When Andrea invited me for a lunch to discuss his newest ideas, I never thought it would result in such a drastic change for me. In fact, I just thought it would result in a free lunch. But, you know what they say: there is no such thing as a free lunch.
A little more than a year later, I’ve moved to another continent, I’ve gathered speeding tickets all across Europe, I’ve spent nights on the floor of people’s flats I’ve met the same day (thanks Volt NL :-), and I am unsure about where my free time has gone – but I don’t mind at all. Actually, I am extremely happy about it.
And here are the reasons why.
Volt is needed. I am writing this blog post in a cafe in Warsaw, where we are preparing for the meeting of the young Polish team. As we were walking towards this cafe today, we passed the former Ghetto. As a German in Poland this is a powerful reminder for me on how vital it is that nationalist tendencies should be countered. Volt’s idea on how to do this is rather simple and compelling: Excite people who pragmatically want things to be better, both in politics and society; create the political platform for them to be able to improve them; and build a credible counterforce to the political stagnation and the populist right-wing tide of AfD, Front National, Lega, etc. But not only populism demands swift action. There are many more issues ranging from old age poverty, youth unemployment, climate change, inefficient administrations, immigration, to discrimination that require attention. This movement for me is about the aim to make better political decisions, propose better policies to relieve the suffering of so many in our society and improve life for all. This movement is about making a change.
Volt is passionate. The meeting tonight will be organized by a new, small, and active group of people in Warsaw, and it will be impressive to see how these new Volters will again engage with strangers, how they will share their passion and their will for change. Over the last year, I saw this happening multiple times in different places, and I am extremely happy that so many of us got inspired to spend our time, thoughts, creativity, and passion for something that is - in the end - driven by a positive hope for society. Whatever happens, this is the first success for Volt – having provided a productive platform for passionate people to take up responsibility for their society.
Volt is focused. On our trip here in Warsaw, we have Mike with us, our technical guru (Mike prefers Director of Technology, but honestly, I prefer guru). Mike is convinced that this will work, that Volt will work. I am generally a sceptic, but this time I am with Mike. I believe that Volt will work and I would not be spending time on it if I would doubt that. I truly believe that if we continue to follow our idea with passion, we will improve the lives of many across the continent. We will gather the necessary crowd, raise the necessary funds, acquire the necessary knowledge, find amazing MEP candidates, run an impressive campaign, enter the European Parliament and build the structures that will carry us well beyond 2019.
So, this is my view on Volt after a year. I could not be happier about having had that first lunch. I could not be happier about the people I met, starting from Andrea and Colombe to Hanna, Magda, Philipp, Eileen, Boris, Dominik, Natalia, and Mike from the Polish startup team – and every one of you I had the chance to meet over the last year. If like me, you believe that we can actually open a positive chapter of the history books, and that we can make a difference for those who are suffering, get on your feed and dig deep into whatever work you are currently doing for Volt. Then, think about how we could do it better. Help Andrea and me build a pan-European party that is worth existing, that brings about real change.