On the occasion of the traditional new years wishes, Georges-Louis Bouchez, the leader of Mouvement Reformateur (MR), ALDE member party in Belgium, declared a year of renewed fight against populism and pledged even closer collaboration and a series of joint events with sister party OpenVLD to be organised as part of its 175th anniversary celebrations. MR is the oldest party in continental Europe.
Speaking at a virtual event on Sunday 10 January, he said: “It is time to proclaim freedom and liberal democracy when we see the rise of populism. There were the events in the USA this week but the problem is not Trump alone. When he leaves office, populism will remain. Trump is a very violent and visible symptom of what populism is. But it is not enough to look to the United States and believe that we are totally free from blame. In our country, populism is also present.”
Egbert Lachaert, the leader of OpenVld, also an ALDE member party in Belgium, delivered a video message in French in which he said the links between MR and his sister party "are stronger than ever" and echoed the call to "defend our values and our democracy against the populists of the left and the right".
Mr Bouchez said: “In 2021, we will have a large common bilingual congress, for which we will invite liberal representatives from other European countries because the liberal fight is not conceived in a closed way, enclosed in a region or a country. The liberal project has a transversal and universal vocation […] On a daily basis, the MR and the Open-VLD will hold joint offices, group meetings, field visits with Egbert Lachaert to discover Flanders while I will make him discover the beauty, the richness and the unknown places of Wallonia.”
He also announced that MR will launch a major national consultation to create and build the project for the bicentenary of Belgium in 2030, and that MR would become the first carbon-neutral party in the country “not for its electoral campaign, but for all of its activities throughout the year.”
Wishes were also given by elected representatives of the party at the federal, regional and local levels.
At its origins and formed in 1846 as the Parti Réformateur Libéral, the MR will celebrate its 175 year anniversary in 2021 with a series of events to be organised to mark the occasion.
VoeuxMR 2021 https://t.co/XRPhyeDrgn— Georges-L BOUCHEZ (@GLBouchez) January 10, 2021