Surfing the Green wave? Climate party hopes ride high in EU vote

(Reuters News, 22 May 2019) A groundswell of concern has prompted many parties to step up their green rhetoric on the campaign trail, but the alliance of more than 30 national parties who field lawmakers to the Green group in the European Parliament hopes to reap the biggest rewards

An ebb in support for mainstream parties is raising hopes among Europe's Greens that they could act as kingmakers in the next European Parliament, with growing concerns over climate change likely to hand them their strongest showing yet.

With the centre-left and centre-right bloc set to lose their joint majority in elections across the European Union this week, the Greens hope to increase their influence as parties jostle to create new alliances in the next EU legislature.

There will be limits to what they can do, but the Greens want to push for faster cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as for influence in the areas of trade, tax and the rule of law in any negotiations to form a bloc to counter gains on the eurosceptic far-right.

"They can do their numbers," Bas Eickhout, a Green lawmaker from the Netherlands and one of the group's two lead candidates, said of the conservative and socialists predicted to lose seats.

"We are not going to make the same mistake as other parties to say: 'Okay, we team up with you and we make some minor changes at the fringes,'" Eickhout told Reuters.

The socialist group aims to include Greens and Liberals in a broad centre-left coalition, their leader in the parliament, Udo Bullmann, told Reuters.

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Reuters News, 22 May 2019: Surfing the Green wave? Climate party hopes ride high in EU vote