22 juillet 2011 | Ecolo is a French-speaking Belgian party created in 1980. It was one of the first green parties in the world to enter the national parliament the following year. Since that time, it has never left the parliaments nor the front lines of the French-language political scene in Belgium.
Belgium is a small country with many internal borders – Ecolo works in broad parliamentary, political and linguistic consultation with its Flemish equivalent Groen ! Despite the fact that, in the complex institutional system of Belgium, certain differences in viewpoints may sometimes subsist, no other political group in the Belgian parliament shows the same kind of convergence of ideas.
The main lines of the Ecolo political programme are :
A sustainable society that accelerates the ecological transition of the economy by adopting true sustainable development policies. This inevitable transition represents a fantastic opportunity to build a future together for all, with a global improvement in quality of life, respect for the environment, lasting economic opportunities and social justice. This project particularly takes the form of proposals, positions and concepts that we identify under the all-inclusive term “Green New Deal”.
A society based on solidarity that better ensures human dignity while it modernizes the way it operates and takes account of the environmental dimension. The Greens’ preference for emancipation has led them to support an increase in social minimum incomes (at the least up to the poverty threshold) rather than to increase the number of selective aids corresponding to a vision that is more or less patronizing given the degree of allocation of the aids.
This corresponds to a policy of inclusion and participation from a cultural, economic and democratic standpoint. The fight against social exclusion entails a broad set of social insertion policies. The idea behind the aid provided and the solidarity developed is to ensure human dignity – even for those in difficulty, for those facing justice, for beneficiaries of aid – and to give persons a role as agents of change. Finally, as a necessary but not sufficient requirement for human dignity, the idea is to give all citizens access to quality employment, particularly by redistributing working hours, access to decent housing and to quality public services adapted to their needs.
A democratic society. What characterizes Ecolo is its determination to enact a new kind of politics, that it has called for and applied since the creation of the movement and then of the political party. It is clear for the Greens that the necessary changes cannot be made – the implications for sustainability of political policies cannot be taken into account, without a change in the approach to politics entailing the association of citizens in decisions, prevention of abuse, organization of pluralism of institutions, the struggle to overcome inequalities and extremism, greater transparency, recognition of ethics as the basic virtue. For this reason, Ecolo has applied very strict ethical rules from the outset : in the field of remuneration, holding several offices simultaneously, close association of members with the decisions to be taken.
Insofar as possible, citizens must also be associated with the policies to be put in place. They must be informed, so they can understand what is at stake, their opinion should be solicited and taken into account and the schemes put in place should be enhanced by their contributions. Well organized participation enriches projects and facilitates their achievement.
Ecolo’s history, its programme, its ideas, its concern for solidarity first and foremost – show its attachment to progressive values. Its members support three-fold solidarity : solidarity between citizens of Belgium (between rich and poor, workers and jobless, young and old …), solidarity with those living in the South and solidarity with future generations.
Ecolo has played a major role in the structuring and the cohesion between movements and green parties in Europe and the world. Already in 1984, the green parties in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland formed the European Coordination of Green Parties. In 2004, a further step was taken with the creation of the European Green Party that today includes more than 30 ecologist parties.
Going beyond interests limited to a region, a nation or even to Europe, to take account of the general interest of all world’s citizens – this is the innovating guideline of the Greens.
We realize that this presentation is too short. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about us or to us an on-line translation tool to consult our site. If you would like to follow what is happening for ecologists, you will find news for Europe in English at www.europeangreens.eu, for Ecolo in French at www.ecolo.be and, for Groen ! in Dutch at www.groen.be.
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