22 Mar, 2023

Liberals discuss a stronger EU in the world

With the next EU elections only one year away, ALDE Party and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom hosted an event on 21 March to take stock of the current situation for liberals and how they plan to address key challenges for Europe in the upcoming months.   

The event was moderated by ALDE Party Vice-President Svenja Hahn MEP, and included Karin Karlsbro MEP and Member of the German Parliament & Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation at the German Federal Foreign Office Michael Link as speakers. The discussion focused on the EU’s role in the world, trade relations, enlargement, security and rule of law.  

In her remarks, Hahn said: 

The EU is struggling to position itself in the fast-changing world. The autocrats of the world are supporting each other. The EU should ask itself, ‘what are we doing?’’ 

Speaking on the importance of trade, Karlsbro added: 

It’s more important than ever that democracies stand together. If we really wanted, we could cooperate and exchange in a way that benefits the climate, the economy and people. If we compete in state subsidies and try to follow the road that Biden has now started, I don’t know how we will end up. Liberals have to address this in the next election. 

When it comes to European security, Link addressed the efficiency of sanctions imposed on Russia since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine: 

My biggest concern is that we can do 11, 12, 14 sanction packages, that would not be enough. Too many important countries are sitting on their heads. We need to find ways to convince other countries to participate in these sanctions. It’s not enough to go and lecture others on sanctions. We need to find ways for these states to understand what’s in it for them. We need them to understand that it is in the interest of India and Brazil and to win them over by getting them more share in cooperating with the EU. Russia has a capacity to circumvent the sanctions and unless we get more countries to join us, they will continue to do so. 

Hahn concluded the discussion by reflecting on the upcoming European Elections in 2024: 

We have a very important election next year and we clearly have a lot of challenges ahead of us, but we are liberals and we are working to find the solutions by getting close to the people. 

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