Author Archives: Ulysse Abbate

ALDE’s 2023 conference: the reflections of your newest Council delegate

After the newly-elected VP of the ALDE Party Malik Azmani centred his speech on cleverly-created ABBA puns, I question if this follow up article on the ALDE Congress could ever match that same energy and do the Congress justice. “Knowing me”, I’ll have to ask you all to “Take a Chance” on my bad puns, and hope that my lack of linguistic ability doesn’t lead to my reputation “slipping through my fingers” (sorry…).

Reflecting on my expectations, I was right in looking at the ALDE Congress through the lenses of bridge-building and policy-making, both of which were successful elements of the Congress. However, one particular area I unexpectedly found to be of great value was the ‘learning best practice’ element , where we could use successes (and indeed, failures) of partners from across our Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe to better inform the Liberal Democrats’ own activities and make us the far more effective fighting force we have the potential to be (think pre-2010).

With the talented David Chalmers, Hannah Bettsworth and Isabelle Pucher arriving days early to meet with our international partners from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Northern Ireland, the building bridges aspect of our Congress kicked off strongly. Forging links that, with our untimely exit from the EU, bring together countries not in the bloc, but very close to it (Lib Dem Baroness Sal Brinton alluded to the need for a forum between liberal parties in these countries). Throughout the weekend, we continued getting to know our European colleagues, from Iceland to Ukraine, Norway to Portugal, something that will become all the more important as the UK prepares its general election, and our internationalist credentials stand to be proven to our voters: we are, after all, the only UK party to work with countries in Europe (in the EU and beyond) to this extent.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 6 Comments

ALDE Party Congress 2023: the expectations of your newest Council delegate

There are many ways I could support the Liberal Democrats and liberal values. As a Londoner, I could support our GLA team: one of the reasons I joined the Party was to oppose the Silvertown Tunnel. As a Young Liberal, I could join a group that gained councillors in 25 councils (and counting) – with 2 of those wins defeating incumbent Conservative Council leaders – in the local elections (which as Liberal Democrats, we should be mentioning at every possible opportunity…) and that created the app at Spring Conference in York. As an economist (or at least, an economist in-training), I could support the party’s policy team in designing an economic manifesto that deals with the manifold crises we face at the moment. So why, with all these options, have I looked to working on the international front as a place I can bring value to the Party.

Well to work this out, it’s important to look at how we work with our overseas partners. In Europe, we work under the umbrella of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (or ALDE Party), a group that brings together Liberals in Europe and includes 73 Member parties with representation in the EU institutions and beyond. Together, we build bridges, pass policy and try not to spiral into a discussion on electoral reform. One success story that came from our cooperation was announced last month by our FIRC Chair David Chalmers (and leader of the ALDE delegation) announcing the Lib Dem EU Liaison Councillor Scheme. In the upcoming Congress at Stockholm, I hope to do more and make sure the Liberal democrats are in a strong position to continue this cooperation.

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