Tag Archives: ALDE

@ALDEParty Council Report: and now, the end is near?…

The sun was beating down in Sofia, the sky was blue, there wasn’t a cloud to spoil the view. But there was Brexit in our hearts…

Yes, it was time for the Spring Council meeting of the ALDE Party, hosted by our Bulgarian sister party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. The key items of business were the continuing work towards the 2019 European Parliamentary election manifesto and the adoption of the 2017 audit. In truth, the latter was never going to be an issue – finances are healthy, and likely to become …

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Ros Scott to run for re-election as Vice President of the ALDE Party

Two years ago, in Budapest, saw the election of six ALDE Party Vice Presidents and, after a tough nine-way contest, Baroness Ros Scott was safely elected. And, after a successful first term, she is seeking re-election.

Her manifesto spells out what she’s been up to;

  • chaired pre-Council meetings of liberal ministers at AGRIFISH, helping to form shared positions as part of our work to bring together liberals from across Europe
  • worked to get more women in politics, personally leading a fund raising campaign to support the ALDE Party’s European Women’s Academy
  • met with a potential new

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Theresa May must face up to hard facts – Charles Goerens MEP

“It is crucial to remain ambitious when it comes to citizens’ rights; citizens remain at the heart of the EU” declared Charles Goerens, Demokratesch Partei and ALDE MEP, in an address to a meeting that formally established a branch of Liberal Democrats in Luxembourg.  This is the Liberal conviction that underlies Charles Goerens’ proposal of ‘associate EU citizenship’ for those who feel and wish to remain part of the European project, but who are nationals of a former Member State. “Putting the interests of citizens first is among the prime concerns of the EU Parliament, which has a decisive say on any outcome.”

“Theresa May has learned that Brexit is a little more difficult than she expected at the beginning” he commented with typically Luxembourgish understatement. He believes that Theresa May thought that an election and strong words could strengthen her negotiating position but said that she cannot continue to hide behind elections and crowd pleasing gestures.  Theresa May has to face up to hard and very complicated issues.  At the top of the agenda is finding solutions for the borders between Northern Ireland and Ireland and between Gibraltar and Spain.  Further urgent priorities are the interests and status of UK nationals living in the 27 EU states and of EU citizens in the UK.

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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 …

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WATCH: Ros Scott talk about the Article 50 Bill, Brexit, the Lib Dems & local elections

This week, Lib Dem Peer and ALDE Vice President Ros Scott was interviewed live on Facebook. Listen to her talk about the “constitutional nonsense” that is the House of Lords, explain the Lib Dem position on Brexit and encourage people to get involved in the Lib Dems.

What was particularly brilliant was to hear her talk up the importance of the local elections. As a former councillor, she really gets how important they are in themselves, but she also adds that commentators will be watching to see how well we do.

She also predicts a “sensible and rational” agreement on reciprocal rights for EU and UK citizens.

Here is the interview in full.

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Ros Scott on the Article 50 Bill and how Brexit has affected the Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat Peer Ros Scott has been talking to FNF Europe about the Article 50 judgement this week, the progress of the Bill through Parliament and the effect Brexit has had on the Liberal Democrats.

First of all, she spoke about the significance of the Supreme Court judgement:

is mixed news for the Government; Parliament may well now be more confident in asserting its rights as the negotiating process unfolds and issues such as access to the Single Market, the acquired rights of citizens and membership of EU bodies will be hotly contested. If the impacts of triggering Article 50

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ALDE Party Congress preview – day 1: a gentle warm-up before the drama commences

alde-congress-2016Welcome to Warsaw, where the cranes are busy bringing new skyscrapers to the city’s skyscape (don’t try to say that quickly…), and a thousand liberals from across Europe are meeting over the next three days.

To some extent, the event is dominated by Brexit – our sister parties are keen to adopt a common position on a European negotiating position, whilst simultaneously showing their support for pro-European forces in the United Kingdom (that would appear, given the Labour Party’s dithering on the subject, to be us). The welcome so far appears to be …

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ALDE Party Council preview – rewriting the rules, but not in triplicate…

Yes, it’s that time once again, when liberals gather from across Europe to renew old acquaintances, make policy and debate the burning issues of the day. Hang on, wrong introduction, that’s the one I meant to write for the Congress taking place alongside it.

It is fair to say that the Council meeting isn’t as exciting, focussing as it does on rule changes and membership applications.

First, the rule changes. There have been some concerns expressed that the way that individual parties are represented in the ALDE Party is not as fair as it might be. Accordingly, a small group of crack diplomats has been assigned the task of coming up with a new system. Needless to say, it combines a complexity that makes it hard to explain with a lack of salience to our readers that makes trying to do so fairly futile. I’ll give you a summary though…

The new system rewards successful parties and national influence, whilst rebalancing the membership dues system to ease the burden on small parties from small countries, something that, as a member of the Financial Advisory Committee, I had attempted to do a few years ago. Obviously, I support that. Whether or not the new allocations of Council and Congress delegates achieves the stated aim is another matter.

