Freedom and social progress inspire Open Vld | ALDE Party

Freedom and social progress inspire Open Vld

Gwendolyn Rutten

From 17 to 19 November Belgian member party Open Vld hosted their annual Congress in the Flemish city of Antwerp.

The Congress started on Friday 17 November with the words of progress and optimism of invited author Johan Norberg. His latest book Progress was presented by ALDE Group MEPs Hilde Vautmans and Lieve Wierinck, followed by a debate.

They both defended that the EU is a fantastic projects that we must fight for every day.

Saturday 18 November was dedicated to the discussion of resolutions on a wide range of topics, moderated by Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander de Croo and Flemish Minister Bart Tommelein.

The Congress closed on Sunday with inspirational speeches by Open Vld leader Gwendolyn Rutten and ALDE Group leader in the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt.

In her address, Gwendolyn Rutten reflected on the 25 years of existence of Open Vld: "Our drive for economic progress is well known, but what gets much less attention, what some would rather not see as a liberal merit, is that we liberals always strive for social progress. For everyone. It is no coincidence that a liberal laid the foundation for social security. It is no coincidence that a liberal introduced general and free education. For all children, poor and rich. It is a message that we ourselves must spread more: liberals and social progress go hand in hand. That is obvious, that makes us unique."

"Those who stand for freedom and social progress also defend human rights and liberal democracy and go against the extremes," she continued.

"Islamic State, Trump, Putin, Erdogan, Wilders, Le Pen, Even the communists are back! They all scare people. They all give false hope. They are all enemies of the open society. It is up to us, liberals, to counter this again. We must take the fear and the worries of the people seriously. But also offer them perspective, real solutions. We need to shape our own future and that is why we are here together. That is why we are here together 25 years after the founding of Open Vld. It is again up to us liberals to change the direction and lead the way for the society of tomorrow."

You can watch her speech below or read it here.

You can also watch Guy Verhofstadt's speech below.

The ALDE Party was also present during Open Vld's Congress with a stand explaining the work of European Liberals and Democrats and encouraging participants to become ALDE Party Individual Members. Throughout the weekend, 55 participants filled our competition quiz and we welcomed 20 new individual members, including ALDE Group MEP Hilde Vautmans. Welcome!

Remember, if you are not yet an individual member click here.

Check out Open Vld's Facebook page for more details and pictures from their Congress.