ALDE Party Council review: meanwhile, in Europe…

On Saturday, the European liberal family gathered in the Slovene capital, Ljubljana, to compare notes and to start the process of preparation for the 2019 European Parliamentary elections. It offers your correspondent an opportunity for reflection and, if you’ll excuse me, more than a hint of regret.

But first, what will be happening? The ALDE Party Bureau have appointed Taavi Roivas, the former Prime Minister of Estonia, to chair a ten member Manifesto Committee, whose task it will be to gather evidence and ideas from across Europe and beyond the narrow confines of political parties, and then, in collaboration with the member parties, draw up a document which can form the core messages for the 2019 campaign. Alongside that, the outline procedure for selecting the SpitzenKandidat, the lead candidate for the Commission elections that follow the Parliamentary elections, was announced.

From a British perspective, there is a sense of loss. According to the rules of the ALDE Party, only member parties from EU member states may vote on the manifesto, and whilst we haven’t formally left yet, there is a sense that it would be inappropriate to vote on the content of a document that probably won’t directly impact upon us. That said, the expressed view of ALDE Party President, Hans van Baalen, was that we were still members whilst the Article 50 talks continued, and that we were still a part of the liberal family.

In all likelihood, future Party delegations will engage positively with the manifesto process, but aren’t expected to vote on the final document when it comes to the Congress scheduled to take place late next year or early in 2019.

With regard to the Spitzenkandidat, there were discussions about the threshold for nomination, and I offered some thoughts regarding some basic rules for the contest relating to expenditure, access to the electorate and the importance of establishing process up front, which I think were well received.

Urgency resolutions on Venezuela, Hungary, geopolitics in the age of Trump, reproductive rights and Bulgaria were steered elegantly through a working group and then Council by ALDE Party Vice-President Ros Scott, who also chaired a seminar on women in agriculture.

Naturally, on the fringes of the meeting, there was much talk of the Liberal Democrat prospects for Thursday, and whilst there is much surprise that our message hasn’t resonated more widely amongst the electorate, there is a great deal of good feeling towards us from our sister parties.

Finally, a word of thanks to our hosts, SMC, who are the ruling party in Slovenia. Their warm welcome, combined with some gorgeous weather, lifted the spirits.

The ALDE Party will convene again in Amsterdam in early December, and look out for more information as applications for places on our delegation are opened up.

* Mark Valladares is an elected member of the Party’s Federal International Relations Committee.

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and News.


  • Lorenzo Cherin 5th Jun '17 - 4:00pm

    Mark, not prying, but do you get your trips and continuous expenses for so many terrific trips , funded, or are you expected to fork out , one way or the other , you do sterling work, much undervalued, as is Liberal International, it seems the 70th event , was marvellous, let’s hear more , ie of the manifesto , and of ALDE too.

  • Richard Underhill 5th Jun '17 - 5:30pm

    Therefore the argument is: what developments in the EU would make it possible for the UK to rejoin in a few years time?
    We should remember that Ted Heath was a former Tory whip before he was their party leader and that Labour was divided.

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