Kate Meets With the Federation of Young European Greens in Georgia

This June I had the chance to be the first delegate at the Federation of Young European Greens’ (FYEG) General Assembly in Tbilisi, Georgia. The assembly is independent of any Green Party, with a focus on collaboration and capacity building in member organisations. We were hosted by the Georgian Young Greens, who were only founded in 2008 but have campaigned widely both on environmental issues and wider principles of social justice.

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As an elected International Officer for the Scottish Young Greens I am the main contact with FYEG and my goal is to promote international campaigning, green initiatives and political involvement. I was there with last year’s International Officer Johannes, who successfully ran for a position on Executive Committee (meaning that he will now lead FYEG on behalf of member organisations including SYG along with other members). As FYEG is a membership organisation representing Young Greens organisations across Europe this is a great achievement for Scottish Young Greens.

At the General Assembly we had two votes and a chance to vote on different topics, from changes in rules of procedure to issues relating to The Ecosprinter editorial board. We also voted on whether Macedonian Young Greens (MODOM) should become a full member of FYEG. As this was my first assembly it was great to learn about European structures, to meet the spokespeople and Green MEP Terry Reintke. Although it was proposed by the Austrian Young Greens that we should abolish Working Groups, this was not passed and I will now hopefully join the democracy group in FYEG.

The days included debates on topics such as austerity, climate change and migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. It was fantastic to speak about the Scottish situation as well as listening to current developments in other countries. We also had networking opportunities with Young Greens in EU and beyond, as the GA also included members form the Cooperation and Development Network Easter Europe (CDN). The network includes members from Georgia, Turkey, Ukraine and Moldova and it was fascinating to hear about green campaigns and events being developed there.

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I also had a chance to contribute to the England and Wales Young Green’s workshop on the green surge, as well as coming up with strategies to fight right wing populist parties such as UKIP on a European level. It was scary to learn about other right wing parties in Europe, such as Golden Dawn in Greece and why they have become so significant. Learning about the working groups and twin cities projects where Young European members can come together to work on a shared goal has also been a highlight and I am already talking to groups in Catalonia, Belgium and Greece for a possible future partnerships.

Additionally, FYEG launched a campaign called #ItsOurFuckingFuture in advance of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 in Paris, we also skyped other Young Greens who were in Bonn at the time to lobby for better climate change policies. Many members have already started making preparations for Paris in December, as well as launching campaigns such as Greece’s adorable climate change bear campaign. I was also taken by the England and Wales Young Greens ‘cats not cuts’ stickers which I wear proudly and climate warrior temporary tattoos which sadly ran out quickly.

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By night we had a chance to get to know one another, to compare activities happening in our organisations as well as taking part in shared dinners, parties and campaigns. Although I had very little time to see the city, I managed to ride the funicular, do karaoke with the Austrian greens and have ice cream at freedom square in Tbilisi. I must also confess my new found love of khachapuri, khinkali and borjomi.

So, if you should get the chance to go to Tbilisi Georgia you should definitely take it and if you want to get involved with Federation of European Young Greens attending the General Assembly is a fantastic way to start.

Kate Samuels
International Officer, Scottish Young Greens

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