ALDE IM’s Steering Committee candidates: Gregory Rump, Susanne Wunderer and Diana Severati

Starting from September 4th we will have ALDE individual memberd Steering Comittee elections. So, as usual we present all candidates and their motivations. Fourth  round with Gregory Rump, Susanne Wunderer and Diana Severati

Gregory Rump

I am an engineer and entrepreneur and been living in Switzerland for the last 15 years. Throughout my life I lived and worked in various countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, plus others outside Europe. Having seen different systems and societies throughout my life, I understand the value of freedom and liberty, and highly value the European Project based on our Values that include a free society, a free economy and the importance of the environment. Today this European project is at a crossroad: we need to revive it and have it sustainably anchored in the 21st century for us and for future generations: Diversity, Freedom and Environment all over the continent.

My family roots come from across various nations of Europe (France, Germany, Luxembourg). Being fully quadrilingual (French, Germany, English, Italian plus some basics of others) and having lived in different countries inside and outside Europe, I understand and cherish differences in societies, systems and cultures and know how to empathize with these. Europe needs to be an inclusive project for everyone and not a project for a select few, I intend the ALDE Individual Members to be a beacon for all Europeans showcasing the European Values and European Democracy that fits all cultures and all backgrounds. I will not be able to do this alone, but only with all Individual Members across the Continent. Together we will continue to work for the European Dream.

Thank you for your support and vote.

Susanne Wunderer

I am the hands-on type of person and ALDE Individual Members (AIM) have never needed hands-on mentality more desparately than nowadays. Coming from the electronic industry, where I had the opportunity to gain international and leadership-experience as a CEO, I initiated a grassroots movement during my maternity leave and came in touch with politics. From thereon, I have been working in politics as a staff member, I know all levels of political work – from municipal to regional, national and international. I worked in parliaments, was part of a parlamentarian investigation commission and developed and ran several campaigns. Currently I am self-employed in the field of public affairs.

There is a lot of potential in the AIM, but it has not been exploited so far. After its foundation in 2014 and a period of consolidation, it now needs to develop AIM to the next level. I offer all my professional and political experience to bring AIM ahead. Let‘s roll up our sleeves!

Diana Severati

My name is Diana Severati, European and Italian, I was born in Milan and now I live in Rome.
I joined ALDE IM almost 4 years ago, I attended 3 Congresses (Warsaw, Amsterdam and Madrid) and various ALDE IMs event like the ones in Nice, Visegrad and Vienna. I have been coordinator for Central Italy for 1 year and a half. I am one of the IMd delegates at the upcoming congress in Athens. I am also a member of the National Assembly of +Europa, an ALDE PArty member.
I work in the Finance area of an insurance company and I am also in charge of communication and social media for a nonprofit organization, with a focus on UN SDGs, and a crowdfunding trainer and consultant. I have an academic background in economics with a specialization in economic decisions and corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

I’ve been a member of AIESEC, a student run organization founded in 1948, after World War II, by seven students from different European countries with the dream of building cross-cultural understanding across nations and to change the world, one person and one internship at a time. As a member of that organization in the late ‘90s I had the opportunity to participate to some meetings organized by UNOPS , UNDP and Italian Cooperation for some decentralized cooperation programs like the Pdhl Cuba and Tunisia and I have participated to the pre-meeting of the Geneva Conference held in the International conferences hall at the Italian Foreign Affair Ministry and I was also involved in the organization of the selections of the candidates for the development internships for the Prodere and Prodesco programs.
I think that sustainanility and the Europe-Africa cooperation together with a focus on the Mediterranean area and Southern Italy are key issues for the European agenda.
I have decided to take a new challenge and to run for the upcoming SC elections because I would be more involved with IMs and I am commited to contribute to shape the ALDE Individual Members policy, to strenghten our role through a reform of AIMs and to make our community heard.

Advertisements

ALDE IM’s Steering Committee candidates: Richard Retezi and Yves Robert

Starting from September 4th we will have ALDE individual members Steering Comittee elections. So, as usual we present all candidates and their motivations. Third round with Richard Retezi  and Yves Robert 

Richard Retezi

I would like to apply in order to reform the Steering Committee and have a strong and politically active representation of the Individual Members. Also as a Hungarian applicant and a member of Momentum, I would like to have yet another entity that strongly focuses on and emphasizes the need of restoring the rule of law in the EU.

Even though it’s a concern of all EU member states (as well as on a global scale), I’m coming from a state within the EU where I have seen the demolition of rule of law, the rise of populism, governmental control over the media, among many other. I’m protesting and fighting against this system for 7 years now, and I want to represent and strongly articulate these grave topics within the Individual members and support ALDE in its fight against the populists and help it truly to Renew Europe. For me, it would be a great honor and possibility to talk about these issues, use my expertise (as an economist) and work together with all the AIMs to help form an effective political strategy and political communication with ALDE’s core values of equality, protection of rule of law and civil rights in its center. Thank you for considering voting for me. 

