17 Feb, 2021

ALDE President reacts to Europe’s political developments

ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen has reacted to several political developments that have taken place in Europe this past week.

Urging action to speed up vaccination processes

On 10 February, the European Parliament debated the EU’s vaccine programme in the presence of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. President von der Leyen and Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides were questioned about Europe’s vaccination strategy to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALDE President van Baalen has highlighted several flaws in the European Commission’s approach to handle the crisis and urges speeding up the process, as vaccinations will be key if we want to reclaim our freedoms. President van Baalen also calls for courage to take political responsibility.

Congratulating Mario Draghi, new Italian Prime Minister

On 13 February, Mario Draghi, former president of the European Central Bank, was sworn in as Italy’s new Prime Minister.

ALDE President van Baalen wishes the new Prime Minister success in his role but underlines it is crucial that the people of Italy have their say on future reforms.

After the center-left coalition led by Giuseppe Conte collapsed following disagreements over coronavirus recovery plans, Draghi was given the task to form a new government.

Prime Minister Draghi has the task of leading Italy through this crisis, leading a government consisting of 15 politicians and technocrats.

Condemning homophobic attacks in Poland

On 12 February, the office of Polish MP Monika Rosa, a member of ALDE member Nowoczesna, was vandalised with homophobic hate speech. Rosa is one of the loudest voices to stand up for minority rights in her country.

ALDE Party and Nowoczesna condemn these attacks and reaffirm their continued fight for LGBTI equality.

ALDE President van Baalen has expressed his disbelief on seeing these actions and strongly condemns them. LGBTI-free zones and the abortion ban are examples of policy changes the Polish government has introduced to limit the people’s freedoms.

Standing by Estonian PM Kaja Kallas to maintain sanctions against Russia

European leaders will meet in March to discuss relations with Russia. On this key topic, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has expressed her wish to sanction those who violate human rights and target the ones responsible in the Russian government. Joining Kallas in her call are leaders of Latvia and Lithuania.

ALDE President van Baalen agrees with the position of the Baltic states and notes that Putin’s Russia should face consequences following its interventions in Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, as well as its treatment of Alexei Navalny.

Reacting to 17+1 Virtual Summit flop

A virtual 17+1 Summit took place on 9 February with six EU Member States – Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovenia – sending their Ministers instead of Heads of State to discuss key issues. Chinese President and Secretary-General of the Communist Party Xi Jinping had invited leaders of Central and Eastern European countries to a virtual summit. The 17+1 Summit is needed for Beijing to showcase its ties with Europe to the new US administration.

ALDE President van Baalen approves the approach of these countries, and notes that China has proved on multiple occasions to be an unreliable political partner.

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