Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: Greens Around The World

April 28, 2006

Greens Around The World

When I first found out that there are Green Parties worldwide I was surprised, and a little concerned. Someone once mentioned to me that they thought any kind of worldwide organization needs to be watched carefully. I agreed, although I wondered; was it reasonable to think that being part of a worldwide movement, the Green Party - working for environmental concerns and social justice – could actually be a dangerous force? I wondered if there was a sound reason for this concern, so I decided to look into it further. What I found was that the Greens are actually standing up to the truly concerning international organizations such as the WTO (World Trade Organization), the IMF (International Monetary Fund), and the World Bank. More than that, the Green Party is increasing it's impact through international cooperation, while at the same time focusing on specific issues locally at the grassroots level.

Read on to learn about Green Party history and efforts worldwide.

Green parties and their achievements worldwide


Over the last 23 years, Green parties have participated in governing 15 European countries, including Finland, Italy, France, Germany and Belgium. There have been 44 cabinet-level Green government ministers across Europe during this time.

  • In 1995, Finland became the first Western European country to have the Green party serve in government. With seven years in government, the party remains the longest serving Green party in government.

  • Starting in 1996, Italy's Green Party participated in government for six years. Currently, the Green Party has nine senators.

  • In 2002, the German Greens took 55 parliamentary seats, taking office in a coalition government with the Social Democrats. Hans-Christian Ströbele was elected to the Bundestag as a district representative for the Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain constituency in Berlin – the first-ever Green to achieve this in Germany.

  • This coalition government ruled for three years, and the Green Party was instrumental in pushing to shut down nuclear energy reactors. The German Green Party's Jürgen Trittin, who was the country's environment minister, oversaw Germany's huge investments in renewable energy sources, primarily wind power. As Foreign minister, Joschka Fisher pushed for and insisted on Germany's disapproval of the war against Iraq.

  • German Green legislation enshrined the protection of gay and lesbian couples. Greens have also given continued support to a bill for an Anti-Discrimination Law in the Bundestag and to Agenda 2010, a major reform of the German social security systems that was planned by former chancellor Schröder.

  • Belgian Greens began governing in a three-way coalition with Socialists and Liberals in 1999 for five years. Currently, five ministers, four deputies and two senators are Green Party members, including the Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Transport and Mobility Isabelle Durant, and State Secretary for Energy and Sustainable Development Olivier Deleuze. As in Germany, the party has played a key role in the phase-out of nuclear energy.

  • In 2004, Latvian Green Party co-chair Indulis Emsis served as Prime Minister of the country. The current Minister of Environment, Raimonds Vejonis, is a member of the Latvian Green Party.

  • In Austria, the Green Party has elected representatives in almost all regional parliaments as well as in the European Parliament, and in national and city councils.

  • In Spain, the Green Party on Barcelona's municipal council enacted the Barcelona Solar Thermal Ordinance, a far-reaching solar-thermal policy that has increased the city's use of renewable energy. By 2010, Barcelona aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent from 1999 levels. The policy has since been adopted by Madrid, Valencia, Seville, Burgos, and Pamplona.

  • In the United Kingdom, the Green Party has 63 Principal Authority Councillors and two members of the Greater London Assembly. The Greens represent the fourth largest political group in the European Parliament.

  • As well, Greens are in power-sharing governments in Castle Morpeth, Kirklees, Leeds and Lancaster. Furthermore, there are Green MPs in Scotland, and the Republic of Ireland, on the House of Lords, London Assembly Members, and Green councillors in towns, parishes, counties, and boroughs across Britain, including Brighton and Hackney in London and Green councillors in Oxford.

  • Switzerland has 15 Green Party members in parliament.

European Union

  • The Green-European Free Alliance has 42 seats in the European Parliament. Green MEPs called for and achieved a resolution calling for the ban of radioactive warheads and cluster bombs.

  • The International Criminal Court was founded on a model developed by the Green-European Free Alliance.

  • Green Party MEP Dr. Caroline Lucas is an outspoken critic of the Common Agricultural Policy, and has campaigned for an organic, local and safe agricultural system. She has proposed ways of reducing the impact and buying power of large supermarket chains, and has lobbied the UK government to use EU money to help farmers promote local food initiatives.

  • Green MEPs have campaigned for a binding legal framework for corporate social responsibility; Green MEP Jean Lambert has pushed for EU legislation extending full-time employment rights to temporary staff.

  • Thanks in large part to the efforts of Green MEPs, there is a substantial push for cuts in aircraft noise and for the airlines to pay for damaging the environment.

  • Green MEPs have also pushed for bans on the use of carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic substances in the production of cosmetics.

  • EU Greens have lobbied for proper and precise food and consumer products' labeling, and are behind numerous air quality, water and nutrition initiatives. They introduced the "polluter pays" principle and succeeded in improving laws on issues such as animal welfare and GMOs.

  • German Green minister Renate Künast lobbied the WTO for the right to sufficient and safe food and the access to global markets for a fair global economy.

New Zealand

  • There are currently six Green Party members in the New Zealand Parliament, who effectively hold the balance of power in a weak Labour Party government. Thanks to the Greens, the country New Zealand is officially a nuclear free country, and is free of genetic engineering.

  • The Green Party developed and helped pass the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill, New Zealand's first-ever piece of legislation designed specifically to address climate change.

  • The New Zealand Green Party has led the way on issues of peak oil production and of contingency plans to cope with eventual oil shortages, higher prices and international turmoil.

  • The party has been instrumental in the establishment of an Independent Prison Inspectorate, as well as launching a jointly developed first national walking and cycling strategy.

  • It has called for complementary health practitioners to be integrated into the health system, and in the 2002-03 budget negotiated $3.2 million towards cleaning up and recording highly contaminated sites.


  • The Australian Green Party started in 1992. Today, it has five senators, 15 state legislators, and 80 members of local government.

  • In Melbourne, Green city councilors have enacted Nuclear-Free Melbourne, making the city nuclear-free. They've adopted and promoted The Earth Charter, and pushed for equal justice for refugees. They further developed a 20 Year Water Management Plan, as well as a blueprint for a 30 percent increase in green power.


  • The Mexican Green Party has four federal deputies and five senators.

United States

  • 213 Greens in 27 states and the District of Columbia hold elected office as of November 2005. This includes city councillors, mayors, boards of supervisors, school boards, constables, commissioners and others. Some of their achievements include the pioneering Living Wage ordinance in Santa Monica, California.


  • 15 members of the Green Party of BC were elected in B.C. in 2005, on November 19, 2005 including Sonya Chandler of Victoria, Lisa Barrett of Bowen Island, Garmen Gustafson of Golden, Janice Harris of North Vancouver District, Jane Sterk of Esquimalt, Peter Waterman of Summerland City, and Lee Ann Johnson of Gibsons.

Other countries

  • Today, the Mongolian Greens have 3,000 members nationwide, and has six seats on the municipal and provincial level.

  • Brazilian Greens now have 54 mayors and seven MPs.

  • In Japan there are 19 Green city councilors.

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