Volt Europa (frequently abbreviated as 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. 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, with Damian Boeselager its first Member of the European Parliament. In the 2021 Dutch general election, Volt Netherlands won three parliament seats. It also participated in the 2021 Bulgarian parliamentary election as part of the anti-government coalition ISMV.
Reinier van Lanschot
|Founded||29 March 2017|
|Political position||Centre to centre-left|
|European Parliament group||Greens/EFA|
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|House of Representatives (Netherlands)|
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Volt Europa was founded on 29 March 2017 by Andrea Venzon, 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 their own statement, Volt's foundation was a reaction to growing populism in the world as well as to Brexit. Venzon became founding President, Boeselager Vice President, and Cahen-Salvador as policy leader. In March 2018, the first national subsidiary party was founded in Hamburg, Germany. Volt has since established local teams in every EU member state, and is registered as a legal party in several of these countries. The Dutch subsidiary has the most members with around 3000, followed by the German with around 2000. Today, the movement is claimed to have between 8,000 and 15,000 members in more than 30 European countries. Around 70% of the current members are reported not to have been politically active before joining Volt.
From 27 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. The party previously gathered in Berlin, Bucharest, and Paris.
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 to 13 October 2019, Volt Europa hosted its General Assembly meeting in Sofia, to elect the new Board of Volt Europa. The movement elected former Volt Deutschland President Valerie Sternberg and the former MEP Lead candidate of Volt Nederland, Reinier van Lanschot, as Co-Presidents of Volt Europa. The newly elected treasurer is the former MEP candidate of Volt Luxembourg Julia Pitterman. The elected non-executive board members consist of Konrad Ritter, Eileen O'Sullivan, Bruno Sánchez-Andrade Nuño (es), Sofia Gentiloni Silveri, Joel Boehme and Cornelia-Florina German.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Volt did not host its Spring 2020 General Assembly in Lisbon as planned, but instead became the first pan-European political movement to publicly host a digital general assembly, including a vote on its programme until 2024.
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. "Volt" was chosen as a name due to its similarity to the initial name and the added meaning of figuratively bringing voltage into politics. Added to that, both the term "Volt" and the Latin version of name of the European continent have in common that they are understood in all European languages, hence as a transcontinental movement Volt Europa loses the need to adopt translations of its own name, except for languages where non-Latin alphabets are used (like Bulgaria and Greece).
Ideology and policies
- A smart state – Digitalisation of public services
- Economic renaissance – a blend of circular, green and blue economic models
- Social equality – Human rights, equality of opportunity, gender equality, and tolerance of cultural differences
- Global balance – Sustainable and responsible policies in farming and trade, measures to address climate change and refugee crises, and support for labour migration and development cooperation
- Citizen empowerment – Greater subsidiarity, social responsibility, and participatory democracy
- +1 European reform – Federation of EU states, with greater responsibilities for its regions and cities
Economically, Volt Europa supports digitisation, 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. Volt says that in the long term, the relationship between the EU and NATO needs to be reviewed.
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 party politics through European, local and national elections through its subsidiary organisations in EU member states. Its first major objective was the European Parliament elections in May 2019.
|Founded||11 October 2018 .|
Volt Österreich is Volt's registered political party in Austria. The party planned to take part in the European elections in 2019, but did not succeed in collecting the required 2,600 signatures in time to qualify for the ballot. The party ran in two constituencies in the 2020 Viennese state election, winning 0.1% in each, and 0.01% of the vote statewide (102 votes total).
|Co-President||Olivia ten Horn|
|Other board member||Juliette Limousin-Golub|
|Founded||28 July 2018 .|
Volt Belgium/Belgique/België/Belgien is Volt's registered political party in Belgium. Volt Belgium was the first section to participate in elections, when they took part in the 2018 Belgian local elections in Ixelles, Etterbeek and also shared a list with the local Pirate Party (Paars) for Antwerp. During the 2019 European Parliament elections, Volt participated in the Dutch Speaking electoral college, receiving 0.48% of the vote, not enough for a seat.
