Young Liberals To Host European Liberal Youth Congress In 2019

Next year is a big year for the UK. With our exit from the EU set to happen at the end of March, Britain is all but guaranteed to see its influence in the world declined. The fact of the reality is that outside of the EU, the United Kingdom matters far less in world politics than we did as a member of it. Unfortunately, this is also true for the Liberal Democrats. Leaving the EU not only deprives us of the opportunity to elect MEPs, but also places us in an awkward position within ALDE. No longer a member of the EU, but still able to influence its policies.

While many in our sister parties recognise that the Liberal Democrats is a party of committed Europeans, Brexit has still changed the way they view us. In last year’s ALDE bureau elections, for the first time, no Lib Dem was elected. While within European Liberal Youth (LYMEC), there are clear signs of anti-British feeling because of the Brexit vote coming from some of its members.

Fortunately, there are many within both ALDE and LYMEC who recognise that Young Liberals and the Liberal Democrats are committed Europeans. That is why I am delighted to announce that Young Liberals will be hosting LYMEC’s Autumn Congress in 2019.

The LYMEC Bureau believes that this is an opportunity for our fellow young European liberals to show support and unity with Young Liberals here in the UK. With LYMEC President, Svenja Hahn telling Young Liberals:

Brexit has become the synonym for insecurity and uncertainty. In times like these liberals have to unite and stand up for each other and our shared values. We want to bring our autumn 2019 congress to the UK to show that the European young liberals will stand with our British friends in European solidarity!

I couldn’t agree more.

As we battle against the increasingly extreme, nationalist and illiberal politics we are seeing in the Labour and the Conservatives, it is more important than ever that we maintain a strong and independent liberal British voice internationally. With around 130 delegates from 33 European countries coming to the UK, next year’s Autumn Congress allows Young Liberals to do just that.

Hosting LYMEC in 2019 is our chance to show that Young Liberals and the Liberal Democrats remain committed to our common shared European values. That we will continue to be an active member of the international liberal family. That we are determined that a liberal British voice will be heard internationally. Above all, it says that we are and will remain committed Europeans – even if we find ourselves outside of the European Union. 

Over the coming months, we want to raise £15,000 so that we can offer a warm welcome to our European, liberal family. We are asking members, supporters and anyone who is passionate about our future relationship with Europe to make a contribution, so if you can spare £5, £10 or much more, please donate to our fundraiser so that we can make this a memorable occasion, representing both the party and our country in the best possible way. You can do this on the Young Liberals website. Thank you.

* Ben Whitlock is International Officer of the Young Liberals

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Lorenzo Cherin 18th Aug '18 - 3:05pm

    Ben has a good voice in this, it is needed, it is our voice expressed well, positive amidst the surrounding negativity.

    It is very troubling to read Liberals in the ALDE Youth groups from other countries showing anti UK attitude, there are too many in our stance who eulogise this continent as if singing Kumbaya!

    We should, all, young, middle aged, older, be internationalists, realists as well as idealists, and thus fight extremists!

  • Thanks to Ben and the YLs for their hard work on this.

    I am minded to support this – but I offer this as constructive criticism. It would be useful at some point for greater clarity on the website on where the £15,000 asked for is going. As obviously I could support other things which might or might not be of greater benefit to the Lib Dems and YLs in general.

  • Denis Loretto 19th Aug '18 - 7:49am

    I see no reason for doubt about this. It can do nothing but good and will have my support.

  • It is essential that we do all we can to maintain the closest possible links with our european friends whatever the outcome of the post referendum process. This matters most to those who have many decades living with the consequences. It also shows that we will not be defeated by the forces of nationalism, xenophobia and illiberalism that you refer to.

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