-party can also look forward to the election Sunday in many other countries: gains can be expected in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Great Britain and Luxembourg. In France and Austria, the Greens can hope to do as well as the last European election five years ago. In Germany opinion pollsters even predict the Greens a huge leap forward: they could win 18 percent of the vote and thus move to second place before the SPD.
Influence of the Friday for future movement
The Greens may have owed their rise in electoral favors a bit to the Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg. The Fridays for Future Movement, which she initiated, was instrumental in raising public awareness of the threat of climate change.
A few weeks before the European elections, climate protection became the main topic of the campaign, while the hitherto heated topic of migration disappeared into oblivion. It could not have gone better for the Greens. Pollsters expect that they will conquer about 60 seats in the Strasbourg representation in the European elections, which are ten more than now.
Nevertheless, the eco-party could not score anywhere. In southern and eastern Europe, the environmental movement has not got a foothold today. "In some countries, our party does not exist" regrets Greens top candidate Sven Giegold. In some Southern European countries, the Greens joined the Radical Left.
In Spain, for example, they slipped under Podemos. Only in Catalonia are the Greens successful as an independent party. In other countries, left-wing parties cover the environmental issue so well that the Greens can not grow up. This applies, for example, to Syriza in Greece.
In Eastern Europe, citizens still do not properly perceive pollution and climate change as a problem. "This has mainly historical reasons," says the head of the European Greens Reinhard Bütikofer. After all, the eco-movement in Western Europe was created ten years before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
"You will not catch up so quickly," said Bütikofer. Slowly it goes for the Greens but also in the east upwards. In Poland, for example, the Green Party would have the chance to be elected to the national parliament for the first time. And the Hungarian Greens might even conquer a seat in the European Parliament on Sunday.
More: Eight EU countries have called for new EU climate protection goals and published a corresponding paper. From Germany come restrained tones.
. (tagsToTranslate) Green (t) Eco (t) Europe (t) Netherlands (t) Scandinavia (t) Germany (t) Belgium (t) Fridays-for-Future (t) Greta Thunberg (t) Environment (t) Reinhard Bütikofer (t) Climate change (t) Party (t) Election (t) Election campaign (t) Politician (t) Election result (t) Environmental protection (t) Alliance 90-The Greens (t) Radical Left coalition Syriza (t) Podemos (t t) SPD (t) Reinhard Bütikofer