Europe Ecology – The Greens

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Europe Ecology – The Greens
Europe Écologie – Les Verts
National Secretary Emmanuelle Cosse
President of the Federal Council Thierry Brochot
Spokespersons Sandrine Rousseau and Éric Loiselet
Founded 13 November 2010
Merger of The Greens and
Europe Écologie
Headquarters 247, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin
F-75010 Paris
Ideology Green politics[1]
Regionalism[1]
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Global Greens
European affiliation European Greens
European Parliament group The Greens–European Free Alliance
Colours Green
National Assembly
17 / 577
Senate
12 / 348
European Parliament
6 / 74
Regional Councils
262 / 1,880
Website
http://www.eelv.fr
Politics of France
Political parties
Elections
Part of a series on
Green politics
Sunflower symbol

Europe Ecology – The Greens (French: Europe Écologie – Les Verts French pronunciation: ​[øʁɔp‿ekɔlɔˈʒi leˈvɛʁ], EELV) is a green political party in France, formed in 2010 from the merger of The Greens and other environmentalists, social activists and regionalists from the Europe Écologie coalition, created for the 2009 European elections and 2010 regional elections.

History[edit]

Following the 2008 municipal elections, considered as a "small renaissance" for The Greens, the party sought to increase the political influence of the green movement. Echoing these calls, Daniel Cohn-Bendit proposed the creation of open lists for the 2009 European elections and the Greens' leadership allowed for the exploration of this possibility. Europe Ecology (EE), launched in the fall of 2008, allowed The Greens to create a wider electoral alliance with environmentalists and social activists who had not been party members in the past. The new structure included, alongside longtime Green politicians, new activists or environmentalists such as Jean-Paul Besset (close to Nicolas Hulot), José Bové (alter-globalisation activist from the Confédération paysanne), Yannick Jadot (former head of Greenpeace France), Eva Joly (magistrate) and Michèle Rivasi (founder of CRIIAD).

Europe Ecology was a remarkable and unexpected success in 2009, placing third with 16.3% of the vote and only a few thousand votes from the Socialist Party. The experience led to further attempts to expand the green movement, ahead of the 2010 regional elections. Europe Ecology ran independent lists in the first round in every region, once again with the participation of new activists including Philippe Meirieu, Laurence Vichnievsky or Augustin Legrand. While they fell short of their 2009 success, EE nevertheless managed to win 12.5% of the vote nationally (third place).

The Greens and those new activists who joined the movement by way of EE - but who did not wish to join the party - began talks to allow for the creation of a new, enlarged political movement. In October and November 2010, EE and later The Greens ratified new statutes and a new manifesto. Notably, these new statutes allowed for "cooperators" - individuals who did not join the party as full paying members but who are nonetheless allowed to run as candidates, vote in presidential primaries and partake in debates over the platform.[2]

The official launch of the new party, presented as a new political force, was held in Lyon on 9 November 2010. The new party adopted the name Europe Ecology – The Greens (Europe Écologie – Les Verts, EELV). However, the launch of the party was marked by tensions between longtime politicians from the former Green party and new activists from various non-political social movements. Jean-Paul Besset, for example, resigned all his leadership responsibilities in EELV within weeks and denounced a "poisonous Cold War atmosphere".[3] A month later, Philippe Meirieu was named as the first president of the party's new federal council, created by the EELV statutes.

In the 2011 cantonal elections, EELV won 8.2% of the vote nationally - becoming the third largest force on the left behind the Socialist Party (PS) and the Left Front (FG). Although the traditional runoff deals were sealed with both of these parties, some EELV candidates qualified for the runoff against other left-wing candidates did not withdraw, creating tensions with EELV's traditional left-wing allies.[4] Ultimately, EELV won 27 seats, 16 more seats than what the Greens had won in the same series of cantons in 2004.

A presidential primary to nominate a candidate for the 2012 presidential election, open to members and cooperators, was held in June and July 2011. Four candidates sought the EELV nomination, most notably Eva Joly, an MEP and Nicolas Hulot, a well known TV personality and environmentalist. Joly emerged victorious in the runoff on July 12 with 58.16%.[5]

In the 2011 senatorial elections, an agreement with the PS allowed for the first left-wing senatorial majority under the Fifth Republic and the creation of the first entirely green parliamentary group.

In the 2012 presidential election, Joly won only 2.31% of the vote.

