Yesterday Macron outlined his vision for a better Europe. He was bold and brave, and had the courage to dream big, really big.
As young liberals we first and foremost welcome any state leader who talks about the EU as something positive, something good. For far too long, too many national politicians (unfortunately also liberals) have played the game of “Blaming Brussels”. Too many immigrants? Brussels! Financial crisis? Brussels! Trains not running on time? Brussels!!
Pointing fingers at Brussels has become an easy way for national politicians and governments to wash their hands and escape responsibility.
Yesterday, Macron hit the nail on the head by saying it as it is “We always blamed problems on Europe, Brussels. But no, they are our problems.”
The speech itself addressed a number of topics of key interest to LYMEC; a common approach to the refugee crisis, focus on defence and education across European borders are all elements right out of our policy book. On other topics, we have a different standpoint, in particular on taxes.
However, it is not whether we as LYMEC agree on everything Macron touched upon. The point is that this is the starting point for a much needed change. Therefore we urge all liberal leaders to use the momentum to come together and propose liberal ideas and take active part in shaping Europe, in a positive way. Liberal leaders on a national level represent small countries and thus, if we want any finger prints on the future of Europe we have to act now. We can’t just leave it to Macron and Merkel.
In the aftermath of the speech, we unfortunately saw liberals (no one mentioned, no one forgotten) say that now is not the time for big changes. Such statements put liberals on the side lines before things even get started. It also doesn’t represent what is the essence of being liberal. Taking the lead, taking and explaining decisions which are not always popular at first glance. Or as Macron puts it:
“For some it is never a good time to talk about Europe. It is either too late or too early”.
We hope to see members of the ALDE Party join forces in this and continue what Macron started yesterday.
Sissel van Run-Kvist
Sissel is the president of LYMEC