All posts by Thalia Ntoka

co-Chair of ALDE Individual Members.

What the Maastricht Conference can teach us!

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

Thalia Ntoka

 

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Your Vote, Your Voice

Imagine next Sunday there are national elections in your country. What would you do? Skip  the whole process? What if you disagreed with the results? Would you blame yourself?

Thinking of those whose choices  will affect our lives and future, the desire to become a part of the process, is suddenly more like an obligation and the right decision to make. Many of us live in countries where the winning party is not always our preferred party, but the fact that we have our right is something we have to defend and use every time it is given to us.

Beyond our national preferences, we all belong to a bigger and liberal family, ALDE Party. As Individual Members, we were given the right, to vote and elect 3 Congress Delegates and one Council Delegate. This right we must cherish and keep using to our advantage.

Those four Delegates will represent us to the ALDE Party Congress 2017 in Amsterdam. Their duty is to submit Resolutions and Amendments on behalf of the Individual Members. They will work together with the members of the Steering Committee and are expected to closely coordinate Resolutions, Amendments and voting decisions.

All Individual Members must contribute and become a part of this exciting process, because the time for our voice to be heard has come. It’s our proposals they will have to defend. Belonging in the European Union we all face the same problems and in this Congress, we must step forward and raise our hand by suggesting solutions.

That’s why it’s important to participate and vote. Because every time we fail and miss or skip an election, someone else wins and even if our lives do not depend on this, it is still important to use wisely what is democratically given to us.

This Monday at 14:00 CET, you will receive an email with a ‘click here to vote’ button; so let’s just click the button and have a voice in the upcoming Congress.


Our 14 Candidates had the chance to campaign and share their views regarding different subjects but when it comes to the fast-growing number of the Individual Members how do they think ALDE IM will change in years to come? Here are their answers with candidates in alphabetical order:

  • Official Candidates ALDE Party Congress Delegates:

Yohan Byrde: I believe that  ALDE IMs and will be the motor block of bringing citizens closer again with Europe and only with our progressive liberal and democratic values we can unite Europe and it’s citizens and affect change that will benefit all of Europe in two years. We will be an ALDE IM that will bridge the gaps and be a participatory society and be the change Europe needs. 

Despoina Limniotaki: I see the Individual Members growing into a dynamic community of liberal people who support a bottom-up approach to solving problems and act as EU’s best mediators.

Luis Menezes: 2019 will be a very important year for a better and stronger EU, but that depends on the results ALDE achieve in the EP election. IMs are fundamental to achieve this objective and should have by then a stronger voice in ALDE’s strategy. For that we need to consolidate in the countries that already have MEPs but we need to urgently grow and support IMs on the countries that don’t have liberal MEPs or even liberal parties. We are only as strong as our weakest link.

Francesca Mercanti: I see Alde IMs as the first transnational and European party at the European Parliament with its own MEPs, elected in a transnational list after a hard and exciting electoral campaign. We have to work united and cooperate to create a liberal and open society against the obscure strength of populism.

Finn Nielsen: Vires in numeris – there is strength in numbers. In the future IMs will have increased influence in ALDE and in more European countries through more members. IMs will represent liberal and democratic values in countries that as yet have no national ALDE party. 

Amélie Pans: Within two years, the IMs should be ready to meet the challenge of the 2019 elections. The idea is to create, in collaboration with each country coordinator, a task force whith the goal of increasing the number of IMs to support the candidates on the field with specific actions. This will be a great opportunity to show our added value to the ALDE Party.

Guillermo Passas Varo: In two years, Individual Members will have a great reputation and influence inside the ALDE Party. Our resolutions will be approved, we will have our own criterion, probably a Vice-President… We will show that we are the avant-garde of European liberals.

Katerina Polyzou: European parties like ALDE, are the future. If we want a strong Union, then we should move past national borders and parties. Individual Members will play a vital role in this process… They will be the core of what can be the stepping stone for a better Europe

Diana Severati: I see individual members stronger and counting and with a recognized political role inside of the ALDE Party, actively contributing to shape our federal and liberal Europe.

Sven Strunk: In two years ALDE IMs will be the bridge between EU citizens and EPM. A leading example how citizens can participate in EU politics. 20 % more Europeans will know ‘ALDE’ and ‘IM’.

Wolf A. Wiegand: I see us Individual Members as the real driving force within the ALDE Party. In two years time the election to the European Parliament will take place. We shall than be a very active part of liberal campaigns in our home countries.

  • Official Candidates ALDE Party Council Delegates:

Sébastien Martin: As to our structure: I want a well-defined, fully integrated structure running in perfect sync from local groups up to the Steering Committee, with a solid presence in each and every Member State. How? By increasing the supervision and guidance of the SC on national and local groups, by redoubling the recruiting efforts at a local level (e.g., by brokering agreements with local liberal parties), and by granting financial autonomy at the regional levels. As to our role within the Party: I want to make the IMs an organization within the organization, a true force within the party by leveraging on the legitimacy given by direct democratic participation to directly influence the party’s agenda and priorities. How? By creating new instruments allowing every IM to participate in the definitions of our views and objectives (referenda), by creating working links with ALDE’s top leadership and elected representatives (Civil Council and working groups), and by ensuring the Party’s adherence to high ethical standards (Council of Ethics).

Chris Pyak: Two years from now the Individual Members will cooperate across Europe. We will have established a structure that allows each member to contribute ideas. The Individual Members will be able to formulate resolutions together – and most importantly: We will gain more influence on policy by becoming excellent campaigners across Europe. I work for a future where Liberals across Europe come to each other’s aid in elections on every level.

 

 

 


	

A conversation with Yuri Guaiana

Last week, Yuri Guaiana, member of the ALDE Party Individual Members Steering Committee, was arrested in Moscow while standing up for LGBT+ rights. He and his colleagues who work at All Out wanted to deliver more than 2 million signatures against the anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya. Today, on International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), Yuri wants to share his experience with us.
Continue reading A conversation with Yuri Guaiana