Posted in Europe / International and News | 1 Comment

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).

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A lifetime achievement, but still much to be done

Suzanne Fletcher 2

Suzanne Fletcher with Guy Verhofstadt

Our visit to Brussels has been one of terrific highs and awful low points.  The only thing that was consistent was the pouring rain, and the lovely welcoming help from people wherever we went.

I was there at the invitation of the committee of the regions for the ALDE-LeaDeR Awards.  I had been taken aback by being shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievement Award for long service as a councillor, for my work on environmental issues long before everyone woke up to it ( I got the first bottle – and then can – bank in Stockton in 1982), and more recently as founder member and chair of LD4SOS, an organisation within the Liberal Democrats that stands up for and campaigns on issues around asylum seekers and refugees.

The room filled with those nominated from throughout the EU for a range of different awards. There was only one other from the UK, Ray Georgeson from Otley, up for a different award from me.  I didn’t want to win; what I wanted more than anything was for the amendments from the Lords to be agreed in the House of Commons in the immigration debate that afternoon.  I silently prayed for 3,000 unaccompanied children to be given safety in the UK.

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Congratulations to Suzanne Fletcher for winning ALDE’s Lifetime Achievement Award!

Suzanne Fletcher

In a ceremony earlier today Suzanne Fletcher was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

Suzanne is known nationally amongst Liberal Democrats for her tireless campaigns in support of refugees and asylum seekers, and in particular for setting up Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary (LD4SOS).

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The ALDE Party Celebrates 40th Birthday

The Easter weekend marked the 40th Anniversary of formation of the Alliance of Liberal Democrats in Europe (ALDE). ALDE is a political party is formed of an alliance many of the liberal and democrat parties in Europe.

BBG ALDE

The ALDE party was founded on 26 March 1976 in Stuttgart in Germany. It was the first cross border political family. More can be read on the Stuttgart declaration at the ALDE party site but suffice to say it is based on the Oxford Manifesto of 1947 and was was formed from fourteen parties from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom as well as the International Liberal Youth Organisation and the Liberal Group in the European Parliament.

Posted in Europe / International | 9 Comments

Tim Farron in Brussels: “Britain is better in Europe, and Europe is better with Britain in it”

 

Tim Farron has been over to Brussels today, meeting our partners in the European Parliament. He discussed Britain’s place in Europe with them and with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Nominate a hard-working local activist or councillor for a Europe leader award

I am encouraging Lib Dem members to help me nominate a hard-working local activist or councillor for the Europe-wide Local Leader award.

Last year I was delighted when two of my nominations, Andrew Nesbitt from Scotland and David Tutt from Eastbourne made it through to the final round. I was hugely proud that David went on to win the prize for “Achievement in Government”.  I know that we have lots of talented people working hard on their communities, so do let me know so I can nominate them.

The Liberal group in Europe (ALDE) are offering a variety of awards for exceptional local representatives of European liberal parties. The award categories on offer are:

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Baroness Ros Scott writes…Up for the new challenge

Liberals from across Europe have been meeting in Budapest for the annual Congress of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe,  including a sizeable delegation of Lib Dems led by Party President Sal Brinton.

ALDE has 55 member parties from across the continent,  49 members of the European Parliament, 5  European Commissioners and 7 Prime Ministers. There’s also a local government group in the shape of Committee of the Regions, and a network of Liberal Mayors.

A recent decision to trial an individual membership scheme has gone from strength to strength, with over 1,500 joining up already.

On Saturday, after a intense campaign, I was lucky enough, and honoured, to be elected as one of the new Vice-Presidents of ALDE,  which means serving as a member of governing body, the Bureau.

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The race for the ALDE Presidency – and why it might matter

Four years of an ALDE Party led by Sir Graham Watson is nearly at an end and, following his announcement in Oslo in May that he would not be seeking a third term, one might not be surprised to hear that the campaign started almost before he sat down. I for one was lobbied by a potential candidate at the reception that followed and, since then, two candidates have emerged to contest the succession. So, who will the Liberal Democrat delegation, which represents 12% of the votes to be cast, have to decide between?

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ALDE Congress – feedback needed before Thursday

Belinda Brooks-Gordon represents the East of England on the ALDE Congress. She’s asked us to share the report she gave out to members in her region. Please note the looming deadline of this Thursday for amendments to motions to be discussed at the Congress in November.

