Category Archives: Individual membership

ALDE Party Congress 2017: have we reached our Climax?

From December 1st to 3rd, Amsterdam hosted the ALDE Party Congress 2017. In this piece, Thalia Ntoka speaks about the salient aspects of the event, the perspectives for Alde and the contribution  expected from Individual Members

With more than 3000 ALDE Individual Members around the world we should celebrate this and hope things won’t change. We already achieved so many successes regarding our status. We have an elected Steering Committee, country Coordinators and a whole department inside the ALDE Party to help us. We elect Delegates, submit Resolutions, have voting rights and attend the annual Congress with numerous events, what else could we ask for?

The truth is that this Congress, was a huge success for us! We worked hard for two years, elected 3 Delegates to represent us, submitted 2 Resolutions and one of them was adopted. We held 4 big events, offered our members the possibility to contribute, share and exchange ideas and finally, we managed to increase our visibility, we even had a live interview similar to that prime ministers and commissioners had.

If we look back to where we started, we already made big steps and achieved so many things. We definitely couldn’t have done it without help from people from the ALDE Party and if we didn’t have the will to become stronger and give the European citizens the opportunity to participate and raise their voice.

Now the time has come to make the next big step and this is the hard part. We need to decide about the kind of the piece of the puzzle we want to be. We come from different countries and even if we share common European values, we also have our national identity. It won’t be easy to persuade people to start thinking different than what they are used to. We should find our common ground where we are all strongly connected and start pushing for European solutions.

We have already produce resolutions but we need to eliminate all kind of concerns when it comes to the slogan of ‘more Europe’. Our campaigns should be targeted and specific to important issues regarding our common future. Our events must contain solutions and politics. We need to become the policy makers who will offer a liberal agenda to the European citizens.

We cannot change things in a heart beat. Our president Hans Van Baalen once said that the Individual Members are the driving force of the ALDE party. We should prove our value on daily basis. The New Steering Committee has concrete roles, since we decided that if we want to succeed and make a step further, we have to separate our duties and use our abilities wisely. We also decided to introduce two co-Chairs because the ALDE Party Individual membership is increasing rapidly, something which means there is much more work to be done.

Unfortunately 5 people cannot work miracles, we need your valuable help and knowledge. Introduce yourselves to those who are interested in participating. Share your creative ideas with us and other members. Being a policy maker is not an easy task, it requires good will and time. There is no need to feel disappointment if the results are not always the desired ones because challenges will never stop.

The next two years we will choose our battles wisely. We will target specific political sectors (eg. education, economy, environment, human rights), so that our campaigns have a result. The same with our events in our countries. You are all invited to highlight problems in your region and we will be there to help you. 

If I could use this as a call for participation then allow me to add this quote from Barack Obama: “A change is brought about because ordinary people, do extraordinary things.”

We can do extraordinary things but that requires a strategy, highly motivated people and big dreams. With more than 3000 members around the world, let’s do it!

Thalia Ntoka

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“Why not?”, Margrethe Vestager meets Alde Individual Members in Lisbon

In this contribution from Portugal, country coordinator Luiz Menezes describes an important debate on the role of women in politics. The contributions focuses on the opinions of EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who explains why, in the current European scenario, it is most important that ordinary people engage in politics and as individual members of Alde

On the 6th of November I had the privilege to host the European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager at the Portuguese ALDE IMs’ debate on “Women in Power – the new role of women in politics”.

It was a really inspirational exchange, with simple but deeply felt learnings, and meaningful sharing. Vestager particularly shared the ‘decisional model’ that she uses whenever she is confronted with life challenges: since this constituted a particularly insightful moment of our exchange, I summarise it below.

“SO WHY NOT?” Vestager asked. Often in life we are paralyzed by fear, worries and anxiety. We fear that we are not good enough; that we don’t have anything to offer; or even that no one will listen to us. Sometimes our anxiety anticipates obstacles well down the road: what if I have to speak in public? What if they’ll think I am a bluff?

If one thinks of it, indeed politicians must be either really courageous or really stupid to overcome these feelings. Looking around Europe and across the pond we all know what kind of politicians are abundant.

Remember Plato’s words “One of the consequences of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up  being governed by your inferiors.”

SO…WHY NOT? You are brighter than most of our current politicians, you have something to say, you want to change the world or at least your town

Politics is made by and for people: everyday people. Not only the kind of grey, anonymous bureaucrats.

Politics is made by and for people who care about other people: for people who have reasons to be angry, sad, and also happy and excited. Politicians are people who reach out, who try to build bridges of dialogue, and who try to let emerge and enhance the positive side of each of us. These are the kind of people who will bring emotions, trust and values back to politics; those that armies of bots and fake news cannot bring down.

SO… WHY NOT BECOMING ONE OF THEM? If you think the world is more than 0’s and 1’s, more than black and white, more than us versus them, then you should pose yourself this question.

You don’t have to think about the finish line, nor worrying about the obstacles: they will become part of your path, and you’ll deal with them along the way. Just focus on the now. Dream big, make plans, and act now. Think of the first step: You can do it. Become an activist, join an association or group, put your name out there.

And if we could count on you as ALDE IM, or as member of ALDE through any of the national parties, even better. Just act. I know it’s scary: but everything is. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail: but at least you could say you tried, and next time you’ll do better.

Luis Filipe Menezes

 

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

 

European Liberal Democrats, from Federation to Party: More than the sum of its parts

In this blog post, Daniel Tanahatoe, describes the history of the ALDE Party, focusing on the direct involvement of citizens, namely on the individual membership of the party, which today counts more than 2500 members instead. Finally, Daniel discusses the role of individual members and their goals.  Continue reading European Liberal Democrats, from Federation to Party: More than the sum of its parts