Yves Robert

We are all aware that with the development of the number of our Members, we must evolve our organization. At the Congress in Madrid, after presenting my White Paper to the SC privately, and then at the meeting of the Coordinators, the SC asked me to create and lead a working group on the organisation of IMS in order to make it stronger, more visible and anchored within the ALDE Party

23 members from 12 countries responded to this call. Last December they received a 12-pages questionnaire. Last February a first synthesis was send, later a new consultation and a new synthesis. This summary was to be used as a presentation in Berlin, in Brussels where I met the members of the SC and about forty individual members. Finally late August meeting have been held in Stuttgart to finalize the document before forwarding it to the working group so that they can give their opinions and vote.

After the vote this document will be presented to the SC and the Party in order to advertise it to the IMs for the vote at the General Assembly in Athens.  My application to SC is to implement and monitor these new rules. You can count on me to finish the job. Together with new rules we will be stronger.

In my brief but exciting time as a member of the SC, I have not only reasserted my commitment to the IMs but also my motivation to continue pushing forward. We have achieved much these past few years, but we keep growing and that calls for a new and improved strategy.

 

Alde IM’s steering committee candidates: Pascal Jacobs and Silvia Fernandez

Starting from September 4th we will have ALDE individual members Steering Comittee elections. So, as usual we get to know candidates and their motivations. Second round with Pascal jacobs and Silvia Fernandez.

Pascal Jacobs

Dear Individual Members. The last couple of years, I have served as a country coordinator in The Netherlands. Amongst others, I organised the Maastricht Conference.  Apart from the fact that we had a great time, I also experienced that there are only limited political activities or possibilities to voice our opinion and to have influence on both national and European levels. So we need to add more political value for every individual member.

In my view AIM should act as a truly liberal movement, in all countries known and recognised. A movement where enthusiastic members discuss and act together. Where they have fun, are heard and have influence. Let’s not only focus on internal resolutions at the Alde party Congress, but also on what we think our Renew Europe politicians should say. Let us send letters to the Polish government on their attitudes towards the LGBTQ community, to Boris Johnson on Brexit et cetera. Let’s first formulate together our AIM-stories, standpoints and visions and then bring it to the public.

To make this happen, we need to strengthen our internal goals and procedures. But we also need improved internal and external marketing and communications. With your vote and support I can use my professional experience as a pr & communication specialist to make AIM strong and visible. I love to take the lead on this topic within the steering committee and build a pan-European team of pr-minded enthusiasts and campaigners to let AIM grow and prosper.

Silvia Fernandez

As a member of a new SC, I would like to see three key points follow through: firstly, to develop a new and more effective communication plan between the SC and the members – especially with the coordinators. I believe coordinators should have a wider set of tools available to them in order to ensure a greater engagement with the members in their respective countries. Secondly, I believe it’s paramount to empower all individuals and strengthen our position within the ALDE Party, from the grassroots. This, and in line with my previous point, would mean a closer cooperation with the Party.

And finally, I find equally as important to have different members from different countries and nationalities to participate more actively in all of our democratic and electoral processes. Diversity makes us stronger – let’s promote it!

I have always considered the IMs a very special pan-European platform with an immense potential. An outlet, for those liberals who want to be included in European politics and have a say in issues that matter to them, to us. For this, it will continue to be an honour and a privilege to represent your best interests. ‘

 

ALDE IM’s steering committee candidates: Timothy Asotie and Sven Gossel

Starting from September 4th we will have ALDE individual memberdsSteering Comittee elections. So, as usual we get to know candidates and their motivations. First round with Timothy Asotie and Sven Gossel

Timothy Asotie

I believe the Individual Members have more to give if they are well prepared and mobilized with more political channels to transmit their voices across Europe. The fact is, Alde Individual Members are the mouthpiece to help Alde Party realize and fulfill her political goals and values. The IMs are the definition of Liberalism and Democracy, and they promote socio-cultural integration for political transparency and accountability. The IMs are channeling their voices towards building a society with fair and equal value, human rights and violence-free communities for economic enhancement/growth.

For continuity and for a stronger force of agitation, I would love to serve Alde Individual Members for the following reasons:

1) to help build stronger communication and relationship between Alde Party and the Individual Members, by making the IMs the center-focus in Alde Party policymaking.

2) to project IMs goals and objectives during the Steering Committee decision-making process, policy formulation, and enactment for the benefit and promotion of the Individual Members.

3) to work dearly with Steering Committee Members in building stronger and advance political platforms to promote human rights and keep fighting for what Alde represent; “liberalism and democracy”.

4) I will encourage the Steering Committee to build a relationship and collaborate with the IMs national coordinators to promote Alde values in their various country. This will help to strengthen the fight for a united Europe, equality, freedom of speech/choice, and above all, help to fight against political totalitarianism across Europe.

5) I will never forget and will keep in touch with Alde Individual Members about Alde political movement and political events. And I will encourage the Individual Members to always attend Alde events and participate in political issues/matters in our various countries.

Permit me to say this, the IMS need more force and I will support to create that energy and motivation in making IMs a success. “together we can achieve more”.

Sven Gossel

Europe is at crossroads. With Donald Trump in the West, Vladimir Putin in the East, Brexit in the North and dying migrants in the South, the continent faces real and present challenges. China represents both economical growth and a threat to freedoms Europe stands for ever-since the turmoil of the second world war. The Middle East needs answers, facing a secondary conflict of super powers in-between regional interests towards nuclear weapons of a region we all depend on as to energy resources.

