From 12-14 May, ALDE Party member Open Vld hosted their party Congress in Ghent, Belgium to discuss key issues on the liberal agenda. The Congress concluded a series of ‘Liberal Fire’ events, with the goal of an ideological reboot for the party ahead of elections in 2024.
Participants discussed a range of proposals to enhance democracy in the country, including reducing the number of Members of Parliament, various electoral reforms, opening discussions on politicians’ remuneration and more transparent political party financing, among others.
“People don't trust politics. We need to make their voices stronger. That is why today we are discussing a number of innovative interventions in our democracy, which should once again bring politics closer to citizens," said Congress Chair Stephanie D'Hose.
On the second day of the Congress, delegates debated ideas for sustainable economic growth with a focus on collaboration and entrepreneurship. The party supports a 100% carbon neutral European energy system and is pushing for the North Sea to become Belgium’s main source of energy by quadrupling wind power production by 2030.
During the event, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo gave an inspiring keynote speech on the party’s vision for reform after the COVID-19 crisis: "We have just started putting our country in order after the crisis. With more wages for those who work, investments in security, tax reform and better pensions. At such a moment you don't step on the brakes, but you switch up a gear.”
LIVE. Toespraak vanuit ‘t Kuipke in Gent. Voor een vrijer, groener en veiliger land. https://t.co/FU5kw2lBCo— Alexander De Croo 🇧🇪🇪🇺 (@alexanderdecroo) May 14, 2023
Open Vld leader Egbert Lachaert outlined his liberal vision for the economy of the future: "The free market must put people back at the centre. Let us as liberals put SMEs and the self-employed, those who want to grow, back at the centre. That is the market that liberals stand for!"
Aftrap van ons driedaags groot liberaal congres. Vanavond over de uitdagingen in Europa en met leden in gesprek over mijn essay “Vrije Mensen Groeien”.— Egbert Lachaert (@egbertlachaert) May 12, 2023
Een zaal vol #liberaalvuur. Helemaal klaar voor. 💙🔥 pic.twitter.com/KIC6EBbLEg
ALDE Party Vice-President Kira Rudik, leader of Golos Party in Ukraine, shared remarks at the Congress, stating: "We are fighting for democratic and liberal values. For us, it is a matter of life and death. But we are not going to bend, we are going to fight for our future."
Even despite the war, Ukraine remains a country where human life is the highest value. It is the one that separates democracy from tyranny. It is what we are fighting for. Thank you all for standing with us to ensure victory of democracy 🇺🇦#GrootLiberaalCongres @openvld pic.twitter.com/78TAVzYfVY— Kira Rudik (@kiraincongress) May 14, 2023
You can watch the livestreamed sessions from Sunday 14 May below or on YouTube.