Greens invite EPP group to clear its head before starting coalition talks

Greens invite EPP group to clear its head before starting coalition talks

German MEP Terry Reintke and Dutch lawmaker Bas Eickhout have been appointed new Greens/EFA co-presidents in the group’s constitutive meeting today.

Speaking to reporters shortly after their election, they sent a message to the largest group, the centre-right wing European People’s Party (EPP), offering their services to form a stable coalition for the coming legislative term.

However, they’re asking for some clarity on their position regarding the future of the Green Deal, a key priority for the Greens.

“The EPP is completely divided on where to go with the Green Deal. There are very diverging points,” said Terry Reintke replying to a question from Euronews.

The ‘clear disunity’ of the centre-right group on this key topic should be sorted out before starting talks to include Greens in the majority that should support the election of their candidate to the European Commission presidency, Ursula von der Leyen.

“During the campaign, the EPP has given mixed messages. I had campaign events with Manfred Weber where in one he said they were the party of the Green Deal and then, in the other, he wanted to backtrack from it,” said Eickhout.

The continuation of the flagship EU’s environmental policy is not the only red line in the negotiations, as they want any cooperation with the far-right to be off the table.

“I have been in this Parliament since 2014, and I have seen the EPP making a dire mistake, misjudging the course that Orban was taking,” said Reintke.

“I can only advice them, from democrat to democrat, to make the same mistake with (Italian prime minister) Giorgia Meloni again,” she added.

The Greens will go to negotiations with other parties with a clear set of red-lines but with “a constructive spirit,” insisted the co-presidents. “We’re not that expensive,” said a Green source on the sidelines of the press point, hinting at the fact that the conservatives might ask for more.

The new co-presidents confirmed that conversations with other groups are already happening, not just with the EPP. “[Voting on our leadership today] also enables now to take the next step. That was not officially really possible yet,” explained Eickhout.

If the ambiguity from the EPP remains, socialists on the other hand are giving “very clear messages they want the Greens in the majority”, according to Eickhout, adding that socialists’ priorities are overall comparable to theirs.

The coalition should be open to other pro-European groups to avoid a shift to the right in the hemychicle, the co-presidents stressed.

Green MEPs discussed in their constitutive meeting their preference to have some sort of coalition agreement in a written form, similar to the ones used in some countries before forming governments.