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Green Primary

by afew Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 05:06:11 AM EST

The European Green Party is organizing a primary for the two posts of leaders of the cross-Europe campaign for the European Parliament elections next year. (Twitter hashtag #GreenPrimary).

Greens select four candidates to run in primaries ahead of 2014 elections | EurActiv

Four Green MEPs [in fact 3 MEPs and one ex-MEP - note by afew] are entering the race for two top positions in the EU elections campaign ahead of the vote in May 2014. 

On Thursday (7 November), the European Green Party (EGP) announced the four contenders who will take part in the primaries: French MEP and syndicalist José Bové; Italian MEP and co-chair of the European Green Party Monica Frassoni; German MEP and co-chair of the political group in the European Parliament Rebecca Harms; and German MEP Ska Keller.

Bové is arguably the most well-known among the contenders, but all contenders have a strong support in their home countries, party sources said. Ska Keller carries the nomination of the Federation of Young European Greens and has a profile that appeals to young participants in the online vote.

The candidates had to seek a nomination from a member organisation of the European Greens, as well as support of at least four member parties, to participate in the upcoming online vote. Frassoni got the support of five member parties, Harms and Keller from seven and José Bové secured the highest support with eight endorsements. [For lists of supporting parties, go here - afew].

The EGP requires the two candidates to come from different national member parties. This rules out having Rebecca Harms and Ska Keller runing as a tandem. Although the Greens traditionally have a man and a woman sharing lead positions, this is not a requirement, and the duo to lead the campaign could very well be two women.

Harms, Bové, Frassoni, Keller

What's this about? The Greens ran the first cross-EU campaign for the EP elections in 2009, and will do so again, with the added attraction of this primary open to all sympathisers. This is also a step towards designating their candidate for Commission President. On this point see:

EUobserver.com / Political Affairs / EU Greens launch US-style primary elections

European parties hope to reverse this trend with trans-national campaigns and lead candidates who run for the top post at the European Commission, a novelty introduced by the Lisbon treaty.

But EU leaders recently poured cold water on hopes that the top candidate of the most popular party will automatically land the commission job.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she "sees no automaticity" between the election results and the post.

For his part, EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy warned against parties raising "false expectations."

Don't forget, the only "automaticity" is that Germany decides.

Should that make you want to go crazy and vote in this primary, the place to go is GreenPrimary. There's a FAQ here. You'll need to give an e-mail address and a mobile phone number, and check a box that says you sympathise with the values of the Greens.


Who are the candidates? Three women, one man. Three sitting MEPs, one former MEP. Three 50-60 year-olds, one 30-something. Three maintain Facebook pages, one doesn't. All are on Twitter. All have websites, so-so. All are from continental Europe and are native speakers of other languages than English. Their English Wikipedia entries are correspondingly more meagre than their native-language Wikipedia entries.

In alphabetical order:

José Bové age 60

Lifelong ecological activist, pacifist, anti-militarist, anti-globalist, small farmer and farmers' union organizer. Known for dismantling a MacDonald's under construction and opposing GM crops.

See here and here for mentions on ET.

Monica Frassoni age 50

A long career in Brussels with the Greens. Was co-chair of Greens-EFA with Dany Cohn-Bendit in the EP from 2004-2009, and is currently co-spokesperson of the European Green Party. Was listed in 2010 by Foreign Policy magazine as a "top global thinker" for having "taken Green mainstream".

A couple of mentions on ET, here and here.

Rebecca Harms age 57

Like Frassoni, a long career with the EP as assistant and MEP. Is currently co-chair of Greens-EFA with Dany Cohn-Bendit, in other words she took over Frassoni's job. Is probably better grounded in her home country than is Frassoni.

A couple of ET mentions: here and here.

Ska Keller age 33

The Youth candidate. Former punk, vegan, married to a Finn, she is said to speak six languages. Was one of the founders of the EGP, and got into the EP at age 27. Internationalist, concerned about Fortress Europe and immigration.

