/When Volt meets its audience

When Volt meets its audience

The pan-European movement Volt held political debates in Rotterdam and in various other Dutch cities every week. A meeting that enables citizens to discuss their political opinions directly with the members of the movement and to better understand their goals.

Despite only few people turning up, Volt has big hopes for the future. This young political movement was created in 2017. It spread in every EU country and its members are now running for seats in the European Parliament. The upcoming European elections in May 2019 will be their first electoral challenge and first test. Still not very well-known for now, the movement organizes events all around Europe to gain members.

This Thursday, the 10th of January in Rotterdam, the room is almost empty: three members of Volt, four journalists, one French man really interested in the movement and two Dutch students are present at the meeting. “We are usually around 15 members,” highlights Reyhan Cigdem, a young Dutch woman involved in Volt. She explains that she wants to present herself as number two of the party in the Netherlands.

This evening, the members of Volt Netherlands are reviewing the programme of the party: the Amsterdam Declaration. This text signed in 2002 states the fundamental principles of modern humanism and is supported by several humanist organizations in Europe. “The goal of the Amsterdam Declaration is more or less to fix the European Union,” underlines Eric Versteegh, a newly arrived member of Volt Nederland.

Friendly and welcoming atmosphere

The public is invited to ask all the questions they want. The debate is about the organization of the European elections, the necessity to have or not to have a European army and the role of the media in the EU. Everybody can react and give its opinion, in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. There is no place for judging, but only for sharing and expressing one’s thoughts.

The Volt members also debate between them. There is a lot of hopes and goals in their sentences. “If I didn’t think it was possible, I wouldn’t have started being engaged,” explains Reyhan Cigdem. “It’s not going to be easy, but it’s not a reason to give up before we started. The Netherlands are a small country. What are we going to do alone? Europe really needs to stick together for changes.”

At the end, the French man, Cédric Deverchère, wants to know how to get engaged with the movement. He’s been living in the Netherlands for a year and a half and has heard about Volt on the radio.  “It’s time to act,” he says. “I’ve always been into politics. I would define myself as a centrist European, so when I’ve heard about Volt on the radio, I was interested. It’s still a bit early regarding the European elections but we’ll see how far the movement can go.”

Volt needs 25 seats in the European Parliament to make substantial changes at the European level. The political movement is still promoting its values in a lot of debates around the Netherlands, trying to gain more supporters.

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