ALDE Congress preview: day 3 – it’s make your mind up time…

The final day of Congress is when the decisions get taken – electing Bureau members, determining policy, agreeing statute changes. Everything builds up to a frenzy of voting, as delegates are asked to vote for or against as many as twenty-five resolutions in one rather manic one hour session.

This is only possible because the big arguments take place in working group sessions on day 2, where compromises are reached and recommendations made to the plenary session the next day. For Liberal Democrats, this is a source of some wonderment, especially for those who have been to too many Federal Conferences. But yes, ALDE will reach a view on such subjects as Brexit, Ukraine, defence co-operation and antimicrobial resistance in just sixty minutes. Just don’t ask me about diseases of chickens…

The six Bureau candidates start the day’s business with an hour long hustings session. Given that the big delegations, or groups of delegations such as the Nordic member parties, invite candidates to address them directly, this can be less than well attended, but it is one last chance to impress, especially given how close this one might be.

Elsewhere, my near namesake (and you cannot imagine how unlikely a phrase that is for me to type), Arnau Valladares-Esteban, is leading a session on “Everything you ever wanted to know about Economics (and never dared to ask)”, and there is a fringe meeting on how media reporting shapes the outcome of elections, something we’re only too painfully familiar with.

Political fundraising and its ethical dimension will be discussed by a panel which includes Rob Mead, who is described as being the Business Relations Manager for the Liberal Democrats, a role with more than its share of ethical tensions.

There are also two fringe meetings with the sort of title which means everything and nothing, “Reshaping Europe with Courage – the Liberal Vision for the Future of Europe” which aims to set the stage for the drafting of the 2019 European Parliamentary manifesto, and “Connected Living: unlocking the opportunities of connected solutions”, discussing the Internet of Things, which sounds more complex than a humble bureaucrat like myself can comprehend.

Finally, there is a session on diversity in practice in political parties, which includes our Party President, Sal Brinton. Some of our sister parties have rather better developed talent management programmes, and it will be interesting to see what ideas emerge from this.

Everything culminates in the voting on the resolutions, before the election results are announced, ALDE Party President, Hans van Baalen gives is a stirring send-off, and the rush to the airport begins.

* Mark Valladares is Secretary to the International Relations Committee. A quill pen would be kind of nice to have…

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and News.


  • Steve Comer 3rd Dec '16 - 10:27am

    Thanks for these updates Mark.
    We really do need to strengthen our links with ALDE and our sister parties who are doing so much to make the Liberal case against the forces of darkness.

    About time Guy Verhofstadt was given a keynote speech at Lib Dem Autumn Conference too. In the light of the tremendous Richmond result can we get the party top stop running scared of anti-Europeans and organise this please!

  • I hope that someone from our delegation went to the session on the drafting of the 2019 European Parliament manifesto even though it is likely we will not be electing members in the UK if we have left in March 2019. It is important that European Liberals recognise that the EU must do something to reduce the economic drivers of the movement of people from poorer areas to richer areas. I think it is Lithuania who has a particular problem with the amount of people that have left. It is time that Liberals had policies to increase economic grow in the poorer regions much faster than in the rich ones. While it is unrealistic to think the whole of the EU can be economically equal the difference must be reduced to at least a factor of less than 2.

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