Greening Europe: toolkit for the European Green Activist (20-22 June)
6 July 2013
I was lucky enough to be selected for this seminar in Brussels. The Green European Foundation brought together Green Party members from across Europe to see how Green MEPs and activists influence policy in the European Union. There were people from Croatia, Turkey, Hungary, Finland, Czech Republic, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Great Britain.
We learned how Green MEPs work in the European Parliament, including a blow-by-blow account of how Isabella Lövin MEP, with the help of outside campaigners like Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall, got the EU to reform the Common Fisheries Policy. In the end, most of the other political groups came to support the Green position. Then in a simulation game, we played the roles of MEPs voting on amendments to energy policy. Hands up, hands down, vote after vote - it was hectic, nothing like the House of Commons.
In the 3 days, we also had tours of Parliament, places lobbyists get MEPs to drink wine with tobacco companies, and an alternative tour of Brussels led by the first secretary of the Young European Greens (see the photograph). We looked at policy issues (energy and the Euro crisis) and had to try and produce in one hour our own European Green campaign for the 2014 elections.
The Green European Foundation runs quite a few seminars like this. They have one on a Green Energy future for Europe in September (http://gef.eu/event/reminder-apply-now-charting-a-green-energy-future-for-europe-seminar/).
If you are interested, any green can apply for a place.
David Newman, Elections coordinator.