Jean Lambert MEP, the Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London, will be hosting the debate and says the event is open to everyone, not just Green party members. “Where all the other parties are choosing their lead candidates internally, the Greens have thrown the process open to every EU citizen aged 16 or over,” says Lambert.
The four candidates (from three different EU countries) are: Jose Bove (France), Ska Keller (Germany), Monica Frassoni (Italy) and Rebecca Harms (Germany). “We’ve invited them to London because, as Greens, we want to welcome our continental colleagues,” says Lambert.
Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, said: “This primary is an experiment in extending European democracy well beyond its former limits.
“It will be the first-ever pan-European primary election, a chance for 16 and 17-year-olds to influence a vote from which they are otherwise excluded, and we hope will provoke a wide debate not just about the contenders but about the possibility of giving citizens a much broader say in European decisionmaking.
“I’m pleased that while other leading groups in the European parliament are expected to pick one person to be their leading ‘face’ of the campaign – all of them predicted to be male – the European Green Party has maintained its tradition of joint leadership, and its insistence on a female presence of at least 50 percent,” says Bennett.
In July 2013 European Green Party (EGP) announced that it will run a first ever European-wide open online primary as the preparation for European elections in 2014. It will be open to all people living in the EU over the age of 16 who “support green values”. They will finally elect two transnational candidates who will be the face of the common campaign of the European green parties united in the EGP. The candidates elected in the primary will run for the role of the European Commission president.
The debate will take place from 2pm on Saturday, 18 January at the ICO Conference Centre, 22 Berners Street, London W1T 3DD. (It will end around 4pm.) Entry is free, but pre-registration is advised to secure a place.
Anyone aged 16 or over and who says they support green values can vote in an online poll to decide which two will lead the Greens’ EU-wide election campaign later this year. (You don’t have to be a Green Party member to take part.) More information on how to vote can be found at www.greenprimary.eu.