On 15 November 2011, EELV and the PS signed a coalition agreement prior to the 2012 presidential election. The agreement included a commitment to reduce the share of nuclear energy in France from 75% to 50% by 2025, the progressive shutdown of 24 nuclear reactors, the creation of a carbon tax and raising taxes on very high incomes. The agreement also included an ad hoc electoral deal for the 2012 legislative elections in which the PS conceded over 60 constituencies to EELV, which would allow EELV to form a parliamentary group.[6] On 8 May 2012, following the left's victory with François Hollande, EELV's federal council voted in favour of cabinet participation in the new left-wing government.[7]

In the 2012 legislative elections, EELV candidates won 5.46% nationally and elected a record 17 deputies (in addition to one member of the regionalist Breton Democratic Union, backed by EELV). However, every EELV deputy who was victorious had benefited from the endorsement of the PS, although many faced local PS dissidents.

In Jean-Marc Ayrault's left-wing government, EELV has two cabinet ministers: former party leader Cécile Duflot as minister of housing and territorial equality, and former MEP Pascal Canfin as junior minister for international development.

Ideology[edit]

As a green party, EELV prioritizes and emphasizes environmental issues. It calls for a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions, phasing out nuclear energy in favour of renewable energy, the creation of 600,000 'green jobs', eco-friendly urban planning (the creation of green housing and the promotion of public transportation), the development of sustainable agriculture and a moratorium on the use of genetically modified organisms.[8] EELV, like the Greens before it, has generally opposed large-scale development projects, most recently the Aéroport du Grand Ouest in Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique), although the PS and the incumbent government officially support the project.

On economic issues, EELV leans strongly to the left. Besides the creation of 'green jobs' in fields such as thermal isolation and renewable energies, it also supports a carbon tax and raising the progressive income tax levels for high earners (60% for incomes between €100,000 and €500,000, 70% for incomes over €500,000). EELV is close to some anticapitalist and many alter-globalization activists.[2] In its alternative budget in 2011, EELV proposed to reduce the public debt by closing fiscal loopholes.

The party has traditionally supported European federalism, although many of its European policies are in conflict with the current direction and leadership of the European Union. EELV, like the Greens before it, has been one of the strongest proponents of decentralisation, officially supporting "differentiated federalism" which would devolve significant powers to the regions of France. The regionalist federation Régions et Peuples Solidaires has long been closely allied to the green movement in France.[2] François Alfonsi of the Party of the Corsican Nation (PNC) was elected to the European Parliament on an EE list in 2009.

On moral issues, the green movement has tended to take socially progressive positions: it has supported same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption, euthanasia and the legalisation of soft drugs. It also supports political reform, including voting rights for foreigners in both local and national elections, abolishing the cumul des mandats, term limits and a 'Sixth Republic' with a more powers for the parliament and direct democracy.[8] The greens have long promoted gender equality in politics, its leadership and electoral candidates tend to respect gender parity and the EELV group in the French National Assembly has two co-presidents, one male and one female.

Electoral results[edit]

Presidential[edit]

Election year Candidate 1st round 2nd round
# of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall votes  % of overall vote
2012 Eva Joly 828,345 2.31 (#6)

Legislative[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
2012 1,418,141 5.5 (#5)
18 / 577
  • 18 (incl. Paul Molac of the UDB[9]) were elected, but Cécile Duflot resigned her seat to stay in the government, the seat went to PS.

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
2009 2,803,759 16.28 (#3)
15 / 72
2014 1,695,914 8.95 (#5)
6 / 74
Decrease9

Other elections[edit]

  • 2010 regional elections: EE lists won 12.2% nationally in the first round. It won its best result (17.82%) in Rhône-Alpes. All its lists withdrew and merged with PS lists, except in Brittany, where it maintained its own separate list and won 17.4% of the votes in the runoff.
  • 2011 cantonal elections: EELV won 8.22% nationally and 27 seats.

Elected officials[edit]

EELV claims 54 general councillors, about 262 regional councillors and at least 60 mayors. Notable EELV mayors include Éric Piolle, mayor of Grenoble (Isère), Dominique Voynet, mayor of Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis); Jacques Boutault, mayor of the 2nd arrondissement of Paris.
Noël Mamère, mayor of Bègles (Gironde) left EELV in September 2013.[14]

Leadership[edit]

The party executive is formed by the Executive Bureau (bureau exécutif). The national secretary is the leader of the executive bureau and is the party's most senior leader. The federal council (conseil fédéral) is composed of 150 members (75 men and 75 women) and serves as the party's parliament, meeting on a monthly basis.

Notes and references[edit]