In 1996, the Viennese Greens took the initiative to organize a gathering of green local councilors on 21st June 1996 in the Town Hall of Vienna. In this 1st European Meeting of Green Local Councilors, nearly 200 people from 20 countries participated and took the occasion to establish personal contact and to exchange experiences on their daily work in municipal councils.
The 2nd European Meeting of Green Local Councilors (2nd European Meeting PDF) took place in Vienna again, but more than seven years later – from 5th-7th December 2003. Thanks to the cooperation with European Greens (EFGP) and the Green Group in the European Parliament, nearly 300 local councilors, MEP’s, deputy mayors, mayors and party activists from more than 30 countries participated. About one third came from Central and Eastern European countries. A booklet with the results of this meeting has been published.
The Vienna meeting also helped to find a consensus on some contents of local politics. This resulted in a resolution that Monika Vana tabled at the Founding Congress of the European Green Party – EGP (hitherto European Federation of Green Parties – EFGP) in Rome, where it was adopted on 22nd February 2004 (Resolution Rome 2004 PDF). The most important problems that Greens should address on the local level, are addressed in this document.
The local level is the basis on which the strength of the Greens relies. The meeting in Vienna reinforced and showed the significance of the political work on this level, and the focus on local politics has since been emphasized by the European Greens.
The 3rd European Meeting of Green Local Councilors took place from 9th-11th November 2006 in Barcelona, thanks to IC-V (Iniciativa per Catalunya-Verds) from Catalonia (Barcelona 2006 PDF). About 230 Greens from 22 countries took part in this conference. The main topics were the fight against climate change in cities and the presentation of best practices (Barcelona Declaration PDF).
The 4th meeting took place from 17th-19th April 2009 in Stuttgart (stuttgart-lc-meeting-april-2009-programme). A video on “best practices” in various cities has been produced for this conference that concentrated on sustainability, Green measures for climate protection on the local level, the influence of the financial crisis on local economy and a “Green New Deal for the Cities”.
The 5th meeting, held in the headquarter of the German Heinrich Boell Foundation in Berlin from 27th-29th May 2011 (berlin-lc-meeting-may-2011-programme), had three main topics: Developing urban democracy, integration of migrants and minorities, and local waste management.
The process of these “large” gatherings of Green local councilors has been evaluated by the European Green Party in 2012 when discussing the future of the networking process in the forthcoming five years. One outcome of this has been the “Green Cities” Conference in Helsinki that took place on 25th/26th October 2015 with approximately 270 participants from 30 countries.
Green Cities Conference in Helsinki, 25th September 2015.
Beyond this, smaller meetings focusing on topical issues take place from time to time: on the challenges of the refugee crisis for the cities in June 2016 in Munich and on Green Mobility for healthy cities in October 2016 in Rome.
On 21st/22nd June 2019, EGP will again organize a Europe-wide Local Councilors Conference “Cities for the Future – The Green Way” that will take place in Oslo, Norway.