13 Mar 2008

Danish Greens challenge expulsion threat

The European Green Party look likely to expel the Danish Green Party...this may be because members of the EGP would prefer the Danish Socialist Party....Danish Green Party are euro sceptic and have little electoral representation....from what little I know I believe they work with the Red-Green Alliance.

The EGP seems in danger of floating away from more radical (Green?) Green Parties in the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK...comments welcome, am I wrong on this?

I oppose the expulsion and think other GPEW members should make their voice heard...feeling a little better but running around and hours on the web not good for my back! So signing off

The Reply from The Greens, Denmark (De Grønne) on the Proposal (from the EGP Committee that the Council withdraws the membership of The Greens from the EGP):


Because we have been asked by another member party, and because it is quite unusual, we want to state, that the Committee have not asked us about the facts or our opinion before deciding on this.
If they had asked us, they would know that there is no "Folksbeweging". The name is in Danish: "Folkebevægelsen mod EU", or in English: "Peoples Movement against the EU".

Reply to: The proposal:

Since Peoples Movement only runs for elections in Denmark and there is no other EGP member parties in Denmark than The Greens, it is hard to see how they should be electorate opponents.

It could look like the purpose of the EGP is alignment and standardization. Like the two big parties in USA an election machine is made. In the EU the specified role of the European political parties is even written (in stone) in the EU-Treaty.

Reply to: Background:

If the more than 20 years of common platforms is true, not only the Danish Greens but also the European ones were connected to Peoples Movement at that time.
Still some of the EGP parties (and many individuals being members of EGP member parties) share our original green views.
Is it only a problem if a party don't let their policies stay at home? Is this the kind of democracy, you want?

Waging war (Germany in Kosovo and Afghanistan) or making an agreement maintaining nuclear power until the plants has produced the same amount of energy as in the preceding period of function did not lead the committee to bring up a proposal of withdrawal of the membership of a member party, but EU-resistance does.

The Greens (Denmark) have always worked inside and outside EGP to make the world, EGP and lot of other things as Green as possible.

This has included remarking when two member parties at one recent council didn't get their extra votes according to the statutes. Also it has included our remarks on what we see as the Committee not acting in accordance to the declaration of the autumn 2007 Vienna EGP Council on the Lisbon Treaty and referenda on it.

Contrary to some of the big and powerful parties in EGP, and sometimes even the majority in the EGP Council, The Greens (Denmark) have always voted and acted against wars, fossil fuelled power plants and other anti-green things.

The Greens stress the negative effects for the environment, democracy, peace and a global sustainable development of the EU common agriculture policy, fisheries policy, trade policy, biofuel policies, the Euratom and the EU-system as such. Therefore we maintain our resistance and opposition against the EU.
Our stands are the original ones of the green parties of the present and former EFTA countries and close to the original stands of most other green parties existing in the 1980ties.

From what is written in the Committee proposal, one could suspect that the organisations EGP and GGEP themselves have become the main purpose of the organisations EGP and GGEP.

Reply to: 1):

The doubt that The Greens is an authentic electorally active political party might be the only feasible argument, but actually it is not so.
The Greens (Denmark) always give the voters something Green to vote for, either it is a own label list, a movement that we are part of or another list with Green policies.

Local and regional: The Greens participated on an own label lists in the last local election in November 2005 in Copenhagen, Capitol and the largest cities in Denmark with around 10 % of the population. In the Regional elections a majority of the voters in Denmark could vote for Green Democrats alliance lists, all with candidates from The Greens. These were in the three largest of the five Danish regions.
Both in local and regional elections we took part in alliances of lists making sure that the votes were not wasted if/when we didn't get anyone elected ourselves. Good idea since we got less that 0,5 %.
In other places The Greens participated in or supported local environmental lists or supported the Red-Green Alliance.

National: In the elections in November 2007 The Greens actively and in media supported the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) in the very important Copenhagen Grand Constituency, where they maintained the direct elected constituency seat in national parliament (Folketinget). The national result was four seats for 2,2 %.

EU-level: From 1988 and onwards The Greens have been part of or affiliated to Peoples Movement (Folkebevægelsen mod EU), that has always had one or more MEP's elected. Last election result was 5,4 %. The Red-Green Alliance is also member of Peoples Movement.

Reply to: 2):

Why shouldn't it be allowed for a delegate to represent the views of the home party?
Isn't it up to everyone to chose their own signature or what clothes they wear?
EGP member parties are not coherent on EU institutional issues, so why should it look like that?
It is a mistake to align EGP such that pro-EU is the only Green and to exclude the display of anything else.
Why don't the EGP concentrate on concrete green political proposals on content, instead of trying to conform reluctant parties on institutional issues that the member parties don't agree on? This has been mentioned by delegates from different countries more than once.
What are EGP the most: a part of the EU-system or Green? Coherent or in favour of diversity?

There is an increasing hegemony of a pro-EU and pro-present power systems view in the EGP, while it is not the case among the populations of the European countries, not to say in the Third World. Also a number of EGP member parties and individual members of the member parties are either against the EU or quite critical.

