04 Oct, 2021

Second Hans van Baalen town hall meeting held in Madrid

ALDE Party co-hosted the second Hans van Baalen town hall meeting on the Future of Europe together with member party Ciudadanos on 3 October in Madrid, Spain.

ALDE Party acting co-President Timmy Dooley and ALDE Party Vice-President Dita Charanzová MEP joined ALDE Party Vice-President Luis Garicano MEP and Inés Arrimadas, leader of Ciudadanos, to discuss the importance of citizen engagement in the Conference on the Future of Europe, the role of liberalism for Europe’s future as well as how to combat populism across Europe and what opportunities the European recovery funds can bring for future generations.

The town hall was moderated by Ciudadanos MEP Maite Pagazaurtundúa who is a member of the Conference on the Future of Europe plenary.

Around 150 citizens and representatives from across Europe joined the event both in-person and online and were able to share their ideas, thoughts and questions on the future of Europe with the speakers. The topics discussed included the green transition and education as well the European citizenship and the benefits of the European Union.

Dooley stressed that “the Conference on the Future of Europe is a tremendous opportunity for us to build the Europe that we want to see for our children and our grandchildren” as well as to discuss “which policies we think that Europe is getting right and what needs to change. Each country is at a different moment in its history, which means that every country has differing priorities and worries”.

“The Conference on the Future of Europe is not a debate on the Europe of now. It is a debate on the Europe of tomorrow”, he concluded.

Talking about the role of Europe’s liberals in the fight against populism, Arrimadas remarked that “liberals need to be the dam to populism and nationalism but at the same time the grounding pillar of the European Union. Both are interlinked. We need to all do it in our own countries”.

We have to use language in a closer way to reach the heart of the citizen”, she added when referring to the Conference.

Garicano flagged that the liberals in the European Parliament are working on the carbon adjustment mechanism as well as on green transition to all, when answering to a question from a young citizen in relation to sustainability.

Charanzová stressed that European values are liberal values therefore both citizens and politicians have to defend them.

We are in a key moment of this process, and we want to listen to citizens to be able to say that it is not Brussels who decide [the future of Europe] but the citizens”, she added referring to the Conference.

In case you missed the event, you can rewatch it here.

ALDE Party and Ciudadanos have been engaged in raising awareness of the Conference amongst European citizens from the outset. 

In the next months, the ALDE Party will host several town hall meetings on the future of Europe with the aim of bringing European citizens closer to the Conference and putting them in the spotlight by allowing them to share their worries and ideas to reform Europe. Find more here.

If you want to know more about ALDE Party’s action plan on the Future of Europe, click here.

One recent initiative from Ciudadanos, coinciding with the European Parliament's constituency week, saw their Members of European Parliament take a road trip across Spain with the aim of collecting citizens' initiatives and ideas. These will be brought to the plenary sessions of the participation-focused Conference, which aims to update and improve the treaties of the EU.

Ahead of the event, Arrimadas and Pagazaurtundúa wrote an op-ed “Let's win the future of Europe” stressing the need for more Europe in view of the future. You can read the op-ed here (in Spanish).

Photo credit: Ines Arrimadas

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