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A manifesto is born

December 21, 2013 11:45 AM
By Mark Valladares in Liberal Democrat Voice
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

ALDE has become the first of the European political parties to release its manifesto for next year's European elections.

Alde LogoAs ALDE Party President, Sir Graham Watson notes;

"This manifesto is a departure from the norm - it has been forged in the heat of the crisis Europe has been weathering for a number of years now. I am pleased that it demands a stronger union to serve our interests while calling for a cutback in top-heavy, unnecessary and costly bureaucracy. A stronger, simpler union is what we all want and need and that is what our manifesto delivers. It is a solid platform for our parties to build on."

Key to the manifesto are the twin priorities of growing the economy and providing jobs. But, beyond such motherhood and apple pie, it lays out some priorities for managing the European Union budget;

  • a real and fundamental shift in the next EU budget so that you will benefit more. EU money must be spent on creating jobs and not to subsidise income.
  • reduction and simplification EU rules so that they are easier to apply and enforce, so as to avoid waste and error.
  • declarations from member states that EU money is not only spent legally but also provides added value.
  • direction of EU structural funds towards job creation, particularly for youth, and greater innovation.
  • direction of funds towards research, which adds value and gives tools to researchers, PhD students and universities.
  • access to funds intended to improve people's lives must be time-limited, with entitlement lost if goals are not met within a specified period.
  • working towards a sustainable economy that respects the natural environment.

Lousewies Van Der Laan, recently re-elected as an ALDE Vice-President, explained the focus on a stronger, simpler Europe;

"We want a stronger Europe, and for Europe to be stronger, it needs to be simpler. Complexity is the enemy of accountability and transparency. We want a single seat for the European Parliament, we want to set new budget priorities to create jobs and opportunities and restore stable finances."

Eurosceptics want a weak Europe that cannot defend its interests around the world. Liberals want a strong Europe that can help us compete against China and America.

Amongst the other policies proposed, the manifesto includes amongst its highlights;

  • the phasing out of mobile phone roaming charges by 2016
  • the rapid implementation of a banking union
  • the continuous reform of agricultural subsidies
  • reinforcement of the Single Market in the energy, digital, transport and health sectors
  • the free movement of knowledge between member states
  • a single seat for the European Parliament

A copy of the complete manifesto can be downloaded here.

* Mark Valladares is Liberal Democrat Voice's slightly erratic Europe correspondent.

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