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Greens Open US Branch

Julie Gregson (dc)April 9, 2008

Germany's Green Party is setting up a branch in the United States. The bottom-up initiative aims to bring a more international perspective to the party's work and combat anti-Americanism among some members back home.

Green party event
The Greens aim to tap into "fresh ideas" statesideImage: AP

The chapter is due to be officially founded next weekend in Washington DC. It hopes to tap into the experiences of the growing number of Germans working in the US capital in international organizations, foundations and think tanks, as well as in the media, the culture industry and higher education.

"We've discovered that there are a lot of Germans in town who are young, tolerant and cosmopolitan and who share Green values or are active in the Green party," said chapter co-founder Arne Jungjohann. "We want to offer them a platform."

But the group is also looking to engage with Greens across the United States and has set up a Facebook presence to allow those living further afield to contribute to the debate.

"Our purpose is to have a group that is following German domestic politics and influencing the Green agenda in Germany on international topics," said Jungjohann, who is also Environmental Program Director at the Boell Foundation.

Countering anti-americanism

Anti-Americanism is another area where the group believes it could have important input.

Greens co-chair Reinhard Bütikofer
Party leader Reinhard Buetikofer welcomes the trans-Atlantic dialogueImage: AP

Reinhard Buetikofer, co-leader of the Greens, welcomed the establishment of the party's Washington DC branch, saying it was a positive sign for bilateral dialogue.

"This is not supposed to be a one-way street -- it's an exchange, it's about cooperation," Buetikofer said. "It will attest to the fact that the Green party is open towards exchange with the United States."

You do not have to be German to join the group, but an affiliation with Germany is required and German will be its working language.

It is the Greens' second branch abroad. The party also has a group based in Brussels, the headquarters of the European Commission.