European Greens present united front

The new party wants to promote green politics across Europe.

Green parties across Europe have joined forces under a single banner for the first time in a bid to boost their political standing.

This content was published on February 23, 2004 minutes

The European Green Party was founded in the Italian capital, Rome, and groups together parties from 29 countries, including the Swiss Green Party.

The alliance was formed ahead of European Union expansion in May, when ten new countries, mostly from eastern Europe, will join the bloc.

Members hope that a common manifesto will give them more political clout across the continent.

One of their main aims is to increase the Greens’ influence in new EU member states, where they often have little support.

“For the Greens to move forward, they must present themselves as one party with common policies,” Ueli Leuenberger, parliamentarian and vice-president of the Swiss Green Party, told swissinfo.

European elections

Members hope a unified party will help the Greens in June’s elections to the European Parliament.

Green politicians currently hold 44 out of the 626 European Parliament seats, and they are aiming to win around 50 this time.

European Greens will be campaigning under one slogan and three candidates will represent a different country to their own to illustrate their policy on borderless politics.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-president of the Greens in the European Parliament, told participants that they had created the first united European party and he called on members to unify over policies.

“European politics cannot just be internal politics cobbled together,” he said.

Common policies

The European Green Party’s main themes include safeguarding the environment, promoting democracy and campaigning for peace.

But in order to work under a single manifesto, members will have to agree on a number of key issues which have split Greens from various countries in the past.

One potential problem area is Europe’s role in the Middle East. But Leuenberger says there has been some progress on another tricky issue: European Union membership.

“In the past, EU membership left Greens divided in Europe. But, after a series of strong debates, all but a few have come out pro-EU, including the Swiss Green Party.”

Also on the party’s agenda is shaping policy on genetically modified food.


Key facts

Green parties from all 15 EU member countries, seven incoming EU members (not Poland, Lithuania or Slovenia) have joined the European Green Party.
A further seven countries have also become members: Switzerland; Russia; Ukraine; Georgia; Romania; Bulgaria; Norway.
The party was founded during the European Green Party Congress in Rome on Saturday.

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