Political Statement for European Green Party Secretary General Elections
My name is Boryana Hrissimova. I am Bulgarian. I am green. I am 41 and I have a son who is 20.
I am one of the founders of Zelenite in Bulgaria – a green political party registered on May 2008. I was part of the idea and the concept since 2005 when a small group of environmental activists from different NGOs decided that we reached the limit of our influence. We realized that have to overtake the institutions from inside in order to achieve our goals. We realized that we do not have political representation in the Parliament. For 3 rather painful years we discussed pros and cons, we looked for supporters and for more political experienced green thinkers and finally we succeeded. Since 2011 I am a co-chair and then a member of a Control Council of Zelenite. I was a campaign Leader in Parliamentarian Elections in 2013.
I am a green activist for more than 25 years. During this time I became confident in my beliefs. I realized that negativity and protests won’t achieve a real, positive and sustainable result.
I am not a perfect „saint“ green. I like vegetables but I eat meet with pleasure quite often. I drive my bicycle but I like my motorbike a lot. Often I use low cost flights instead of low carbon emission (but very expensive) trains. It happens not to recycle my waste sometimes. Oh, and … yes, I drink occasionally. What does it make me? Human?
But I am green nevertheless. I am green in my heart, soul and the very last cell in my body. And so are many, many other people. They just don’t know it yet. We have to find those simple habits, examples and suitable words to show them their green parts and to address them. Because everyone is green. We have to become simple and sincere in our speech and in our messages in order to make them understandable and close to the ordinary people.
1. Out of the “Brussels Bubble”
EGP need to change. EGP needs urgently to open itself. If we want to increase our MEPs in the next EU elections we have to start now. To go back to our roots, back to the basics where the fun was. It seems that Greens became one of the mainstream political families in the old EU. Campaigning became a routine rather than cause. This capsulation is one of the reasons of losing votes and political representation. To solve this problem I would like to address 2 target groups. First – big environmental NGOs and their headquarters by my personal approach and contacts. Second – to become more open to grassroots organizations, active citizens, and general public through new stronger communication strategy (see below) and further development of Individual Supporters Network. We don’t use the potential of this network yet.
2. Enhancement of the communication policy
To strengthen and to develop the communication policy in order to become more open not only to both the general public and active citizens, but also to big active groups and NGOs that are work outside green agenda – such as investigative journalists (like Amnesty International), social justice groups, Age Platform, greens SMEs, farmers, etc. We have a lot of work to do so they can see that we present the best policies for them. Our media channel is a newsletter. We don’t even have mailing lists. Let’s aim for more. Let’s make an EGP Internet TV for example. Good practices need more serious and attractive publicity. We need better education, training, practical experience so we can have well-prepared politicians and activists, who a confident when they defend their thesis.
3. Geographical balance
In the Rule book article 19.9 it is stated that a geographical balance of Member Parties in the Committee is recommended. This is there for a reason! The biggest potential for growth of the green family is in Central, Eastern Europe and Balkans. No doubt about it even from marketing perspective. Right now this whole region is not presented in the Committee. As an applicant living in the Balkans and from a post-communist country, I am familiar with the problems and I have knowledge and ideas how to include and involve green political parties, groups and active citizens. I saw the potential of Balkans while being in the Climate Change Conference organised by DOM, FYROM where 120 delegates from 10 green political parties discussed our common problem – the floods, the devastations. It is not a secret that Balkans is one of the hot spots in Europe with our complex diversity. But we were united. Probably not all of you know that Balkans have 1 elected MEP from Croatia ORaH – Mr. Davor Skrlec. There are 1 green MP in Serbia and 1 Minister – both from Zelenie Serbia. Many of those parties sooner or later will become full members of EGP. There will be a lot of work in SE Europe.
4. Importance and transformation of common campaigns of EGP
- Climate change has no borders. Yes, true. But this expression became a cliché, unfortunately. Let’s transform it! Let’s focus it around the deforestation problem or river “management”, which cause floods. We can include here basically all biodiversity issues.
- TTIP/TAFTA – simply NO PASARAN!
- Free internet and data protection. Profound reform in legislation in the area of copyright and cross-border access to information, free online access to knowledge and culture! Support for all steps and initiatives encouraging the widespread use of free software and open source software.
- Maximum transparency and accountability for each public Euro. To plan the budget for Councils in a more efficient manner. Legislative measures for support of the authentic active citizen’s groups and whistleblowers of corruption. EGP can make as a part of its communication enhancement an Investigative Board of watch dogs – independent journalists who will follow closely potential corruption deals and/or huge project especially the one where the damage of environment is possible. EGP and this Board can become a link between such active groups and to become their political voice in EP through the Green Group.