Just a couple of mentions on ET, here and here.

There's a great deal you may know about these candidates, that I don't. Fill us in in comments?

Display:
What about people who don't have a mobile phone?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Nov 11th, 2013 at 11:44:06 AM EST
I guess I must have posted while editing at some point.

Their answer is read the FAQ (you can't vote if you haven't got e-mail and a mobile phone).

My answer is do like me, give someone else's number and tell them to call you as soon as they get the code.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 11th, 2013 at 02:49:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The European Green Party site is only in English... While the candidates' "what I stand for" announcements have a badly-translated feel about them.

Could do better.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 11th, 2013 at 02:44:56 PM EST
And very informative too. It will take me a while to get through the sources listed. I'm surprised only candidates from 3 member states have been nominated, although the Irish Greens have almost imploded after their disastrous participation in the last Fianna Fail government.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 11th, 2013 at 07:46:32 PM EST
Since a candidate first must get nominated by a member party, and then get backing from four member parties, it is possible that other candidates has considered it, but not thought they had the support needed and in the end did not run. Otherwise, I would expect there to be some that did not reach the needed support.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 10:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find it interesting that there is only the one male nominee. Probably this means that Bové is seen as a natural and consensual choice.

I had doubts as to how he would "perform" at EU level, especially after his ill-advised presidential run in 2007. But by all accounts he's been a hard worker and very effective networker, finding common ground with MEPs from other groups.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 11:14:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find it interesting that there is only the one male nominee. Probably this means that Bové is seen as a natural and consensual choice.
Meaning, were it not for Bové there would be none?

What are other potential candidates? Daniel Cohn-Bendit?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 11:19:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, meaning that other male candidates would have come forward if Bové hadn't, but chose not to run against him.

DCB retires at this election, having reached his personal age limit at 65.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 11:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aha, there was other candidates!

Green Primary: the second internal phase has begun! | European Greens

Six candidates have presented themselves to become a Green Leading Candidate in the Green Primary, that we are organising as European Greens: five of them nominated by their Green party, one by the Federation of Young European Greens.

...

Thank you Jose Bove, Monica Frassoni, Rebecca Harms, Ska Keller, Ulrike Lunacek and Jolanda Verburg.

Ulrike Lunacek - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

She is head of delegation of the Austrian Greens in the European Parliament, European spokesperson of the Austrian Greens, vice-president and foreign affairs spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, Kosovo-Rapporteur and co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights. Lunacek was the frontrunner of the Austrian Green Party for the European elections on 7 June 2009.

Jolanda Verburg is not found on english wikipedia, or as far as I can tell on the dutch. Judging by Google-hits she is dutch (or flemish).

But no men, which I think this strenghtens the impression that the real run is for who will join Bové as the two leading candidates.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 12:45:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is unfortunate that the only candidate to note opposition to austerigy was Keller. Other than that I liked Bové's statement best and Harms the least. Practicing patience is often necessary but urging it at the present juncture hardly seems inspirational.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Nov 11th, 2013 at 11:24:55 PM EST
While not noting it in the brief text, she recently denounced austerity in the company of the rebelling Greek public television staff. My reading of the patience part was to not give up ideals in sight of adverse circumstances.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 07:46:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the two links to ET mentions I put in for Harms is to this 2010 diary by Migeru The Eurogreens on Eurozone Economic Governance. It's worth taking another look at.

The other is to a quote from this (2011):

Treaty change: What the Parliament thinks | EurActiv

Green group's co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Dany Cohn-Bendit:

"This week's EU summit must provide durable and democratic answers to the core issues facing the eurozone, both immediate measures to put out the sovereign debt fire, and long term measures to restore confidence in the euro.

"In order to stanch the sovereign debt crisis, until a more durable, treaty-based solution can be implemented, EU leaders need to finally support the only short-term solution at hand: the backstop of the European Central Bank.