The European Union has to move forward now, to mitigate these developments, moreover, to catalyze from those for a better future of all our continent. May it be by fighting climate change, by tackling poverty in Africa or central Asia, by standing together for free trade, or protecting and ensuring our civil rights and economical success.

Alde Individual Members do have a strong say in this, but need to express it much better, much more efficiently, with confidence and trustworthiness. With my current foothold in foreign policy, within all EU infrastructure and our digital life, I feel extremely well positioned to work for the Individual Members in our every favor: to improve the standing of the Alde IM family towards the Alde party, to contribute in a teamwork with other members of the Steering Committee to make our membership growing and improve and integrate our organization into the programmatic and political work of a truly liberal European party. We are Europe, and we’ve gotta show it.

ALDE Council and Congress Delegates elections: Get to know candidates/4

From July 3rd  we’ll have congress and council delegate elections: as usual, we gave  candidates the chance to present themselves. Here we are a new  slot with three council candidates: Marie-Catherine Meyer,   Silvia Fernandez, Yves Robert  and one congress candidate,  Anja Fabiani

Why are you running as a candidate?

Marie-Catherine Meyer As a delegate I see my function as a double role: On the one hand it is very important to inform the IMs thoroughly and continuously about the decisions of the Council and the Congress and their justifications. And in the other direction: We need to do a field trip. Communication must go both ways. I have a wide-ranging experience: In addition to my membership in the FDP and the functions I have fulfilled there for many years – Local chairwoman FDP, Speaker for LGBT – I am strongly involved in En Marche Allemagne-Autriche, which is an excellent prerequisite for cooperation with the La Renaissance List. Some weeks ago, I had the pleasure to meet Dominique Riquet, who is now Vice president of renew Europe. In 2014 I was an EU candidate for the district of Düsseldorf and did the campaign on my own. Je suis une femme de terrain. „Woman of the field.”   I am a bridge builder, my dual citizenship has trained me in dialogue. Privately. Professionally. Politically.

Silvia Fernandez. I always say that the IMs are dear to my heart. They have always represented an outlet for many Europeans whose liberal ideas and thirst for equality, justice, solidarity and openness drives them to politics. The IMs are a very special platform that strives for the diversity of nationalities and cultures across Europe with, what I believe, is an immense potential, inside and outside of ALDE party.  We are currently living during a very big transformative moment, in both the European Parliament, and our Liberal family. And the Council is set to be one of the crucial parts in the process of finally forging this new alliance. Thus I would love to represent the IMs best interests and fundamental rights in the Council. I believe that as our membership grows, our voice and power should too. So I would like to help advance our agenda, and make sure we have real influence in the essential and structural matters – especially those that could affect us all in any way. 

Yves Robert  Today, IMs lack visibility within the Council’s bodies. We must rise to the challenge and work towards more recognition. As a Former Government Advisor, Special Advisor to Prime Minister, Advisor to Minister of Foreign Affairs, former European Programme Director, IM’s Coordinator for France, initiator of the White Paper for an IM’s reform, I believe I have the experience to represent you on the Council so that, together, we can build the future.

Anja Fabiani: First and foremost, because I am the only candidate from Eastern Europe / Western Balkan, which is a very strange situation, showing this part of Europe is left behind and I have addressed this topic by my engagement at Visegrad 8 Group in the frame of ALDE IMs.

Name one initiative or proposal you would like to see endorsed by the ALDE Congress?

Marie-Catherine Meyer I would like to resume the initiative of the last two years: The transnational lists. For me, this means a school of true European democracy. What we urgently need. The recent European elections have once again clearly shown that people still think and talk nationally. And that, unfortunately, many of the commitments to Europe are only lip service. The overarching view is lacking

Silvia Fernandez. Well, Transnational lists were incredibly close to being passed last Congress, in Madrid. It was also the year we were the closest to getting any resolution passed for us, the IMs. It remains a highly demanded matter among the IMs, so I would want for it to be endorsed at this Congress. 
 However, as I’m running for Council, I would like to point out a couple of proposals I would like to see pushed through: the possibility of obtaining a larger budget in proportion to our fees and the European funds. This would allow us to have more autonomy inside the party, and allocate better resources to our coordinators and to organise more transnational events. The second proposal I would insist on is related to our party’s possibility of enlargement. It is my belief that it is fundamental that this enlargement puts our core liberal values first, and follows a strong plan of action against corruption. We shouldn’t have member parties that do not comply with either our liberal and pro-European values, or the respect of transparency and solidarity. 

Yves Robert The Council’s objective is to define the Party’s broad political guidelines and manage ALDE’s membership, finances and internal organisation. We must be able to bring our word and our ideas to influence decisions, even with one vote on the 157 held by the Member Parties. We must not forget that we have as much weight as many countries (12) such as Hungary, Portugal, Georgia, and Cyprus. We must develop contacts, to make sure we are on the map. Acknowledging this is the challenge for the Council in October. Then at the Council of June 2020, we will have to introduce a strong idea that will be defined with you and the SC and so shape our Future.

Anja Fabiani: No doubt, the democratisation of Europe.

What role can individual members have to renew Europe?

