In the year 2029 years a group of middle-aged women and men are meeting in Brussels, on Place Luxembourg in front of the European Parliament. They’re celebrating the election results that brought the European Greens to a majority, so a Green will preside over the federal European Union. But that’s not the only occasion that deserves a toast that day. The Federation of Young European Greens is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Over a few beers they talk about the last 20, 30 years and how the once young greens turned grey and beer-bellied. And they’re complaining about the anniversary party where they passed by but where the music was too strange and too loud, where they didn’t know anybody of the young ones and where nobody knew them.
And anyway, those young people of today, they have no idea of politics. They don’t know how it was to build up strong young green groups in areas where there was nothing before; how to struggle for influence in a party; they don’t know how it used to be without any money; with the board sleeping on the floor after meetings and always pasta and pastizzi. Not to talk about the secretariat.
The young ones laugh in unbelief when told that there used to be one SecGen and that’s it. With advisors and assistants to the board, they have no idea how it is to drown in work and chaos while “only” arranging a few seminars and meetings per year.
The FYEG they know today, 20 years from now, is highly professional, its political work and press work are admired even by the youth wings whose parties once were in power. The FYEG they know has a tight network all over Europe, has an undisputable influence on both the European Green Party and the Green Group in Parliament. It is the most dynamic youth wing, setting the agenda in Europe. They have a strong network with all parts of green-linked civil society.
Probably most of FYEG’s success came from a process that started after the 2009 elections: the young greens re-invented the notion of “politics”. They re-defined it as participating in shaping the world and made the concept of politics attractive to young people, mainly in Eastern Europe.
Being political became the new European mega-trend and it seems to stay on. Hundreds of thousands of young people joined the young greens and brought a new political spirit into their societies. All over Europe, a new soul of participation has spread and public fora, e-democracy and other innovations help everybody take part in shaping the world. FYEG formed a European space for public opinion and action never been seen before.
Their dynamic and always up to date ways of communication enable young people to see what happens all over Europe, to exchange, network and take political action. And their effort has shown results. The Green party has been growing ever since, in Parliament and Europe, and they become green in all political fields – climate, social, education, migration, global…
The grey-haired ex-FYEGers get silent when they think about what the new generation has achieved. But then they remember that, back in those days, they did their part to lay the basis for what FYEG looks like today. And they feel a bit proud. And realize that one shouldn’t wish to other people the difficulties and obstacles that one had to fight so hard. But like all old people, they will keep on living in nostalgia from time to time and think of General Assemblies in cold English manors and seminars with only one toilet and only potatoes for the vegans. As if that had been any fun.