"The European Central Bank has been playing the role of lender of last resort to the private sector for a long time. It is also already de facto playing this role for eurozone sovereigns to some extent.

"However, in order to deliver a sufficient deterrent to the circling wolves in the bond markets, and address the current credit crunch, the ECB finally needs political backing.

"With this achieved, EU leaders must outline a roadmap for bedding the euro in a true economic union, based on solidity and solidarity, with democratic checks and balances. Whether this is realised by treaty change or through legislation based on the current treaties, it is crucial that the democratic process is respected.

In practice, this means agreeing tough, binding rules on fiscal discipline, while accompanying this with the creation of eurobonds, in order to underline the permanence of the currency and the common-purpose of its members.

"The failed intergovernmental approach, which so far has only delivered damaging pro-cyclical austerity and brought the euro to the brink, must be jettisoned. This implies tasking the European Commission with the economic governance of the euro, while providing for commensurate democratic oversight by the European Parliament and Council.

"In order to have democratic legitimacy, any such treaty change will have to involve the directly elected European Parliament, and implies following the Convention method. Anything other than this, notably proposals to force new rules through in a protocol, would be an affront to the principles on which the European Union is founded."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 08:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was 2010, this was 2012:
Basically, Giegold had to put in the obligatory
We Greens are for binding limits on public debt and for a sharper Stability and Growth Pact.
whereas Canfin said
The stability pact is essentially an austerity pact, because its recessionary effects are not offset by any other European policy in the context of a "package".
The diary we're discussing here shows that Cohn-Bendit is more at home with the German than the French Greens when it comes to economics. It doesn't make him or Giegold bad people.
A year ago, out of political realism, the Greens (at least the German Greens) had conceded defeat to the austerians. Has that changed?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 08:55:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It hasn't changed, that I'm aware of. And we noted that this was one of their recent campaign posters:

Whether there's much difference between Harms and Keller on this I don't know.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 09:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like I will not be voting for either of the Germans...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 09:20:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To my sensibility only Bove seemed to think that whoever read the 'stands for' page had much of a brain. At least Bove gave first time viewers a sense of what he has and still stands for.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 04:33:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For those interested a number of debates between contenders are organized up until January at several EU cities, among others Brussels, Athens, Rome, London, Berlin, Cologne, Prague.

The complete overview of organized debates is here. If ET-readers would attend one of these, it would be great to hear feedback.

by Bjinse on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 07:23:40 AM EST
None in France, interestingly.

Next Tuesday at 6pm there is an on-line "hangout". That could be interesting if there were a few of us...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 07:29:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I confess that the last two years of french greens participation to the gouvernement have left me very wary of the party.

I feel less and less prone to give them a vote in the next elections. What about the CO²/nuclear power dilemna? I don't know how it is for the other european countries, but french low CO² power is highly dependent on nuclear and most of our power plant should really be modernized or closed. But in case of a close down, our CO2 emissions would go way up, and disasters would ensue.

In Europe, energy policy is high on the neo liberal agenda, where are the greens on that? And what about the free trade agreement with US?

And, i'm absolutely not convinced by the veg' aspect of the yougest one: Going full veg' is not an environmental constraint, but a personal choice. I've met countless veg' tryong to "convert" me to this habit, with I may be following from time to time, but without the morals, which are insuferables (and contrary to the idea of individual freedom).

Last interrogation: should my european vote go to the syriza likes or the greens? Theses are two very different parties, and, as M Quatremer dislikes the former, and support the later, I would rather take the opposite stand. ;-)

by Xavier in Paris on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 11:40:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I find Quatremer pretty insufferable too, so we have common ground...

Sadly, once the Greens went into government with the Socialists, it was inevitable that it would get tarred with the brush of their sell-outs and blunders. There was a negotiation on points of program beforehand of course; and it was thrown out the window at the first opportunity by the PS. This now leads to occasional comical situations, e.g. when EELV tries to amend the budget to merge income tax with CSG... an important progressive reform, and a promise made by Hollande and since abandoned.

