11 Feb, 2022

4th Hans van Baalen Town Hall takes place virtually

ALDE Party and Freie Demokraten Partei (FDP, Germany) co-hosted the 4th Hans van Baalen town hall meeting on the future of Europe on 9 February.

ALDE Party acting Co-President Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Member of the German Parliament and ALDE Party Vice-President, were joined by Nicola Beer MEP, European Parliament Vice-President and member of the dedicated COFOE-plenary and Helmut Brandstätter, Member of the Austrian National Council, in the town hall debate, moderated by ALDE Party acting Co-president Senator Timmy Dooley.

Around 100 citizens and representatives from across Europe joined the distinguished speakers and shared their ideas, thoughts and questions on issues related to the future of Europe, including:

  • How to strengthen EU democracy to bring the Union closer to citizens
  • EU’s role in the world, looking at enlargement and security issues
  • The outcomes of the Conference on the Future of Europe

You can see the highlights of the event featured in the visual notes produced by artist Menah Wellen below:

“The Conference on the Future of Europe is a once in a generation chance to shape the Europe we want to live in. […] Whether is it the COVID-19 pandemic, a more assertive Russia, digitalisation or threats against the very core of our European democracy. None of these issues can be dealt with by Germany alone. They also can’t be fixed by Europe without Germany”, Kyuchyuk stressed during his welcoming speech.

Speaking about how to bring Europe closer to the citizens, Beer stressed that there is lack of European media, and that Europe needs to reform itself to put citizens in the centre and not the institutions. “I have a dream that the Conference could be the kick-off for a convention on the European Constitution”, she added.

Lambsdorff stressed that the European Union stands out as the largest experiment in liberal democracy at supranational level, however, when thinking about strengthening European democracy, the EU should look at external but also internal threats.

The European Union cannot only be successful as a Union of democracies, countries that are governed by the rule of law […] we need a sovereign Europe that is capable of acting together and defends our interests and the European way of life” he remarked.

Brandstatter stressed that technological sovereignty is crucial for defending democracy and security and fighting misinformation in Europe. He underlined that “we [the EU] have to talk more about what we do and why we do it”.

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

ALDE Party has been engaged in raising awareness on the Conference on the Future of Europe amongst European citizens and acting as an intermediate to bring citizens closer to the EU and its institutions. Starting in September 2021, ALDE Party has hosted several town hall meetings on the future of Europe, named after late president Hans van Baalen, with the aim of putting citizens in the spotlight by letting them share their worries and ideas to reform Europe. Find out more here.

Photo credit: Menah Wellen 2022.

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