Over the next few weeks, Europa United will be presenting an information article on each of the main groups and parties that make up the European Parliament. This is designed to help you find out as much information on who is seeking your vote in May 2019. We start off with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe or simply ALDE.
“Only if we choose to address Europe’s flaws and reform it, will the EU again be a driving force for new jobs, security and prosperity.”
Alde is the fourth largest and one of the oldest groups in the current European Parliament and is the main Party of the political Centre.
Its President, Guy Verhofstadt, of the Belgian Open Flemish Liberals, is supported by a First Vice President and six Vice Presidents. Its 68 MEPs are drawn from 43 Parties in 21 of the EU’s 28 member states.
ALDE is politically cohesive, with Centre-left to Centre-right member Parties that share strong politically Central ideologies.
• Conservative liberalism
• Social liberalism
Guy Verhofstadt – Belgium
First Vice President
Sophia in ‘t Veld – Netherlands
Dominique Riquet – France
Nils Torvalds – Finland
Javier Nart – Spain
Filiz Hyusmenova – Bulgaria
Norica Nicolai – Romania
Izaskun Bilbao Barandica – Spain
Views and Priorities
The ALDE is socially and economically liberal and envisages a reformed EU that goes well beyond a single market to apply its global heft actively to promote liberal democratic principles.
To achieve these objectives, it promotes further integration of EU member-states, coordinated foreign policies, including resistance to foreign interference in democratic processes, a pragmatic, humanitarian response to immigration, action against climate change and pollution, enforcement of fundamental rights and the rule of law by member states, as well as a regional policy to finance structural reforms and better budgetary discipline.
In foreign affairs, Europe should assert itself with one voice to project globally its commitment to human rights and, if necessary, punish regimes that violate the rights of their citizens.
Migration is a reality and must be dealt with correctly. Reform of European Asylum and Migration Policy is essential to ensure that traffickers are brought to account and the rights of migrants, especially children, are respected and the vulnerable protected. Reforming Schengen is helpful, but not enough.
Europe should step up its climate action, raise its 2030 climate goals and aim for a zero emissions economy. More carbon cuts will boost green investments and reduce the economic burden of fuel costs. The EU should promote stronger action by national governments, both within Europe and elsewhere, to tackle climate change.
The ALDE supports the transition to a modern low-carbon economy as a means of strengthening Europe’s energy security and independence vis-à-vis imported energy and fossil fuels. The Group believes that an important step is Europe-wide decarbonisation of transport, through the use of alternative fuels, as well as charging and refuelling infrastructure.
It supports Horizon Europe, a €100 billion research and innovation framework programme with €10 billion toward food and natural resources innovations.
The Group champions Employee Financial Participation as a means of creating jobs and reactivating the unemployed. It points to its initiative to improve and better regulate the role of the Employee Financial Participation (EFP) schemes that offer employee profit sharing, individual employee share ownership and employee stock ownership plans. This will encourage access to capital for SMEs, more sustainable governance, better business continuity, more motivation, efficiency, better skills development and less absenteeism, which in turn could lead to better social dialogue and quality of work and less unemployment and redundancies.
It pushes for more transparent and predictable working conditions, especially minimum rights and improving living and working conditions, especially for the four to six million workers on on-demand and intermittent contracts, and labour market adaptability for nearly one million people who are subject to exclusivity clauses, preventing them from working for another employer.
ALDE advocates creation of a fifth freedom of movement within the EU, the free flow of non-personal data, which can unlock the growth potential of EU data economy and enable innovation in sectors such as Artificial Intelligence, e-health, bid data and cloud computing.
The ALDE is the only Group in the current Parliament that labels itself as Centre. It champions liberalism, conservative liberalism and social liberalism, and is pro-Europe. Its Party political labels and their ideologies nevertheless show a right-ward tilt.
This is shown in the graph, which compares the political positions of the Group’s member parties and the ideologies of each. The left-hand bar shows Party-level political positions, while the right-hand bar looks deeper, to the sets of ideologies championed by Parties within the Group. Both are weighted by the number of MEPs representing them.
From the left-hand bar, we see that the dominant Party-level positions are Centre-left, Centre, and Centre-right with a large Centre-right – right contingent, as well as some Right-wing Parties. The main Centre Parties are the Bulgarian Movement for Rights and Freedoms and the Finnish Centre Party, with four and three MEPs respectively. The French Mouvement Radical Social-Libéral and four other parties contribute ten MEPs between them. Centre – centre-right parties include Germany’s Free Democratic Party and the Belgian Reform Movement, each with three MEPs, with representation also from the French Union of Democrats and Independents and Democratic Movement, with two MEPs each. The Centre – centre-left is made up of six Parties with seven MEPs between them, while the Centre-right is mainly due to the three MEPs each from the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats and the Dutch People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, with representation from seven other Parties with nine MEPs between them.
Now look at the right-hand bar. Centre ideologies dominate, as 23 Parties with 42 of the Group’s 68 adhere to liberalism and MEPs from 13 Parties with 23 MEPs are pro-Europe. The main Centre-right ideology is conservative liberalism, adhered to by 11 Parties with 21 MEPs. Perhaps the most surprising in a Group of the Centre is representation of Right – far-right ideologies, such as populism, agrarianism and various brands of nationalism and regionalism, which seem at odds with the strong pro-Europe positions and priorities of the Group itself.
The ALDE head office address is:
Rue d’Idalie 11 – box 2
T: +32 2 237 01 40
F: +32 2 231 19 07
This information article was compiled by Europa United contributor Frances Cowell and published with the support of the European Parliament in Ireland and in conjunction with the #thistimeimvoting campaign.
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