It was a very busy ALDE Party Congress in Stockholm for Renew Europe CoR; local and regional authorities had a strong presence at the Congress with three events organised: a Liberal Mayors summit, a Local Councillors event and a third session on bridging the Union’s East-West divide. It also saw a successful resolution passed: “Towards a positive narrative on migration and integration”.
Liberal Mayors Summit
Opened by François Decoster, Renew Europe CoR President, the 10th Liberal Mayors Summit focused on how the European Union functions on the ground and the European Year of Skills, specifically the labour force at the local level. For this Summit, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager joined about 20 Mayors from 12 different EU Member States.
Resolution on Migration
It will be impossible to sustain economic growth in Europe in the future with a declining and ageing population. There is also no successful migration policy without an effective integration policy. And that successful integration needs local leaders that apply zero-tolerance against discrimination, enforce the rule of law, promote mixed neighbourhoods, promote inter-cultural dialogue and language learning, as well as buddy schemes to facilitate integration at a micro level (the ‘Mechelen’-model). The Renew Europe CoR resolution, which was successfully passed at the Congress, therefore calls on liberal Heads of State and Government to place integration high on the European agenda; on National liberal leaders and parliamentarians to promote a positive approach to immigration, and challenge anti-migration parties to explain how they propose to avoid the decline without immigration.
Local Councillors connecting the Union
Following the first successful event last year, Renew Europe CoR held their second Local Councillors event bringing together local politicians from the Swedish ALDE Party members Centerpartiet and Liberalerna, and the rest of Europe to discuss how to connect citizens with Europe and bring the EU to local communities via the European Committee of the Regions Local Councillors scheme.
President Decoster is one of the driving forces behind this EU Local Councillors project. The EU has more than 1.1 million local and regional elected representatives, who are the essential link between Europe and its citizens. Each municipality is therefore invited to designate a member of its council as the EU Councillor responsible for maintaining citizens informed about EU affairs and providing to the EU level the evidence from the ground that contributes to better policymaking. François Decoster introduced this scheme in France and he shared his personal experiences at the EU local councillors event, joined by Kate Feeney, Dovydas Kaminskas, Jasna Gabric and Michiel Rijsberman.
Bridging the Union’s East-West divide
President Decoster, Katalin Cseh MEP, Matus Vallo, Mayor of Bratislava and Clotilde Armand, Mayor of Bucharest Sector 1, offered their outlook on the economic and social perspectives of how cities can bridge the gap between Eastern and Western Europe, in cooperation with FNF Europe.
The Liberal Mayors Summit took place during the ALDE Party Congress in Stockholm on 26 May, and saw the participation of, among others, Christoph Wiederkehr (Deputy Mayor of Vienna, Austria), Bart Somers (Mayor of Mechelen, Belgium), Daria Hrebak and Ivica Puljak (Mayor of Bjelova, Mayor of Split, Croatia), ALDE Party Vice-President Daniel Berg (Mayor of Budapest Sector 2, Hungary), Fintan Phelan (Mayor of Carlow, Ireland), Dovydas Kaminskas (Mayor of Taurage, Lithuania), Karolina Zdrodowska (Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, Poland), Clotilde Armand (Mayor of Bucharest Sector 1, Romania), Matus Vallo (Mayor of Bratislava, Slovakia) and Jan Jonsson (Vice Mayor Stockholm City Council).