A Greta Thunberg Effect in the EU Election

People protesting for a green planet

writer icon Wilma Johansson     Markus Spiske   |   Sustainability     🕐 28. May. 2019

The recent EU-election saw many voters inspired to cast their votes for the environment. The inspiration generated, left many speaking of a ‘Greta Thunberg effect’ in election results. A green wave so to speak.

EU election influence
Greta Thunberg, the young Swede who has inspired millions of youth to speak up against climate change, may have steered the course of the EU election towards a greener EU future.

The green parties that were represented in the election, within different EU country party systems, amassed votes at an unprecedented rate.

Greta Thunberg effect
Greta's effects on the political climate have been well-documented. For example, in the motivation for winning a prestigious German award recently, she was hailed for becoming "an icon of a new youth and protest movement within a very short time as a climate activist", also serving as the main inspiration behind why "hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren and students from all over the world take to the streets to persuade politicians to take action." 

Greta has, for her climate activist efforts in school strikes for the climate, also been nominated for the Nobel peace price.

Divisive yet significant
As a whole, green votes increased by a whopping 40 percent in the election, and it has been suggested that many young votes came as a direct consequence of green party agendas that focuses on carbon emissions.

However there were some differences in how EU member countries cast their votes: greens garnered more votes in northern and western EU, while eastern and southern member states saw some success, but not  to the same extent.

The votes were however also indicative of a rise in right-wing popularity and nationalism, when spread out across the board, with election results leaving 25 percent of EU parliament positions held by far-right wing representatives.

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