What is the future of political parties in Europe and specifically in Denmark in the backdrop of U.K’s exit from European Union in next two years.
Niko Grünfeld, member of Alternativet party in Denmark talks to Greater CPH POST about the upcoming challenges and opportunities for a new political party to take their message to the masses.
The Alternativet party was publicly launched on 27 November 2013 by former Minister of Culture Uffe Elbæk and Josephine Fock, both of whom had been Members of Parliament for the Social Liberal Party. In last general elections of 2015, Alternativet party contested for the first time and won nine seats in the parliament with over 150,000 votes.
Niko Grünfeld is currently working in Danish parliament, on behalf of Alternativet. Niko has been on the Alternativet party from the beginning. He has actively participated in the central board for two terms as treasurer. He has also helped in creating six local neighborhood associations around Copenhagen, and is currently a candidate for the upcoming elections for the Copenhagen City Councilor.
How do you see the current situation in European politics and what is the future of political parties in your view?
I’m both worried and hopeful over the current political situation post Brexit and Trump Administration. We don’t know how the future will look like but we know it has to be inclusive of all people and not vice versa. We want to take forward the debate on solving the issues rather than creating fear of it. We have to stand to universally accepted values.
Democracy needs to be rethink and our success and popularity in such a quick time in Denmark shows that people need new ways to be governed and not repeating old ways of public administration, policy development and politics.
Alternativet party has currently nine seats in the parliament’s opposition benches, How has the party performed in its early political life?
We learned a lot from our experiences in working with the government from opposition benches. We have been able to make important progress within Danish political scene by introducing effective green solution policies.
We strengthened our party by creating local connections through our presence at the parliament. We have come a long way in our pursuit of political journey when we first started three years ago at our living rooms, discussing about the legislature changes needed in Denmark at the top level.
What changes Alternativet party had been advocating in last three years?
Alternativet is a party that has the courage to imagine a radically different future. We started in Denmark with strong cultural and political ties with the other Nordic countries, so Alternativet is more than a party. It is a political movement and a cultural voice.
Since last three years under the platform of Alternativet we have been working to regain a dynamic balance with ourselves and the planet we live on. It will require that we have the courage to challenge the current growth concept and the economy understanding compared to current prevailing systems.
We are the party that prioritizes developing serious transition scenarios – environmentally, economically, socially and culturally.
As one of the first tasks taken by the party was creating a social, open, diverse and networked digital and physical platform where knowledge, contacts and political role model examples can be shared and developed.
We also have international offices now in Europe extending our political message not just in Denmark but globally. We are in part of collaboration with other colleagues from political parties across Nordic countries as well as European nations in developing inter-connected policies in the field of environment, economy and empowerment. We like to support further the prospects of alliance of political parties within European Union.
What role of immigration, migration and refugees you see at Denmark going forward?
As things are going right now, I don’t know. The role of politicians, media practitioners and the public in large have become very important in terms of how political statements are made and distributed on various media platforms, especially the phenomena of using twitter and viral videos in political discourse.
We cannot be using intense rhetoric to complicated problems. The importance of collective efforts is required by developing trust and respect among everyone. Introducing new economic and social paradigms that addresses the current global inequality.
Politicians should be fair in providing public service through implementing difficult decisions over popular one’s, and make regulations that benefits everyone. We strongly support human’s right of free movement and make Denmark a safe place for everyone.
How can international people living in Denmark or abroad can contact and support Alternativet?
We are always looking for more diverse, open and attentive conversation and a political culture that builds a democratic bridge between citizens and elected representatives. We have over 11,000 members, 595 elected representatives, 10 MPs, seven town heads. And we want to grow more.
Our website is very dynamic and intensive that has all the basic information about how anybody can contact with us in various fields. We have also setup a dedicated English language web portal to assist internationals to be aware about our mission purpose and feel free to connect with us.