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The Brief: A closer look at the European Greens

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The Brief: A closer look at the European Greens
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The European Greens are hoping to surf a green wave seen throughout 2018 and gain seats in the European Parliament during this month's EU elections.

The Greens are seeking results similar to last year when they emerged the big winners during regional votes in Bavaria, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The group currently has a modest impact in the European Parliament, with only 52 MEPs. Their campaign centres around a political fight to protect the planet, with the prevention of global warming remaining a top priority for the Greens' lead candidates Ska Keller and Bas Eickhout.

"We need to act much more, faster. Climate change is an urgent matter, it's like a crisis — and when we were having a banking crisis the politicians were very quick in saving banks. Now we have to be as quick to save the planet," said Eickhout.

The Greens have benefited from the strong mobilisation of young people in Europe who are demanding climate action. But to turn electoral promises into success at the polls, the Greens intend to break out of its traditional sphere of fighting climate change. The group also want to create a fairer economy for Europeans.

"For us, the European project is precisely to ensure that never again, anywhere in this continent, no woman, no man, can be considered as nothing or think of himself as nothing. Because to consider human beings as nothing is to allow them to suffer anything and, that, we will never accept," said Belgian MEP and group leader Philippe Lamberts.

During the last term of parliament's mandate, the Greens scored several wins, including the creation of a commission of inquiry on the Dieselgate scandal, a regulation for the ban on single-use plastics, and the introduction of the GDPR. Additionally, the Greens were at the centre of a resolution triggering Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty aimed at safeguarding the rule of law in Hungary.

"Europe has promised democracy, rule of law and civil liberties to all its citizens. But those very big successes, they are under threat. We need to fight for them every single day because if Europe loses on democracy, then it will lose itself," said Ska Keller in a plenary speech last year.

The Greens group in the European Parliament relies mainly on the German, British and Spanish delegations for its power bases. However, not all these elected representatives are actually Greens.

The group is in fact called the Greens and European Free Alliance and encompasses regionalist or separatist representatives from Scotland, Catalonia and the Basque country.

The group won't win by a landslide — but the Greens hope to take on the role of coalition kingmaker and press for a greener European Union.