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Merkel's EPP, Likely Winners Of EU Election, Ranked Worst Europarty For Climate Issues

Category: Energy & Environment,Finance

An EU election campaign poster for Manfred Weber, lead candidate for the European Peoples Party (EPP)  to become the next EU Commission President (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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EU citizens will go to the polls next month to vote for their representatives in the European Parliament, a vote that will also determine the next EU Commission President and their team of commissioners.

Ahead of the election, various interest groups are assessing how Europe’s political parties stack up on their issue. Today, the environmental NGO Climate Action Network published a ranking examining the climate policies of the EU’s eight political families and their individual parties. And the center-right European Peoples Party (EPP), the largest group in the European Parliament, has been deemed a “climate dinosaur”.

Only the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the alliance between the British Conservatives and Eastern European far-right parties formed in 2009, scored lower than the EPP.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the European Green Party, which is allied with separatist parties including Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party, scored at the top of the ranking. They were followed by the far-left GUE group and the center-left Socialists & Democrats.

Climate Action Network Europe

The ALDE group of Liberals came in the middle – narrowly beaten by Nigel Farage’s Europe of Freedom and Democracy. Though the EFDD contains many climate change deniers from the UK, its score was significantly raised by the inclusion of Italy’s Five Star Movement, which has been active on fighting climate change.

The europarties, collections of national parties, have fielded lead candidates to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the European Commission. In theory, the candidate from the europarty that receives the most votes in next month’s election will become the next EU president. According to opinion polls, that is set to be Manfred Weber from the EPP.

“The low score of the EPP, the largest group in the European Parliament, is the most shocking result and reflects the fact that on the most important decisions on EU climate and energy legislation they have shown a complete lack of support for climate action,” the report states. The EPP includes Angela Merkel’s CDU, Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael, Viktor Orban's Fidesz and Austria's Sebastian Kurz. Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani are also members.

“Only a few Western and Northern European EPP parliamentarians, particularly from Portugal, Finland, Belgium and the Netherlands acknowledge the need for more climate action," the report states. "These parliamentarians will need to convince the true dinosaurs who are currently dragging the group down. At the bottom of the list, the Polish Civic Platform and the Italian Forza Italia score deplorable 3.8% and 10.7%, respectively.”

National scores

The report also ranks individual national parties. In the UK, Labour is deemed to be a “climate defender” while the Tories are deemed to be dinosaurs. The Liberal Democrats are labelled “climate delayers”.

Ireland’s political parties all score poorly, with Sinn Fein deemed a delayer and Fine Gael and Fianna Fail labelled as dinosaurs. In France, the far left scores highest while Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party is labelled a delayer. The Greens, Pirates and SPD come out on top in Germany, while the CDU and FDP are deemed dinosaurs. The Five Star Movement topped the ranking in Italy, while their coalition partners Lega came last with the lowest score in all of Europe.

Europe’s other far-right parties, such as Front National, Alternative for Germany, the UK Independence Party, the Party for Freedom, Fidesz and Vlaams Belang, all came at the very bottom of the ranking Europe-wide. This is with the notable exception of the Finns Party, which came in second in a general election in Finland this weekend. They were deemed climate delayers, with a relatively high score of almost 40%.

All to play for

This year’s European election could be one of the most unpredictable in years. A poll and report released today by the European Council on Foreign Relations shows that of those who will definitely turn out in May’s elections, 70% are swing voters who are not yet committed to any one party.

Council director Mark Leonard says the polling shows that contrary to recent media portrayals, the European electorate is in a “volatile rather than polarised state”.

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An EU election campaign poster for Manfred Weber, lead candidate for the European Peoples Party (EPP)  to become the next EU Commission President (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Getty

EU citizens will go to the polls next month to vote for their representatives in the European Parliament, a vote that will also determine the next EU Commission President and their team of commissioners.

Ahead of the election, various interest groups are assessing how Europe’s political parties stack up on their issue. Today, the environmental NGO Climate Action Network published a ranking examining the climate policies of the EU’s eight political families and their individual parties. And the center-right European Peoples Party (EPP), the largest group in the European Parliament, has been deemed a “climate dinosaur”.

Only the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the alliance between the British Conservatives and Eastern European far-right parties formed in 2009, scored lower than the EPP.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the European Green Party, which is allied with separatist parties including Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party, scored at the top of the ranking. They were followed by the far-left GUE group and the center-left Socialists & Democrats.

Climate Action Network Europe

The ALDE group of Liberals came in the middle – narrowly beaten by Nigel Farage’s Europe of Freedom and Democracy. Though the EFDD contains many climate change deniers from the UK, its score was significantly raised by the inclusion of Italy’s Five Star Movement, which has been active on fighting climate change.

The europarties, collections of national parties, have fielded lead candidates to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the European Commission. In theory, the candidate from the europarty that receives the most votes in next month’s election will become the next EU president. According to opinion polls, that is set to be Manfred Weber from the EPP.

“The low score of the EPP, the largest group in the European Parliament, is the most shocking result and reflects the fact that on the most important decisions on EU climate and energy legislation they have shown a complete lack of support for climate action,” the report states. The EPP includes Angela Merkel’s CDU, Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael, Viktor Orban's Fidesz and Austria's Sebastian Kurz. Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani are also members.

“Only a few Western and Northern European EPP parliamentarians, particularly from Portugal, Finland, Belgium and the Netherlands acknowledge the need for more climate action," the report states. "These parliamentarians will need to convince the true dinosaurs who are currently dragging the group down. At the bottom of the list, the Polish Civic Platform and the Italian Forza Italia score deplorable 3.8% and 10.7%, respectively.”

National scores

The report also ranks individual national parties. In the UK, Labour is deemed to be a “climate defender” while the Tories are deemed to be dinosaurs. The Liberal Democrats are labelled “climate delayers”.

Ireland’s political parties all score poorly, with Sinn Fein deemed a delayer and Fine Gael and Fianna Fail labelled as dinosaurs. In France, the far left scores highest while Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party is labelled a delayer. The Greens, Pirates and SPD come out on top in Germany, while the CDU and FDP are deemed dinosaurs. The Five Star Movement topped the ranking in Italy, while their coalition partners Lega came last with the lowest score in all of Europe.

Europe’s other far-right parties, such as Front National, Alternative for Germany, the UK Independence Party, the Party for Freedom, Fidesz and Vlaams Belang, all came at the very bottom of the ranking Europe-wide. This is with the notable exception of the Finns Party, which came in second in a general election in Finland this weekend. They were deemed climate delayers, with a relatively high score of almost 40%.

All to play for

This year’s European election could be one of the most unpredictable in years. A poll and report released today by the European Council on Foreign Relations shows that of those who will definitely turn out in May’s elections, 70% are swing voters who are not yet committed to any one party.

Council director Mark Leonard says the polling shows that contrary to recent media portrayals, the European electorate is in a “volatile rather than polarised state”.


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