Whilst the other internal Party elections that take place in the Autumn are for places on committees that meet more, or less, frequently, this particular election is for the right to attend four two hour meetings, spaced over two years. Virtually all of the delegation’s activities are likely to go completely unnoticed by the average member and, if I was forced to compare it to anything else, it might be like this;
“English Council, but with passports”
I acknowledge that this isn’t necessarily the most enticing prospect, especially to those of you who have had the ‘pleasure’ of attending English Council, but bear with me for a moment…
It is true that, with few exceptions, the Council of ELDR (European Liberal Democrats), is the administrative forum of our European Party. Reports from the Officers, including financial ones, applications for membership from newly emerging political parties in, and beyond, the European Union, decisions on where future Congresses will be, the odd political debate (the last one was about the political situation in Armenia), plus any political resolutions deferred from the preceding Congress do not, in themselves, leap out of the page as offering potential excitement.
However, ELDR Council offers an opportunity to meet delegates from our sister parties across the continent, to represent your Party on a different stage, and to learn more about the European Union and how liberals contribute towards its decision making. There are social events, receptions and opportunities for a little light tourism, so it isn’t all hard work.
Naturally, there is a contribution towards the costs of flights, although not towards accommodation, and this contribution varies depending on the venue of the event. As a guide, the four meetings in the 2011-12 cycle were in Dresden, Palermo, Yerevan and, coming up in November, Dublin.
An additional part of the duty of members of the ELDR Council delegation is to attend the annual Congress, the agenda of which includes the autumn Council meeting. The Congress is where the policy debate takes place, as well as much diplomacy and networking.
Finally, here are two things to bear in mind. This is the least London-centric election of all, as the delegation never meets in London (that said, we are bidding to host the 2013 ELDR Congress), and language skills are welcome, but not mandatory, as virtually all meetings take place in English and, where they don’t, simultaneous translation is always provided.
So, whilst I really prefer that you left me to carry on for another two years undisturbed by anything as vulgar as competition, do give the ELDR Council Delegation some thought, as new blood is always welcome, and it offers a fascinating insight into a little known corner of the Party’s international activity.
If you would like to stand for any of the following Party Committees (Federal Executive, Federal Policy Committee, Federal Conference Committee, International Relations Committee, European Liberal Democrat Party (ELDR) Council Delegation), you can log in to the Members section of the party website and download a nomination form here or contact the Returning Officer directly at [email protected] You must be a party member to stand for these roles. The closing date for nominations is 3rd October 2012. Party Committees are elected by Federal Conference Representatives.
* Mark Valladares was first elected to the ELDR Council Delegation in 2010, is a member of the ELDR Financial Advisory Committee, and covers ELDR events for Liberal Democrat Voice.