Blog activity restart after summer. Let’s get to know Steering Comittee Elections candidates. Voting starts on September 19th. We asked same two questions about electoral program and Liberals Democras perspectives to each of them
Let’s start with Anders Basboll from Denmark
With the rise of populist movements in Europe, liberals and democrats are faced with a new challenge. What are the best weapons to deal with them?
The answer is Donald Trump! Just a few years back it was mainstream to reject trade in Europe – for one reason or another – due to the fear of low environmental standards, bullying partners and other bogeymen.
Now we have the good fortune that these points are now being made by the least popular US president in memory. We see that tariffs and barriers hurt the ones putting them up – due to today’s integrated supply chains, which is new, and the old, often forgotten point, that we are all not just producers, we are also consumers – and more expensive imports hurt, especially the poor. Not only tariffs, but also red tape and barriers to entry in professions are hurting the poor. The fight against cosy monopolies is pro market and pro the poor. It is simply not true that free markets only benefit the rich – they benefit the poor too, perhaps even more.
Europe is built on the four freedoms – we shall never give up on free movement of people, capital, goods, and services. It has made Europe a better place. We shall never stop telling the good stories – of cheap and wonderful goods from Europe, of the skilled immigrants who work in our countries, of our compatriots learning new skills in other EU countries and, frankly, we need to show everybody that we have control over our external borders. Otherwise, we shall lose, to populism, the invisibility of the internal borders that have benefitted us all for so long.
Likewise, we should have a common refugee policy including a way to distribute refugees between member states. The current situation where states with 200 million inhabitants discuss 200 refugees for weeks give both the impression that refugees are an unbelievable burden destroying our societies and that we have lost control over our borders.
Finally, and obviously, we never judge people on gender, race, religious affiliation or sexuality. Europe is “united in diversity” and we liberals love it!
Liberals and democrats have not had the same political strength across Europe. Do you think, looking to the next EU Elections, we have to work towards LibDem transnational lists
Liberals do not have great presence everywhere. I find it crucial that we do have an offering where liberal parties are thin on the ground. I think we already do, in providing a platform where liberals can meet – we should prioritise this. Who knows, maybe local liberal movements will be born?
I think it is important that these members can get as close to MEPs as possible. Last year, the idea of backing groups for MEP’s were mentioned at the congress which I haven’t heard of since, but a way for the ideas of all our members to reach our MEPs should be a major priority. We must do all we can to make it reality. Incidentally, access to MEPs could also be a major inducement for members of ALDE member parties also to join ALDE IM.
Most liberal parties have only a couple of MEPs. It would be wonderful if their ideas could reach the whole liberal group. Liberals and democrats cannot make transnational lists ourselves but – should they be implemented, we should contest them.