About the event

Rationale and objectives

Today, liberalism is under pressure on multiple fronts: populism is still a significant threat for liberal democracy in Europe; the coronavirus pandemic has initiated profound social and political changes that threaten liberal values; technology changes the world and creates policy & ideological challenges; the voting trends across Europe are largely not in favour of the liberals; finally, illiberal regimes on the rise can provoke military conflicts, as shown by the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Overall, liberalism is repeatedly claimed to be in decline across Europe while individual and collective benefits of the liberal political order are increasingly taken for granted.

To address this worrying trend, the European Liberal Forum has initiated a series of in-depth critical debates on the ideational roots and political practices of modern European liberals. By bringing together the voices of intellectuals and practitioners from different corners of Europe, this project envisions an exchange of insights and experiences and the formulation of liberal solutions for the immediate and long-term future. These expert discussions will result in a manifesto-style document coining an up-to-date vision of what European liberalism needs to embody in theory and in practice to preserve its central role in our socio-political life. It will outline the guiding principles that liberals across Europe can refer to in their rhetoric, policies, and programmes.

Previous work and goals of the upcoming workshop

The first workshop took place in Barcelona in November 2022, with the participation of academics and liberal intellectuals from across Europe as well as from the US. Referring to the up-to-date intellectual discourse on liberalism and its failures, participants analyzed fundamental principles with regard to the current context and outlined priority directions for further work. The upcoming session in Greece will focus on gathering insights from the national contexts based on the experience of the national liberal parties (or a lack thereof) and analysing the determinants of their successes and failures. By bringing together various cases, the goal of the discussions is to define the common features that help liberals gain, keep or lose the support of the electorate.

Profile of Participants

We invite participants who have practical experience within their national liberal parties or their foundations and are willing to share insights about their respective political context and party’s history. The profile can vary from Policy Officers to (former) politicians and officials.

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