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EU elections: Terry Reintke appointed lead candidate by German Greens

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The German Greens have selected Terry Reintke, co-president of the Greens in the EU Parliament and the group’s likely European spitzenkandidat, to lead their list for next June’s EU elections.

Reintke, who ran unopposed, has led the party group of the European Greens since last year when she replaced her German colleague Ska Keller.

In her speech at the party’s annual conference in Karlsruhe on Thursday (24 November), she made it clear that the Green party, which is part of Germany’s ruling coalition, should aspire to take on executive responsibility. 

“It’s really important to make it very clear that we as Greens want to shape things at the European level,” Reintke told party delegates, arguing that the Greens should aim to increase their representation in the European Commission.

Currently, only one Commissioner is affiliated with the European Greens. Reintke is touted as a candidate for the post of the German Commissioner if German Commission President Ursula von der Leyen does not run again.

In a nod to their status as a party of government, the Greens’ draft manifesto for the EU elections focuses on packaging Green policies into terms such as ‘prosperity’ and ‘security’.

Among the policies that the party suggests is a European ‘infrastructure union’ to support the construction of renewable energy and social infrastructure.

Reintke also vowed to broaden the Greens’ message and to embrace workers’ rights and industrial regeneration as part of her messaging on the green transition. She traced this back to her upbringing in a working-class region in the west of Germany.

She was backed as lead candidate by 95% of the delegates.

However, it was mostly topics such as diversity and the fight against the far-right and authoritarian politics that moved the delegates in Karlsruhe.

MEP Sergey Lagodinsky’s speech directing attention to global crises and attacking the German right was greeted with resounding applause and standing ovations. 

“If [environmentalists and gender-inclusive language] are your biggest problem, then we are your main opponent,” he said.

Lagodinsky beat his opponent, Green MEP Michael Bloss, who ran on a message of economic fairness, by a full 30% to take the second spot on the party list.

Still, delegates showed support for the new line as they reappointed the party’s co-leaders Ricarda Lang and Omid Nouripour.

However, the Greens are facing an uphill battle at the upcoming EU elections. After two years as a junior partner in government the party is currently polling at around 13%, which puts about a third of their 21 seats at risk.

[Edited by Benjamin Fox]

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