21 Sep, 2022

Open VLD hosts third ‘Liberal Fire’ congress

Open VLD adopts 15 statements to improve protection of fundamental rights, a freer Europe, less government patronage, and more freedom to make own life choices at their third ‘Liberal Fire’ ideological congress.

Flemish liberals gathered in Antwerp for the third of four ‘Liberal Fire’ ideological congresses to carry out an ideological reboot and a new name for the party by early 2023. This congress was themed “Freedom today and tomorrow” with discussions to improve protection of fundamental rights, a freer Europe, less government patronage, and more freedom to make own life choices.

This congress was also open to non-members to debate the 17 prepared statements, which were initiated by member of Flemish Parliament Tom Ongena, member of the Chamber of representatives Marianne Verhaert and policy officer and speechwriter Vincent Stuer. In the end, 15 statements were adopted, which will form the basis for the party’s big congress in 2023.

The agreed policy statements are:

  • Stronger role for parliament during acute situations
  • No more ex-parliamentarians in Constitutional Court
  • No more curfews or collective place bans
  • A strengthened right to be forgotten
  • Independent factchecking and transparent algorithms against disinformation
  • Transparent political advertising
  • More power for EU to enforce citizens' rights
  • Financial and political punishment for violation of the rule of law
  • An expiry date for laws and subsidies
  • Citizen gets 'right to err'
  • Get rid of unnecessary government initiative
  • Right to work as important as right to strike
  • Cannabis out of the criminal law
  • Euthanasia for completed life
  • Lifestyle-neutral policy

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo opened the congress with a speech underlining why liberalism matters:

“It is my political motivation that freedom is about creating opportunities for all. We shouldn’t waste the talent in our country. Creating wealth is the best guarantee of giving people more freedom.”

Party Leader Egbert Lachaert concluded the congress by stressing the importance of liberal freedoms:

We sometimes think that freedom is acquired, that it is self-evident. Freedom is a struggle every day! It is up to us liberals to protect that, to grow our liberal movement and build a dam against the extremes."

The next and last Liberal Fire congress ’Everyone at home in our society’ will be organised in Brussels on 22 October.

Photo credit: Open VLD

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