Alliance Party Chair Yvonne Boyle has visited Stuttgart to join Liberal colleagues from across Europe to discuss Liberal politics in an enlarging European Union.
Speaking after attending the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party 30-year Anniversary Conference in Stuttgart, Germany on 17 March, she stated: “The challenge we in Alliance face is to help promote the value of Europe to a sceptical public. It is important we share ideas and opinions with other members of Europe’s third largest political grouping, the
European Liberal Democratic and Reform Party.
“Since its founding in Stuttgart in 1976 by nine liberal democrat parties out of 8 countries, the ELDR has continuously grown in size and now counts 47 political parties coming from 30 European countries. This is reflective of the rise of influence of Liberalism at home, including closer to home. There are concrete advantages to this. For example, Alliance is the only Northern Ireland party to have a sister party in Government in Dublin, and we also have a sister party in government in Edinburgh. Liberals lead four of the EU governments and six EU-commissioners are avowed liberals. This is a sizeable degree of power and influence for us to tap into.”
Ms Boyle, the Alliance Party Representative to the European Liberal Women’s Network, was in Stuttgart for four days. She added: “We discussed at the event how, in the face of growing euroscepticism, engaging a dialogue with citizens on the positive effects of European integration is a key task for member parties.
“European integration remains now as valid a solution as it was 30 years ago. Carving up the single market is not the answer, closing our borders is not the answer, and slamming the door of the European Union in the face of those who are so eager to join us is certainly not the answer. All of that has been done before, in the first half of the century and the result
has been terrifying.
“An Alliance vote is a vote of support for the ELDR programme for Europe which aims to combine economic dynamism with social justice and environmental responsibility; to enlarge, open up and democratise the European Union; and to use Europe’s status as a global strategic player to make globalisation work for the world.”