Convening in Bratislava at the launch of the vision of a new political movement in Slovakia, central European liberal and progressive forces announced a new regional partnership to coordinate, cooperate and give a stronger voice to the region.
Progresívne Slovensko, a newly-founded political movement in Slovakia, alongside Momentum Mozgalom, Hungary and ALDE Party member parties NEOS – Das Neue Österreich, Austria, and Nowoczesna, Poland, signed a joint declaration to form the New Central Europe initiative.
“Central Europe needs a new vision of its future in Europe. The stakes have never been higher. The European Union, emerging from a decade of crisis, is headed for change and renewal. Yet Central Europe is stifled by parochialism and stagnation. Much of the continent wishes to seize the moment and move forward with the European project. Yet our region is turning inwards, uncertain of its place and role in Europe. Some of our governments are trampling on democratic values, and are bent on undermining European solidarity and unity. Others are small-minded and transactional in their approach to Europe,” the statement reads.
“Our citizens deserve better. Our political movements are therefore coming together to fight for a different Central Europe: one which is true to its European identity and values, and which aspires to lead – rather than awkwardly obstruct – the renewal of the European project. Ours is a vision of Central Europe embedded in the EU’s innermost core, with all our countries part of the Eurozone.”
“Therefore, our movements are launching a new regional initiative, NEW CENTRAL EUROPE, as a platform for dialogue and joint political action among our respective movements and citizens. Through NEW CENTRAL EUROPE, our movements will regularly consult, articulate common positions vis-a-vis our governments and partners in Europe, and work towards a joint and comprehensive vision of Central Europe in the EU.”
Angelika Mlinar MEP, Vice President of the ALDE Party and of NEOS Das Neue Österreich, welcomed the new initiative saying: “it is not easy to reform the European Union and it is also difficult to reform at regional or country level. But these changes must be accomplished, failure is not an option. What we need is a big heart, a huge conviction and allies. You can never achieve this goal alone, it simply is not possible. You can only achieve this with strong allies, with people who are committed to the same goal.”
Ivan Štefunko, the leader of Progressive Slovakia, added: "the European Union is going through certain problems, but not everyone in Central Europe is as anti-European as it is presented by our politicians. We think that we are truly pro-European political parties and we want to represent truly pro-European public in this region."
The declaration was announced during an Idea Conference of Progresívne Slovensko, a new political movement in Slovakia that aims to soon become a political party and present progressive new solutions to problems facing Slovakia. At this conference, the movement held a range of panel discussions and published its political vision and priorities.
ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt and En Marche MP Pieyre Alexander Anglade also spoke at the conference.