5 May 2023
Thank you to all who joined us in Paris for our biggest General Assembly to date!
The Spring General Assembly in Paris gathered a record number of representatives from our member organisations across Europe. The event gave an opportunity for our members to get to know each other better and to work together on the planning of the year ahead of us.
To kick off the two-day event, the ELF Policy & Research Unit hosted an insightful Working Group on defence, in line with a presentation of the new ELF Policy Paper on ‘The New European Defence and Security Agenda’ by author Dr Thierry Tardy.
The working Group concluded that even though the EU has proven to be a central strategic actor in the managing the response to the war in Ukraine, European actors have no other choice than to face the complex reality of the current situation. In order to become a truly geopolitical actor, the EU must discover how it can keep the strong relationship with the US and NATO while making the European defence capacity a reality by empowering the member states in that domain.
We, liberals, need to work, think and act together to develop our common vision for the future. This is why we were especially honoured to have representatives from the whole liberal family at our reception: Our guest were welcomed by Hilde Vautmans, President of the European Liberal Forum, Stéphane Séjourné, President of the Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament and Timmy Dooley, Co-President of the ALDE Party and François Decoster, President of the Renew Europe Group in the Committee of Regions.
‘We can only face current challenges if we, European liberals stay strong and more united than ever before. At the European Liberal Forum, we want to be the engine of this cooperation: we bring together liberals from across Europe, to support each other and to develop our common vision for the future.’
– said Hilde Vautmans in her welcoming speech.
On Friday, on our General Assembly, Hilde Vautmans, President of the European Liberal Forum summarised the achievements of the last year. As she stated, 2022 was a year of constant challenges: The changing geopolitical landscape, the war in the immediate neighbourhood and the rising cost of living showed us that every organisation must be resilient and constantly reinvent itself. The European Liberal Forum is no exception from that. ELF had to rethink its priorities and devoted resources to facilitate research and discussions on new ways to ensure European security. Security, defence, strategic autonomy and digitalisation became the main focus of our work.
We are proud that we are engaging more and more liberal organisations and our family is constantly growing. This Spring General Assembly accepted the application of three new full members and five new affiliate members.
Europe Georgia Institute (Georgia), Institute for Freedom and Democracy (Romania) and Liberal Institute Skopje (North-Macedonia) will have full membership.
Our new affiliate members are Fondacija za Liberalnu Praktičnu Politiku (Serbia), Liberal Action (Moldova), Liberal Democracy Institute (Lithuania), the Reforms and Research Group (Georgia) and O Tara ca Afara (Romania).