green parties in difficulty in Germany and Italy

In Germany, environmentalists present their list for the European elections, in a year when the European Green Deal has come under heavy attack across Europe. Less than a month before the vote on June 8 and 9, where are the European environmental parties? Our correspondents in Germany and Italy testify.


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In Germany, the Green Party begins its campaign meetings for the European elections on Monday May 13. The “Grünen” are in a much worse position than during the last election in 2019, where they finished in second position with more than 20% of the votes, and achieved their best historical score. Today, the party has lost its weight in the exercise of power and doubling their campaign budget will probably not be enough to bring them back on track.

But faced with inflation problems and the rise of the far right almost everywhere in Europe, the situation of German environmentalists is far from being the worst. The Green Deal is often targeted and the European Greens could lose around twenty seats in Parliament in the June elections. In Italy, the Green Party does not yet plan to reach the 4% necessary to obtain a seat in the European Parliament.

In Germany, the party tries to erase an image of ideologues in the face of popular vindictiveness

The environmentalists are around 14% of voting intentions, which is their usual level. But they are on the defensive and the party strategists are banking on security, rather than on the fear of climate change as in 2019. It is a question of trying to erase the image of a party of prohibition, of donors of lessons.

The heating law came into force on 1er January, wanting to impose heat pumps in future housing has reinforced this reputation. Especially since Germany is one of the countries where electricity prices are the highest in Europe and has suffered greatly from the surge in prices. Many consumers blame the hefty bills, with annual catch-ups of several hundred euros, on environmentalists.

They are known for having pushed for the exit from nuclear power, completed a year ago, and revelations from the magazine Pica, last month, tend to prove that the Ministry of the Economy, led by the Green Robert Habeck, ignored expert opinions, studies according to which the lifespan of the power plants could have been extended, which would have had the effect effect of stabilizing prices. The opposition therefore accuses them of lies. And since then, the Greens have been seen even more as ideologues who care little or not about the social consequences of their policies.

The head of the list is an unknown person, Terry Reintke, MEP since 2014. She is campaigning on military aid to Ukraine, which does not necessarily go down well in a country and a party with a pacifist tradition. The campaign is also against the risk of fascists, with on their posters a young woman in a demonstration carrying a sign with a crossed out swastika. The far-right leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) has said he wants to see Europe die, and the environmentalists, who present themselves as a pro-European party, are the No. 1 target of vindictiveness popular. Attacks against politicians have surged and almost half of the attacks recorded by the police, ranging from bullets found in the mail to stone-throwing cars, target “Grünen” candidates.

In Italy, concerns other than ecology, despite repeated floods and droughts

In Italy, the environmentalist list is not very successful. If we are to believe the polls, she is credited with 3.7% of voting intentions, a score below the 4% necessary to send deputies to Strasbourg. This low score can be explained, among other things, because other groups on the left, with a much larger audience, support the ecological discourse. This is the case of the social democrats, in 2e place in the polls.

Furthermore, ecology is not a big concern in Italy. The campaign focuses on corruption cases in the region, on the exercise of power by Giorgia Meloni and on social issues, in a country where the average salary is very low. When there was the farmers’ protest, the parties in power spoke out against a European ecological policy deemed too intrusive. Yet the Mediterranean is on the front line of climate change. In Italy, extreme episodes of flooding, due to very heavy rains, and droughts increased last year. And it continues.

But so far, apart from a plan to develop renewable energies, for which Italy is not so badly placed, Giorgia Meloni has not mobilized her troops to further reduce dependence on fossil fuels. It is about the return of nuclear power in a country which abandoned it after Chernobyl and Fukushima. But it’s not for tomorrow. And on the issue of housing or automobiles for example, the priority is rather to protect sectoral interests than to impose new rules in the face of climate change.

source site-25