Nordic Green Left Alliance: Creation, Agenda & Influence

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  • 0:01 Nordic Green Left
  • 0:32 History
  • 2:03 Politics
  • 4:04 Performance
  • 4:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson, we explore the European political party the Nordic Green Left Alliance, including its formation, current political stance, and performance.

Nordic Green Left

Sometimes it's impossible to do something by yourself, like having a debate or moving a couch. Sometimes you just need some help. Well, the same can be said for two left-wing political parties in Europe who failed to make a splash in European politics on their own: the European United Left and the Nordic Green Left. Though the two parties come together for election purposes, they still remain distinct organizations. In this lesson, we will explore the history and politics of one of these parties: the Nordic Green Left.

History

The creation of the Nordic Green Left was a direct result of the enlargement of the European Union in 1995. In that year, the EU added Austria, Finland, and Sweden to bring the total amount of EU countries to 15. Both Sweden and Finland supported parties which were far to the left of traditional EU politics. The addition of Sweden and Finland and these new leftist parties added weight to the relatively small group of leftist parties already in the EU, represented by the European United Left. The new parties from Scandinavia resolved to join forces with their leftist compatriots already in the EU for election purposes in 1995. At the behest of these new Scandinavian parties, the parliamentary group was renamed the European United Left/Nordic Green Left in 1995.

In the years immediately after the formation of the Nordic Green Left, other parties joined the alliance, such as socialist and communist parties in Denmark, a Scandinavian country that had already been an EU member before 1995. Four years after the incorporation of Finland, Sweden, and the Nordic Green Left parties, these newcomers tested their election mettle in their first parliamentary elections. Along with allies in the European United Left, the parliamentary group won 4.9% of the popular vote, garnering 42 seats in the European Parliament - the fifth most of all parties. Though only the fifth largest party, the modest showing ensured the Nordic Green Left a spot at the negotiating table in many of the affairs of EU governance.

Politics

One of the most important principles the Nordic Green Left and its parliamentary group are based on is confederalism. Confederalism is a form of government in which an overarching central government exists as a confederation of smaller member groups, including countries, states, or cities; these smaller member groups control the central confederation. Though this is not in and of itself a radical opinion - indeed, the European Union itself is a confederation of a sort - the Nordic Green Left party utilizes confederalism as one of its guiding principles. This means that the Nordic Green Left party claims to respect the opinions of all its delegates and members, respecting the diversity that is inherent in a truly supranational party.

The Nordic Green Left party has never garnered enough votes or seats to have a major say in European politics, and the party claims that the institutions of the European Union have yet to fully represent the values and needs of Europeans. The Nordic Green Left Party believes all Europeans want an egalitarian Europe, which welcomes increased national integration and acts as a single unit. According to the Nordic Green Left Party, the current policy and direction of EU politics stands in the way of this vision. For too long, they claim, EU politics has been based on market-oriented policy, which helps richer EU countries at the expense of poorer EU nations and third-world countries outside of Europe.

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