|Vice Chairperson||Boris Borisov|
|Founded||19 May 2018 .|
|Locally Elected Officials||3|
Волт България (Volt Bulgaria) is Volt's registered political party in Bulgaria. During the 2019 European Parliament Elections, the party earned 0.18% of the vote. Volt Bulgaria participated in the 2019 Bulgarian Local Elections, with the ''Together for Change'' Coalition list, and obtained 7.12% of the votes in Haskovo, 6.12% in Rodopi, and 6.39% in Sopot, earning Volt a seat in each of those localities. Volt Bulgaria participated in the 2021 Bulgarian parliamentary election as part of the anti-government coalition ISMV. The coalition won 14 seats in parliament, none of which were allocated to members of Volt.
Volt currently operates in the Czech Republic as the registered association Volt Česká republika, z.s. Karolina Machova and Adam Hanka are the chairmen of the association and Jan Klátil is the treasurer.
|Founded||21 July 2018 .|
|Locally Elected Officials||0|
The Danish chapter of Volt, Volt Danmark, was founded on 21 July 2018. The party is currently collecting signatures to run in municipal elections in 2021. To be eligible for national elections, to be held in 2023 at the latest, the party needs 21,000 digital signatures. To run in the European Elections in 2024, the party needs 71,000 digital signatures.
|Founded||16 August 2018 .|
Volt France was founded as the ninth national branch of Volt Europa, and has nine active branches, with "city teams" in Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Rennes, and two cross-border branches in Ain-Geneva and Strasbourg-Kehl.
The party was unable to participate in the European Elections 2019 due to a lack of funding. In 2020, Volt France participated in municipal elections. The party ran in coalition with the Greens in Lille, where they received 24.5% in the first round, and lost in the second round with 39.4%; as a coalition with "100% citoyens" in Lyon, receiving 3.4% and 1.6% in two districts; and alone in Paris' 9th district, receiving 0.5% in the first round.
|Presidents||Paul Loeper, Friederike Schier|
|Vice-Presidents||Paulo Alexandre, Konstantin Feist, Caroline Flohr, Sophie Griesbacher|
|Founded||3 March 2018 .|
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|Locally Elected Officials||21|
Volt Deutschland became a registered political party in Germany in 2018, allowing it to compete in German elections. Volt Deutschland's basic programme is based upon a policies proposal, which is also fundamental for Volt Europa. The German branch's initial focus was the five "challenges" of "an intelligent state, social equality, economic renaissance, politically active citizenship" and "global balance". It also 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 was 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" received 248,824 votes, 0.7% of the total votes in Germany. As a result, Volt Deutschland's leading candidate Damian Boeselager won one of Germany's 96 seats in the European Parliament.
Volt Deutschland has won individual seats on a number of city councils. In local elections occurring the same day as the European Elections in 2019, Volt received 1.2% of the votes for the election to the City Council in Mainz, winning 1 seat. In Bavaria's 2020 local elections, the party won one seat each in Bamberg and Munich. In Munich, Volt subsequently became part of the governing coalition with the Social Democrats. Later that year, the party won seats on the city councils of Cologne, Bonn, Aachen, Siegen, Münster, Düsseldorf and Paderborn. Volt was particularly strong in Cologne and Bonn, where it received around 5% of the votes, resulting in four and three seats, respectively. In March 2021, the party also won seats in Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Fulda and Heusenstamm in the 2021 Hessian local elections. The 6.5% vote share in Darmstadt, to win five of the 71 seats, was the party's best ever result in a German council.
Volt Luxembourg was founded in 2019 and received around 2% of the vote in the 2019 European Parliamentary Elections.
Volt Malta was officially registered as a political party in Malta in May 2021 and announced plans to contest the next general election.
Volt Nederland is Volt's registered political party in the Netherlands and was founded on 23 June 2018 in Utrecht.
