Over 1,200 people joined D66 Congress last Saturday 18 November in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.
In their first Congress after joining the Dutch government, D66 took the opportunity to inspire their members with speeches by the new D66 Ministers as well as by D66 leader Alexander Pechtold.
The party leader welcomed the new Ministers on stage and said: "I am very proud of this team. Our four women and two men are going to make D66 shine in the Dutch cabinet. I remain full of conviction in the people in this room. Our attitude remains the same: constructive and critical!"
The new Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Kajsa Ollongren celebrated that D66 membership has increased this year with 2,500 new members: "51 years ago D66 had more seats, but never ever before we have had so many members and there is where our strength lies."
Ollongren concluded her speech calling for the need of more European cooperation: "Merkel has been defending European cooperation for twelve years, while Cameron gambled with a referendum, Berlusconi took Italy down and Hollande did not get anything done. She led Europe through difficult times and now again she has progressive plans for Europe. Defence cooperation has come closer this week and in the coming years there were a more robust Eurozone. I hope that we can lead Brexit in the right direction with her and continue bringing stability in the centre of Europe. I hope Merkel and Macron can show that the political centre can deliver and that the rupturing far-rights brings nothing. Cooperation brings this continent forward and there are contradictions to be bridged."
Following Ollongren's speech, D66 leader Alexander Pechtold addressed the crowd in an inspirational speech reflecting about the party's values: "D66 is a party of living ideals, not of entrenched ideology. We are thinkers and doers without dogmas. That is why we want equal opportunities, for education, for Europe. We answer the questions of today with the insights of today. That is not always comfortable, but that what we are and that is what we want to be."
"We can all change something in our own environment. Get up for an ideal, take care of another person, fight injustice and non-sense. That is the perspective from which we have worked to form this cabinet and that is also our inspiration for the next four years," he concluded.
"We steken onze nek uit en tonen politieke moed. Zonder samenwerking, kom je niet ver. Verandering wordt altijd veroorzaakt door wat mensen dóen." @APechtold bij #D66congres pic.twitter.com/bgNUkNt6k3— D66 (@D66) November 18, 2017
ALDE Group MEP Sophie in 't Veld also addressed the participants on behalf of the D66 delegation in the European Parliament: "Certainly, the debate about Europe is still a bumpy road. However, the majority of people do not want to abolish the EU but to make it better. This certainly applies to young people. The increase of nationalism is not a sign of crisis in the European Union, but rather a question to the role of the nation state in the 21st century. The European Union's foundations are shaking, but right now we have great opportunities to reshape Europe. Institutional reforms are not a toy for Europhiles and academics, they are necessary to regulate more democracy and more influence of citizens."
"A new wind is blwoing in Europe. Right now it is up to the progressive, liberal, pro-European forces to roll up our sleeves and shape the Europe of the 21st century according to our visition of society. The construction of a social Europe is too important to leave it to the socialists. World peace is too important to leave it to Trump. European identity is too important to leave it to the populists. That is why a lot of D66 is needed in Europe. With my colleagues in the European Parliament, with the D66s in The Hague, and together with you, I remain committed to a powerful, progressive Europe," she concluded.
@SophieintVeld: "Vooruitgang is nooit vanzelfsprekend. Hoog tijd dat we ons luid en duidelijk uitspreken voor de progressieve liberale Europese waarden!" Lees hier de hele speech terug: https://t.co/N8iiFr4ZOc #D66congres pic.twitter.com/nnPzqltaSO— D66 Europa (@D66_Europa) November 18, 2017
You can watch her speech below or read it here:
ALDE Party was present at the D66 Congress with country coordinator Pascal Jacobs and ALDE Party staff member Daniel Tanahatoe to present ALDE Party’s individual membership. During a workshop, they discussed the involvement of individuals in the activities of the ALDE Party, the upcoming ALDE Party Congress, the developments around transnational lists for the European elections and topical questions such as a social Europe.
D66 members, including running candidate for ALDE Party Vice President Annelou van Egmond or IFLRY President Pauline Kastermans, also visited the ALDE Party stand and used the opportunity to sign up for individual membership and participate in our Who is who quiz. Welcome to the 10 new individual members who joined us at our stand!
You can read more about D66's Congress on their website.