On 27-28 September, the European Liberal Forum (ELF) gathered representatives from member organisations and partners for an Autumn General Assembly in Brussels.
As part of the event, ELF celebrated its 15th anniversary and held its third edition of the Liberal Awards to celebrate champions of liberal values and ideas, and ensure their recognition and impact on the European level.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas was presented with the Liberal of the Year award by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo. After being re-elected as Prime Minister in January, her commitment to making Estonia and Europe a more prosperous and inclusive society, as proved by the legalisation of same-sex marriage in June, stood out as an exemplary figure for liberals.
“The world has changed a lot since I entered politics 13 years ago. Now we have to fight not just for justice, liberties, but also for freedom itself. I am of a lucky generation because I know the value of freedom: and therefore, I don’t take it for granted. The war in Ukraine shows that nobody should,” said Prime Minister Kallas.
🏆 Prime Minister of Estonia @kajakallas is the winner of the #LiberalAwards 2023 Liberal of the Year!— European Liberal Forum (@EurLiberalForum) September 28, 2023
🇪🇪 Kaja Kallas is one of the most influential European leaders, committed to making her country a more prosperous & inclusive society. Recently she led the @reformikad to… pic.twitter.com/ZaqhzBw8ST
ALDE Party Co-Presidents Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP and Timmy Dooley, alongside Katalin Cseh MEP, handed Guy Verhofstadt MEP the Lifetime Achievement Award. The former Belgian Prime Minister and European Parliament Group leader’s life-long advocacy for liberal values and staunch defence of civil liberties has left a tangible mark on both Belgian and European politics.
“We need a new generation of liberals fighting to make our continent stronger and more democratic,” said Verhofstadt.
🎉🇪🇺 Congratulations @guyverhofstadt #ALDEParty Co-Presidents @timmydooley and @ilhankyuchyuk present the @EurLiberalForum Lifetime Achievement Award with @katka_cseh and distinguished speakers #LiberalAwards #ELF15 pic.twitter.com/tnEVw92vIP— ALDE Party (@ALDEParty) September 27, 2023
Finally, Rainbow Platform founder and Momentum Mozgalom campaigner Luis Cano won the Rising Star Award for his activism on LGBTQIA+ issues.
At the Assembly, ELF members voted to accept four new additions to its liberal family: 21 Research Center (Hungary) and Venstres Studieforbund (Norway) as full members, and Golos.Kyiv (Ukraine) and Institute Liberalis (Lithuania) as affiliates.
📣We are very pleased to announce the addition of two new full members & two affiliate members, to the European Liberal Forum! Welcome to the 21 Research Center, Venstres Studieforbund, Golos.Kyiv & Institute Liberalis. 👏— European Liberal Forum (@EurLiberalForum) October 2, 2023
Thank you to our Board of Directors & delegates from the… pic.twitter.com/ud84vaADPp
Finally, ALDE Party Secretary General ad interim and 2024 Campaign Director Didrik de Schaetzen took part in a Fireside Chat with fellow liberals opening up the discussions around the upcoming 2024 EU elections and the liberal strategies, with each speaker offering the perspectives from their respective political parties or groups.