The European Parliament elections on May 26 made it clear that Germany’s young generation is far more interested in politics than many had believed. Indeed, almost 20 million young Germans turned out to cast their ballot, causing a minor political earthquake.
Germany’s established centrist parties, the Social Democrats (SPD) and Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which constitute the country’s governing coalition, garnered far fewer votes than they had hoped for, while the environmentalist Greens triumphed, being far the most popular party among German voters aged 18 to 30.
Many observers now wonder whether this electoral result signals the rise of new political generation, comparable to Germany’s counterculture movement of the late 1960s, which questioned many of the country’s postwar values and customs.
Today’s environmentalist generation similarly appears to seek to revolutionize German politics and set a whole new policy agenda.