Marie-Catherine Meyer It is all too easy to claim noble goals. Adorns one’s own person wonderfully.  I am more modest The IMs should work like some kind of think tank. Giving impetus, “remontée de terrain”.  Basic democracy at its best. Many people are turning away from traditional parties. This is a great opportunity for the ALDE IMs. But they also have to be seized and “fed”.

Silvia Fernandez. I believe that the Individual Members are already renewing Europe, and politics. We provide an outlet, and a ‘safety net’ for people that may not feel represented with the national parties of their countries; or they simply want to be closer to Europe, and the EU policy making. IMs challenge the traditional way of conceiving politics by challenging national parties and representatives, and gathering together in transnational and local events across Europe that, in a nutshell, represents a new era of politics. 

Yves Robert.It is essential to develop a close relationship with Renew Europe Group and work with our MPs to get our message across and to create joint events. I have taken the initiative to organize on 28 November a Transnational Meeting for IMs in the Parliament of Strasbourg, in order to meet our new Deputies. My close relations with the Parties in France, such as La République en Marche, AGIR, RADICAUX, UDI, as well as my distinction received from the European Parliament (European Citizen’s Award) will make this initiative easier.

Anja Fabiani: We, Individul Members, are still not a political party, but a formation in political party (ALDE). Having asked myself, why am I doing it, the only answer is: because of political activism. Individual Members should be: political activists, adressing the most outstanding, urgent, crucial etc… situation, also by actions as demonstrations etc…. I would like to see Steering Committee not waiting on some nice function or job or playing politics by sharing different interests among European countries, but by organising protests, writing, engaging…

ALDE Congress Delegates elections: Get to know candidates/3

From July 3rd we’ll have congress and council delegate elections: as usual, we gave  candidates the chance to present themselves. Here we are second slot with the other congress delegates:  Diana Severati, Timothy Asotie and Guillermo Passas Varo

Why you are running as a candidate?

Diana Severati, I joined ALDE as Individual Member because I strongly believe in the values of the open society, and being a member is, for me, an opportunity to be actively involved and have a say on party policy. Running as a candidate is, for me, a natural step in this experience, and I find the idea of representing the Individual Members at the congress a very exciting one. 

Timothy Asotie Alde is a platform where ideals are welcome and utilise, and i was motivated by Alde party because the party stands for liberalism and democracy. And with great joy, i choose to serve Alde Party where political ideals are put in place and socio-economic developmental goals are achieved. Their aims on the fight for freedom and equity, migrants consideration/inclusion, gender equality/right to choice and idea, e.t.c, actually encouraged me alot. The biggest political platform/coalition in Europe is bringing ideals together in helping the European economic growth and prosperity, as it also represent gender equality, freedom of speech, and migrants inclusion. I believe my theoretical knowledge and practical experience over the years as a political scientist, will not only enable me in analysing political issues but also discussing possibly solution/problem solving.

Guillermo Passas Varo This year is essential for the European liberal family. We’ve seen how our fraction in the European Parliament has grown up to 108 MEPs, but times of growth also represent times of uncertainty: many of us, IMs, fear that liberal values need to be vindicated in this time of convergence, and I’m committed to it. I came to this family many years ago, inspired by Guy Verhofstadt, who has been our spokesman for 11 years. He advocated for a more democratic Europe, for a brave liberalism, and Guy’s years have also been years of leadership of the liberal family within the EP fraction. Now, we’re stronger than ever, but at the same time we’ve stopped leading the way, thus we’ve got to speak out loud and clear for what we stand for. I stand for a more liberal and democratic Union: I want a Union where citizens are considered free and therefore responsible in a broad sense, not only in terms of civil rights, but most particularly in terms of political rights; for this, citizens must be able to directly participate in European politics, and this is something that is only possible within ALDE Party IMs.

Name one initiative or proposal you would like to see endorsed by the ALDE Congress?

Diana Severati, I believe that we should keep on working for a resolution on the creation of the transnational lists. Having transnational lists would allow candidates to focus on European issues, while freeing them from campaigning on topics mostly relevant for their regional circumscription – and citizens who want to bring their contribution to the European liberal project would be encouraged to join the ALDE Party as individual members, or an ALDE member party. Besides that, I would like to focus on the sustainability issue: promoting a rational and tech-based environmentalism opposed to an ideological view (e.g. Nimby syndrome, no major infrastructure projects, etc.) and on the strengthening of Europe-Africa cooperation, considering the primary role of the Mediterranean basin countries.

Timothy Asotie ALDE SHOULD HELP TO STRENGHTEN THE FIGHT FOR HUMAN RIGHT  ACROSS EUROPE, MOST ESPECIALLY ITALY”. It is called: JUSTICE FOR ALL.  The situation in my country (ITALY) is getting out of hand, and the violation for  human right is the other of the day. The socio-political orientation powered by some  desperate Italian politicians is really wrong and it’s causing societal conflict and  discomfort. Conflicts and war are now projected as political agenda by some Italian  politicians. Those that ought to speak or stand for the truth are now scared because  their lives is at risk and might even lost their source of income; (a teacher was  suspended from Italian school just because she speaks in support of human right, a  mayor who was taking to court for standing for human right, e.t.c)  Migrants are been molested and treated like slaves, and there is feelings for humanity  anymore. They risk their lives to escape from war and conflicts in search for freedom,  and the government are happy as they watch them die in the sea. I will be glad to see  Alde do more in Italy, “human right first”.

