ALDE Party eCouncil – a comfortable seat, a nice cup of tea and a cast of hundreds…

Friday morning and, for those of us that aren’t naturally early risers, the hour time difference between Brussels, the nerve centre of the ALDE Party, and the United Kingdom was the cause of a slightly hurried morning routine for your correspondent.

First, there was a rather sad piece of business, as the Congress was asked to make a decision on how to proceed following the sad demise of Party President Hans van Baalen. There had been some consultation as to whether or not a by-election should take place to fill the vacancy, amidst rumours that a candidate was already “working the room”, and our delegation had concluded, having read the Statutes, that it should wait until the regular Autumn Congress, on the basis that the post would have been up for election then anyway.

We apparently weren’t alone, as Congress voted pretty overwhelmingly to postpone, leaving the senior Vice Presidents, Senator Timmy Dooley from Fianna Fáil and Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP from the Bulgarian Movement for Rights and Freedom, to act as joint President for the time being.

We then sashayed into Council, which started with the vital business of electing Returning Officers for the elections that would be going ahead – the effective re-election of the three unopposed Vice Presidents which should have taken place last autumn, and the somewhat unexpected contest for Treasurer, Gašper Koprivsek, from Slovenia’s Modern Centre Party, having stood down after two of a possible three terms.

The advantage of an online event is that you can be pretty much anywhere, which is handy for one of the Returning Officers, Daniel Obst, who is checking in from poolside in Ibiza, but as his colleague, I’ll be performing my duties from a comfy chair in Suffolk.

The finances were given a fairly easy ride, with only the pesky Liberal Democrats asking questions about social media spend, the low level of individual members and the problems caused by new rules for funding of European political parties – membership fees and donations are not permitted from beyond the European Union.

Other than that, the other interesting development was the proposed launch of three policy advisory groups;

  • Climate and sustainability
  • jobs, growth and innovation in a digitalised economy
  • European democracy and security

I’m old enough to member that there were policy commissions in the late 1980s/early 1990s – I sat on one looking at European cultural policy which took eighteen months to, fundamentally, fail to come to a conclusion on the definition of the word “culture”. The lunches were good though… I suspect that these will be rather more serious.

Council ended with a presentation from Guy Verhofstadt and the President of the European Liberal Youth, Antoaneta Asanova, on the Conference on the Future of Europe. This is “a unique and timely opportunity for European citizens to debate on Europe’s challenges and priorities”. It would be fair to say that it leaves Liberal Democrats with a rather wistful sense of loss, and is a reminder that we may not be central to the future direction of either Europe or the ALDE Party.

* Mark Valladares is a member of the Party’s delegation to the Council of the ALDE Party. If you have an election to run, if no one else can help, and if you can find him…

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One Comment

  • The Conference on the future of Europe will be open to contributions from all of Europe not just the member countries. There was pressure from the Western Balkans candidate countries to be allowed to join in with the work of the Conference, which does not just consist of holding a meeting.
    I hope that we in the Liberal Democrat’s take this opportunity to explore what we see as the the future of us all.

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