Who should be the next President of the European Commission? In the run-up to the 2019 European elections, we’ll be profiling the various Spitzenkandidaten (“lead candidates”) for the job. Next up are the candidate for the European Greens, Ska Keller from Germany and Bas Eickhout from the Netherlands.
Why are the Greens putting forward two candidates for one job? Well, the party argues there should be gender balance across all the top spots in the EU, so they’ve decided to put forward one man and one woman for the role. The European Green Party is a pro-European party that wants to “change Europe”. They want to make the EU more sustainable, social, and democratic. However, the defining issue for the Greens is the fight against climate change and the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.
is the veteran of this twin team. The German MEP is now appearing for the second time as the Greens’ Spitzenkandidat.
Franziska Maria “Ska” Keller was born on November 22, 1981 in Guben, Brandenburg (in the former GDR). She studied Islamic Studies, Turkish and Jewish Studies in Berlin as well as in Istanbul.
Keller is considered cosmopolitan and multicultural. She lives with her Finnish-Swedish husband in Brussels and speaks German, fluent English, French and Spanish, as well as Turkish and Arabic.
Ska Keller began her political career with the German Green party (officially known as “Alliance 90/The Greens”). She served as the board member of the German Young Greens, spokeswoman for the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) and chairperson and spokesperson on women’s policy for Alliance 90/The Greens in Brandenburg. At the age of 27, she was elected to the European Parliament in 2009, and in 2014 she was already nominated as one of the party’s two Spitzenkandidaten.
Ska Keller is young, educated and motivated. She wants to change and reboot Europe. Her campaign motto is: “Nicht nur Opa für Europa” (“Europe is not just for grandad”). For her, it also belongs to the new generation of the Greens.
In the Keller-Eickhout combo, Ska Keller puts her focus on European migration and trade policy, which she wants to make fairer and more sustainable.
is co-Spitzenkandidat for the European Greens, a Member of the European Parliament and leader of the delegation of the Dutch GroenLinks party.
Bas Eickhout was born on October 8, 1976 in Groesbeek, the Netherlands. He graduated in chemistry and environmental science, and has been involved in environmental and climate protection since the start of his career. In the early 2000s, he worked as a researcher for the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. Since the 1990s, Eickhout has also been politically active within the Dutch GroenLinks (“GreenLeft”) party.
Since 2009, Eickhout has been a member of The Greens / European Free Alliance in the European Parliament. He is a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and of the Delegation for relations with the United States.
Eickhout’s driving mission is the fight against climate change. He has many years of experience in climate policy through his work in the European Parliament and at various UN climate summits, and was involved in climate policy in the Netherlands.
You cannot pigeonhole Bas Eickhout. He says he does not want to be categorised according to political ideology, but wants to swim against the current. He wants to do things differently to others.
“The greening of the economy and the socialisation of Europe” are at the heart of his political agenda, and he wants to implement the Paris Climate Agreement and do more for the citizens of Europe.