The fledgling social movement, Neo Kyma–The Other Cyprus, will contest the 2023 presidential elections with its own candidate, in collaboration with Volt Europa.
Volt Europa is an integrationist, pan-European political movement, with which Neo Kyma (New Wave) will merge after the elections, to create the political party Volt Cyprus.
The candidate that will represent the collaboration has not been decided yet, although there is speculation it will be Neo Kyma’s general coordinator, Constantinos Christofides, a physics professor who had served rector of the University of Cyprus.
Co-president of Volt Europa, Francesca Romana D’Antuono, said the two groups had decided to merge under the name Volt Cyprus, which would be the local branch of the pan-European movement.
“The first step of our collaboration is to jointly fight for a more progressive and fairer Cyprus by running in the presidential elections next year,” said D’Antuono.
Contesting the elections with Neo Kyma is part of Volt Europa’s plan to establish itself as political force in EU member states, to pursue its vision of “building a true European democracy”. Its goal is to get its own political faction in the European Parliament in 2024.
“Our goal is to have a positive impact in Cyprus and Europe together,” said the other co-president Reinier Van Lanschot. “That starts with integrating both our member bases and support during the presidential elections in Cyprus.”
He added that Volt Cyprus would be established and fully operational immediately after the presidential elections.
“With the same electoral programme, we will participate in as many countries as possible in the European elections in 2024. We will also run with a full list of candidates in Cyprus and have the goal to win at least one of the six Cypriot seats in the European Parliament.”
There are also plans to run in Cyprus’ parliamentary and municipal elections.
“To make a difference in European politics we also need to get elected to national parliaments, where the inertia is the strongest,” said Van Lanschot. “This is how Volt operates everywhere in Europe; that’s how we aim to unite Europe and overcome the transnational challenges of the 21st century.”
Currently Volt has 80 elected officials in five countries, including members in the national parliaments of the Netherlands and Bulgaria as well as one member of the European Parliament.
Neo Kyma and Volt signed the memorandum of understanding that set in motion their collaboration last November. Christofides had said the MoU was signed “because we share the same values for a federal Europe”.
These include a Europe with common borders, common foreign policy and common European army, with a common market and economy for the prosperity of all European citizens.
“The United States of Europe under a federal constitution is our common vision, as envisioned by Victor Hugo and many other European thinkers,” Christofides said.
In line with its federal thinking, Volt fully supported “a federal Cyprus within a federal Europe,” said D’Antuono.
“Turkish Cypriots are part of Cyprus and we see ourselves both as a pan-European, as well as a pan-Cypriot political party,” she said, while strongly condemning the continuing occupation of the north by Turkey.
“We would unreservedly welcome a united Cyprus as a member of the EU and we are in Cyprus to work towards this goal,” said D’Antuono.
Van Lanschot did not consider Cyprus too insular to embrace Volt’s integrationist vision. “We have met Cypriots with a clear vision of an innovative and progressive Cyprus within a strong European Union,” he said. “Cypriots have been very European and internationally focused.”
Given the island’s location and size, he felt it was in Cyprus’ best interest to have a strong European orientation. “We think Cyprus is more than ready not only for our vision, but for concrete change,” Van Lanschot concluded.
Volt believes European integration, under a stronger European Parliament with the power to propose laws and elect a European prime minister is the way forward for the union. “We believe that endless bilateral negotiations are not delivering the best results when it comes to tackling the challenges of our times,” said D’Antuono.
“How can a single member state confront Russia and China? How can we effectively fight climate change if much of the damage that a nation causes, does not only affect its own citizens and every nation on the planet makes the same egotistical calculation?”
She also highlighted the issue of refugees. “How easy it would be to distribute refugees fleeing war if everyone in Europe took their share. Instead, we see a dumping of responsibility and countries like Cyprus are left alone to deal with the phenomenon.”
As for the fears expressed of establishing a centralised, European super-state, Van Lanschot said Volt rejected the idea, claiming it was an argument used by nationalists “to demonise further integration of Europe in fields such as defence, energy, migration and social policy.”