Green Talking Heads

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

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.

Urszula Sara Zielińska and Rui Tavares

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, Urszula Sara Zielińska, member of the Polish Parliament, co-chair of Partia Zieloni and the second conversation with Rui Tavares, Portuguese National MP, city councillor in Lisbon and Co-Spokesperson of LIVRE. We spoke with them about the challenges that they face as well as the successes they have led in their respective political environments. 

Urszula Zielińska: The rule of Law is under threat in Poland  

Urszula Zielińska comes from an activist background and has participated in direct actions in defence of the Białowieża Primeval Forest as well as against the harsh abortion laws adopted in Poland. In the Sejm (the country’s two-chamber parliament), she is working on tackling rule of law issues in Poland. We had the chance to talk to Urszula at a crucial moment for the relationship between Europe and Poland. The European Commission decided, soon after the interview, to approve the disbursement of the EU recovery fund to the country despite the absence of true progress regarding the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.  

and set three conditions for the disbursement of the recovery fund to Poland: the liquidation of the illegal Disciplinary Chamber, the reinstatement of the judges suspended by this chamber and the changes in the disciplinary system for judges. The main request was for the Polish government to get rid of the disciplinary chamber for judges, which led to the politically motivated and unlawful revocation of judges. When the Polish government offered cosmetic measures, the European Commission deemed them sufficient to allow the disbursement of funds. 

These funds are vital for Polish citizens to engage in the just transition, but they are currently being misused by the ruling party Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość – PiS). Urszula recalled that COVID funds have only been released to municipalities that toe the line of the current government, and this is their main challenges. It is unacceptable that the €35.4 billion package has been released even though Poland doesn’t fulfil the conditionality mechanism. We must ensure that the values and conditionality mechanism of the European Union are maintained and build a mechanism that gives direct funds to municipalities and regions.  

One of the successes of the Polish Greens is that their demands and proposals are starting to have a bigger interest and consensus among Polish citizens and the opposition. Urszula recalls that many of the proposals of the Polish Greens were not understood by citizens 10 years ago, but now, the idea of cheap renewable energy, seems not only reasonable but also crucial for the future, for health, for the people, and for strategic independence. 

Rui Tavares: Balancing social and ecological priorities

Rui Tavares is a Member of the Portuguese Parliament and City Councillor of Lisbon. He co-founded the Green-left party LIVRE in 2012 and was elected as a Member of the European Parliament in 2009, joining the Greens/EFA Group. He is also the first rapporteur of the file on fundamental rights in Hungary at the European Parliament. In this episode, he speaks to us about how to bridge green urgent priorities with social and ecological priorities. 

One of the main challenges identified concerning Southern Europe is the lack of trust in politicians and parties, and lack of civic participation. Tavares discusses the necessity of having a clear political vision before going into negotiations with other parties, in order to obtain the best outcome. He also counters far-right narratives by re-framing the conversation to innovative topics such as the Universal Basic Income (UBI), which sets out to provide a lump sum to every citizen in order to ensure wellbeing for all and combat poverty. Now, the idea is gaining traction across the political spectrum in Portugal. They have also succeeded in gaining support for a 4-day work week.

Both climate and social justice are needed to deliver a just transition for all. As Tavares emphasises through the interview “the Green agenda in the South needs to be a green left agenda.” Therefore, they are working to build a new development model for Portugal based on decarbonising the economy.

gather thinkers and activists to discuss European issues. 

Greens are fighting for the rule of law and just transition 

Greens are driving the change and challenging the status quo across Europe – whether they are in power or in opposition! For Urszula Zielińska, being in opposition means fighting against an illiberal government which controls the funds and justiciary. For Rui Tavares, being in opposition creates a constructive conversation with the government is in dialogue to create a more sustainable future for all. Wherever they are, the Greens are holding governments to account and pushing for more progressive policies.  

Urszula Sara Zielińska

Rui Tavares

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.1Health Polices
#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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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.

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.