The Euro has only been contested as a single issue in two referenda (Denmark in 2000 and Sweden in 2003), both times it has been rejected.
The Constitution Treaty was rejected in France and Netherlands in 2005 and if it will succeed in the disguise of the Lisbon Treaty it will only be because it will not be contested in referenda in the countries voting no in 2005 or the other countries that should have voted in 2005, except one.

What kind of theatre is it that some member parties have to excuse, deny or ignore the views and stands of their home parties to be accepted in the EGP Council and Congress?
"This is what democracy (doesn't) look like" ?

Reply to: 3):

The GGEP actually never wanted to negotiate with our MEP from Peoples Movement.
The Greens offered the GGEP to help the effort to include the at that time two MEP's from Peoples Movement (including one who changed from JuniBevægelsen), when they fled away from the EDD group in 2002. Also because Peoples Movement everything else equal would have preferred the more centre oriented GGEP instead of the Nordic Green Left in GUE/NGL, that actually accepted them in. After the 2004 election there was never an offer from GGEP to include our MEP, but instead they chose another MEP of their liking.
All this despite the fact that the first Greens that entered the EU-Parliament in 1984 formed the Rainbow Group together with Peoples Movement. But these Greens were also Green in a different sense than the EGP today.
It is again no coincidence that NGL means Nordic GREEN Left.

Does the Committee think that the other groups in EP (and each of their members) per definition is causing damage to the impact of green politics in the EP?

Should The Committee and GGEP decide from the central(ized) top, who the ordinary member parties should support?
GGEP didn't want to include our MEP('s) but afterwards (after the election) chose another MEP of their liking. And now The Greens shall be punished for that.
This looks like the power technique called "double punishment". Identification and analysis of power techniques used to be an important part of Green politics. In Euro-Green today it looks like using power techniques is more in fashion.

!: It is also important to mention the factor SF:

The purpose of the exclusion of The Greens (Denmark) is probably also to get rid of The Greens before a vote on EGP observer party SF (Socialistisk Folkeparti - Socialist Peoples Party) getting full membership of the EGP. The spokespersons of the EGP expressed "enthusiastic" support for SF before the national elections in November 2007, without ever asking The Greens for our opinion.

The Greens clearly see that among the parliamentary represented parties in Denmark the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) is much greener than SF in everything, also including the environment, climate policies, real democracy, global solidarity, peace, welfare and freedom to diversity.

This is also hinted by an analysis of the organisation for sustainable energy (OVE), which claims that the Red-Green Alliance is the most environmental friendly party. The centre-liberals (Radikale Venstre) come in second and SF is together with Socialdemocrats, New Alliance and CristianDemocrats on a shared third to sixth place.

One thing you should know is that SF for many years have been forming a coalition with the Socialdemocrats and extreme right wing DF (Dansk Folkeparti - Danish Peoples Party) in the former suburban Copenhagen Region (Københavns Amt) and the present Region Hovedstaden (Copenhagen and surroundings) where 1,6 mio. people live. This means that the husband of DF leader Pia Kjaersgaard, Henrik Thorup, is second vice chair of the council, while SF have no vice chair.

Perhaps it will not surprise or scare you, that SF support bigger 60 tons trucks, privatisation of the state energy company (DONG), state railways (DSB) and TV2.
But you should know anyway.
On these issues and others, including the SF and the other parties loving cars, the Red-Green Alliance is the only party close to being Green in Danish parliament.
SF are clearly not the greenest party in Denmark or the Danish Parliament. If SF is Green, there are three to six Green parties in Danish parliament.

Final words:

It will be sad, but also an honour if The Greens are doomed too Green for the European Green Party.

For the Coordination Group of The Greens, Denmark (De Grønne):

Henning Simonsen, Ruth Dalsgaard, Jean Thierry (not General Secretary).



Jim Jepps said...

It's a bit difficult to tell if you don't post the other side of the story. What have they been charged with? You have their replies to points - but not the points they are replying too... it's all a bit one sided

Jim Jepps said...

OK here are the charges

"1. A distinct lack of evidence that De Grønne is an authentic electorally active political party;

"Although Denmark is a country where the participation in elections of Green candidates is feasible, electoral records show a neglect of meaningful participation in elections now for several years.

"2. A systematic effort to harm the EGP common communication efforts During the official and well communicated signing ceremony in Rome in 2004 of the statutes and the Green 2004 Manifesto of the European Green Party by the delegates and party leaders of the member parties of the EGP, the delegate of De Grønne presented a display that was intentionally damaging the message of the EGP as a party with a coherent platform.

"On the document that was signed, namely the Green 2004 Manifesto, the delegate of the Grønne deliberately defaced the document by writing “non merci” instead of signing his name.

"3. Deliberate support for electoral opponents of the EGP and its political representation in the European Parliament

"During the 2004 European elections De Grønne supported the campaign of the Folksbeweging. The MEP elected on that list did not want to become member of the Green Group in the European Parliament.

