A Social, Liberal and European Manifesto

At a time when populist and very illiberal political forces, often sustained by support from outside groups and movements for whom the existence of the EU is a threat, are casting a shadow across the continent, Liberal Parties across Europe are putting forward their vision for the EU.

Charles_GoerensThis is very much the context of the Demokratesch Partei (DP) campaign in Luxembourg.  The policies outlined in the manifesto and the vision of a stronger Europe bear the imprint and robust Liberal instincts of MEP Charles Goerens.  UK citizens living and working in EU states appreciate Charles Goerens’ advocacy of EU citizens’ rights.  His advocacy along with that of Guy Verhofstadt puts the UK government’s indifference to shame.

Eye catching proposals include a strong proactive response to member states such as Hungary and Poland that renege on the commitment to the fundamental EU values that enabled them to become EU members in the first place.  The Party would put further EU enlargement on hold until there is an effective mechanism to ensure that commitment to these core values is maintained.  The DP would dispense with the unanimity rule for suspension of member states and make structural funds contingent on upholding EU values.

There is an appeal to the young, in whose hands rests the future of the EU: as well as further expanding the successful Erasmus+ programme, the DP want to give every 18 year old the chance to reach out across the continent and experience the diversity and opportunities in the EU by providing a one month free Interrail pass.

DP candidatesThe DP has one MEP, however with declining support for the centre right CSV party, there is a fighting chance for a second DP seat for the charismatic former TV presenter Monica Semedo.  I have translated both the short and long versions of the manifesto for the DP. The short version is presented below, the longer manifesto can be found here.

 

Sozial, Liberal, Europäesch. 

The Demokratesch Partei believes that Europe needs to be more united; the European Union needs to deepen its integration by becoming more social and more liberal.  Citizens are at the forefront of our concerns. Together, with our European neighbours, we want to address the challenges of global warming, social justice, digitalisation and migration.  At the same time, we are committed to developing a globally competitive Europe.

The government led by the DP has shown the way forward. A strong economy creates jobs and ensures our prosperity. This provides the basis for investing in the future for individuals and for meeting the needs of society.

Equality of opportunity between all Member States can only be guaranteed when all states, large or small respect the common rules for which they have signed up to.

Luxembourg needs a strong European Union, able to plan for the future and benefit from the diverse opportunities, whether political or social.

Thus the future of Europe for us is: ‘Social, Liberal, European’.

The European Union as a Peace Project

The liberty and freedoms we enjoy in a Europe at peace can only be guaranteed if national and European institutions form a united front. Cooperation at both European and international levels needs to be further enhanced.

We shall therefore:

  • Demand that the EU assert itself as a united and coherent body, acting as a single voice in foreign policy, cooperation and development;
  • Reinforce the role of the EU as a guarantor of peace by stepping up disarmament in Europe.
  • Negotiate innovative and sustainable free trade agreements that target job creation and also provide a long term guarantee of our high quality social and economic standards.

Opportunities for young people

For the DP, it is important that the European Union provide rising generations with future prospects that allow them to fulfil their potential, regardless of where they live.

We shall therefore:

  • Require mutual automatic recognition of all qualifications and certification for young people.
  • Guarantee the necessary financial resources for the ‘Erasmus+’ programme so that all can benefit irrespective of their income.
  • Promote the development of the ‘Youth Guarantee’ so that every young person is assured a prospective job, internship or training placement.
  • Expand the ‘DiscoverEU’ program, so that every 18-year-old can discover Europe for one month with a free ‘Interrail’ pass.

Facing up to global challenges, together in strength

Only a strong and united Europe can guarantee our prosperity and address the challenges that lie ahead.

We shall therefore:

  • Declare climate change as an absolute priority for the legislature of the next Parliament, setting clear specific objectives and guaranteeing funding for progressive replacement of fossil fuels with alternatives such as wind and solar power.
  • Demand common migration policies that effectively protect our external borders and that distribute refugees more fairly between all Member States.
  • Oversee more effective cooperation between European intelligence services in order to prevent further terrorist attacks.
  • Initiate class action lawsuits so that consumers may better defend their interests.

A more innovative and better interconnected Europe

The benefits of the European Single Market and free movement of people can only be fully exploited if infrastructures within Europe for mobility, interconnectivity – including digital technology – and energy, are sufficiently developed.

We shall therefore:

  • Demand investment in sustainable cross-border infrastructure projects such as the Brussels-Luxembourg rail link.
  • Create a well-functioning Digital Single Market and put an end to geo-blocking.
  • Resist censorship on the internet, particularly the use of automated upload filters of online content.
  • Create a secure 5G network that provides fast internet access for every company and household across the European Union.
  • Improve protection of animal welfare at the European level, particularly for animals transported across Europe.

For a strengthened, deeper Europe

The DP believes that a country can only join the European Union if it fully respects its core values. These include the rule of law and independent judiciary, respect for minorities, freedom of expression, press freedom and religious freedom.

We shall therefore:

  • Develop new mechanisms that can swiftly and effectively sanction countries that fail to respect our common fundamental values.
  • Oppose further enlargement of the European Union until this issue is resolved.
  • Guarantee minimum social standards to ensure a Europe that enjoys strong social rights.

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