This leads to a familiar quandary : the Greens are perfectly aware of having next to nil impact on policy, and of being obliged by the principle of governmental solidarity to keep their mouths shut about stuff they disagree with (with the exception of speaking out against Valls when he said clearly intolerable stuff)

The dilemma is always : at what point do you exit the government? The argument for staying is that Duflot and Canfin are putting through important progressive reforms, with a fairly free hand, in their respective portfolios of housing and foreign aid, and want to see it through.

As for the actual policy positions of EELV, have no fear... Clearly anti- "free trade" agreement. Yes, still anti-nuclear, but without sufficient influence to shut it down.

And as for your apparent fear of compulsory vegetarianism... you're joking surely?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 12:10:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
partly... ^^

I like eating vegetarian meals because they taste good, not because someone tells me that my eating or non-eating has a moral value. I'm perfectly OK with meat, by the way. And I perfectly accept that some people would like to eat a fully vegetarian food. why not?
Nevertheless, I can also see that, in my own neighborhood, there are some street tags "meat is murder", and not a single "carrots live too". so i jokingly express my unease in front of the more radicals. The last candidate described is, if I'm not mistaken, a member of such radical pro-veg groups. That's very well for her, as long as she doesn't include me in her food diet.
Frugal diet is not the same as fully veg' diet. The lady is on the later side.

Regarding the nuclear issue, I have no clear convictions either: should we abandon nuclear -as energy? May we abandon nuclear? (taking the CO² issue into account)? Is it not already too late for that? Are we stranded with nuclear as part of a non CO2 energy-mix? If we decide to abandon nuclear, are we actually able, from a practical, industrial and technical point of view, to develop and put online enough capacity to replace the closed-down plants? Anyway, is there still an industrial capacity to buld nuclear power plants in Europe?
And about the negawatt program: are we able to produce the skilled crew, legal framework, technical means necessary to reduce housing energy consomation?

to take an example: in Paris, all building are managed by neighboors councils called "syndic". For all radical building modification, a single vote may derail the decision. External thermic isolation is deemed a radical modification and requires a consensus. So the logical consequence is that any building counting more than three or for diferent owners will never implement any energy-saving action on the scale of the complete building. You will never see neither an action taken to use the local high temperature artesian water for heating, even if the local resource is largely sufficient to procure the heating for the whole 10 millions inhabitants of greater paris...

by Xavier in Paris on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 12:45:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's very well for her, as long as she doesn't include me in her food diet.

Fear not... People are animals too. Her ethics surely preclude all meat, including people. (Anyway, I doubt if you could be certified organic.)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 01:44:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt it too... ;-)

but that was a language error, as you surely understood.

by Xavier in Paris on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 01:46:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you are being generous calling your phrasing 'a language error'. At worst it was susceptible to (deliberate?) misinterpretation. :-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 08:20:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it was an unconscious statement on some vegan' attitude to human life as opposed to animals... (see below)

;-)

by Xavier in Paris on Thu Nov 14th, 2013 at 04:26:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Though, as an article in 972 today shows, not eating people is about as far as their ethics may go.
When asked by +972 about the possible collision of agendas in appearing in a place deemed illegal by the entire international community for the purpose of promoting an end to animal suffering, Yourofsky was very blunt in brushing aside the question.

"Since the `international community' is comprised of violent, bloodthirsty thugs who terrorize billions of innocent animals every second of every minute of every hour of every day, the `international community' can go to HELL," he wrote back.

Responding to the core question of the Palestinian struggle and the call to boycott Israeli academia and the settlements, Yourofsky said he sees no point in caring about any human beings so long as animals that are being regularly slaughtered. "When people start eating sliced up Jew flesh, or seared Palestinian children in between two slices of bread with onions, pickles and mustard, then I'll be concerned about the Middle East situation."