"At the Council meeting in Vienna on October 14, 2007 during the debate on the common European election campaign 2009, Jean Thierry, delegate of De Grønne in the EGP Council, declared that De Grønne for the 2009 European elections will again campaign for the Folksbeweging.

"Under article nr 7 of the Statutes of the EGP is stated that the European Green Party gives the power to represent it politically to the Green Group in the European Parliament. Member parties who campaign for a list or candidates, that are explicitly supporting a group other than the GGEP – as the Folksbeweging has been systematically doing - is causing damage to the impact of green politics in the European Parliament and bringing the EGP and GGEP into disrepute. "

It should be noted that the leftwing Socialistisk Folkeparti MEP, Margrete Auken, sits with the Greens in the Euro Parliament - the Euro candidates that the Danish Greens support will not.

Also when looking into this I came across this post of a Danish Green delegate to an EGP meeting in 2006 http://graeme-qewe.livejournal.com/40750.html

It's clear from this that there is an element in the Danish Greens who are absolutely hostile to the EGP, and campaign against it at European elections. If you want those like Caroline and Jean to have more allies in the European Parliament it seems difficult to square that with support for the Danish Greens, who do not.

Expulsion isn't a death sentance - it's simply a recognition that the two bodies (EGP and De Grønne) are not currently compatible. Frankly it doesn't say much for De Grønne's integrity that they want to be a member of an organisation they detest so much.

greenman said...

Jim -
I think there are two sides to the story, yes, but I also think expulsion is going a bit far tbh, for what at the most is a bit of passive resistance from one delegate to the mono-thought Eurofederalism of the bureaucrats that head the EGP and a preference for the less successful of the red-green formations in Danish politics. The "support Jean and Caroline line" seems a bit dishonest too - Jean and Caroline are out of step with much of the EGP too when they follow GPEW policy which is closer to the left-green positions of English Speaking and Scandinavian Green Parties (that Derek alludes to) than it is to the centrist and rightist positions of some of the middle European GPs - some of whom should be more likely candidates for expulsion in my mind, for backing right wing governments, foreign wars, NATO and attacks on welfare provision!

By the way, Derek, your blog links seem to say Greenman twice - the Green from Below blog, though good, is nothing to do with me!

Anonymous said...

I think we should dissafiliate from the EGP and go in with the Nordic Green Left.

This is furter evidence the real greens and green socialists should havenothing to do with the cenrtist privatisers that make up a majority of the Green Partiess in Europe

Matt Sellwood said...

I have always been extremely uncomfortable with our membership of the EGP, and in particular with the technicality that I am in the same pan-European party as some of the Die Grunen rightwingers. Some of whom are people I would not urinate on if they were on fire...


Derek Wall said...

well I thought I was frank to the point of rather to frank (but that's why people vote for me as Principal speaker)...but I am out franked by Matt...I think the green left ecosocialist project must move on to push the EGP left (which to be honest means mainstream green politics!)...it is difficult to see the GPEW, aus Green Party or US Green Party as on the right.

any thoughts on how we do this!?

I suspect while there are problems with the Danish Green Party they are being slapped for opposing the neo-liberal euro project.

Anonymous said...

I'm not really sure how the EGP works. I believe that you can join as a party and as an individual? It seems quite strange, and I've no idea how you go about changing EGP policy. Can you enlighten us Derek?

On the Aus Greens being left, they certainly are... I think that they're a bit more coherent about what Green politics means than us over here. They have a strong focus on process both internally - you can only vote at conference etc if consensus fails - and externally - Greens don't do deals to trade a good piece of legislation in exchange for supporting something bad.

I think it's easier to keep this focus when you have PR and see some electoral success while remaining principled...

Anonymous said...

I was at the EGP Council meeting in Ljubljana and spoke to Jean Thierry and many others.

Whilst I think Jean is a very nice individual, a very polite one as well, I think the Committee, and ultimately the Council, made the right decision.

De Gronnes party membership numbers has remained at 123 for the past 12 years, this is not normal. They are indeed a small party, but as to are the Norwegian Greens, and even the GPEW, but our membership numbers have changed, we have increased representation at local level, and we have a changing delegation to EGP meetings. De Gronne does not have this, and the defacing of a unifying document cannot be apologised for.

We should not join Nordic Green Left, we have a stronger influence within the EGP, which is a diverse group, but members of the EGP have a different cultural and political history, which in turn demands a different interpretation of the political spectrum, and where the various Green parties are positioned on that spectrum.

Nordic Green Left does not stand for what it says on the tin. We must embrace the pluralism within the EGP, and recognise that differences will exist, but we must argue our corner.

Luke Walter

Unknown said...

HI i know to be very late to the discussion but i wanted to understand y exactly did the EGP expelled the Danish Greens. From what i have read it seams that they were just interested in having a bigger Party among their ranks. and that is not very nice!! but if i am mistaken please let me know!!:-)

Vote No Heathrow

Just had this via Roger Hallam of Vote No Heathrow, please spread the word. Things are rapidly taking off for the campaign now the hung...