14 Dec, 2021

3rd Hans van Baalen town hall meeting takes place in Rome

On 10 December, ALDE Party co-hosted the 3rd Hans van Baalen town hall meeting on the future of Europe in collaboration with ALDE Party member Più Europa on the fringes of the ALDE Party Council in Rome, Italy.

ALDE Party acting co-president Timmy Dooley and Italian Senator Emma Bonino were joined by a panel of distinguished speakers: Olga Stefanishina, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, Guy Verhofstadt MEP, co-chair of the Conference on the Future of Europe (COFOE) Executive Board, Benedetto Della Vedova, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Secretary of Più Europa, and LYMEC President Antoaneta Asenova-Bihlmayer.

The town hall was moderated by ALDE Party acting co-president Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP, member of the COFOE plenary in the European Parliament.

More than 200 citizens and representatives from across Europe joined the event, both in-person and online, and were able to share their ideas, thoughts and questions on the future of Europe with speakers. Topics discussed include issues relevant for the future of Europe such as:

  • Ideas to strengthen Europe’s international presence to become a true global leader
  • The future of democracy and civil liberties in Europe and the world
  • The role of youth in shaping Europe’s future

While recognising the current challenges that Europe is facing and expressing his expectations of the Conference on the Future of Europe, Dooley said:
Never before was it more important for the outcome of this Conference to really shake things up, try to recentre around the objectives and the expectations of citizens and our voters”.

Bonino remarked that “Europe is our destiny, but it needs improvements”, mainly when it comes to the EU institutions and its procedures such as the unanimity vote or the lack of right of initiative for the European Parliament. 

Stefanishina emphasised the importance of including countries from Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans in shaping Europe’s future. She added that when talking about the future of Europe, a policy of engagement and strong European leadership on the global stage is needed.

Referring to Europe’s place on the global stage, Verhofstadt stressed that the biggest challenge for Europe rests on being a leader in a world of competing powers, coalitions and alliances while defending our values, standards, and way of life.  

Can we survive with this European Union, with this European continent, in this new world order with what we have in the plate today or how it is organised today? The answer is no”, he underlined while calling for reform of the EU.

Referring to Europe’s role on the global stage, Della Vedova remarked that Europe needs to maintain globalisation driven by rules. Moreover, he highlighted the European single market and the EU’s trade policy as two good examples of how the EU can benefit its citizens.  

Asenova-Bihlmayer shared with the speakers the proposals that the European Liberal Youth (LYMEC) has put together to reform Europe. “What we want from this conference is to see concrete outcomes and concrete ambition”, she added.

In case you missed the event, you can rewatch it in full here or catch up with the highlights below.

ALDE Party has been engaged in raising awareness on COFOE amongst European citizens throughout the Conference. Starting in September 2021, ALDE Party has hosted several town hall meetings on the future of Europe with the aim of bringing European citizens closer to the Conference and putting them in the spotlight by allowing them to share their worries and ideas to reform Europe. Find out more here

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