Volt participated in the European Elections in May in Netherlands in 2019, but did not win any of the 26 seats, with less than 2% of the vote. Volt contested the 2021 Dutch general election, with Laurens Dassen leading the party list. Volt ultimately won 2.4% of votes, their best national performance in any election to date, and three seats, marking their first entrance into a national legislature.
|Presidents||Federica Vinci, Andi Shehu|
|Treasurer||Giulia Romana Mele|
|Councillor||Stefan De Jonghe, Fabio Daniele, Alessandro Lima, Guido Silvestri, Giuseppe Barbieri, Erika Puntillo|
|Founded||18 July 2018 .|
|Locally Elected Officials||7|
Volt Italia is Volt's registered political party in Italy. Volt Italia took part in Novi Ligure's 2019 municipal election, receiving 1.43% of the votes. In January 2020, the party participated in the Emilia-Romagna's regional election, receiving 0.43% of the votes. In September 2020, the party also participated in the Tuscany and Apulia regional elections, winning 0.32% and 0.11% respectively, thus failing to win any seats in the regional parliaments.
In October 2019, Volt Portugal submitted more than the 9,000 signatures needed to register as a political party. After multiple delays, the Constitutional Court approved Volt Portugal as the country's 25th party in June 2020. Volt Portugal initially planned to contest regional elections on the Azores in Autumn 2020, but was unable to do so due to a slow registration process, which did not allow enough time to recruit candidates.
In 2021, Volt UK's Scottish branch, Volt Scotland, formed an electoral pact with Renew Scotland, which saw candidates from Volt Scotland joining the Renew party list for the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. For the Scottish Parliament elections, Volt joined Renew in calling for a multiple-choice referendum on the issue of Scottish independence.
|Presidents||Rachele Arciulo, Cristian Camilo Castrillón Urrea|
|Treasurer||Daniel Medina Stacey|
|Councillor||Chiara Cimino, Pilar Miñana Moliner, Javier de los Santos Meneses, Pablo Méndez, Javier Cañas|
|Founded||15 June 2018 .|
Volt España is Volt's registered political party in Spain. The party won 32,291 votes in the 2019 European Parliament election.
European Parliament elections
2019 European Parliament election
|Member state||Leading candidate||Votes||Result||Seats||Note|
|Germany||Damian Boeselager, Marie-Isabelle Heiß||248,824||0.67%||1||–|
|Netherlands||Reinier van Lanschot||106,004||1.93%||0||–|
|Belgium||Christophe Calis, Marcela Válková||20,385||0.48||0||Only participated in Belgium's|
Dutch-speaking electoral college
|Luxembourg||Rolf Tarrach Siegel||26,483||2.1%||0||–|
|Spain||Bruno Sánchez-Andrade Nuño||32,291||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), Portugal (failed to collect 7,500 signatures), and Denmark (failed to collect a number of voter declarations corresponding to at least 2% of all valid votes at the last general election), Volt had intended to participate in the European Parliament elections but was unable to meet local requirements in time.
National Parliament elections
|2021 (April)||Volt Bulgaria as part of ISMV||Nastimir Ananiev||150,940 (ISMV)||4.65 (#6 ISMV)||
0 / 240
|New||Coalition could not be formed. New election called.|
|2021||Volt Netherlands||Laurens Dassen||252,480||2.42 (#11)||
3 / 150
|Election||Political party||Constituency||Regional||Total seats||+/–||Government|
|2021||Volt Scotland as part of Renew Scotland||
0 / 73
|493 (Renew Scotland)||0.02% (Renew Scotland)||
0 / 56
0 / 129
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 May 2019).
On 9 May 2021, Volt announced that they had raised 40,000 Euros in three weeks in a fundraising drive in order to professionalize Volt in preparation for the 2024 European Parliament election.
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.
|2018||EuroNederlander of 2018||Volt Nederland||The European Movement Netherlands (EBN)|
|2019||Political Representative of the Year (2nd Place)||Volt Europa||The Good Lobby|
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- "Thanks to your support, we have won the 2nd prize of TheGoodLobby Awards in the category "Political Representative of the Year"!".
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