Dear liberal friends,
It is indeed a great honour and privilege to be one of you, young liberal politicians from all over Europe. LYMEC is the perfect opportunity to work together and look for solution how to guarantee better liberal future for united Europe and its citizens. Politics is all about unifying people rather than separating them. Unfortunately, nowadays we are witnessing politicians, not only in Europe but also around the world, who want to separate people on the basis of their nationality, ethnicity, religion, sex or even citizenship. These politicians usually portrait themselves as nationalists – people who love their country, who really care about how ordinary people live, who have working solutions to all public problems (starting from economic crisis to refugee one).
In reality, however, these politicians are ordinary populists, some of them are open racists, who masterfully use hate speech and propaganda (in particular fake news) to exploit people’s fear and gather political support. By doing this, they imperceptibly build walls between us, turn us against each other, threat and limit our fundamental rights and freedoms. As a liberal, I cannot sit and watch how someone is restricting my rights and freedoms and I know well that you cannot too. For that reason, we must fightback. Liberals must fightback.
Our answer should be as always based on our core liberal values such as peace, tolerance and more freedom. My mother party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, has an almost thirty-year long history in unifying people from different ethnicities in the name of peace, stability and liberty. Therefore, I stand today next to you and call for unification. We, young liberal politicians, are destined to reform and unify Europe. I strongly believe that we can achieve this if we work together simply because we face common threats and problems that need common solutions and approaches.
In this regard, I believe that there are three important common issues, which we should address and to which we should find working long-term solutions in the upcoming days.
First is youth unemployment in Europe, which in practice is the main cause of youth radicalisation and growing support for nationalist parties across Europe. We could tackle it effectively if we find a way to promote and spread entrepreneurship, digital education, free trade and movement of people and goods. We need to pursue young people that there are real opportunities for them and that they could have better future in united Europe
Second is growing Euroscepticism. Brexit has been the strongest signal ever that the EU does not function efficiently. As a liberal, I do respect the result form the referendum but I do not respect populism and the fact that British people have been lied by some immoral politicians. Here, we should be clear and honest, neither the EU neither UK will win something from Brexit, in reality millions of Europeans will lose their jobs and opportunities to study, live and work across Europe. Therefore, in order to avoid Brexit scenario with other member state we should reform our Union in a way that it will be more efficient and closer to its citizens.
Third is security. Unfortunately, today’s security situation in our continent is as uncertain as it was during the Cold war. Europe suffers from numerous terrorist attacks and civil turbulences on its territory. We should find a way to make Europe more peaceful and stable and the best way to do this is to spread our liberal values – tolerance and freedom.
Dear liberal friends, we are the generation that grew up after the end of the Cold war. We all grew up in a time when peace, stability, democracy and freedom started to spread across Europe after dark period of dictatorships. The key actor for these positive changes has been the EU. Today, when the EU is under threat, it is our duty to reform and save the European project. As a president of the largest youth liberal organisation in Europe, I am convinced that only young politicians with liberal thinking have the potential, the energy and the skills to provoke real change. I believe in you, I believe in change. We must act together!
Ilhan Kyuchyuk is an MEP (ALDE, Movement for Rights and Freedom, Bulgaria) and the president of LYMEC member organisation YMRF (Bulgaria)