Nearly 30 individual members met in Visegrád, Hungary on 1 and 2 December.
“Victor Orban is not going to outlive us all,” said professor Pohoryles (NEOS, Austria), when looking at the audience with next generation Hungarian politicians like Anett Bösz (MLP) and Daniel Berg (Momentum) and so underlining the promise of a bright future of Liberalism, this weekend in Visegrád Hungary.
The town of Visegrád is known for the conference of the kings of Bohemia, Poland and Hungary in 1335, where they discussed a way to stop the Austrian Habsburgers in obtaining power over the whole of Europe. Visegrád is also famous for the 1991 meeting of Havel, Anatall and Walesa to find the best way to join the European Union as quickly as possible. Therefore, it was a symbolic place to gather for ALDE Party’s individual members in trying to find the path to a bright liberal future in central Europe.
Katja Damij delivered a welcome speech on behalf of the Prime Minister of Slovenia and his party Stranka LMS which joined ALDE in Madrid and she supported the aim of the meeting. Apart from professor Pohoryles’ lecture on the basic values of liberalism, István Hegedüs of the Hungarian Society (NGO) looked back on the developments that lead to the decrease of the liberal course in Hungary since 1991. He called the closure of the Central University in Budapest as a landmark event that cannot be without consequences. Hungarian Member of Parliament Anett Bösz (MLP), plead for liberals to have a response in answer to the social needs of citizens and show how important liberal values are not only for individual freedom but also to help social and economic development. Lyudmyla Kozlovska, who was not allowed in the country because Poland put her on a black list, stressed via video-link the importance of speaking up for individuals in countries that are being prosecuted for their critique on the diminishment of liberal values.
The participants played games with voting balls to figure out who belongs to who, independent of parties and countries (and somehow a proposal for world peace was killed before we knew it...). Furthermore, working groups made plans for the future and discussed political differences between Poland and Hungary. We had self-defence Krav Maga lessons of Atilla Jonas and Mihai Cosma and used its way of thinking as a metaphor for political battles.
The conference concluded that this event in Visegrád is just the beginning and that from now on we would support each other as ALDE individual members. A Slack group is launched to stay in contact and next year’s meeting will be in Vienna.