European Green Party (EGP): Creation, Distinction & Impact

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  • 0:02 European Green Party
  • 0:30 History
  • 2:31 Politics
  • 5:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson, we explore the European political party called the European Green Party, and discuss its long road to becoming a true political party, as well as its current political stance.

The European Green Party

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to get anything to come together. Perhaps you're trying to organize a party and everyone is on vacation, or a sports team and all your friends are busy on the night you want to play. It can be incredibly frustrating. However, the important thing is - as the European Green Party can certainly attest - to never give up. In fact, it took the European Green Party nearly two decades before it became a legitimate party in European politics.

History

In the second half of the 20th century, what Green parties existed in and around Europe were small, scattered enclaves with little communication between each other and even less cohesion. Green parties' first attempts at cohesion were minimal and largely unsuccessful. For example, immediately prior to the first direct elections to the European Parliament, several parties created the Coordination of European Green and Radical Parties to try to coordinate policy and develop a coherent electoral strategy. However, differences between these disparate parties were huge. They failed to arrive at any consistent party platform and didn't win even a single seat.

In following elections in the 1980s, Green parties across Europe continued to stand as members for election, but they were too small to run on their own and often joined forces with other small European parties and coalitions. This changed in 1989 after the Green Party won enough votes to seat 30 members in the European Parliament.

In part because of their relatively strong showing and in part due to philosophical differences with other parties in their coalition, the Green Party created their own parliamentary group, the European Federation of Green Parties, which was formally recognized by Parliament the same year. By 1993, the fledgling group had regularized its party structure and formed itself into a true, European political party. Despite this improved organization, the party lost seats in elections the following year, seating only 23 members in 1994.

The Greens continued to gain support across the continent as new parties joined the growing coalition. In 2004, the Federation simplified its name to the European Green Party (EGP). It followed this up with further electoral success, seating 42 members in 2004 and 55 in 2009 - the fourth most of all European political parties. In the most recent European elections in 2014, the Green Party lost some of its momentum, though only slightly, winning 6.7% of the vote and seating 50 members.

Politics

As you might guess from its name, the environment is of fundamental importance to the European Green Party. As such, the EGP has ambitious goals for Europe when it comes to sustainable energy and the cutting of carbon emissions. For example, the EGP wants Europe to get 20% of its energy from renewable forms like solar, wind, or geothermal power by 2020. It further wants Europe to completely cut out fossil fuels by 2050. Furthermore, the EGP wants the EU to agree to a binding carbon tax by 2030, as well as a global tracking mechanism that monitors greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the tax would also be enforced through significant financial penalties if its regulations are not met.

Unlike many other European parties, the EGP is also extremely concerned with the European food chain. The EGP decries the current food system in Europe, which it claims favors producers over consumers. Instead, the EGP promotes local, smaller food chains, rather than the industrial food production that is common in most of the world. To address this problem, the EGP promotes sustainable farming, better animal welfare, and the elimination of genetically-modified crops. All of these measures, according to the EGP, will improve biodiversity, as well as the nutrition of all Europeans.

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