Latvian Green Party expelled from European Green Party

The Latvian Green Party has been expelled from the European Green Party, the party's chairman Edgars Tavars told the LETA newswire November 10, adding that this did not come as a surprise.

He confirmed that the Latvian Green Party - which in turn forms part of the broader Greens and farmers Union political bloc in Latvia - had been expelled from the European Green Party, but also claimed that the Latvian Green Party has been ''considering the European Green Party for a while anyways, because it has become too difficult to associate our party with the so-called contemporary Greens''.

"This is also evidenced by this congress, which has already publicly denounced us on our stance against same-sex marriage, our disapproval of Russian language schools being funded by the state, and our defense of patriotism rather than globalism," Tavars said.

He said that in his view, the European Green Party has been dominated by aggressive neo-liberalism rather than green beliefs in recent years.

According to him, the Latvian Green Party has always believed, and continues to believe, that Greens everywhere in the world should unite around a common vision on environmental issues and should not divide green-minded people into other subordinate beliefs.

''We do not see any reason why the green idea must be associated with sexuality, ethnicity, the economic left and so on. Our flag is green-white-green, not the rainbow flag,'' Tavars said.

Delegates at the European Green Party Council, which was convening in Tampere, Finland, from Friday to Sunday, had been urged to decide on stripping the Latvian Green Party of full membership in the EGP, according to a document distributed to the delegates by the EGP Committee. 

The EGP criticizes the Latvian Greens for activities that go against the "green" values and the EGP Charter, like a failure to follow democratic principles in the party's internal affairs and a "chronic" lack of interest in the work of the EGP - the Latvian Greens have systematically missed deadlines for membership contributions, they have not bothered to send delegates to EGP Council meetings and been reluctant to communicate with EGP representatives. 

Other wrongdoings of the Latvian Greens include party leader Edgars Tavars' endorsement for the US Republican Party and President Donald Trump, the party's vote against the civil partnership law, homophobic remarks and actions of some members of the Latvian Green Party and former President Raimonds Vejonis' (an ex-member of the Latvian Green Party and in effect Europe's first Green head of state) support for the transition to Latvian as the only language of teaching in Latvia's schools, the party's opposition to the refugee quota system proposed by the European Commission, as well as voting against the Istanbul Convention. 

However, the Latvian Greens' conservative approach to many issues is nothing new, making it perhaps surprising that the European Greens accepted them as members in the first place. 

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