The European Union has been under attack from populists inside and outside the EU trying to undermine its achievements and values. Pro-European citizens, civil society, media and politicians are calling for revitalisation of the European dream and renewed impulse to the EU integration as the best form of protection for Europeans in the 21st century. The time has come for a counter-offensive by all pro-European political forces to regain the hearts and minds of citizens. We call on liberals to join us in mobilising local politicians and civil society for a large pro-European movement on 9 May 2018.
Responding to a growing demand to hear the voice of liberal mayors on matters of European relevance, the President of the ALDE Group, Bas Verkerk, Mayor of Delft, convened a meeting of mayors during the 2015 ALDE Party Congress in Budapest to discuss migration, refugees and integration. The positive response from many liberal mayors to this initiative revealed a clear demand amongst the mayors themselves for this kind of initiative. The meeting therefore also marked the launch of a new Liberal Mayors Network, which will be meeting annually during the ALDE Party Congress.
Following on from the success of its Liberal Mayors Summits, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Committee of the Regions (ALDE-CoR) launched the Summit of Young Elected Local and Regional Leaders. The aim of the platform is to provide an opportunity for young liberal democrat local and regional politicians to meet and share ideas and best practice amongst themselves, and afterwards to meet with experienced local and regional politicians in a joint meeting with ALDE-CoR. In September 2018 twenty young elected local liberal leaders from twelve different countries debated in Brussels how to urgently and effectively address the issue of climate change at a local and regional level, embracing their leadership role.
Since 2010 the ALDE group in the CoR has held annual competitions to recognise the work of outstanding local and regional liberal democrat politicians and by doing so strengthening the ties between communities of Europe. There is a huge amount of excellent work that is being carried out in communities around Europe to involve citizens in the decisions that affect them, to make their lives better, to build bridges and new partnerships. We believe that this work needs to be identified and highlighted. We also know that by sharing knowledge about that work, and by giving each other new ideas, all the citizens of Europe can benefit. Local and regional politicians from ALDE and EDP member parties are eligible candidates for the awards, provided that they don’t currently hold a Committee of the Regions or European Parliament mandate. The nomination procedure starts in the autumn. The awards ceremony is held annually in spring.
Meetings with liberal councillors of Brussels Communes
In 2012 the ALDE group held a pioneering meeting inviting local liberal councillors of Brussels communes to meet ALDE-CoR members. The meeting served as a chance to discuss the current challenges faced by councillors in all districts of Brussels as well as to provide an opportunity for the Brussels communes to benefit directly from the presence of EU institutions in their city.