2020 can be the start of a new Greens decade, says Monica Frassoni

Outgoing Green party co-leader says the EU has a key role in tackling climate change but still has much to do.

Monica Frassoni, European Green Party co-chair | Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

07 Nov 2019

Monica Frassoni has said, “2020 can be the start of a new Greens decade,” at a press briefing in Brussels ahead of the upcoming Green party conference in the Finnish city of Tampere.

“We want to show that the next decade can be a ‘green’ decade. We’ve had very good results in some, though not all, recent elections at EU, national and regional level and these represent a significant step forward for us,” said the Italian.

Its electoral successes started with the European elections in May and came, she said, most recently in Poland and Switzerland.


Frassoni, due to step down shortly as European Green Party co-chair, added, “These results show that the Greens are not some incomprehensible entity but are significant. We now need to take stock of these results and try to improve on them and ensure that our proposals come to fruition.”

Describing this as a “pivotal time for the Greens and the beginning of a new chapter in European politics,” she said the congress will be an opportunity to debate the European Green Party’s priorities in the wake of a string of Green victories at local, national and European level.

 “We stand on the cusp of a new decade and, in Tampere, Greens from all over Europe will join forces with the Finnish Greens who hold important portfolios as part of the coalition government.”

These include Finnish Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo and Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. Finland also currently holds the rotating EU presidency until the end of the year and Frassoni said that the Greens, as part of the Finnish coalition government, will “oversee crucial decisions affecting the EU’s future.”

“This makes Tampere an ideal place to unite forces and trace a united path forward for a new Green decade defined by social and ecological transformation.”

"We want to show that the next decade can be a ‘green’ decade"

At Tampere, the party will elect new European Green Party co-chairs to succeed Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer with two candidates in the running: Tomas Waitz, from Austria, and Evelyne Huytebroeck, Brussels’ former environment minister.

However, the top priority at the Tampere event, she said, will be tackling the “climate emergency” followed by issues such as trade, human rights and migration.

On trade, she said, “Global trade deals are being attacked by some, including Donald Trump, but we are not amongst them.”

She also said there had been “no progress” in ongoing talks between the Greens and the Five Star Movement in Italy about a possible new alliance in the European Parliament.

Frassoni told reporters, “There has, traditionally, been cooperation between the two sides but there’s been no further progress and the reason is always the same: the way Five Star works.”

"We stand on the cusp of a new decade and, in Tampere, Greens from all over Europe will join forces with the Finnish Greens who hold important portfolios as part of the coalition government"

Frassoni also welcomed European Commission President-elect Ursula von de Leyen’s recent commitment to tackling the climate “emergency.”

She said, “Climate action can be a real game changer and the EU of course has a key leadership role to play in all this, but it is not utilising this role at present. There are lots of challenges remaining at all levels and we in the EU are not there yet.”

Von der Leyen has pledged to introduce a “European Green Deal” within 100 days of taking office, laying out a holistic vision for a just transition that will aim to cut carbon emissions and reverse the planet’s ecological breakdown, while ensuring social justice.

But Frassoni warns, “It will take more than a ‘green deal’ for the EU to show that it has credible policies in this area.”

The former MEP’s comments come just ahead of the eagerly-awaited COP25 climate conference next month, which will now be held in Madrid, Spain, instead of Santiago, Chile, as originally planned.

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