27 Apr, 2022

ALDE’s Conference on Europe’s future takes place in The Hague

To mark the end of ALDE Party’s Action Plan on the Future of Europe and ahead of the last COFOE-dedicated plenary debate, ALDE Party in collaboration with its Dutch member VVD, organised a day-long conference, "The future starts now - Liberals on the future of Europe", to discuss all the inputs gathered throughout the Action Plan, particularly at the Hans van Baalen Town Hall meetings and the digital hub, with a line-up of distinguished speakers. 

Senator Timmy Dooley, ALDE Party acting Co-President and Malik Azmani MEP, Renew Europe First Vice-President and member of the COFOE-dedicated plenary, welcomed the audience stressing the importance of the Conference on the Future of Europe. During this session, Guy Verhofstadt MEP, Co-Chair of COFOE Executive Board, and Katalin Cseh MEP, Renew Europe Vice-President and member of the COFOE-dedicated plenary delivered keynote speeches.

“We put European citizens at the centre of the debate on the future of Europe and listen to their worries and proposals […] This is what it has been all about from the start: the citizens. Only with the citizens can we bring our European project forward”, Dooley remarked.

The future of the European Union is about how to regain sovereignty in a world dominated by empires…the answer is to have a real European Union!”, Verhofstadt stressed during his keynote speech.

“[Citizens] don’t want small steps. They want solutions. Solutions are always a bit painful but can be very rewarding at the end”, Cseh stressed while encouraging politicians to lister to what citizens have to say.

The event continued with two panel discussions, in which the speakers discussed a series of ideas proposed by citizens throughout the Action Plan as well as questions from the audience.

The fist panel discussed the role of Europe at the global stage. Sabina Ćudić, Member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina parliament, Guy Verhofstadt MEP, Co-Chair of COFOE Executive Board, and Helmut Brandstätter, Member of the Austrian parliament, discussed Europe’s defence and security and its relationship with NATO, the future of EU enlargement and the impacts of the war in Ukraine. The debate was moderated by Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP, ALDE Party acting Co-President.

The second panel focused on EU democracy and the next steps for COFOE. Katalin Cseh MEP, Dan Barna, member of the Romanian parliament, and Adrián Vázquez Lázara MEP, Chair of European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs, discussed how to strengthen democracy in the EU, especially in the institutions as well as how to bring citizens closer to the EU. They also reflected about rule of law and human rights in Europe. The debate was moderated by Lennart Salemink, VVD International Secretary.

To close the event, Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP, ALDE Party acting Co-President, stressed the importance of the Conference on the future of Europe as well as the role that ALDE Party has played during its duration. Moreover, Kyuchyuk presented ALDE Party’s input to the COFOE, which can be found here.

From the very beginning we wanted this Conference to be action-oriented. A Conference with a set agenda. A Conference with goals.  I believe we have shown this was not a mere PR exercise, but a true citizens assembly”, Kyuchyuk said.

Moreover, Malik Azmani MEP and Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, delivered closing remarks.

“I hope that the liberal democracies as we know them will prevail and that our ideas, our liberal ideas, will prevail”, Schreinemacher said.

The Conference ended with a tribute to late ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen. ALDE Party, VVD, Liberal International and LIBSEEN, announced the Hans van Baalen medal, to be awarded at the ALDE Party Congress in June.

Did you miss the event or simply want to watch it again? 

Relive the event’s highlights below!

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