Guillermo Passas Varo Transnational lists, undoubtedly. I’m aware that we’ve tried this resolution three times, and it didn’t passed, but last year we almost get it approved. I believe that it didn’t pass because of the proximity of the European elections, also because of the vote against of one of our delegates. You may ask yourself why transnational lists are so important: they’re the only way we can openly advocate for political rights, because this would mean that MEPs would fight for the general instead of national interest. Being Individual members means to be committed to the enlargement of European citizens’ political rights, and I believe that this is the only way to do so. Apart from this, I’ll also support every initiative concerning liberal values: civil rights, minority rights (LGBTI, migrants, people with disabilities…), fight against climate change, European trade and investment comprehensive partnerships, a European Army, a common asylum and migration policy… I consider myself a liberal, both socially and economically, and I’ll act in accordance to my principles.

 What role can individual members have to renew Europe?

Diana Severati, As Individual Members we have the opportunity to be ambassador of ALDE values and campaigns through local and cross border events, to create networking opportunities and share insights,  and I also think that the collaboration with national member parties and vice versa, as stated in the resolution approved at the congress in Amsterdam,  is fundamental.  As Individual members we can have an important role of connectors and we can actively contribute to renew Europe with our ideas, together with member parties. 

Timothy Asotie The individual members have much to contribute in the Renew Europe initiative.  Individuals members are a set of professionals who in their individual ways are  successful in coordinating different projects from different socio-economic and political  perspectives. They are a set of people with great ideals that Alde Party needs to push  the European projects forward; politically and economically. Alde Individual Members  are both partisan and non partisan, but they come together to build the future of the European children and beyond.  The Individual members are expected to carry out the political values Alde Party in  renew Europe and make them their culture; “Transparency and Accountability”.

Guillermo Pasas Varo Individual Members are already a paradigm of a renewed Europe. We’re the vivid image of the need for democracy in the current European Union and the vindicating voice of European citizens. In order for Europe to be renewed, Individual Members must be heard, our positions taken into account and our organisation must move forward. This means that we’ve got to increase our autonomy, be more relevant within ALDE Party decision-making bodies and be taken into account by the rest of our political party.

ALDE Congress Delegates elections: Get to know candidates/2

From July 3rd  we’ll have congress and council delegate elections: as usual, we gave  candidates the chance to present themselves. Here we are second slot with Nadia Bennis, Anders Basboll and Hans Heiler Hammer (all for Congress)

Why you are running as a candidate?

Nadia Bennis. My multicultural background and great ability for intercultural exchange could be great assets to represent you at the Congress and work hand in hand with people from all over Europe. I had the honour of representing you last year at the Madrid Congress where I enjoyed the negotiations with all parties and supported the transnational lists.   As a French national, I grew up bilingual in an international environment in the French-German border region and hence I was exposed to various cultures and aware of how crucial the EU is for better cooperation and understanding. I benefited from Erasmus and studying in three different countries for both my MA and BA in European Studies and International Relations which enabled me to speak several languages fluently and to adapt to different environments rapidly, enjoying the hospitality and cheerfulness of each country and uniting all these experiences which certainly shaped my personality and are the engine for my passion for politics and the EU.

Anders Basboll. ALDE IM believes in a federal, European Democracy. Our party went a step backwards when we left the Spitzenkandidaten process. A federation, or a democracy, does not choose its leader in a closed meeting between leaders of member states. We need to stand with the other pro EU parties again on the Spitzenkandidaten, without accepting that the largest party necessarily shall have the Commission President. Leaving “Spitzenkandidaten” was also a tactical blunder. Imagine a Europe wide campaign, probably for Commissioner Vestager – who ended up as the unofficial ALDE candidate at the very end. #Fightlikealiberal should mean fighting elections, even if we risk loosing, instead of waiting for governments to give us what we want. That is not who we are! I have much experience with resolutions and congresses, from LYMEC/IFLRY and Danish Liberal Youth and later in “adult politics”, and I have participated in many ALDE events including congresses and Manifesto meetings. Not to mention my debate activity on ALDE IM facebook for years. I would like to serve you all as your delegate.

Hans Heiler Hammer: Last week, when I announced my candidacy as a delegate to the congress in Athens, it was because I have something on my heart that I believe I can contribute, in ALDE IM / RenewEurope

Name one initiative or proposal you would like to see endorsed by the ALDE Congress?

Nadia Bennis. Having worked for several years in policy issues, amongst others in the NGO sector and the European Parliament, my interests, but also my experience, are in the areas of environment, health and equal rights.  I would be very keen to see proposals in relation to efficient and innovative actions to fight climate change and to improve health and environmental conditions. In addition, I would very much welcome proposals that focus on actions to promote equal rights at all levels and efficient strategies to fight all types of discrimination.

