Alice Bah Kuhnke for European Parliament President

A European Parliament that leads by example: Champion Diversity. Democracy. Climate Action.

The Greens/EFA Group have voted in favour of nominating Alice Bah Kuhnke MEP, to run for the President of the European Parliament in next week's vote. She has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2019 and is a Vice President of the Greens/EFA Group, as well as a Member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, and Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committees.

What Alice stands for

"The European Parliament has a responsibility to show leadership in the face of the major challenges European citizens face. From the backlash against women’s rights, to racism and xenophobia, attacks against democracy at home and abroad, to the health and climate crises and their social and ecological repercussions, we must face these challenges head on, and lead by example.

I put forward my candidacy for President of the European Parliament because, as the EU’s only directly elected institution, we can help shape a common future for citizens. But we must do more. We must fight for a progressive Europe that cares and protects. To recover from this pandemic, we cannot leave anyone behind. A truly resilient recovery must be fair for everyone, improving lives and livelihoods, and protecting the environment for future generations.

The President must defend the crucial role of the European Parliament in representing the voices of citizens to the EU Commission and national governments. We must strengthen the Parliament’s role in holding the Commission and Council to account, and we must lead by championing diversity, democracy and climate action in everything we do.

That must mean:

Championing diversity, inclusion and a feminist EU:

"Only two women have served as President since the first European Elections in 1979. This must change. Let’s not mince our words; women’s rights in our Union are under attack. The Parliament has always defended women’s rights and as well as women and girls’ reproductive healthcare, and has long called for action against gender-based violence. It is essential we start to gender-mainstream our collective policy work, and a more caring Parliament needs to allow for more remote participation for parental leave for MEPs and staff alike.

Racism and discrimination have no place in Europe. The Parliament must use every tool available to fight against racism, including through prioritizing legislation to extend the list of EU crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech. For too long EU institutions have paid lip service to the lack of diversity, people of colour and women in elected positions and in leading roles. Diversity needs to be better reflected in hiring and promotion policies, because, as diverse and multiethnic as Europe is, it is still not reflected in our Parliament.

We also must lead by example when it comes to the MeToo revelations in our institution. I will enact a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment. Full implementation of the recommendations for the European Parliament is urgently needed. This must include mandatory anti-harassment training for all MEPs and professional and medical expertise to support the work of the Advisory Committees on harassment prevention. A full independent audit by experts on harassment and abuse in the Parliament is required to evaluate the functioning of all Advisory Committees on harassment and to propose adequate changes. Its findings should be made public."

Acting on threats against democracy, rule of law and human rights

"The Parliament has key competences when it comes to defending rule of law, democracy and human rights in the EU. Yet citizens see the EU as being too slow in responding to the threats against democracy across the Union. Space for civil society and human rights defenders is shrinking, and threats against journalists are on the rise. To lead, we must act on the issues we publicly defend. The Parliament must use every tool available to defend and promote democracy and to push the Commission and Council to act on breaches of rule of law and human rights, wherever they may be.

We must also be a Parliament that leads on high ethical standards and transparency. We must continue to demand greater Parliament oversight of how EU taxpayer money is spent, and accounted for, whether it is CAP funds, regional funds, or the pandemics’ Recovery and Resilience Fund. EU money should never fuel corruption or line the pockets of oligarchs.

At institutional level, the Parliament needs to listen to citizens and improve transparency around decision-making and access to documents. We need an Independent EU Ethics Body to prevent conflicts of interest and reform of the MEPs expenditure allowance to ensure  transparency in how we spend EU money. Political nominations should be restricted to Secretary Generals and General Directors, to avoid the politicisation of the administration. This is what leading by example should look like."

Leading in the socially-just climate and ecological transformation

"Europe’s future can be a green one, but we need to bring people with us. A Green Deal that puts the burden of costs on citizens, adds to energy bills or the cost of living, is not sustainable, green or fair.

I’m convinced we can push for higher ambition and bold climate and biodiversity action while improving people’s everyday lives. The Parliament should be leading this charge. We should be the voice that strengthens the Commission’s Green Deal proposals, ensuring that the ecological transformation is a force for good; reducing inequalities, poverty and unemployment. Climate science demands action. We must demand that this action is fair.

The Parliament has consistently supported the Paris Agreement and the EU’s climate targets. We need to start with the Parliament’s CO2 reduction plan for reaching carbon neutrality by 2030, and establish a roadmap to phase out fossil fuels with specific milestones to be adopted in 2022.  We can lead by example by reducing our carbon footprint and environmental impact through measures such as promoting climate friendly mobility, energy efficiency, installing renewable energy on our buildings as soon as feasible, and further reducing paper and plastic waste.

