From 19 to 21 November the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) hosted its 36th Congress in Budapest, Hungary.
Hans van Baalen MEP (VVD, The Netherlands) has been elected as the new President of the ALDE Party at the ALDE Party Congress in Budapest. He succeeds Sir Graham Watson. Hans van Baalen is currently a Member of the European Parliament for VVD since 2009. Before, he was a Member of the House of Representatives in the Netherlands from 1999 to 2002 and from 2003 to 2009. He was also the President of Liberal International between 2009 and 2014.
The newly elected Vice-Presidents are in alphabetical order: Timmy Dooley TD (Fianna Fail, Ireland), Fredrick Federley MEP (Center Party, Sweden), Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP (MRF, Bulgaria), Markus Löning (FDP, Germany), Marta Pascal MP (CDC, Catalonia, Spain) and Baroness Ros Scott (Liberal Democrats, United Kingdom).
Mireia Canals (CDC, Catalonia, Spain) and Anna Jungner-Nordgren (SFP, Finland) were elected Vice Presidents of the ALDE Gender Equality Network.
ALDE Party delegates adopted policy resolutions on a range of important and topical matters such as defending democratic values against terrorism following the terrorist attack in Paris (read more), responding to the refugee crisis, defining a modern liberal approach to migration and asylum, making TTIP a comprehensive agreement, developing the global fight against tax havens and tax and evasion, defining a modern liberal policy for economic justice, furthering European Integration of the Western Balkans and reacting to the situation in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.
All adopted resolutions can be found online at policycentre.aldeparty.eu.
During the ALDE Party Congress, the ALDE Party Council accepted Liberalisok from Hungary and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Party (ALDE) from Romania as new ALDE Party member parties. The next ALDE Party Council meeting will take place on 4 June 2016 in Vilnius, Lithuania, hosted by the Liberal Movement Lithuania.
The Congress' delegates granted voting rights to ALDE Party individual members.
Sir Graham Watson officially opened the 36th ALDE Party Congress, his last as ALDE Party President. "We face supranational challenges which need supranational answers. A global politics for a global age. So we must step up co-operation between intelligence services, police forces, judiciaries. Unite in a common purpose to enforce the rule of law. Not have the criminal half way round the world while the bobby is still getting his boots on," said Sir Graham Watson during his opening speech. (The full speech is available here)
Other speakers during the event were Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality; Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and President of the Council of the European Union; Andrej Babis, Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and Zsuzsanna Szelenyi, Member of the Hungarian Parliament.
The leader of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, offered a report from the EP during the Opening Ceremony. In the report, he clearly addressed the Hungarian government led by Viktor Orban: "It is not a coincidence that the ALDE Congress is in Budapest, our presence is a clear 'no' to the 'illiberal state' of Orban." He continued: "Mr Orban is not a problem for the Hungarians, it is a problem for Europeans and we tolerate it."(The full report is available here)
The situation in Hungary was debated with the participation of Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Sophie in 't Veld MEP (D66, Netherlands) and Hungarian liberal MPs Gábor Fodor (Liberalisok), Zoltán Kész, and Zsuzsanna Szelényi (Együtt) moderated by Markus Löning (FDP, Germany).