Anders Basboll. I think the most important issue is climate change. We must fight it, and cleverly. Economists agree. There needs to be a price on carbon – either through a tax or a quota system. In some sense, we have a fine quota system in EU, but the price is too low, because agriculture, transportation and construction are exempted. We shall fight these special interests and include everything and lower the amount of quotas too. That is why I co-authored a resolution to this end last year. I think we should vote for such a resolution this year – and reach out to other delegations to pass it. No to conservative foot dragging, no to socialist subsidies – and yes to a liberal solution: strong regulation, but using market forces.

Hans Heiler Hammer: I will work for the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be accepted by all countries. It was adopted to protect the individual from abuse; it guarantees a number of fundamental human rights, and as a human being, and a Liberal member, I cannot sit silently reclining and watch, people like; journalist Ivan Golunov, being imprisoned and charged with no valid evidence; that several other journalists and freedom fighters are being imprisoned without cause in Ukraine and other countries; that homosexuals experience hatred and persecution in many countries.
We have a duty to speak and act.
When people flee from distress and persecution, and they knock on the doors of Europe, it is our duty to act. Over 20% of all immigrants, are now climate refugees.
If we do not respect human rights ourselves, we cannot expect others to do so. Therefore, the initiative with RenewEurope is very important. We have a duty to each other and to the global community, to do something. This will be my focus going forward, and therefore it is very important to me, to participate in the debates in Athens and to fight for the necessary resolutions to be adopted. Because we must have visions, hope, and will, to find solutions.

What role can individual members have to renew Europe?

Nadia Bennis. In my opinion, individual members are a crucial element to renew Europe because of the diversity, commitment and innovation they can contribute with. That is why I am running as a candidate in order to make our voice as individual members heard during the congress. I would be very honoured and grateful for the opportunity to represent you in Athens! Thank you in advance for your vote!

Anders Basboll. European Democracy starts with a European Public. We are living European Democracy when we discuss with each other, and we each contribute to making the dream of European democracy come true, when we tell friends, family, social media contacts and collegues that we are a proud member of a European Party. I think ALDE IM can both work as a meeting place for liberals in countries with no liberal party (maybe they even form one), as a place where liberals from different national liberal parties actually meet and talk (like in Denmark) and finally as a political home for people with grievances against their domestic liberal party(ies). There is a lot of sense in liberal policies and in the EU – but sometimes sense does not win the day. Passion is needed too. That is what ALDE IM have (also). And Freedom is beautyful!

Hans Eiler Hammer: The more members we have, the more we can do. Therefore, it is important that we get as many members as possible. As individual members, we can go together and make resolutions that we can commit politicians to! Here I will mention climate as an example.

ALDE Congress and Council Delegates elections: Get to know candidates/1

From July 3rd we’ll have congress and council delegate elections: as usual, we gave  candidates the chance to present themselves. Here we are first slot with Wolf Achim Wiegand (Congress and council), Matthias Strand (Council) and Matheus De Paula Costa (Congress)

Why you are running as a candidate?

Wolf Achim Wiegand: I have three mains reasons to run as a candidate. First: I am a fierce fighter for liberalism in Europe – and I want to continue my fight. The ALDE Party Individual Members are the right place to do so. Because I see us as the embryo of a coming trans-European liberal party. Second: The ALDE Party Council and the Congress are the only bodies where we as Individual Members can place our ideas. If we want to be heard our delegates have to act in a responsible but resolute manner. I have been an IM delegate twice and I have the experience to steer our delegation through stormy Congress waters. Third:  My background is: firstly, my profession as a journalist (see http://www.european.expert) which enables me to speak clearly and frankly. Secondly, I am commited as a liberal parliamentarian in Hamburg, a cosmopolitan German port city for maritime industry and trade. The combination of both backgrounds make sure that I can sensibly address issues and find solutions.

Mattias Strand: I chose to run as a candidate as I saw the need for a more political activism on LGBTQ issues. Europe is a great place to be open and free. But there are areas that remain questionable. One example is that laws in some countries still demand sterilization of the person that wants to go through a sex change operation. In the countries that now are being run buy conservative right-wing parties the LGBTQ communities are becoming more restricted, since the views on homosexuality from these parties are generally more biased in this issues. As a result of this, these governments tend to turn the other way when hate crimes are committed against the LGBTQ community. 72 of the UN member countries have laws against homosexuality. The sentence spans from fines to the death penalty. One of the countries that in latter times has implemented laws against homosexuality is Brunei; their constitutional laws have accepted the sharia law to stone homosexual persons and adulterers. In Russia, the LGBTQ advocate organizations are banned from publicly “propagating homosexuality”.     I could write an essay on this matter, and as there are more and more people around the world that have to suffer for their sexuality; that essay would never end. That’s why I am running for legate of both congress and council. My motto is: “A voice for everyone’s equal value. A voice for those who have been silenced.”  

Matheus De Paula Costa: Europe still has an organization based in national perceptions. What I admire the most about the Individual Members is this perception of Europe beyond the national. For me would be an honor to gain the trust and represent people who thinks like me in Athens.

Name one initiative or proposal you would like to see endorsed by the ALDE Congress?

Wolf Achim Wiegand: My dream would be to see the ALDE Party Congress to decide that we Individual Members officially become the European liberals’ political arm for contesting future European elections. This would mean a big step towards a more united and renewed Europe. Let us as liberals start to seek and to live progressive responses to isolationism, nationalism, and ignorance!

