Networking of Greens on the local level
In the cities, we are facing most of the challenges for Green politics: the struggle for a clean environment and against pollution, for social justice and integration, for sustainable traffic models, for local democracy… Being active on this level is very important, because the vast majority of European citizens is living in cities and urban areas. In nearly all European countries, the Green strongholds in elections are the capitals and University cities.
In 1996, the Viennese Greens took the initiative to organize a gathering of European Green local councilors in the Town Hall of Vienna. Since then, large meetings with 200-300 participants followed in Vienna (2003), Barcelona (2006), Stuttgart (2009) and Berlin (2011). After a break of some years, a “Green Cities” conference took place in September 2015 in Helsinki , and a Conference on the challenges of the refugee crisis for the cities in June 2016 in Munich.
Beyond this, several smaller initiatives have been taken to bring together Green local councilors: The so-called „Greens in Big Cities“ meetings take place since 2001 and have since then been organized in Berlin (2005), Amsterdam (2006), Vienna (2007), Istanbul (2009), Budapest (2010), Thessaloniki (2012) and again Berlin (2013) – prepared mainly by the Greens in the hosting cities in cooperation with Green Foundations and covering issues like urban culture, traffic, drug policy, urban planning, budgeting, health and environment, anti-corruption stategies, multicultural heritage and inclusion, public participation, etc.
In Vienna, we started to organize „Central European Round Tables for Green Local Councilors“ that were held annually since 2005 and attended by Greens mainly from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia, but also by some participants from Poland, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and other countries. Party building, campaigning on the municipal level, exchange of Best Practices etc. have been topics so far.
To get an overview of the numerous Green successes on the local level and on „best practices“, we launched a website collecting these examples in 2008. Today, it is maintained by the European Green Party (EGP) together with the Green European Foundation (GEF).
Beyond this, there are several other regional initiatives in Europe (exchange of Greens in Nordic Capitals, etc.).
In order to enable a better exchange, the Viennese Greens and I initiated this website as a service and a tool to link similar projects. We are willing to support all initiatives taken by the European Green Party and their member parties in this direction.
Since my election to the European Parliament in 2014, I’m including this dimension into my work on this level. Some of my ideas and visions can be found in a pamphlet of the GEF (Green European Foundation) called “Class of 2014. New Green Voices in the European Parliament” (pages 45-48).
With kind regards,