The Green Primary in the run-up to the European Elections 2014 is truly a splendid idea! I am convinced that it will mobilise not only our Green activists, but also everyone else related and connected to our Green member parties all over Europe.
The media referred to our decision to hold a primary as setting a new standard, and we clearly left our political opponents behind. They were still deciding on their leading candidates behind closed doors and now found themselves confronted with the question of why not opt for more democratic and open decision making processes.
It also turned out that it was a good decision to uphold our Green woman quota throughout the primary process. Green women demand their fair share of influence, of responsibility, of positions and functions – today and in the future. By pushing that issue forward we very successfully demonstrated what our visions for our society are: equal rights and equal opportunities for women – even and especially when it comes to leading positions. That my own candidacy did not lead to shining success was something I had to accept. It lies within the principle of democracy that there cannot be only winners. Although, there was one big winner: our Green party achieved an immense success with the primary.What is my perspective on the European Green primary? I think this project fits perfectly in a strong and loud campaign for more democracy in Europe – a field where the EU clearly has some more homework to do. Still, a lot of European decision-making is done behind closed doors and far too little decisions derive from open and transparent processes.
A European primary allows us to personalise our Green policies, to put faces to them. Of course it still holds true that we Greens stand for content, for sustainable programs and solid concepts, but experience shows that this content can be better delivered to citizens if they are accompanied by authentic, trustworthy and recognizable characters and personalities. It would be a pity not to use this potential for mobilisation.
Right now, we as Greens in Europe are still debating on rules and procedures. How will we conduct this Europe-wide primary. A lot of variables have to be taken into account, a lot of thoughts spent to make it fair, open and inclusive. These principles should be our prime criteria in order to make democracy a broad and truly livable experience. This is and should always be the basic understanding and aim of our own political activity. We German Greens are looking forward to take an active part in this debate, and to share the concrete experience we made during our own primary.
I sincerely hope that we will have an exciting and successful debate on how to proceed on our common path and that this will be done with one thought in mind: democracy always starts with oneself!