EU greens study elections results

European green groups have called on members of the new European Parliament to remain in the forefront of setting ambitious global climate change and 2030 energy policy goals after EU parliamentary polls in which the French far-right and British eurosceptics made strong gains.

Norwegian non-governmental organisation Bellona says the European parliament has a record of being the most ambitious EU institution within the fields of climate change and energy – sentiments echoed by other groups keen to maintain the green traditions of the assembly.

Europe is reeling after eurosceptic and far-right parties delivered a rebuke to Brussels with France’s National Front and Britain’s UKIP leading the pack of anti-EU parties.  Headlines read “earthquake” in Europe after a day of trauma for the establishment parties. 

The latest projections give the centre-right European People’s Party 214 seats in the 751 seat assembly, with the Socialists on 189 and the ALDE Liberals 66, followed by the Greens on 52.  The anti-EU vote will produce about 140 seats in all, giving them a much stronger voice in the new assembly.

European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso put the best gloss on the outcome, stressing that combined, the pro-EU camp of the centre-right, centre-left and Liberals would still have “a very solid and workable majority in the European Parliament”. 

Rebecca Harms, president of the Greens-European Free Alliance (EFA) in the parliament, says the party had stabilised its position in Europe doing better than expected in some countries, and not so well in others.  The party gained seats in Austria, the UK, Sweden, Hungary and Croatia.

In the UK the Green Party pushed the Liberal Democrats into fifth place in the elections for the first time. The party finished with three MEPs, elected with nearly 8% of the national vote, ahead of the Lib Dems which ended up with less than 7%.

Green MEPs Keith Taylor, representing South East England, and Jean Lambert, for London, retained their seats, while Molly Scott Cato was elected for South West England for the first time.

“While the composition of the parliament’s political groups will only be finalised in the coming weeks, it is clear the Greens-EFA group will remain an important player. This gives us a clear mandate to push for our policies to be implemented at EU level, notably on future EU energy policy,  EU-US trade negotiations and social justice, which are top of the agenda,” says Harms.

In February the parliament took a much stronger stance than the European Commission on 2030 energy targets, calling for a binding 40% cut in CO2 emissions,  a 30% renewables target and a 40% target for energy efficiency.  The Commission’s current proposal for a 27% renewables target has met with considerable criticism from industry and NGOs for a lack of ambition.