The CERT project – an overview
During their municipal election campaign in autumn 2005, the Viennese Greens – particularly Monika Vana (then non-executive city government member) and district councilor Gerhard Jordan – had the idea of inviting Greens from local groups in their neighbouring countries that had joined the European Union in 2004 (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Slovenia) in order to watch the Viennese campaign, to learn from it and to share experiences.
Thus, the “1st Central European Round Table of Green Local Councilors” (CERT) was founded and, after very positive feedback, established as an annual event. The Austrian Green Foundation (Grüne Bildungswerkstatt) supported the project from the very beginning, the network “Green East-West Dialogue” (GEWD) took part from 2007 till 2011, and in 2014 the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament became involved much stronger than before.
From 2013 on, participants from West Balkan countries participated in the CERT meetings.
Some TOPICS that were (and are) dealt with:
Green strategies and target groups, the role of affiliated Groups and sections (Green Seniors, Young Greens, Green Women, Queer Greens, Green Entrepreneurs, Green Migrants, etc.), volunteer management and ways to attract new members, Green cooperation in the CENTROPE region, energy policy, how to use the EP election campaign 2009 for local party building, analysis of the 2009 EP election results, exchange of experience with electoral obstacles (% thresholds, signature collection requirements), presentation of campaign concepts, press work, offers for training by Green Foundations, web performance of Greens, prospects for Green Parties in Central and Eastern Europe, the role of EU cohesion funds, transparency and democracy, right-wing populism, strategies against authoritarian tendencies, etc.
Visits to Viennese urban districts with strong Green local groups and even mayors (7th Neubau, since 2001; 8th Josefstadt, from 2005-2010 and since 2020; 18th Währing, since 2015; 2nd Leopoldstadt, from 2016-2020) offered the possibility to learn about how to put green ideas into practice.
Since 2005, Greens and some civil society activists from 15 CEE countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia) took part in Green Round Tables in Vienna, and so did local Greens from Vienna and other parts of Austria and representatives from the European level (European Green Party, Green Group in the European Parliament, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Green European Foundation, Green East-West Dialogue).
In November 2008, the Green Academy of Styria and the Greens of Graz (who just had gained a deputy mayoress after a very good result in the municipal election), organized a Round Table for Greens from ex-Yugoslav countries with participants from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia.
In autumn 2010, local elections took place all over Central Europe (Czech and Slovak Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Poland, Vienna) and many new Green councilors were elected. Their numbers further increased during the following years.
Since 2013, a stronger focus is being set on the participation of Greens and affiliated parties from the West Balkan countries, and since 2014, when Monika Vana was elected into the European Parliament, on the use and effects of EU funding, on authoritarian tendencies in some CEE and other countries and on the refugee issue.
Several MEPs from CEE countries who joined the Green Group in the European Parliament took part as well.
The 14th CERT took place from 8th-10th November 2018, with the main topic “European Solidarity”.
In 2019, the 15th CERT had to be postponed due to an early parliamentary election in Austria. It had been scheduled for April, then November 2020, but due to uncertainty depending on the development of the COVID-19 crisis the date currently envisaged is 2022.
SOME RECENT DOCUMENTS
The programme of the 6th Round Table (September 2010):
6th Central European Round Table of Green Local Councillors, Vienna 2010, AGENDA (PDF, 186.2 KB)
In the 7th CERT – on November 25th/26th, 2011 – city councilors from Brno, Budapest and Warsaw, former city government members from Brno and Prague, a former mayor candidate from Sarajevo and district councilors from Budapest, Prague, Skopje and Zagreb met their Viennese colleagues to discuss about one year of Red-Green city government in Vienna and about Green successes in the 7th district Neubau that got a Green district mayor elected 10 years ago.
The guests informed about their activities, and also Green political foundations (like Heinrich Boell Foundation from Germany, the Green European Foundation, EcoPolis Foundation from Hungary and Grüne Bildungswerkstatt from Austria) presented their work.
Downloads of the 7th Round Table (2011)
- 7th Central European Round Table of Green Local Councillors, Vienna 2011, AGENDA (PDF, 122,2KB)
- Presentation “1 year Red-Green in Vienna”, Monika Vana/David Ellensohn (PDF, 1.3 MB)
- Presentation “1 year Red-Green in Vienna”, Rüdiger Maresch (PDF, 1.7 MB)
- Presentation “Green successes in Neubau, district 7 of Vienna” (PDF, 5.5 MB)
- Presentation “LMP, the new Green party in Hungary” (PDF, 1.9 MB)
- Presentation “The Green European Foundation” (PDF, 695.2 KB)
- Presentation “EcoPolis Foundation, Hungary” (PDF, 684.3 KB)
- Presentation “Greens in Prague” (PDF, 361.4 KB)
- Presentation “Greens in Brno” (PDF, 452.5 KB)
- Paper “Greening the City – Vienna” (PDF, 1.9 MB)
- Paper “20 years Greens in Central and Eastern Europe” (in German) (PDF, 8.6 MB)
- Overview “Green East-West Dialogue 1991-2011”: 20-years-gewd
Photos and Downloads of the 8th Round Table (2012):
The 9th Round Table (2013)
The 9th Central European Round Table took place from 11th-13th October 2013.
PROGRAMME: 9th Central European Round Table Vienna 2013 – PROGRAMME
Some of the TOPICS that were dealt with:
Urban gardening (including an excursion to a community garden project), cross-border cooperation “from below” (“best practice”: contacts between the 19th districts of Budapest and Vienna), perspectives of EU enlargement towards the West Balkans, Green local politics in Central and South-East Europe, experiences of the Austrian General Election campaign 2013.
A panel debate “Social Europe – a broken promise?” had been organized by GEF (Green European Foundation) and GBW (Grüne Bildungswerkstatt) on the first evening. Participants came come from Hungary, the Czech Republic and most countries of former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia).