Green Talking Heads

The European Green Party’s 35th Council: Greens in power! Pt.1
#14

Ricarda Lang

Co-chair of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and Member of the German Bundestag

Virginijus Sinkevičius

European Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

Dritan Abazović

Prime Minister of Montenegro

15June
2022
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The European Green Party’s 35th Council: Greens in power! Pt.1

In this episode, Mar Garcia, Secretary General of the European Green Party, is in conversation with key Green politicians from all over Europe who hold different responsibilities at different levels. In the first part of the episode, Mar exchanges with Ricarda Lang, Co-chair of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and Member of the German Bundestag about how to turn a political vision into governing action; with Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries about how to implement an ambitious European Green Deal; and with Dritan Abazović, Prime Minister of Montenegro about how to build on more democratic values after decades of corruption. During these three conversations, Mar Garcia enquires about the challenges they face but also about the successes they achieved.

Ricarda Lang, Virginijus Sinkevičius and Dritan Abazović

From 3-5 June, the European Green Party organised its 35th Council – the highest decision-making body of the European Greens. During this biannual gathering that brings together hundreds of Greens from across the European continent, we discussed the most pressing issues of today, including foreign policy, security and the energy transition. We also adopted resolutions and elected a new Committee! 

The Council offers the opportunity to talk with key actors that are pushing for a Greener vision for Europe. Our interviewees in this episode occupy different positions of power and represent various levels in national or European government. First, Ricarda Lang, Co-Chair of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and Member of the German Bundestag, discusses how to turn a political vision into governing action. Then, Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, speaks on implementing an ambitious European Green Deal. Lastly, Dritan Abazović, Prime Minister of Montenegro, discusses the importance of building on more democratic values after decades of corruption. We spoke with them about the challenges that they face as well as the successes they have led in their respective political environments. 

Ricarda Lang: Turning the German Greens’ political vision into governing action

Ricarda Lang, Co-Chair of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and Member of the German Bundestag, spoke to us about how the German Greens turn their political vision into action at the governmental level, now that they are in a coalition government in Germany. Lang reflects on how our reality is already changing due to the pandemic, war in Ukraine, and climate emergency. Today’s political context needs political actors that can respond to these changes and drive future-proof policies. The German Greens are advocating for not just administering this change but actively shaping it. This proactive attitude to shape the current present and the future also means confronting the status quo, especially considering that previous governments were maintaining it.

Today’s crises have led to important challenges and crucial lessons for the German Greens. Firstly, Lang made clear that foreign affairs cannot just be conducted through trade agreements, in the hope that “if we just have really closely knit economic ties with authoritarian states, then there will be no war.”

The war in Ukraine has proven that this has only made us vulnerable in the face of Russian aggression and their use of energy and food as bargaining chips in the on fossil fuels also created vulnerabilities – that’s why Greens must work hard to achieve 100% renewables by 2035. Thirdly, a just transition, in which there is a clear social dimension to policies, is vital to maintaining a stable economy. All these lessons imply the development of new and ambitious policies which will transform our economies and democracies. This active transformation needs to be shaped by putting social policy action in the centre of the German government as well as all other Green parties.

Virginijus Sinkevicius: Working together to implement the European Green Deal

Virginijus Sinkevičius is a Lithuanian politician, and the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. His portfolio plays a key role on the development of the European Union’s Green Deal. He outlines the main challenges and successes of this endeavour, from his perspective as a member of the College of Commissioners.   

Sinkevičius reflects that developing a comprehensive implementation of the European Green Deal is the main challenge. He stated that forces are mounting to put the European Green Deal on hold due to current crises such as the pandemic of the war in Ukraine and warns that this would be a huge mistake. If anything, these crises require us to engage more deeply on climate and environmental protection, as well as tackling our dependency on fossil fuels. He also calls on civil society to maintain pressure on politicians to ensure the implementation of the Green Deal.

Indeed, he emphasises that the driving force of the European Green Deal has been the call from citizens who were persistent in their demands, meeting every Friday with a unified message from across the world. Many ambitious proposals were achieved as a part of the European Green Deal, such as the deforestation strategy and the sustainable product policy. 

Dritan Abazovic: Instilling more democratic values in Montenegro after decades of corruption  

Dritan Abazović is the president of the URA party and Prime Minister of Montenegro since April 2022. He is also the first Prime Minister that comes from a minority in Montenegro. URA (Civic Movement United Reform Action) was established in 2015 and represents all ethnicities and stands for a European, ecological and democratic Montenegro. When Dritan Abazović was elected, minority parties agreed on a cooperation agreement which set Montenegro on a new path: one in which EU integration is initiated, institutions such as the judiciary were unblocked, crime and corruption were tackled, and citizen wages could finally be increased.

Abazović spoke about how to change political mindsets, fight corruption and promote democratic values from his perspective as a Green politician in government within a non-EU country. Since his party has been in government, URA is ensuring that more women enter political positions, such as Danijela Đurović who is the first woman in the role of President of the Parliament. He highlighted that the main task of the party has been to work on re-establishing the rule of law in Montenegro, starting with the judiciary.

He states: “No one is untouchable anymore. Everybody is responsible for what they have done.” The challenges for the country are clear. Firstly, it will be finding consensus in the parliament to achieve a functional judiciary system that fights corruption and organised crime. Abazović also emphasised the need to bring new democratic values to the country and bring justice, whilst also advancing Montenegro’s project of integration into the European Union.   

Greens in power are leading the change! 

As Greens increasingly move from being in political opposition, to being democratically elected to positions of leadership – from the local to the national to the European level – it’s inspiring to hear that the drive to lead on change is growing. It’s also vital to learn from the challenges our Green politicians face along the way as they tackle the status quo to build a fairer and greener Europe.  

Ricarda Lang

Virginijus Sinkevičius

Dritan Abazović

Pride is protest! Solidarity with the LGBTI community of the BalkansLGBTQI+
#17

Sibylle Steffan

EGP Committee Member

Natalija Simović

Local Councillor and Board member of Don't let Belgrade d(r)own

10October
2022
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In this episode, Sibylle Steffan, EGP Committee Member is in conversation with Natalija Simovic, Local Councillor and Board member of Don't let Belgrade d(r)own. They discuss the situation of the LGBTI community across Europe and the Serbian Greens' fight for same sex marriage legislation.

Tackling the ‘shadow pandemic’ of Gender Based Violence in EuropeHealth Polices
#16

Terry Reintke

Green Member of the European Parliament

13July
2022
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In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Green MEP Terry Reintke. They discuss the Gender Based Violence Directive proposed by the European Commission, and how the Greens are fighting against the backlash on women's rights and gender equality in recent years.

The European Green Party’s 35th Council: Greens in power! Pt.2Health Polices
#15

Urszula Sara Zielińska

member of the Polish Parliament, co-chair of Partia Zieloni

Rui Tavares

Portuguese National MP, city councillor in Lisbon and Co-Spokesperson of LIVRE

23June
2022
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In this episode, Mar Garcia, Secretary-General of the European Green Party, is in conversation with key leaders advancing Green policies in Europe. Urszula Zielińska, Co-Chair of Partia Zieloni and Member of Parliament at the Polish Parliament, speaks about the threat to rule of law in Poland and the EU's role in helping to tackle it. Rui Tavares, Member of Parliament at the Portuguese Parliament, speaks on how to bridge urgent priorities with social and ecological priorities.

Green Local Councillors in ValenciaHealth Polices
#13

Sergi Campillo

City of Valencia

Claire Roumet

Director of Energy Cities

Eloi Badia

City of Barcelona

20May
2022
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In this episode, Mélanie Vogel, Green Senator of France, is in conversation with Claire Roumet, Director of Energy Cities, Eloi Badia Casas, Councillor for Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition of the City Council and Vice President of Ecology of Barcelona, and Sergi Campillo, the Deputy Mayor of Valencia and General Coordinator of the Area of Urban Ecology. They discuss the energy crisis and why now is the best time to accelerate the energy transition to secure a more resilient and peaceful future.

Why the Digital Services Act is critical to uphold democracy. Pt. 2Health Polices
#12

Jan Penfrat

EDRi Senior Policy Advisor

02May
2022
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In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Senior Policy Advisor at European Digital Rights (EDRi) Jan Penfrat explains how the DSA helps to shift the online ecosystem away from ad-driven centralized mega platforms, and towards a more decentralized version of the internet.

Why the Digital Services Act is critical to uphold democracy. Pt. 1Health Polices
#11

Alexandra Geese

Member of the European Parliament

29March
2022
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In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Green MEP Alexandra Geese. They discuss the Digital Services Act (DSA), and how this new piece of EU legislation will regulate our digital platforms and enhance our democracies in the process.

Improving the working conditions of platform workers. Pt. 2Health Polices
#10

James Farrar

Digital Workers’ rights activist

14February
2022
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In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Digital Worker Rights Activist James Farrar. They discuss his thoughts on data driven exploitation in the gig economy as a former Uber driver turned activist, and how gig companies are using ‘hidden algorithmic control’ to exert more power over workers.

Improving the working conditions of platform workers. Pt. 1Health Polices
#09

Kim van Sparrentak

Green Member of the European Parliament

04February
2022
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In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with Green MEP Kim van Sparrentak. They discuss platform workers and the European Commission’s new legislative proposal to improve their working conditions.

Healthcare as a common goodHealth Polices
#08

Petra de Sutter

Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Former Green MEP

10January
2022
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In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with the Deputy Prime minister of Belgium Petra de Sutter, former Green MEP who is also a health professional, and a person of reference on health issues within the Green family. They assess how the European Union and national governments have managed the pandemic thus far and discuss the key role of accessible vaccines to ensure a pandemic recovery for all.

How the EU can improve its fight against child labourHealth Polices
#07

Saskia Bricmont

MEP for the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament and Member of Ecolo

16December
2021
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In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with MEP for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and member of Ecolo Saskia Bricmont. They discuss the pressing issue of child labour and the European Union’s concerning footprint of child labour imports, as well as what can be done to lower it without pushing children into more dangerous activities.

How the EU can improve its fight against forced labourHealth Polices
#06

Anna Cavazzini

MEP for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and Member of the German Greens

15December
2021
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In this episode, Sarah Diedro is in conversation with MEP for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and member of the German Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) Anna Cavazzini. They discuss forced labour and what the European Union can do to tackle this critical issue, whilst also protecting the vulnerable people who suffer from it.

COP26 in Glasgow: A Green perspectiveHealth Polices
#05

Oras Tynkkynen

European Green Party Committee Member

Terhi Lehtonen

State Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Environment

05November
2021
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Climate Campaigner Rheanna Johnston is in conversation with European Green Party Committee Member Oras Tynkkynen and Terhi Lehtonen, State Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Environment. Recorded at COP26, they discuss the climate summit negotiations, and what actions Green leaders are taking to tackle the climate crisis.

Transparency and accountability of pharmaceutical industryHealth Polices
#04

Yannis Natsis

Expert on access and affordable medicines

28October
2021
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EGP Committee Member Mélanie Vogel is in conversation with Yannis Natsis, Policy Manager for the European Health Alliance. They discuss the unequal distribution of vaccines and how pharmaceutical companies thrive in secrecy, taking advantage of secret deals signed with EU member states.

Climate Activists towards COP26Health Polices
#03

Climate activists at the European Ideas Lab

Esmeralda Sofía Caro, Dhreen Baloch, Walter Ruggeri, Narmine Abou Bakari, Lena Hartog

15October
2021
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Climate Campaigner Rheanna Johnson is in conversation with MAPA activists Esmeralda Sofía Caro Pieri and Dhreen Baloch, Digital Rights Campaigner Narmine Abou Bakari, and Co-Founder of the Slow Fashion Movement Lena Hartog. As COP26 approaches fast, they discuss the impact of the climate crisis on frontline communities, the throwaway culture surrounding our digital devices, and how to address pollution and overconsumption in the fashion industry.

Equitable access to medicinesHealth Polices
#02

Gaëlle Krikorian

Researcher and Activist on Public Health Issues

09October
2021
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EGP Committee Member Mélanie Vogel is in conversation with Gaëlle Krikorian, a researcher and activist on public health. They discuss the fault lines of our healthcare system, and the role of patents play in the issue of unequal access to pharmaceutical goods and treatment.

Fit for ClimateFit for 2030
#01

Bas Eickhout

Member of the European Parliament - Greens/EFA

08October
2021
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Climate campaigner Rheanna Johnston is in conversation with Bas Eickhout, a member GroenLinks and the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, to discuss the latest battleground in the fight against the climate crisis: the Fit-for-2030 file.