ELDR Congress: I’m not about to craic up…

Welcome to the former lair of the Celtic Tiger, a city of stories, some of them true, and enough cliche to bury an elephant, Dublin, the host city for this year’s ELDR Congress, hosted by Fianna Fail.

The focus of this year’s event is on energy transition and, given that the EU remains worryingly dependent on imports of oil and gas from some rather unstable corners of the world, it is a subject that might not be obviously sexy, it is one that has a huge impact on European citizens.

But why, I hear you ask, aren’t we discussing the European Union budget, or Multi Annual Financial Framework, as ‘real Europeans’ call it? Well, the answer is a simple one. As Europe is a bit more predictable, with budgets drawn up for seven year cycles, it was debated at last year’s Congress in Palermo. This allowed the preparation of a negotiating position in advance, a concept apparently alien to David Cameron. Perhaps he didn’t read the memo…

Interestingly, it is a British politician leading the debate on the theme resolution, “A Liberal Roadmap for Energy Transition”, none other than the former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne, and it will be interesting to watch him at work in a European-style debating environment, given his vast experience as an MEP and as an economist. I wonder how good a meeting chair he is…

And given that ELDR does not usually attract the most senior Party figures, it is a pleasant surprise to see that Nick Clegg will be one of the keynote speakers as Congress officially opens at 2.45 tomorrow afternoon. Anyone reading reports of yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions will know that he’s in rare form at the moment, and again, this is his natural environment, so that’s something else to look forward to.

There are also internal elections, with two Vice Presidents, the Treasurer and the President of the European Liberal Women’s Network to be elected. Late breaking news here is that Flo Clucas, formerly Leader of the ALDE Group on the Committee of the Regions, has thrown her hat into the ring for the last of these positions, her opponent being Romanian MEP, Norica Nicolai.

We’ll have more news on that tomorrow, courtesy of the Returning Officer, Mark Valladares (you don’t think I’m here only for the Guinness, do you?). We’ll also have news of the resolutions to be debated and any gossip worth reporting.

* Mark Valladares is a member of the Liberal Democrat Delegation to ELDR Council, and is keeping his fingers crossed that enough of you voted for him to be re-elected to it for the next two years…

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3 Comments

  • Alex Macfie 9th Nov '12 - 8:47am

    I’m sure a great time will be had by all, but it remains a mystery to me how Fianna Fail can be considered a “liberal” party…

  • Alex might take a moment to define what he means by ‘liberal’. As Mark says ELDR contains a range of parties and members including some whose views as to what constitutes ‘liberal’ is anything but liberal.

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