Young local and regional elected politicians of the ALDE family gathered in Brussels to exchange experiences, learn about new economic models and their opportunities for jobs and to learn how the Belgian liberal parties prepare for the 2018 local elections. The Summit was organised by the ALDE Group in the European Committee of the Regions and chaired by ALDE-CoR President Bart Somers.

Nearly twenty young politicians from across Europe gathered in Brussels for the first Young Elected Leaders Summit, interacting with each other and ALDE members of the European Committee of the Regions during several workshops to address common challenges and solutions.

This summit is another grassroots movement we are developing, besides our Liberal Mayors Summit; with this initiative we’re creating a platform for the young liberal talents of the future where they can work and discuss about Europe, bringing their fresh and ambitious ideas from the local level to re-energise Europe.ALDE President Bart Somers

Being a politician is not only about speaking and telling what you think; it’s really about listening so I’m glad I can listen to all the other participants’ great ideas and I hope to take some of these back home to the Netherlands. Queeny-Aimée Rajkowski, Councillor in Utrecht (NL)

Most of our members are elected at the local level; the issues that they face are not very different across Europe so it is important to bring them together, to discuss challenges and successes while also learning from other local councilors who are member of the ALDE group in the European Committee of the Regions.Danica Vihinen, LYMEC Secretary-General

Workshops focused on opportunities and jobs that new economic models can bring, with one session focused on unlocking the potential of the decarbonized economy and one on unlocking the potential of the sharing economy.

Belgian liberal parties and local elections

Bart Somers also enabled a visit for the young representatives to the headquarters of his party the Open VLD, the Flemish liberals, where party spokesperson Laure Stuyck with Philippe Heyvaert, coordinator for local parties and Latifa Ait-Baala, the Vice-President of MR International from MR, the francophone liberal party, explained how they prepare the upcoming Belgian local elections of October 2018. Several young leaders were interested in the platforms and techniques these parties use and are keen to apply these findings in their own countries and constituencies.

The Young Elected Leaders Summit was organized by ALDE in the European Committee of the Regions in collaboration with LYMEC and Young Democrats for Europe. The two-day summit kicked off on Sunday 27 August with a visit to Mechelen to the Kazerne Dossin – the memorial, Museum and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights. The Young Leaders were Anna Abrahamsson, Thomas Karv and Danica Vihinen (Finland), Ludovic Benmokhtar (France), Svenja Hahn (Germany), Kilian Karger, Felix Maximilian Recke and Sebastian Leiss (Germany), Christian Martins Kromann (Denmark), Gearóid Murphy (Ireland), Goran Neralic (Croatia), Queeny-Aimée Rajkowski, Mike van der Geld (Netherlands), Mastan Osmanov Mastano (Bulgaria), Kristian Chapman (UK), Apostolos Siokas (Greece), Rubén Vinuales Elias (Spain) and Christoph Wiederkehr (Austria).