On Monday, ALDE Party member Open VLD in Belgium selected Hilde Vautmans MEP as the party’s lead candidate for the European elections due to be held next year.
Vautmans, a member of the ALDE Party Bureau as President of the European Liberal Forum, replaces former Belgian Prime Minister and ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt MEP after three consecutive European elections as Open VLD lead candidate.
"I am honoured that the party board has elected me as lead candidate for the European list. The challenges facing Europe are enormous and our liberal values are under increasing pressure. That is why we are fully committed to a Europe that works together to protect our purchasing power, borders and values. To achieve that stronger and united Europe, we need to reform the Union, starting with abolishing crippling unanimity,” Vautmans said.
“We need a strong liberal family in Europe, and a strong pro-European list. I will lead this with full conviction, in the tradition of our liberal predecessors. As Open VLD, we will fight together over the next five years for a stronger, renewed, and liberal Europe.”
After working as an assistant to Verhofstadt, Vautmans was elected as Member of the Belgian Parliament in 2003, where she chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee and later became the parliamentary party secretary of Open VLD.
In 2014, she became a Member of the European Parliament replacing former ALDE Party President Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, and she was re-elected in 2019.
“We have always been the most pro-European party, unlike other parties that loudly cry for European action but when it comes down to it are against more European cooperation. Only with a strong and united European Union can we tackle the big challenges of the 21st century. Hilde is the right person to bring that liberal vision of Europe to the voters,” added Open VLD chair Tom Ongena.
The final list of candidates for the European elections will be submitted to Open VLD members for final approval.
🇪🇺 Vereerd om verkozen te zijn als lijsttrekker voor de Europese lijst @Openvld. Nu Europa en de liberale waarden onder druk staan, zullen we strijden voor een sterker, vernieuwd & liberaal Europa. Voor dit Europa vragen we het vertrouwen van de kiezer. pic.twitter.com/opkmv0apNy— Hilde Vautmans (@hildevautmans) October 9, 2023