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…