The only good news out of the latest EU elections comes in the form of the impressive rise of the Green Party. The Guardian reports the Greens may have taken enough seats to hold the balance of power in the new European parliament.
“Thank you so much for your trust in us Greens,” a delighted Ska Keller, one of the European Greens’ two lead candidates for the post of European commission president, told a press conference in Brussels.
“This is a mandate for real change: for climate protection, a social Europe, more democracy and stronger rule of law.” Above all, Keller said, the Greens “want to achieve climate action now – because if we wait any longer, it will be a disaster”.
Any parliamentary group that wanted Green support would have to “deliver on our three key principles: climate action, civil liberties and social justice”, she said. “For us it’s clear: this is all about content.”
With the European parliament’s main centre-right and centre-left groups both losing seats and their historic joint majority, and populist Eurosceptic parties returning in larger numbers than before, Green MEPs’ votes could well prove critical to a broad pro-EU alliance in the 751-seat assembly.Not a tsunami, not yet. The next time, perhaps.
The Greens’ surge was strongest in Germany, where Die Grünen finished second behind Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU with almost 21% of the vote, according to provisional estimates – nearly double their 2014 total.
Finland’s Greens also came second with 16% of the vote, while in a major upset, Europe Écologie-Les Verts, led by a former senior Greenpeace figure, came third in France with 13.3%, up from 8.9%.
Against all expectations, a Portuguese Green party won its first European parliamentary seat.
Ireland’s Green party trebled its previous score to 15% from 5%, meaning it will be sending MEPs to the Strasbourg parliament for the first time in 20 years, while in the Netherlands, GreenLeft improved to garner nearly 10.5% of the vote.