Category Archives: Individual membership

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…

Advertisements

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.

Steering Committee replacement elections: get to know candidates/4

On Decemebr 5th we’ll have a new ALDE Individual Members Steering Committee election to replace Robert Schliessler. So we gave candidates another chance to present themselves. Here we are Olivia Psachin

What is your motivation to run for the Steering Committee?

ALDE_IM /France South region Coordinator, specialized in European Law and Politics and International Politics, I lived 15 years immersed in the Swiss federalist political system, its direct democracy, its subsidiarity, its system of concord.

For me, ALDE- Individual Members is very close philosophically speaking of the Swiss political system of direct democracy.

The Steering Committee is a team of five people from different countries, each carrying the cultural richness of their country with common values, whose efficiency will have to be optimized for the European Elections campaign

I would like to bring my “faith” in team spirit from my years in Switzerland where the group takes precedence over individualism because of the spirit of mountain solidarity.

2° Next year, Europeans can vote in the European elections. What are your hopes and expectations for those elections?

In this campaign of the European elections which promises to be difficult for our political family, I wish to help to set up a coordination between the Steering Committee, the Regional and National ALDE-IM Coordinations, the direct Individual Members (with no national or regional Coordination), the candidates who will sit in the ALDE group of the European Parliament and, the ALDE Secretariat, to be able to fight together for our values. Individual members should be able to get involved in the election campaign, coordinated by the SC in the agreement with ALDE.

My ability to think and work in two different political systems almost the opposite of each other, one centralist, the other federal- direct democracy, should be able to help translate, to overcome difficulties of understanding , in order to coordinate our efforts for the promote of our values during the futur campaign.

The old European demons of nationalism (to be distinguished from the legitimate pride of being a citizen of a country) is on the lookout. The arguments put forward by the populists please many Europeans.

Socrates said: “Evil comes from the fact that man is mistaken about good”. Two world wars proved the consequences of this mistake, and the war of former Yugoslavia was yesterday.

I conclude with two quotations which, I think, sum up the spirit of ALDE-IM and ALDE by affirming with Aristotle : “politics is the art of commanding free men”, and, with Epictetus “Freedom is the independence of thought”.

Everyone on board for the European Elections campaign!

Steering Committee replacement elections: get to know the candidates/3

On Decemebr 5th we’ll have a new ALDE Individual Members Steering Committee election to replace Robert Schliessler. So we gave candidates another chance to present themselves. Here we are Laura Hidalgo

What is your motivation to run for the Steering Committee?

I have been a member of the ALDE Party IMS since 2013 and in one year actively through my position as a Delegate IMS to the ALDE Party Council and Delegate IMS at the last ALDE Congress in Madrid. I’m very grateful that you voted for me to represent us.

When I was 18, I wanted to commit myself to defend the European project through a liberal vision. I found the best place to debate and understand the issues at the European level within the IMS ALDE Party. Being the President of the Federation of Liberal Students in Wallonia and Brussels, I had much information from IMS all around Europe.

If you vote for me, my objective will be to ensure that all of the IMS coordinators receive the assistance needed, creating more joint events between countries and working closely with the Steering Committee and IMS to find new ways to still attract our IMS and new members with us. Obviously, I will fight like a liberal to be sure that our voice is listening by the ALDE Party with our Steering Committee.

Next year, Europeans can vote in the European elections. What are your hopes and expectations for those elections?

We face a migration crisis, Brexit and populism is growing but as Guy Verhofstadt said “crises are challenges, not calamities”. Despite this, we are going to go through this, stand up and fight like liberals for the legacy of our founding fathers and the future of the European citizens.

I hope that we will convince everyone that the European Union project and ALDE Party are ready to take up other challenges like renewable energy, robotization and digitalization. I really want a more liberal and unite European Union ! It’s time to give us the opportunity to shape a better Europe.

Steering Committee replacement elections: get to know candidates/2

On Decemebr 5th we’ll have a new ALDE Individual Members Steering Committee election to replace Robert Schliessler. So we gave candidates another chance to present themselves. Here we are Daniel Jansen, Maurice Lagerwerf and Susanne Wunderer

What is your motivation to run for the Steering Committee?

