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pampango

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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
Number of posts: 24,686

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Pro-EU liberals must create 'next vision' for Europe

Citizens will go the polls next May to elect a new European parliament and, for the first time, all of Europe's main political parties will put forward a lead candidate as the face of their campaign to further vitalise the elections. ALDE (the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) party nominations will be opened at this congress and the formal election of a candidate will take place at a special electoral congress in Brussels on 1 February 2014.

As pro-European liberals, our goal is to keep the EU on the right track. The value of the EU, not least in the terms of jobs and economic growth, is enormous for all member countries. However, this does not mean that all is perfect within the EU and we need to acknowledge this. ... The EU has been a huge success, starting from the European visions of peace and trade, through the value of creating a single market on as many areas as possible, to removing barriers for trade and free movement of goods and people and then on to today's project. But we have now reached the point where pro-European forces must get together and work out what the next project and vision is for the EU.

Latest research suggests around 60 per cent of Europeans do not trust the EU, a figure that has doubled since 2007. For the first time, more Europeans think negatively of the EU than positively. This feeling has resulted in a surge of Eurosceptic political parties which could be reflected at the ballot box next May. Voices must never be ignored, but should be heard and responded to in a sincere and credible way. It is entirely understandable that many feel wary about the European Union as a result of the economic crisis that has been a harsh and grinding reality for so many for several years now. But retreating behind the fortress walls of nationalism and Euroscepticism can no longer be the answer in our connected and interdependent world.

For ALDE, it is vital that we remain true to our fundamental beliefs and communicate them in an engaging, meaningful way to voters. There are those who ask how powerful a force liberals can really be these days. My response to this never wavers. In an ideological sense, our core values of individual freedom and equality form natural synergies with their practical manifestations of democracy, responsible capitalism, freedom of religion and respect for human rights. All of these issues are under threat in our world today and it is our role as liberals to defend them. In a more practical sense, liberal parties have traditionally held the balance of power and the casting vote in negotiations to form governments. Our hosts for this congress, the Liberal Democrats, are an excellent example of this; they are the junior partner in the first coalition government in the UK for 70 years, working, as they say themselves, for a "stronger economy in a fairer society enabling every person to get on in life".

http://www.theparliament.com/latest-news/article/newsarticle/pro-eu-forces-must-create-next-vision-for-europe/#.UpYNNI2wO0Q

European liberals must be nervous about next year's election for the European parliament. Many countries have right wing, eurosceptic parties that are polling better than in the past.
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