At the recent European Liberal Democrats Congress in Dublin, the delegates voted to change the name to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe Party (ALDE) to match its grouping in the European Parliament.
Sir Graham Watson MEP, President of the ALDE Party, said: “In 2004, other centrist forces joined with ELDR MEPs to form the ALDE Group in the European Parliament. Today, we create one Party to provide a home at EU level for all these forces and more.”
Guy Verhofstadt MEP, leader of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament, said: “It makes sense for the ALDE Group in the European Parliament to be reflected in an ALDE Party, uniting the EU’s centrist forces under one umbrella.”
Fianna Fail is the Irish member of the ALDE Party (its going to take a while to get used to calling it that). The ALDE Party have 75 members in the European Parilment who join 10 other MEP’s (including Marian Harkin of Ireland-North West) to form the ALDE Group in the Parliament.
The European Liberal, Democratic and Reform Party have today launched an individual membership system for the European party. Now you no longer need to be a member of a National Party to be a member of the ELDR.
for €25 a year you can become an associate member and you will get the following benefits:
An Associate membership card,
Home delivery of the quarterly ELDR newspaper,
The ELDR electronic newsletter.
Personalised invitations for selected events.
Furthermore, associate members will be able to participate and be a candidate in online elections that will select the delegate(s) representing associate members at the yearly ELDR Congress.
“Direct participation is all about nourishing the quality of future democracy. And with this initiative ELDR would like to add flesh to the bones to what was introduced in 1992 by the Maastricht Treaty: the European citizenship” commented Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, President of the ELDR Party.
“Associate Membership for individuals – Neyts-Uyttebroeck added – is a sign of support to the European liberal values of freedom and individual responsibility, democracy and the rule of law, respect for human rights and tolerance”.
Of course to be a member you cannot be a member of any national political party that itself belongs to any other European political party other than the ELDR Party.
This is an interesting idea from the ELDR. It will do two things for them. One create a possible cash flow and secondly create a a grouping that will work for them outside of the framework of the national parties. I wonder will other European parties follow their lead.
Irish Minister for Europe, Dick Roche, has been re-elected as one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Liberal Democratic and Reform Party at its recent congress in Helsinki. He was originally elected last November at the ELDR’s congress in Barcelona.
He was elected with 67% of the vote. The other Vice Presidents Elected were Graham Watson, of the UK Liberal Democrats, former leader of the ALDE grouping of the European Parliament and Vesna Pusic of the Croatian People’s Party – Liberal Democrats (HNS-LD). Vesna is the Parliamentry Floor leader of the HNS-LD.
As well as the appointments made by the European Council last night (more on that later), another recent appointment has come to my knowledge. Dick Roche, the current Minister for Europe, has been made a Vice-President of the European Liberal Democratic and Reform Party (ELDR) . From what I am hearing, a lot of people are not happy about this.
Pat Cox, the former President of the ELDR is not a happy man from what I hear, and the youth wing LYMEC (who I have blogged previously about here) are also not a happy bunch. LYMEC are actually threatening to vote en masse against anything Fianna Fail put forward at ELDR Congress (which is currently ongoing in Barcelona) meaning that nothing Fianna Fail want will happen.The Dutch Liberals, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) I think (It could be D66) are not happy with the appointment either.
Fianna Fail don’t seem to making many friends in the ELDR or ALDE. This is the second time this month they have annoyed other members. I wonder how long they will last as Liberals?
Reports are also surfacing that the Fianna Fail MEP’s tried to scupper a resolution on Gay Rights emerging from the Liberal Grouping. This just goes to show how “liberal” Fianna Fail really are.
Brian Cowen too is facing pressure from within the Liberal Grouping of the ELDR. The ELDR currently only have 4 heads of Government on the European Council, and Cowen’s support for Tony Blair and possible support for John Bruton, is not sitting well with the ELDR leadership.
Fianna Fail have found themselves between a rock and a hard place on this occasion. Will they toe the Liberal line, or will they continue to annoy their “allies” and do their own thing. I can’t see Guy Verhostadt keeping his cool with them for too long.
Ógra Fianna Fail have again failed in its bid to join LYMEC (The European Liberal Youth) which acts as the youth wing of the European Liberal and Democratic Reform Party which Fianna Fail joined last month.
Ógra when it previously applied were blocked by the Young Progressive Democrats. A few of those involved are still around and are behind Liberals.ie. Im not sure if they have membership of LYMEC but the YPDs are still listed as full members on the LYMEC website
This time round I am not sure who blocked them, but I am told it was concerns about how ‘Liberal’ Fianna Fail really are that brought their membership into question. Their stance on divorce, abortion, and blasphemous libel are said to have worked against them and led to their application being rejected.
The strategy before was to have Ógra join LYMEC and then for senior party to follow into ELDR. With the YPD’s consistently blocking that they switched tactics, sending senior party in first but LYMEC is sticking to its guns and not letting Ógra in.
Interesting times ahead for Fianna Fail, as its youth wing is excluded from its European Party!
So yea, I was hoping that a certain Think post of mine would get activists of the PES (Socialists) riled up and start arguing, but it didn’t. So my plan did not work. In fact I had a PES blogger agreeing with me!
What it did point out is that PES activists seem to be the same as most voters in the European Election and ignore most of the campiagning done at the European level. Who really cares if the PES and ELDR (Liberals) exchanged open letters not exactly vote getting stuff now is it!
So how do I annoy PES activists? Please someone tell me!
After fruitful bilateral negotiations the European Liberal and Democrat party welcomes today Fianna Fàil as a new ELDR member party. Fianna Fail Secretary General Sean Dorgan was warmly welcomed in Brussels today to finalize the application procedure of his party with the ELDR Council, the highest decision-making body of the ELDR Party in matters of membership.
The Irish newcomer will see the ELDR party establish itself as a key player for the forthcoming European elections and finds in ELDR a partner in view of the Lisbon Treaty referendum in Ireland, scheduled probably for the end of October 2009. For ELDR, Fianna Fail’s membership will bring to the liberal family a new and interesting perspective from a strong party currently in government, an additional strong voice in the European Council and a crucial contribution to European liberal politics.
They obviously havent been reading the Irish Opinion Polls? I doubt this will have any effect on the European Elections, but it will allow Fianna Fail to tap into ELDR/ALDE funds for the Lisbon II referendum.