Daniel Jansen: Hi, I want to work as SC member and contribute to us all. I don’t want to make it glamorous: supporting ALDE and ALDE Individual Members can be hard work but it is very worthwhile! It is a way of helping the prosperous and peaceful society. In the coming year there have to be campaigns organised and run, together with ALDE Party towards the European Elections. Also, we will work together with the members in organizing events and our congress. For me personally, I enjoy very much connecting with great people who have the guts to do the right thing for all generations to come.My management experience in work surroundings and in volunteer organisations is an asset for this role and period. I have worked with various people in semi-independent organisations. Supporting people so they get successful makes me happy. My dream is to develop a prosperous and peaceful Europe for the well-being of all humanity. The European Union – with all its experience and values – should be the example of cooperation, alignment and development in creating a safe and level playing field for citizens.

Maurice Lagerwerf: In daily life, I’m working for a global player in Horticultural Logistics and studying Online Marketing Management.  As of Since this month I am a civil counselor for D66, in my place of residence:  Ridderkerk, Netherlands. I would love to get to know all of you a bit better and give you the opportunity to learn to know me better as well. Please feel free to link with me on social.

Linkedin; facebook; Instagram

Susannne Wunderer. I am athe hands-on type of person, and liberalism has never needed the hands-on mentality more despearately than nowadays. Coming from the electronics 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 have experiencedknow all levels of political work – from municipal to regional, national and international. I worked in parliaments, was part of an parlamentarian investigation commission, and developed and ran election and other campaigns. Today, I am working as a political advisor and strategist (public affairs). Now I want to roll up my sleeves for ALDE Party IM.

Next year, Europeans can vote in the European elections. What are your hopes and expectations for those elections?

Daniel Jansen Of course, I hope that ALDE parties will do well in all countries. My expectation is that more and more people come to their senses and say: ‘Hey, we are in this together. Let’s act in a decent way and if something needs to be improved let’s have a positive attitude towards it. We can do this. I can improve my life and we can improve each other’s lives.’ Our ALDE values matter!

Maurice Lagerwerf:  For the upcoming elections, I think we can make a strategic difference by joining forces and aligning the organizations within the ALDE group as a whole.  I consider this can be the key to reoach our goals, such as protecting the environment, further protecting human rights, and building an even stronger Europe within the near future.

Susanne Wunderer. Next year’‘s election will be crucial for the European Union. As a liberal, I hope to see a significant move away from nationalism, authoritarianism and xenophobia, and send a strengthening signal to cooperation, democracy and open-mindedness. I will put in all my expertise, my energy, and my experience to achieve this goal.

 

Steering Committee replacement election: get to know candidates/1

On Decemebr 5th we’ll have a new ALDE Individual Members Steering Committee election to replace Robert Schliessler. So we gave candidates another chance to present themselves. Here we are Anders Basboll from Denmark

What is your motivation to run for the Steering Committee?

Some political problems cross national boarders. They demand European solutions. We are blessed to have the EU. The Union is at its best, when fully democratic. Maybe democracy needs a people. The ALDE IMs are  helping to create exactly that, bringing like minded people together to work on ideas. I want the ALDE IMs to facilitate these discussions better, and I think we have a golden opportunity with candidates for Parliament who wants votes and later new idealistic Parliamentarians to try to get our members connected to MEP’s. Imagine IM groups discussing specific subjects shadowing Committees of the EP.

Imagine such a group giving input directly to the liberal members – like local party groups talking to their local municipal councillor. This would be exciting for our members and it would be valuable to MEP’s (just remember all those talented, knowledgeable people we have!). Meeting other IM’s at events is a real pleasure (that I have had on a few occations) but that is the icing on the cake. The cake itself, is the online discussions we have on facebook, and what we can have in working groups. Imagine a person telling co-workers in France that she just discussed an issue with one of our MEP’s,who is a Lithuanian – that is our sword against populism – bringing Europe together in a liberal and democratic way.

Next year, Europeans can vote in the European elections. What are your hopes and expectations for those elections?

Obviously I hope for ALDE to do well and there is a chance we can finish second – Europe really needs a strong liberal voice – for open markets, open (internal) boarders and open minds. And of cause for free trade – if somebody doubts the value of liberals, look at the trade deals negotiated under Commissioner Malmström. I hope more people will realise that their national parties are part of European parties and I wish for ALDE parties to use the ALDE brand. I was sad to see ALDE give in to Macron on the Spitzenkandidaten. To me spitzenkandidaten does not mean that the largest party wins, but that whoever can get a majority in EP wins. I hope, when the dust settles and we have a result, that ALDE will recognise the right of the majority to get its Commission President – hopefully being part of such a majority, but even if not, being gracious in defeat and then a fierce but fair opposition.

