1. Who am I?
- Born in 1958, mother of 3 (23, 25 and 27), I studied and worked as journalist from 1980 to 1989, a native French speaker and fluent in Dutch and English, with notions of German and Spanish.
- A member of the Belgian Green party Ecolo since 1982, I was elected regional MP (in the opposition) from 1989 to 2002. I was co-president of the party from 2002 to 2004, Minister for Environment, Energy, Urban Regeneration, Youth and Aid to Individuals from 2004 to 2014. I was elected regional MP once again in 2014 in the opposition, a post, which I currently occupy, as well as being a member of the local council in my municipality Forest, a commune of the Brussels Region (in the majority)
- In my capacity as regional minister, I sat in the European Environment Council, and participated in all the COP meetings as a negotiator. I also launched the "Brussels, Green European Capital" project, contributed to the Committee of Regions on questions of energy and sustainable cities, as well as the European Council (on matters of Youth) in collaboration with several Green MPs and ministers of Environment (Germany, Finland, Luxemburg…), and officials from major European cities.
- Vice-president of two city-networks from 2010 to 2015, Energycities and ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), I have been actively involved from the beginning in the Covenant of Mayors. And today working with them before the COP to push the question of the « sustainable cities » completely in the debate. Cities are victim of climate change but are also the opportunity to give answers and solutions.
2. What can be my input as member of the Committee?
- As member of Parliament in the opposition and Minister in the majority, I have been actively involved from the local to the European level. I also have experience as a political negotiator, in managing a party and parliamentary groups, and in conducting discussions with the economic, social and environmental sectors.
- As a journalist, I possess a capacity for synthesis, coordination, writing and communication skills
- A political mind and the capacity to seek a consensus without compromising values
- I have a generalist profile which has nonetheless been acknowledged in matters of climate, energy and especially "sustainable cities", which includes questions of densification, circular economy, sustainable construction, green energy chains, etc.
- Very often I worked to build bridges and more comprehension between the regional work (on mobility, pollution of the air, biodiversity…) and the European level. It 's a priority: making links and synergies between the local actions and initiatives and the European debates and decisions.
3. My motivation
- After 35 years of existence and the emergence of green parties in the new European member states, we are at a turning point in our history. The strategies we adopt for the next 5 years will be decisive, if we want to impose ecologists permanently on the European political scene. The 21st century will either be GREEN or it won't. Whether it concerns climate change or the refugee crisis, ecologists have a humane, long-term, pragmatic and global approach to politics.
Europe, with the other political level, is our action field for our global fights on ecological transition and social justice.
- This moment is crucial, we have big challenges during the next months: the discussions around the TTIP with the question of democracy in Europe, the COP 21 on climate change and the refugees issue and how Europe will manage this with the Members States.
- A new citizen-driven dynamic is appearing today, new parties are being created (Podemos, Syriza…), old left parties have adopt new accents (Labour Party in UK); all of which challenges us but also allows for new dynamics that are more creative, more participative, more incisive. The EGP has to work through the borders for the commons challenges.
- The EGP should be seen as an open and modern party, ready for action and for mobilising its forces when needed, capable of determining common priorities.
- We must be the strong hub of these new movements, we can play a federating role and European Greens must serve as a platform.
- The EGP committee has the responsibility of collaborating with the green parties of all the European states, sharing the experience of each other.
- I would be glad to make my own contribution, in addition to that of the other members and the Co-Presidents, to a team that is willing to work together FOR the green parties and open to their needs.
As member of the Committee I would work for a better integration of the European debate in the ecologist parties at all levels (national to local). But also bring my regional experience in a majority and in my party ECOLO to the EGP.
4. The EGP at the heart of the network
Our biggest assets are our multiple strengths and our solid internal structures, the Committee is at the heart of the network. With its General Secretary and the Co-Presidents, the representatives of the member parties but also directly with the regional networks and the specific committees. In coordination with the Global Greens, which open up the horizon towards other continents, with the European Foundation (GEF), the Young european (FYEG) and the group of EMPs as well as our local elected representatives.
This is the direction I would like to take if I am chosen to join the committee, gathering all our strengths and assets, creating new links, forging a new forceful identity for the EGP and following a common strategy to reinforce the influence of the Greens in the European political landscape.
Brussels, 13 September 2015