By Ernst John Kaars Sijpesteijn and Hugo Swinnen

What a weekend! The last spurt of the campaign to get everyone to vote in the European Parliament elections took place Friday 31 May and the first days of June. In many European countries seniors and grandparents joined in solidarity with all the European Grandparents for Climate associations across Europe. Whistles were blown simultaneously last Friday at noon in front of the Houses of Parliament and Climate Marches took place in most of the member countries. All actions were aimed at motivating to vote for future generations in the upcoming EU elections from 6-9 June 2024.

In Brussels, in The Hague, in Lübeck, in Copenhagen, in Munich, Vienna, Stockholm, Helsinki, Bern, Leiden and other cities grandparents blew their whistles as a sign that it is most urgent to vote in the EU elections, and to vote for adequate climate policies. The future of all coming generations is at stake!

Some of us marched in heatwaves, others were fighting heavy masses of rain. With severe flooding taking place in southern Germany, it was a clear reminder of what we are fighting for!

Brussels (BE)

In Brussels nearly one hundred people called to vote for nature, as nature cannot vote for itself. Also younger generations cannot vote for their future, therefore those who can should vote for them. Both Belgian Grandparents pour le Climat and Grootouders voor het Klimaat met 20 yards away from the European Parliament and gave a rousing version of Beethoven’s 9th (Ode an die Freude): “Let’s sing for a greener Europe, let’s sing for a greener world”. The police then allowed them onto the esplanade in front of the parliament for some photos as long as they didn’t sing and wake up the European deputies. There were plenty of on-lookers including media who listened to the call to repel attempts by right-wing parties to dilute the Green Deal, and support the new parliamentarians that want to do more for the climate.

See the press here and here

Stockholm and Solna (SE)

In Stockholm, Sweden, grandparents were walking and whistling from the prime minister’s residence to the Parliament, where at noon they whistled once again.

In Solna another Swedish group of seniors, Greta’s Oldies stood in the main square at noon. Good to know that they won the biggest Environmental Prize from the town council for being persistent and involving more and more people, organizations and corporations around Sweden.

Copenhagen (DK)

In Denmark 30 whistleblowing grandparents stood on the Parliament steps in Copenhagen. They were joined by two Belgian GPC members. It was a great day for action. See the two videos of the action here and here

Helsinki (FI)

The wake-up call of Finnish Climate Grandparents and Activist Grannies took place on the steps of the Finnish Parliament at the end of their weekly Friday demonstration. The weather was exceptionally hot at 28°, as the whole month of May had been absolutely the hottest May in the measured history of Finland. On Sunday 2nd of June grandparents participated in Helsinki in the “More Voice (or Noise?) – Lisää Ääntä” Climate March which was organized in several cities in Finland. The right-wing government doesn’t take the necessary climate actions, actually the opposite and that’s why they were shouting: HALLITUS EI KUULE – LISÄÄ ÄÄNTÄ! = THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T HEAR – MORE VOICE! For nature, for the forests, for the children – MORE VOICE!

Bern (CH)

Grandparents for Climate Switzerland, with Les Aînées pour le Climat Suisse, put on a good show in Bern on May 31 despite the rain. As well as whistle blowing in front of the Swiss Federal Parliament they gave out voting booth book marks. 2.3 million Swiss citizens have the right to vote in the European elections, more voters than in some of the EU countries.

The Hague, Amsterdam, Leiden (NL)

The Dutch Grandparents for Climate were active in front of the Dutch Parliament at noon, joined by passing by youth (see here) and also in Leiden. In Amsterdam many grandparents participated in the Climate March, which was reported on by the Dutch newspaper “het Parool”. On Dutch public television our ambassador Margriet Vrooman was present in “Tijd voor MAX” with a splendid interview. (See here)

Vienna (AT)

In Vienna a few die-hards braved the pouring rain to make their voices heard and call for participation in the European election. Even grandchildren were present to underline what is at stake.

Munich and Lübeck (DE)

At Munich the European Whistling Concert assembled three local groups of the Omas for Future  for their first joint adventure. 

In front of the Bayerische Staatskanzlei they braved the weather. It was raining cats and dogs, but the whistles worked! After singing the European anthem together, they marched on to take part in the Climate Strike demonstration of the For Future Groups at the Königsplatz with 2000 people despite the weather. 

In Lübeck Omas for future blew their whistles too.