From November 23-26th, 2017, the European Green Party (EGP) had its Council meeting in Karlstad, Sweden. There were about 300 participants in this beautiful city and the atmosphere was very good with many talks in the seminars and in the corridors.
As Global Greens representatives from the European Green Party, we were invited to hold our internal meeting as well as an external seminar about expats — people who are abroad (e.g. from Finland, Norway, etc.), but who can vote in Sweden. This also includes newcomers to Sweden from Syria, Somalia, Turkey, etc.; a potential we should tap into.
Keli Yen, David Westson, and Björn Stockhausen presented their ideas about how we can obtain more Green votes from expats during upcoming elections. We found out that most parties had answered the presenters’ questionnaire, and that the parties were favorable towards developing an expat-related project. David showed us statistics demonstrating the positive effects of Green votes from abroad. Sweden gets a higher score from expats than from voters in Sweden — almost double!
The idea is to start with making a map of the different election systems of the European countries. Since there is such a variety of conditions among countries, we need to conduct research. In Finland, you can vote both in Sweden (if you live there) and in Finland, if you have double citizenship. In Ireland, expats are not at all allowed to vote from abroad; they must come home to vote. In Belgium, expats have to register half a year ahead of the election in order to vote.
The proposal was that the Global Greens, with support from the EGP, develop a pilot project with Sweden, since Sweden will hold its election in September 2018. The next step could be the European parliament elections in June 2019, which can have a significant impact on the results. For example, we know that MEP Max Andersson, Swedish Green Party, received the fourth mandate thanks to voters from abroad in the last election in 2014. Following this, we could spread the idea to encompass expats worldwide.
Together we are strong!
The photo above shows Eva Goës, Keli Yen, Josef Smida and Merja Kähkönen. Evelyne Heutebroeck was also very busy on the stage and behind-the-scenes! The conference was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström, who made a fabulous keynote speech. The Vice Prime Minister, Isabella Lövin, and the Minister of Education Gustav Fridolin, both spokespersons of Miljöpartiet de Gröna, gave presentations, as did the Minister of Housing and Digitalisation, Peter Eriksson, and the Minister of Environment, Karolina Skog. Per Bolund, the Minister of Finance, was in the audience. In addition, Karolina and Evelyne held a successful seminar about Green and sustainable cities.
See more information on the EGP27 meeting in Karlstad, Sweden here: https://europeangreens.eu/karlstad2017