Open Letter about ALDE international members and their role in political initiatives

Francesca Mercanti,  former Alde IMs National Coordinator Italy and now on + Europa National Board (the New Italian liberal democrat movement), wrote an open letter about Individual Members role on ALDE Party

In the last weeks, during and after the ALDE Party congress, the Individual Members faced several issues- discussed in social media yet- regarding their role and their future in ALDE Party.

We are concerned of the lack of democracy and representation, and I often see members accusing the Steering Committee to be of being responsible forof it.

I think the SC suffers of a not well-defined role and powers. They should represent us, but they are missing in every ALDE Party event or political initiative.

It’s a pity because of the increasing number of IM’s, is increasing as well as their genuine will to be part of the European and liberal policy making. Unfortunately, all those problems are reflected in their behavior: not only there are they blocked from participating but also from acting with a sense of responsibility. This is especially true for delegates, elected by IMs to support their resolutions and positions. It’s important vital to stress the point that individual members are a very important part of ALDE like the other parties or associations- as Lymec for instance- and they should be more involved in the policy making.

The transnational level can have a role in the next immediate future when the all the national parties will have to face the challenge of nationalism in each country.

Being an individual member in a liberal party is, first of all, being a liberal.

I ask everybody to keep in mind how the individual sense of responsibility is the ground where a liberal strength grows, and I call the ALDE Party Secretariat to offer the SC all the support they need for becoming a real decisional board working to represent all of us.

It’s a time to be united to fight for a more liberal Europe.

ALDE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS STEERING COMITTEE CANDIDATES, GET TO KNOW THEM: SILVIA FERNANDEZ

Let’s get to know  Steering Comittee Elections candidates. Voting started on September 19th. We asked same two questions about electoral program and Liberals Democrats perspectives  to each of them. Now it’ s up to Silvia Fernandes from Spain.

 

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 rise of populism is definitely one of (if not) the biggest challenges of European Democracy of the 21st Century. Terrorist threats, economic distress, increased rate of unemployment, refugee crisis… are all issues that encompass the rise of the populist movement across Europe, namely right-wing. Despite being an heterogeneous group, they find common ground on two pillars: europhobia and anti-mass immigration.

The problem has very unfortunately been reinforced when national parties have adjusted their own policies to the ludicrous demands of the far-right in an attempt to not lose voters to these populist parties. Neither this or leaving them completely out of the decision making process in national parliaments or the European Parliament, where they have representation, has proven to succeed. This is merely because populist parties draw strength from playing the victim card, the oppressed minority who feels its identity and nationality is being gradually eroded by the Union. However, being anti-European makes most of them not so participative in the EP’s decision making process, thus there is no need for establishing a ‘cordon sanitaire’ – since this would be adding fuel to the fire.

I believe that the Liberals and Democrats should develop the best articulated and strongest speech that will challenge the right wing while remaining true to our liberal and democratic values. Populist movements have exploited insecurity and resentment and constructed a false narrative to position themselves as an alternative to already established parties. There is a need to come back strong, now more than ever when fear and anger are predominant in some member states; we need to fight back for European integration, freedom, and human rights.

Liberals and democrats have not had the same political strength across Europe. Do you think, looking to the next EU Elections, we should work towards transnational lists?

It is my believe that citizens should be able to participate more directly in European politics. They should have the right to vote on their preferred candidate. Against what most of the right and populist parties have said, the creation of Transnational Lists would only strengthen EU democracy by bringing the EU closer to the citizens allowing for a more effective and tangible integration and consequently trust in the European institutions.

One of the main reasons to create Transnational Lists is that the current system fails to respect the principle of degressive proportionality established in the treaties. Therefore, it is not representative of the actual EU diversity portrayed by the 27 Member States. By establishing Transnational Lists, we would be allowing European political parties to act as genuine parties and focus on real European matters instead of national ones during European elections. Moreover, member states that currently are underrepresented such as Spain, France, Italy and the Netherlands would have a real proportionate number of seats in the European Parliament. An adequate reallocation of seats would ultimately give ALDE member parties more weight across Europe and in the European Parliament challenging the EPP and populist parties.

Having said that, I would not jump the gun and fight for them for the 2019 elections. Essentially because the complexity of the development of the Transnational Lists due to the disparities in requirements and legal challenges across the 27 member states is grand. Thus, I feel that the time for Transnational Lists is the 2024 elections. This would give us enough time to fashion an effective democratic and proportionate system. For better or for worse, Brexit has given us the opportunity to reform Europe towards a more democratic and open Union. Let’s make the most of it.