"Humans are the SCUM of the earth," he continued. "I don't care about Jews or Palestinians, or their stupid, childish battle over a piece of God-forsaken land in the desert. I care about animals, who are the only oppressed, enslaved and tormented beings on this planet. Human suffering is a joke. Therefore, I will speak anywhere, in any city, in any country, in any location that will have me. I would lecture IN a Palestinian school if they would bring me in."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Nov 13th, 2013 at 02:53:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's true that the Duflot law on thermal renovation is targeted at individual owners, whereas, clearly, it's at the level of an apartment building that the biggest gains can be made.

I think this will require regulatory constraints as well as subsidies, and French proprietors don't take too kindly to that sort of thing.

For the use of artesian water, surely that needs to be done on the level of district heating? Messing with the groundwater at the level of individual buildings in an urban environment doesn't sound like an excellent plan to me.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 01:58:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Below Paris, there is a vast hot water reserve at 1700m underground. A company is already using it (and other heat sources) to provide urban heating to houses and buildings in Paris, including private houses.

There was a great effort to develop this use following the oil crisis in the seventies, which subsided afterwards and have been renewed since 2007.

Regarding the effective development of thermal insulation, constraints are often ineffective -except for new buildings- because the owners who are supposed to pay for the works are simply unable to do so. A lot of the collective houses in the greater Paris are simply broke and cannot even pay for the security maintenance of the buildings. Problems are frequent.

A new strategy has been initiated by the region Ile de France, which is to develop a system of third party investor: a public owned company (but of private law) is acting as a financer, and contracting authority in place of the owners organisation. It collects every aids and financial incentives already available for the project and controls the works. It pays for all works and then gets paid through a share of the savings created by the energy overhaul, while the owners of the building have to pay for their (reduced) energy use and diverting part of the saving to the third party company to pay back for the works.

I tried to contact them without success, as it's quite new and probably not completely operational.

by Xavier in Paris on Thu Nov 14th, 2013 at 04:25:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah oh this sounds like a Chris Cook type scheme...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Nov 15th, 2013 at 04:45:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have not voted yet, but I probably will.

In my mind, the main question is what this election of "two Green Leading Candidates" should be about. In all realism - which I think is reflected in the "Leading Candidates" - the Greens will not get the Commission President spot, so being a good Commission President is not a relevant criteria.

So far pretty normal, but in contrast to national elections where party leaders tehn to be minister candidates, it is unclear to what extent they are candidates for Commissioners at all. Even if we get a majority containing the Greens backing a Commission President and the Council concedes and nominates that Commission President, there will still be some sort of negotiation between Commission President and his (yeah, I am assuming it will be a man) parliament support and the Council. This may include Council nominating candidates and getting them sent back, or some kind of compromise is reached before that stage. So I think being a good Commissioner is not that important a criteria either (if it was, then coming from another country then the Commission President of PES and the same as the one of EPP could also be added).

So, their role will be leading the Greens in the election and not much more. That still leaves how good they are at gathering votes and how their election changes Green party politics. To start with the latter, I really don't know, I don't know Green Party politics on the European level. So for me that leaves the former.

Knowing very little about their abilities as public speakers and debaters and to what extent that will be relevant, I would if I had to vote today vote on Bové and Keller, simply becaue I think their combination is the combination that would cast the widest net when it comes to voters identifying with the leading candidates. Frassonis and Harms experiences as co-chairs of the Greens-EFA would weigh heavier if I thought it was the first step towards being a Commissioner. But I don't, so it doesn't.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 11:37:24 AM EST
We might be electing the Greens' MEP group leader and/or main spokesperson.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 11:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is true, sounds reasonable that they will appoint their leading candidates as chairs (quick check tells me that Greens has 48 out of 58 seats in Greens-EFA).

So, are there any particular qualities we should be looking for in future chairs?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 02:16:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They should be good speakers. DCB provided some memorable moments in the current European Parliament term.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 12th, 2013 at 02:32:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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