Our mapping of policies is out! Wow, this has been quite a ride, more than 200 volunteers from all over Europe worked on it. Let me quickly guide you through the process that led us here!
How do you come up with a pan-European political identity?
When we founded Volt, our goal was clear: to really change things for the better, while changing the way politics is done. Key to achieving the first part of that goal was to create an evidence-based programme. But how do you create coherent policies in as vast and diverse a region as Europe, across different nations and localities? Here is how we decided to go about it:
- Policies are first created at the European level, under our 5+1 challenges. Those are broad guidelines that leave room for adaptation.
- National chapters translate, adapt, prioritize and if needed create new policies. National chapters also conduct financial assessments of our policies. National policies have to be consistent with European guidelines and with other countries: countries can reach a goal in different ways, but they cannot directly contradict one another.
- Any policy created at any level has to comply with our fundamental values, be evidence-based when evidence exists, and have a ‘vulnerability check’ (meaning verifying the impact it would have on the part of the population it would impact the most). Finally, it should follow best practices when possible: we never pretend we know everything but look at what works, how we can implement it, or whether we need a drastically different solution.
- All of our policies follow the process we set out as a movement, to ensure that Volters can vote and express their opinion.
Ok, but how did that work in practice?
For this reason, we started to work on a set of policies that would depict accurately who we are, from the moment we started the movement. We had countless discussions, debates, rounds of comments, and follow ups.
We presented a first draft at our General Assembly in October 2017, discussed and debated key issues, and filed amendments. We then realized that we did not yet have the capacity to finalize it, so our teams started working on what we called “flagship policies,” which showcased in some detail our stance on key issues.
We presented them and voted on them at our winter retreat in January 2018 in Bucharest. It was then time to develop a more holistic document.
Our European policy team thus worked on this mapping of policies document, which was written by around 200 volunteers from across the continent, with the input from a range of experts, and was drafted to provide guidelines for Volt's national chapters to craft programmes and ensure consistency. Just try to imagine volunteers from all age-groups, backgrounds, nationalities etc discussing the most divisive topics, and yet always coming to an agreement at the end. How is that possible? For the simple reason that every Volter is there for the same reason – to change the future of Europe - and we may not always agree at first on the means to achieve it, but we agree on the aim. This is translated in practice by always reaching a compromise and finding a solution despite discussing extremely hot topics.
This document was commented upon, movement-wide calls were held, and each policy was voted upon separately before an overall vote took place. It is still a constantly evolving work: our members are filing amendments, we are organizing rounds of consultations with other experts and continuing to work to improve it.
Wondering what we are doing now?
Our national teams are working incredibly hard to adapt it, and the European team will condense this very long and thorough document into key messages, to make it more digestible. In addition, our European team will start working on a document of what we will do if elected at the European Parliament elections of May 2019: it will consist of priorities, and issues we can tackle in this particular institution.
Looking back, what we achieved is incredible: 200 people from all over Europe and from all backgrounds worked together on a document laying down principles and broad provisions for almost every topic, and pledge to adapt it at home in a consistent manner. To me, it is a testament that Europe works! Volt is truly a pan-European movement, working beyond borders and standing under one umbrella to change the way politics is done, and the future of our continent and countries.
Do you want to change things for the better as well? Join us, we need your help!
Colombe, for the Policy Team