Mattias Strand: That the ALDE takes a deeper responsibility for the LGBTQ issues in Europe by implementing sanctions against countries that oppose the fundamental right to be free, open and safe from harm. This should also include all minorities within the EU.

Matheus De Paula Costa: I am the leader of the youth section (at my national party) and I am also focused on Human Rights and Environment. So, I would be very interested to see endorsements related to the future of the youth and respect for all. The EU has several interesting initiatives in practice ranging these fields, but I think we could do better. Related to Human Rights, for example, since the accession of Portugal to the EU we transformed from a conservative country to the ones which are more LGBTI-friendly in Europe. However, gay marriage, adoption, trans rights and protection of intersex people still isn’t a reality in several European countries. Also, I am a descendant of Europeans that migrated to Brazil, and my parents decided to come to Europe. I had this privilege to born and grow in a such diverse family and have more than one citizenship, contact more than one religion and ethnicity. But I know that there are a lot of people in Europe which are not being respected due to the place where they born or based in their ethnicity or religion. We need to change this. This is not our Europe, neither it is related to our Liberal values.

What role can individual members have to renew Europe?

Wolf Achim Wiegand: I want to ensure that the people of Europe carry Europe in their hearts. To achieve that, we Individual Members have to develop fresh proposals absent of traditional national party lines. Fulfilling this, we Individual Members could be the the pan-European avant-garde movement leading towards a continent of strength in peace.

Mattias Strand: As Liberals and Democrats are the fundamental guardians of a freedom, openness and democratic values, individual members have a great responsibility to act against all that defies these values. The role should be to increase and evolve the democratic possibilities of all individual members of our union: to adapt democracy to and for the future. Since individual members have access to all countries of Europe, the possibility to change becomes a lot easier. By a click on a mouse you can reach the whole world within seconds. This is what the future is all about: open and free conversations on matters that give results. As individuals we can change the world to be more liberal, democratic, open, and free. Every step will make a change and every step should be encouraged and not limited by regulations and principals. It´s a tough job but it’s a job that will gain our children the chance to be who ever they want to be, to love the person they themselves decide, without living in fear.

Matheus De Paula Costa:  We must persist. We must not fear. The extremists, either from the left or from the right, they do not stop a second to promote their hate speech (base on people’s differences or people’s positions on society). On social media, schools, workplace, streets and no matter where, they will spread lies about MNCs, technology or entrepreneurs, migrants or LGBTIs. We must do the same but defending our values of inclusion and tolerance. And we also need to be more involved, not waiting for others to do things for us, trying to make the difference everywhere.  We need to comeback to fight like a Liberal.

EU Elections: get to know some +Europa italian candidates: Cristina Bagnoli and Inoussa Bara

he ALDE Party IM coordinator for North-West Italy Francesco Condò  submitted some questions to the candidates of +Europa, the Italian liberal party, at the next European elections in the North-West Italy constituency. You can read the full interviews (in Italian) on the Facebook page of the North-West Italy ALDE Party IMs:

Today we publish the answers of Cristina Bagnoli e Inoussa Bara

Why did you choose to run for the European Parliament?
CRISTINA BAGNOLI I  felt the need to undertake a path of civil commitment because of what is happening to our society. We are witnessing a closure towards civil rights, minorities, science, freedom, a dizzying growth of nationalist and sovereign movements, which determines a climate of fear and uncertainty in which hatred is stirring up. We notice a desire to exacerbate the contrasts between different social players, instead of seeking and finding a harmonious synthesis. I believe that courage is needed at a time like this: without fear there can be no courage. We must have the courage to admit and remind those who forgot what Europe has done for us so far and what it can still do

INOUSSA BARA I chose to run because I strongly support the programme of +Europa and I feel the desire to represent the many Italian citizens who became Europeans when they acquired Italian citizenship.

In your opinion, how can we make the European Union closer to its citizens and more effective in responding to their needs?

CRISTINA BAGNOLI: Certainly starting right from the needs and desires of the citizens. Therefore, in this perspective, it is necessary to reinforce the cooperation between local institutions, which are the first contact with the citizens and the territory, the local associations, which gather the actors of the different sectors operating on the territory, transferring the demand to the higher levels and creating a virtuous process. In this way, ad hoc policies can be drawn up that look at the different needs of different urban, rural, mountain and remote areas.

INOUSSA BARA  I  don’t think the European Union has to answer citizens’ questions. The European Union is “the answer” to the wishes of European citizens: a large market where everyone’s dreams can be realized, a heritage of culture and values ​​to be proud of and shared with the world and with the new European citizens.

Which are the three priority areas in which the European Union should do more with the powers that its institutions have at present?

CRISTINA BAGNOLI:Greater education in European citizenship through the strengthening of cultural integration programs, in particular for the new generations: they are not only tools with a strong symbolic value, but authentic and powerful means to form a European identity

Greater attention to social issues: in the last decade the European Union has been seen, partly unfairly, partly motivated, as an institution far from the needs of individuals. It takes courage and foresight to reaffirm human dignity, freedom and well-being as key values ​​of the European renaissance.

Making European decision-making bodies stronger. The United States of Europe project is seen as an ideal but very distant dream: it must become a common and shared goal. A united Europe is the only utopia for which it is worth hoping.

