Europe’s Liberal family grows

aldeLiberal Democrats campaigning hard to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union can perhaps take heart from the fact that the European Liberal family, as represented by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE Party), continues to attract new member parties, showing that European and Liberal Democrat messages still resonate on the Continent.

At the ALDE Council meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, the other day, hosted by the city’s Liberal Mayor,Remigijus Šimašius, no fewer than four newbies were welcomed into the fold: three as full members and one as an associate member (a stepping stone to full membership).

Significantly, two of these are centrist parties from two of Europe’s larger states, Poland and Spain, where previously we had no national member party. Nowoczesna from Poland was only founded in May last year, by economist Ryszard Petru, yet it won 28 seats in the Sejm (Parliament) with 7.6% of the vote. Since then the party has provided a strong and principled voice in opposition to the increasingly intolerant ruling Law and Justice government.

In Spain, Ciudadanos, led by dashing young Albert Rivera, was one of two parties that made a spectacular breakthrough in last December’s general election that broke the decades-long dominance by the Socialists and the conservative People’s Party. On that occasion, Cuidadanos won 40 out of 350 seats and they are hoping to do even better in the snap general election called for 26 June. Interestingly, in Catalonia’s regional parliament, Cuidadanos is the main alternative to the Catalan nationalist Convergencia, who are also members of ALDE, but they are happy to sit together within the European liberal family.

ALDE embraces parties from across the European continent, not just the EU28 and the third new full member, Civic Position, founded in March last year, hails from Ukraine. It is headed by that country’s former defence Minister, Anatoliy Hrytsenko and has the distinction from most other political parties in Ukraine of not being beholden to any oligarch.

The new affiliate member is Nasa Stranka from Bosnia and Herzogovina, led by Predrag Kojović, who is determined to spread its social-liberal message across the country’s sectarian divides in the run-up to the 2018 general election. This now means that ALDE has in its fold 59 parties from 38 European countries. Incidentally, all the delegates present at Vilnius cheered on our somewhat depleted British Liberal Democrat contingent in our fight to remain in the EU.

* Jonathan Fryer is Chair of the Federal International Relations Committee.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • If you think there is a liberal upturn on the continent at the moment you’re going to be very disappointed. Check the recent article in the Guardian about the Netherlands. Armed guards outside schools and a virulently anti-Islamic politician leading the polls. It’s a sad sight and if Lib Dems don’t want to face up to the crisis of western liberalism they’ll remain drifting towards irrelevance.

  • Gordon Lishman 10th Jun '16 - 9:15am

    Convergencia happy with Cuidadanos?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • David Evans
    Martin & David Raw, I'm sad to disagree with you both on this but facts speak for themselves. 1910 - 272 Liberal MPs, ... Four elections later ... 19...
  • David Raw
    Given tonight’s revelations, Afghanistan, Downing Street and Grenfell, the skids are under Johnson. Whoever is regarded as the most likely candidate to defeat...
  • Nonconformistradical
    "If a private for profit care home goes down financially it somewhat “restricts the freedom of those who use it." Quite. Like those residents who had to be f...
  • Joe Bourke
    The proposed increase in the employment allowance is targeted at helping small businesses recover from the pandemic and crucially be able to hire staff at highe...
  • Mark ValladaresMark Valladares
    @ Peter, I suspect that we'd run a candidate as we're little more than background noise in Islington North anyway - our strength was across the south of the ...