ALDE Report

The post of President and five, possibly six Vice-Presidents are to be voted on at the ALDE Congress in Budapest from 19th – 21st November.  ALDE is now the fourth group in the European Parliament, and unable to do accomplish as much as it was able to do when it was the third party (don’t we just know how that feels in Westminster too). The new President certainly has their work cut out.

I was delighted at a briefing for the ALDE representatives and meet a candidate for ALDE Bureau President Hans van Baalen MEP as he laid out his vision. A prominent liberal, Hans spoke of the value of a joint action on sanctions to deal with international threats and of co-operation between liberal parties in the forthcoming referendum, Hans said he and his party VVD of the Netherlands would be helping with the LibDemFightback: “It is vital that we stick together to bring Liberalism together as a force.”

Baroness Ros Scott selected for VP of ALDE Bureau

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@ALDEParty Council – mourning our losses in the bosom of our family and friends

I was the first of our delegation to reach Oslo, having concluded that there was little I could practically do to help at home by then and, arriving at the venue for the Friday evening fringe meeting, I was braced for the questions. “What went wrong? What will happen now? Who will be the new leader?”. And yes, I expected some sympathy, although the offer of political asylum in Norway was unexpectedly kind.

Perhaps, just perhaps, opening the event with a debate on the future of Liberal Europe was just a little too raw given events at home, but I did take the opportunity to ask the panel the question, “My political party has just suffered a near-death experience. What single piece of advice would you give me?”. The answer, rebuild from the floor. Rebuild your branch structure, develop some clear, liberal messages, give your members and activists something to believe in and campaign for.

Posted in Europe / International and News | 3 Comments

ALDE Party Council preview: remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue…

Whilst most of you will either be at your count (and good luck to you all!) or sitting in front of a television set or a computer watching the results come in, your correspondent will be in a hotel room in Oslo. Yes, it’s time once again for liberals from across Europe to gather and tell the British how sorry they are for the result/share the love and tell us things will get better/express surprise at how well we did (delete as appropriate). And despite exhaustion and uncertainty, a small, depleted and wholly male delegation will be there to fly the Liberal Democrat flag.

So, what are we there for, apart from the joy of discovering that a second mortgage is required to buy a beer?

Council will be opened with a speech from the Prime Minister of Norway… who isn’t a member of our host party, Venstre, but is leader of the Conservative Party. That said, the ruling minority coalition of the Conservatives and the Progress Party has a confidence and supply arrangement with Venstre and the Christian Democrats in the Storting to ensure its survival (and you thought that British politics was complex?).

The agenda for Council itself is unlikely to generate much excitement, although the membership application from the Liberal Party of Gibraltar is a welcome one, especially given their performance in the European Parliamentary election last year (the Liberal Democrat list – Gibraltar is part of the South West England region – gained 66% of the vote). There will also be a rationalisation of the Slovenes, as three of the five member parties there are expected to disaffiliate (they have, effectively, ceased to exist).

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Two Liberal Democrats win European awards

Its awards season at the moment and last week the focus shifted to Europe where the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe held its annual LeaDeR (Liberal Democrat Regional and Local Politicians) Awards. Two British Liberal Democrats were successful.

David TuttThe first was Cllr David Tutt, Lib Dem group leader of East Sussex County Council and leader of Eastbourne Borough Council who had been nominated for the Achievements in Government prize by MEP Catherine Bearder. He won for:

…his visible leadership in having put core liberal values of innovation, forward-thinking and opportunity into action in transforming what was officially the worst Council in the south-east of England into one widely recognised as among the very best in the country.

Catherine explained why she nominated David:

David has worked tirelessly in Eastbourne to ensure the town continues to go from strength to strength and when I heard about the awards I was delighted to put David’s name forward as I know the huge impact his work is having on the Eastbourne community.

 David is now a winner, just as he’s made Eastbourne a winner.

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Nigel, was there something you forgot to do?

Nigel farage photo by norbert1As the net migration figures come out today, Nigel Farage has never been far from a tv camera. He’s been on the BBC News Channel. on the Daily Politics, spreading his ill-informed nonsense that we have an open door to half a billion people as if the entirety of Europe was going to pack up and come here to live.

It must have slipped his mind that he was supposed to be in Strasbourg this morning, voting down the European Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker. He must have also forgotten to take part in the debate on the motion on Monday. The funny thing is, he’s been in Strasbourg this week, lining up to meet the Pope.  UKIP MEPs don’t often trouble the Parliament with their presence, but you would think that Farage would have bothered to turn up to support his own motion! He and others including France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen had wasted Parliament’s time with the motion which was roundly defeated this morning.

ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt spoke against it in the debate and he didn’t mince his words:

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Opinion: ALDE Party Council: Bouncing Czechs, “which Slovenes are the liberals?”*, and a prospective rise in the price of cod…

Whilst you might not have guessed it from those manifestos you read from candidates for places on the Party’s ALDE Council delegation, the policy debates were still in our future when Council made an early start on Friday morning.Our task was a straightforward one, debate changes to the constitution, including a revision of the membership structure, authorise the creation of a business club, consider six membership applications, receive and approve the 2015 budget and debate the report of the Bureau… in two hours (English Council, please note).

The constitutional changes were adopted, although there were concerns over the apparent absence of a code of conduct for fundraising. Luckily, a helpful British member of the Financial Advisory Committee was on hand to both reassure and clarify the position – there is one, it was available for circulation, and it could be applied to the proposed business club, a means for corporate sponsors to fund events without directly funding a political party’s campaigning activities.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | 9 Comments

ALDE gather in Lisbon: setting sail for a new, more liberal world?

Sailing in Lisbon by Pedro Ribeiro SimõesOnce again, liberals from across the European Union and beyond gather this week for the Annual Congress of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE). And whilst Portugal might not be the most obvious place, given the absence of a liberal party in Portuguese politics for some years now, the emergence of the Earth Party as a serious contender – it won two seats (out of twenty-one) in this year’s European Parliament election – makes Portugal an interesting place to be.

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ALDE sets sail for a new world from a old port

image aldeThe Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE) have confirmed that they will be holding their next Annual Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, a country not known for its liberal politics in recent years.

However, as part of ALDE’s efforts to encourage the growth of liberal forces across the continent, links with a new group in Portuguese politics, Nos Ciadados (We Citizens) have been established, and it is hoped that, by meeting in Lisbon, that those links might be strengthened and nurtured.

In the light of the recent European Parliamentary election results, …

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Antony Hook asks… Juncker nominated as next President of the European Commission – What happens next?

EU flagToday the European Council nominated Jean-Claude Juncker to be the next President of the European Commission. The heads of government of the 28 states voted overwhelmingly for Juncker. Only the UK’s David Cameron (European Conservatives and Reformists) and Hungary’s Viktor Orban (European People’s Party) voted against.

Juncker’s nomination reflects not only the European People’s Party’s status as largest group in the Parliament but also that it supplies more of the states’ heads of government than any other party. The Council’s nominee will go before the Parliament in its plenary, 14-17 …

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Opinion: What’s going on in Brussels? Political groupings in the European Parliament

European Parliament chamber, StrasbourgFollowing on from my post last week on post-election developments in Brussels, here’s the first of two updates. Today’s will focus on developments concerning the formation of political groups in the Parliament itself whilst tomorrow’s will address issues regarding nominations to the European Commission.

Political parties have until tomorrow, June 24th to form their European Parliamentary groups. In order to qualify as a group, you not only need at least 25 MEPs but these must be drawn from at least 7 EU countries represented in the Parliament.

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What’s going on in the European Parliament this week?

European FlagDebates between the political parties in the European Parliament to form the all-important political groups, on which depends importance Committee places and speaking rights, continue in Brussels this week.

The Alliance of Liberals & Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group, in which the UK’s Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder sits, is continuing negotiations with liberal-minded parties either newly elected to the European Parliament or no longer content with their existing groups.

It is now unlikely that ALDE will remain the third largest group in Strasbourg-based Parliament as the European Conservatives

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@ALDEParty Council preview – “How was it for you?”

image aldeIt seems like mere weeks since the last Council meeting of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE), when optimism was in the air – admittedly helped by the presence of our Austrian hosts on that occasion, who were running an unashamedly pro-European campaign. Sadly, just six weeks later, delegates from across Europe gather in Brussels under rather less cheery circumstances.

The decimation of the British, German and Italian member parties in the European Parliament, plus the defection of the Romanians to the European People’s Party following merger with …

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European elections: vote Conservative, get Liberal?

election day 2014It’s polling day here and, indeed, in the Netherlands, as four days of voting for the European Parliament kick off. And, just possibly, whilst the Liberal Democrats are predicted to suffer losses here in the United Kingdom, the groundwork for the appointment of a liberal as President of the European Commission might be being prepared.

Christopher Flores, writing in the EU Observer, explains how;

Should a left coalition be blocked, the left will likely rally around one candidate in hopes of salvaging the loss of the Parliament by being able

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ALDE Party Council – seeing double in the city of intrigue and sachertorte

SachertorteIt is perhaps appropriate that, given the much-anticipated (at least by our enemies) fate of Liberal Democrats on 22 May, the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe) Party Council meets in Vienna, the city where Orson Welles set ‘The Third Man’, in which Harry Lime gave the impression of being dead, only to be killed in the end anyway.

However, this month’s European Parliamentary elections represent the raison d’être of any pan-European political party, and so liberals from across the European Union are working to ensure the strongest possible representation …

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