INOUSSA BARA: I would say the foreign policy, from which economic policy choices derive.

If you will be elected to the European Parliament, which will be your priorities and what policies / sectors would you like to focus your work on?

CRISTINA BAGNOLI: Research and innovation. Strengthen research funding to compensate for the steady decline by national governments to support the excellence of our research centers, maintain and increase jobs in the sector. Promote measures aimed at creating hubs between research centers and companies, so that research takes into account the productive reality in which it operates and, at the same time, companies can benefit from those research products aimed at improving processes and quality.

Agriculture. The draft of the next framework program (2021-2027) provides for a reduction for the funds to be allocated to agriculture. With this premise, I would like to commit myself to favoring measures aimed at supporting our territorial agricultural realities, but also at implementing innovative and sustainable techniques for the environment and for human health, especially in relation to food products.

Gender equality and young people. Being part of the first generation that was overwhelmed by the short-sighted measures that created a watershed between the guaranteed rights of certain age groups and those reallocated by the younger age groups, I would like to pursue the concept of intergenerational equity both in terms of employment, both at the pension level, extending it also to the environmental level. Furthermore, as a woman, I would like to carry out effective measures that favor the increase in female employment, which in Italy is well below the European average. Measures that allow women real opportunities to choose, rather than forced choices. Because even women can be free to dedicate themselves exclusively to the family, but also free to pursue a professional career, because they are supported by personal services, without the influence of cultural heritage.

INOUSSA BARA :My desire is to become the “spokesperson” of Italians and new Italians in Brussels.

Full interview to Cristina Bagnoli is available in italian here.

Full interview to Inoussa Bara  is available in italian here.

Francesco Condò

EU Elections: get to know some +Europa italian candidates: Silvja Manzi and Lia Orfei

The ALDE Party IM coordinator for North-West Italy Francesco Condò  submitted some questions to the candidates of +Europa, the Italian liberal party, at the next European elections in the North-West Italy constituency. You can read the full interviews (in Italian) on the Facebook page of the North-West Italy ALDE Party IMs:

Today we publish the answers of Silvja Manzi and Lia Orfei

Why did you choose to run for the European Parliament?
SILVJA MANZI This is a key event. Perhaps never like this time the European elections represent a crucial challenge, between those who want a greater European integration and those who would like to go back in time. I not only want more Europe, but I also want the United States of Europe, because that is the goal: the way to go for a future of peace, greater wellbeing, openness, hope. And that’s why I’m running with +Europa.

LIA ORFEI  After graduating in Statistics in Rome, I felt the need to engage and gain experience abroad in other academic research realities. Thanks to European agreements, I had the opportunity to study and work in various countries: Eurostat in Luxembourg, the University of Lancaster, the University of Cambridge and the Joint Research Center in Ispra. For me and many people of my generation, Europe represented an opportunity and I would like it to continue being an opportunity for others and future generations of young people. We must absolutely contrast the feeling of closure and protectionism that is taking place in different sections of the population and which risks endangering the European project. I am working to transfer this conviction to young people but also to other age groups, because Europe can give so much to everyone.

In your opinion, how can we make the European Union closer to its citizens and more effective in responding to their needs?

SILVJA MANZI: We should start from an electoral system that really brings the voters closer to the elected and from the direct election of the President of the Commission. It would also be essential, even as an antidote to rampant misinformation, to promote European public media, radio and television, to have a common and accessible source of information for all the European citizens.

GIULIA PASTORELLA I believe that the greatest effort to bring citizens closer to the EU is to accelerate towards political and social union; these, together with the single market and the free movement of people, will help to make citizens feel more and more European, because they are included in a community of people where they can have opportunities and, above all, safeguards. In this last field, a form of European unemployment benefit must be introduced as an instrument of economic stabilization.

Which are the three priority areas in which the European Union should do more with the powers that its institutions have at present?

SILVJA MANZI: Enforcing the internal rule of law: the authoritarian tendencies within the EU are not admissible and tolerable, since they undermine the sense and foundation of the European institution;  policies on migrants and asylum; social policies.

LIA ORFEI: Starting from the current situation of powers, the EU could act towards the taxation of commercial transactions of international digital companies in the European continent, towards the harmonization of direct and indirect tax regimes, and towards new objectives of regional funds and social cohesion towards the areas of southern Europe and urban suburbs.

Last,  Innovation: a European public fund to support new and good business ideas by investing an amount equal to those granted to companies by venture capital and private equity funds and a better coordination and support of national Industry 4.0 plans.

If you will be elected to the European Parliament, which will be your priorities and what policies / sectors would you like to focus your work on?

SILVJA MANZI: On the one hand I would work on internal reforms, on the areas I mentioned. On the other hand, I would work on the promotion of human rights: on this topic the Parliament can do a lot and we worked a lot in the years when I was in the EP with the Radical MEPs.

LIA ORFEI: I want to defend the values ​​I believe in: honesty, competence and solidarity. I will carry forward proposals on the topics that I believe most contribute to achieving these values. In particular: innovation, environment and social protection.

Full interview to Lia Orfei is available in italian here.

Full interview to Silvja Manzi is available in italian here.

Francesco Condò