In this contribution, Thalia Ntoka, ALDE Party individual member from Greece and also a member of the Steering Committee refers to the recent conference in Maastricht, organised 25 years after the Treaty which gave birth to the European Union.
While travelling from Athens to northern European countries, usually the first thing comes to mind while packing, is ‘what kind of clothes shall I take with me?’
This time was different! My first priority was to represent the best I could our Individual Members and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of the European Union.
Beyond our excellent speakers who really succeeded in motivating the young generation by explaining all those wonders we achieved the last 25 years, the fringe meetings we attended, offered us a great chance to get to know us better and share our thoughts regarding Europe’s future, the Euro and the importance of the Individual Membership.
It proved that the ALDE Party we belong to, rely on us and our work and as our President Hans Van Baalen pointed out, we are the salt and pepper of the party and that means a lot for our future.
Allow me to share with you some thoughts we managed to gather with Daniel Tanahatoe after coordinating our workshop regarding the Individual Members.
It is important to keep in mind that we form a unique mixture from people who live across Europe, with different ideas, experiences, living standards, perceptions of the way we should work but, we definitely have more in common.
We share the same values, we want our big family to stay united, we cannot stand populism, we want more participation and the most important, we are willing to spend time in order to succeed!
Maybe sometimes we take for granted that everyone who joins the ALDE individual members, will have the same questioning but once again, we realised that this is not true. For instance, a new member from Italy shared with us the main reason why she joined. She cannot stand the obstacles those who run her country put in people’s lives on some serious living matters and was wondering whether we could find a solution by getting help from other European countries.
Also someone who is not a member yet, was trying to figure out how he could fit in our group since his real job is not politically oriented and how much time should he spend.
For us diversity means creativity. It means various ideas, arguments, proposals so everyone is more than welcome to join.
We were so happy to hear from you who attended the workshop, about your reflection regarding Europe, your ideas on how to grow our membership and help national liberal parties to become stronger and how we should expand the liberal footprint in Europe.
The feedback we got from you was about having better communication among us, work harder on specific topics offering concrete solutions, become the driven force to our countries, develop national lines and integrate those steps which increase our visibility to our world.
The new Steering Committee will not only have to continue the work we’ve done so far, but simply to do much more.
Our world is continuously evolving. It doesn’t mean always for the best and we should accept it. We cannot deny what is happening around us. Even if we feel that we live in dark periods of our history, that should not stop us from keep working in the right direction. It is in our hands, to transform all those threats to reaction. Reaction for hope and unity. We should be the messengers of European stability.
It is important for our existence to have the biggest participation on the campaigns, events, resolutions, that will follow in the next years.
Our mandate must not just be kind words without action.
We should think of what we wish to change. Is it maybe the way we treat our environment? We support less bureaucracy? Is it the education we get that bothers us? The pensions maybe? Something else?
Do we feel that there are countries with limited liberal support and we want to strengthen our presence? We want Brexit to be prevented? Then we should campaign!
It is important for us to know what our members ideas are, so do not hesitate to contact us, to participate, to disagree, to argue, to celebrate.
It’s time to implement our strategy plan and we shall succeed, only with your participation!
PS1: The Maastricht Conference would never succeeded without those people who spent time and so much effort to make it happen!
Special thanks to our coordinators and organizers: Bert Zweers, Pascal Jacobs, Michel Schutter, Robert Schliessler and all those who worked tirelessly.
Also to our speakers: Our President, Mr. Hans Van Baalen, Mr. Bovens, Mr. Andrew Duff and all our guests including Daniel Tanahatoe, Individual Members most valuable helpful hand.
PS2: Here you can find my complete closing speech: https://youtu.be/Fpi8XkVcGqU