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European elections to go to the greens?

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Katha Kloss

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The environmentalist MEPs came from all over Europe for the congress of the European green party from 27 - 29 March 2009. Following on from their debates, they voted for their manifesto, the Green New Deal, and French MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit officially launched the campaign

The campaign kicks off

The morning of 27 March in Brussels. Everyone is bustling about making the final preparations. For three days, the European parliament takes on the colours of the European green party.

The crisis demands a response from the Greens

Monica Frassoni is co-president of the the greens/ EFA group, (pictured centre). Vula Tsetsi, the group’s general secretary, and Pierre Jonckheer, vice-president, open the debate with the slogan ‘Much done, more to do’. ‘The banking, economical and social crisis caught us by surprise,’ says Jonckheer. Frassoni talks of a Eurobarometer with a catastrophic: ‘We’re very worried about the turnout in the European elections.’ With a ‘Forza ragazzi’, the leader opens up the discussion to the floor.

Eva Lichtenberger, Austrian MEP

‘We need to keep an eye on the turnout for the European elections. The most influential paper in Austria is running a campaign slating the EU. In our country, the level of eurosceptisism is getting formidably high.’

Anwar Mir Sattari, Iranian refugee and EU green member, lives in Belgium

‘In Iran, the greens are banned. Your can’t talk openly about nuclear power there.’

Marek Strandberg, Estonian greens (Eestimaa Rohelised)

‘Co-operating with neighbouring countries has helped us a lot and been very fruitful.’

German economist Sven Giegold, green newcomer

Giegold joined the greens in August 2008. A founding member of the German branch of Atacc, he is a candidate for the greens in the 2009 European elections. ‘It is important to know in what areas we’re making our decisions. People want solutions to the crisis. I think it’s especially important to state who should pay the bill. We need to make concrete statements and say how we plan to pay for our policies.’

Mayis Gulaliyer, green politician in Azerbaijan

It was the first time that Azerbadjan is present at the congress of the European green party. ‘Environmental questions are global questions. That’s why Azerbaijan is Europe’s problem!’

Green New Deal

The morning of 28 March. The last day sees some well-worn themes emerge in the auditorium on the third floor of the European parliament in Brussels. A green economy to tackle the crisis, the creation of green jobs, human rights… Some parts of the green’s manifesto spark debate - the Europe-wide fight against organised crime, for example. It's a subject that the Italian Frassoni stresses greatly before the delegates held up their little green cards to unanimously vote for the adoption of the 'Green New Deal'.

Cohn-Bendit: ‘Not for Germany, France, but for Europe’

‘I’m not standing as a candiate for Germany, or for France, but for Europe’, stresses Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-president of the group, in his euphoric speech launching the campaign, during which he switches between French, English and German.

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Translated from Europawahlen - alles im grünen Bereich?