As President of the European Parliament, I will lead not just as a Green politician, but for all elected democratic members of European Parliament. As President, I will fight to ensure our positions shape the future of the Union and that we fully assume our responsibilities as co-legislator. Above all, I will lead by example, for citizens across Europe who cherish our diversity, our democracy, and our planet. United, we can improve the lives of European citizens. I am honoured to submit my candidacy and ready to take up this crucial task."

Profile of Alice Bah Kuhnke

Alice Bah Kuhnke is currently a member of the European Parliament for the Swedish Green Party (Miljöpartiet de Gröna), and serves as a member of the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) as well as member of the Committee for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM). Until recently, she was the Coordinator for the Greens/EFA of the FEMM committee. She is also vice chair of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament and co-chair of the Green New Deal Intergroup. She was also the head of the Swedish Green list to the European Parliament in Sweden 2019 and is the head of Swedish Green Delegation in the European Parliament.

Alice Bah Kuhnke served as minister of the Swedish Government responsible for Culture and Democracy for four and a half years, between 2014-2019. She was part of the first Swedish government including the Green Party and has been a member of the national board for the Green Party in Sweden since 2016.

 

Alice has previous experience in civil society, public administration and from the private sector. Before she stepped into the political sphere and became the Swedish minister of democracy, she was Director General for the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society. She also worked as General Secretary for the NGO Fairtraide Sweden and as Sustainability director for the private company ÅF AB. She was a member of the board of directors for Save the Children Sweden for several years, has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and has worked as a reporter and presenter for both SVT and TV4, the two biggest Swedish television companies.



Examples of work as a MEP:

  • Following the tragic murder of George Floyd and protests in the US and around the world, the European Parliament supported a Resolution on the anti-racism protests and Black Lives Matters. This was an initiative by Alice Bah Kuhnke.
  • Ms Kuhnke has been especially engaged in the situation for vulnerable and indigenous peoples, and was the FEMM rapporteur on a report focusing on the impacts of climate change on vulnerable people, with a special focus on women and girls in vulnerable countries.
  • As the Greens/EFA Coordinator in the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, Ms Kuhnke has worked with strengthening gender equality in the EU, and in particular with addressing the unequal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights across the union.
  • She was the rapporteur on one of the MFF funds, the CERV programme on Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values, where she managed, together with her co-rapporteurs, to ensure simplified rules on access to funding of civil society organisations and extra funding for civil society organisations in their work to strengthen democracy, culture and historical remembrance, equal rights and the fight against gender based violence.

 

Examples of work as minister of Culture and Democracy:

  • She was the responsible minister and initiator of a stronger anti-discrimination law in Sweden, that particularly strengthened the protection of the trans community
  • Alice initiated a new Swedish Human Rights institute that will be able to monitor, investigate and report on how human rights are respected and protected in Sweden
  • She was responsible for a reform of the libraries that protect them from political control

Education (qualifications and diplomas)

  • 1999-2003 : Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Stockholm University
  • 1987-1990 : Upper secondary education, Katedralskolan, Växjö

Professional career

  • 2013-2014 : Director-General, Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society (MUCF)
  • 2009-2013 : Sustainability manager, ÅF AB
  • 2008-2009 : Head of Operations, Sektor3 – Civil society think tank
  • 2004-2007 : Secretary-General, Fairtrade Sverige
  • 2001-2004 : Head of Operations, Skandia Idéer för Livet
  • 1998-2000 : Presenter/reporter, TV4
  • 1992-1997 : Presenter/reporter/producer, SVT (Sweden’s public service television company)

Political career

Offices held in a political party or national trade union

  • 2016-... : Member of the National Executive of the Swedish Green Party

Offices held in a national parliament

  • 2019-2019 : Member of the Swedish Parliament

Offices held in a national government

  • 2014-2019 : Minister of Culture and Democracy, Swedish Government

Other activities

  • 2021: inaugural speaker at Stockholm Pride
  • 2014-2014 : Trustee, WWF
  • 2012-2014 : Member (Chair 6), Smålands Akademi
  • 2011-2013 : Member of the Board of Directors, Doberman AB
  • 2011-2014 : Inquiry expert, Consumer Support Report, Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation
  • 2009-2011 : Vice-Chair, KFUK-KFUM (YMCA Sweden)
  • 2010-2010 : Member, Rural Academy, Swedish Board of Agriculture
  • 2008-2010 : Member of the Board of Governors, Swedish Co-operative Union High School
  • 2006-2012 : Member of the Board of Directors, The Royal Dramatic Theatre
  • 2006-2010 : Member of the General Synod of the Church of Sweden
  • 2006-2007 : Member of the Board of Directors, Swedish Consumer Agency
  • 2002-2011 : Member of the Board of Directors, Fund for non-violence, Church of Sweden
  • 2002-2007 : Member of the Board of Directors, Save the Children Sweden
  • 2001-2007 : Member of the Board of Directors, Hela Sverige Foundation, Artists against Nazis
  • 1999-2001 : Member, Swedish Government Youth Delegation