People-powered change – an interview with party chairman of Volt Nederland Laurens Dassen

By Kirsten Overboom

The new pan-European, progressive movement Volt has established itself in Amsterdam and other cities in the Netherlands ever since june 2018. With the European parliamentary elections coming up this May it is about time to get to know this somewhat different party, so we contacted its chairman, Laurens Dassen.

Change is what they strive for, but it is also what created the party. Big changes such as the ever decreasing amount of youngsters that are politically active and the ever growing support for anti-European movements, resulting in phenomenons such as the Brexit, sparked the creation of Volt. Laurens explains that the party wants to improve the political system from within. With the global challenges we face politics needs to change, especially at the European level according to Laurens. One big obstacle however, is the still defining role of national politics in the European system. To overcome this, Volt reaches out to citizens unbound by national boundaries.

So how does it work? Uniquely the party is active in all member states of Europe with a singular programme, the declaration of Amsterdam. To prevent the party from being unable to react to change, they use a ‘grassroots’ approach, meaning that the debate at a local level is taken into account at the European level. One monthly event, hosted in about 70 cities at once, ensures meaningful discussion at all levels and in all member states. By doing so Volt aims to produce rational solutions to European problems. According to Laurens, citizens are nowadays focused on specific cross-national problems such as climate or migration.These kind of problems have nothing to do with whether politics should be left or right, but with finding the best solution.

Taking on the political system as a whole might come off as an ambitious plan. Despite that, their support is growing, not only amongst youngsters, making it a full-fledged opponent of traditional parties. In a few months we will know whether Europe’s chooses change or tradition. Let’s vote!

 

 

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