The European Green Wave

The environment may have been the real winner of the European elections last week.

Overall the centre has been squeezed, resulting in a high degree of fragmentation: populist parties won in Italy, the United Kingdom and France while voters were also seen to swing from the centre to the Greens and Liberals. 69 Green Party MEPs were voted into the European Parliament, a growth of 40% since the last election and to a 9% position. This has secured enough seats to make itself a valuable partner in any pro-EU functioning coalition.

The Green Party won its best result in Germany, with 20.5% of the votes (10.7% in 2014). In France the Europe Ecologie Les Verts party came third, behind Marine Le Pen movement and Macron’s governing party but well ahead of the traditional left and right parties. In the UK, the Green Party won its best electoral performance since 1989 polling 12% and in Ireland the Greens won 15% of the votes. Important to note that the ‘Green wave’ has registered little in Eastern Europe as well as southern countries like Spain and Italy.

The youth mobilization for climate change over the past few months, including protests and school strikes across Europe, has been reflected in the polls where the 18-25 year age group voted green more than any other party. But it’s not just the youth vote, with 48% of German voters naming climate change and the environment as the biggest issues concerning them, more than any other (migration was stated only by a quarter of voters). Overall across Europe, according to an Ipsos poll from April, 77% of potential voters identified climate change as an important criteria for their voting decisions.

We believe what we’re witnessing is increasing appreciation, support and urgency over environmental and climate issues. How this manifests into changes in law and regulation remains to be seen, but it increases the importance of analyzing the long-term environmental risks and opportunities faced by each investment.

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