About the event

Today, liberalism is under pressure on multiple fronts: populism is still a significant threat for liberal democracy in Europe, despite recent setbacks; the coronavirus pandemic has initiated profound social and political changes that threaten liberal values; technology is changing the world and creates challenges that need policy responses, but also ideological reflection; the voting trends across Europe are largely not in favour of the liberals; finally, illiberal regimes are on the rise and resolved to revise the liberal international order, as the Russian aggression against Ukraine has clearly demonstrated. For all these reasons, we need to go back to the basics and reflect on our philosophical and ideological roots, in order to come up with new ideas and liberal solutions for the immediate and long-term future.

To address this pressing issue, the European Liberal Forum initiates a series of thematic debates. During this kick-off workshop, senior European intellectuals and analysts will discuss the above-mentioned challenges as well as possible ways to rethink liberalism with regards to the current trends. More specifically, the sessions will include critical debates about what liberalism means in Europe today, why it needs to be revised/rethought, and how this could/should be done. By bringing together the voices from across Europe, this project envisions the coining of an up-to-date, future-oriented vision on what 21st-century European liberalism needs to embody in theory and in practice.


Keynote speech on the state of liberalism in Europe: Dr Johan Norberg

Keynote speech on addressing the decline of the liberal democracy: Dr Julio Crespo-MacLennan

Session 1: What? Liberalism in decline

Session 2: Why? The mission behind rethinking liberalism

Session 3: How? Addressing gaps and vulnerabilities

The initial kick-off discussion aims to set the stage for a series of workshop, where the concept will be further elaborated in details across major thematic fields (e.g. economy, security, environment, social affairs etc.). The workshops will take place in the first half of 2023 and will result in a manifesto-like paper stimulating further debates and/or outlining the guiding principles that liberals across Europe can refer to in their rhetoric, policies, and programmes.

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