ELDR: a caucus in the Caucusus…

When I was elected to the Liberal Democrat delegation to the Council of the European Liberal Democrats (ELDR), adventure was not necessarily high amongst my expectations, and trips to Dresden and Palermo last year were, whilst very nice, not particularly off the beaten path. And so, when it was announced that the Spring Council meeting would take place in Yerevan, I have to admit to an awakening of my passion for obscure routes and means of transport. So, why Yerevan, and what will be happening at the end of next week?

Sunday sees Parliamentary elections in Armenia, and this, combined with the recent moves towards an Association Agreement between Armenia and the European Union, makes it an excellent time to fly in about one hundred liberals from across Europe. The host member, the Armenian National Movement, lead by Aram Manukyan, is part of the Armenian National Congress, a coalition of thirteen Parties, led by Levon Ter-Petrossian, the country’s first President in the post-Soviet era.

So, what’s on the agenda? Only two policy issues, both deferred from the Congress in Palermo;

    Cyprus, with a revised resolution calling for further progress towards reunification, as well as granting the Turkish Cypriot community those rights envisaged at the time of Cypriot accession to the EU.
    a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base for Europe, which would lead to increased competitiveness between EU companies and make the EU a more attractive market for investment by taking advantage of its economy of scale (I’m not entirely convinced by this, I must confess)

Otherwise, there will be talk of budgets, of potential members new or to be lost, a breakfast meeting on energy security and a political debate, topic unknown at the time of writing. I’ll be reporting on events in a fortnight’s time, when we hope to have details of the 2012 ELDR Congress, expected to take place in Dublin.

* Mark Valladares is a member of the Liberal Democrat delegation to ELDR’s Council, and a member of the ELDR Financial Advisory Committee.

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