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Yabloko Sister - Parties
Press Releases and Publications

Bulgarian election 'a dark day for democracy' - European Liberal President

Press Release, the ALDE party, May 13, 2013

Reacting to the results of the snap parliamentary elections in Bulgaria held on Sunday 12 May, ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson MEP today said: “with the lowest turnout in the history of parliamentary elections in Bulgaria, yesterday was a dark day for democracy and a repudiation of the EPP-aligned government led by Boyko Borisov. The conduct of the election also gives cause for concern.”

“It is worrying that the election was marred by several reports of irregularities, vote-buying and controlled voting. The discovery by police of 350,000 ballot papers printed by a company belonging to a GERB councillor raises important questions. The next government must undertake serious efforts to defeat fraud and regain the voters’ trust in democracy.”

“European Liberal Democrats congratulate ALDE member party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) on their performance in the election and their efforts during the campaign. Negotiations for a government coalition must take their result into account.”

The Future of EU-Russia Relations - The Liberal Viewpoint

Press Release, the ALDE party, May 1, 2013

The Future of EU-Russian Relations - The Liberal Viewpoint" seminar was held in Helsinki, Finland on the 29th of April and gathered over 200 people in the audience. The hosts of the seminar were the Swedish People’s Party in Finland (SFP) and the Swedish International Liberal Center (SILC) and it was arranged in cooperation with Russian ALDE member party Yabloko and Svenska Bildningsförbundet.

The seminar was divided into three parts, starting with introductory remarks from Carl Haglund, Minister of Defence and SFP Party Chair, Martin Ängeby, Secretary General of SILC and Astrid Thors MP, ALDE Party Vice President, followed by key note addresses from Yabloko founder, Dr. Grigory Yavlinsky and MEP Kristiina Ojuland. The seminar continued with panel discussions on human rights as well as trade and economic relations in the afternoon.

Carl Haglund commenced by pointing out that a well-functioning relationship between Russia and the EU is beneficial for both parties, which was echoed in later discussions. Also the fact that the EU is Russia’s biggest and Russia EU’s third biggest trading partner was repeated during the day. Peace through trade is a fundament for the EU and something to continue working on. It took 18 years of bargaining before Russia joined the WTO in August 2012 and there still remain obstacles in the trading policy.

EU-Russia cooperation must be based on mutual respect. The importance of the EU putting pressure on Russia to respect freedom of speech and human rights was underlined during the seminar. The ”foreign agent”-law, the Sergei Magnitsky case and other anti-democratic laws are alarming. Russia is not interested in being led by the hand towards democracy – the country must do the work itself when it comes to democracy and human rights. Some of the people working for these values are in jail, but many were at the seminar – including the founder of the Yabloko party.

In his key note speech Dr. Girgory Yavlinsky stated: “The important question is not how long Putin is going to stay in power – the important question is what is going to be instead of him? All other questions are secondary. Then we will be able to speak about elections et cetera.”

MEP Kristiina Ojuland reminded that the Russian Parliamentary elections in 2011 were the real starting point of the lack of trust. They were clearly not free and fair and that has also changed the European Parliament’s view on Russia. Corruption and VISA freedom for Russian citizens were also addressed during the seminar which, thanks to simultaneous translation into Russian and English, attracted a vast number of participants. The seminar has been recorded and can be viewed on www.sfp.fi/russia.

Liberals concerned about rise in human trafficking

Press Release, the ALDE party, April 17, 2013

The President of the ALDE Gender Equality Network Flo Clucas and liberal European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström have expressed their profound concern and disappointment after a report revealed that human trafficking in the EU has increased in recent years and 80% of the victims are women and young girls. They also strongly criticised 21 EU member states for the delays in implementing into national law the EU directive on human trafficking, adopted in March 2011. The European Commission report presented on Monday, the first compilation of data from more than 25 European nations of its kind, showed human trafficking increased by 18% between 2008 and 2010 and that during the same time the number of convictions for the crime fell by 13%.

As EU member states identified human trafficking as one of the priority areas in the fight against organised crime, the ALDE Gender Equality Network is very disappointed and worried that, despite the alarming trends, only a few countries have implemented the anti-trafficking legislation. Flo Clucas, President of the ALDE Gender Equality Network, said: “Even though EU governments have had two years to implement tougher standardised anti-trafficking legislation, only six out of 27 states have done this. Large EU-states, such as Germany, France and Great Britain have not implemented tougher measures in their national legislatures, this is not acceptable...”

Wiretapping scandal in Bulgaria is a matter of European concern

Press Release, the ALDE Group, European Parliament, April 16, 2013

Commenting on the investigation by the Bulgarian Prosecutor General's Office into the allegations of illegal wiretapping of scores of political opposition leaders in Bulgaria, Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE Group has made the following statement:

"Sanctioning of illegal wiretapping of opposition politicians in Bulgaria by state authorities undermines democracy and the fairness of the electoral process. The European Union monitoring mechanism covers adherence to the rule of law matters and therefore the ongoing scandal should be seriously analysed by the European Commission. With less than one month before elections in Bulgaria, citizens need to be reassured that their fundamental rights are protected"...

ALDE welcomes Commission's new consultations on media freedom and pluralism

Press Release, the ALDE Group, European Parliament, March 22, 2013

The ALDE Group welcomes today's launch by the European Commission of two consultations on media freedom and pluralism and audiovisual media regulator independence.

The first consultation asks specifically to comment on the EU's competences to act in protection of media freedom and on the roles of national regulatory authorities, as well as if current laws need to be changed.

EP rapporteur on an "EU Charter: Standard settings for Media Freedom across the EU", Renate Weber (PNL, Romania) said: "We hope this consultation will pave the way to the establishment of a regular mechanism of monitoring and reporting over the full respect of media freedom and pluralism, as a democratic exercise that all EU Member States should do"...

ALDE and YABLOKO to conduct a conference on migration problems

Press Release, March 20, 2013

International conference on migration problems will take place in Moscow on April 6. The organizers are the ALDE Party (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) and YABLOKO’s Political Committee.

The conference will discuss the following topics:

- migration dynamics and its political, economic and cultural consequences;
- integration of migrants of the first and further generations: positive and negative experience;
- restraining and regulatory mechanisms: different countries’ experiences and international cooperation;
- regulation of migration: the tasks of the state and the society...

Letter of Anne Breasseur, President of ALDE, CE, to Sergei Mitrokhin on the attack against YABLOKO

March 19, 2013

The ALDE Group of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is deeply concerned with the news we are receiving from Russia. The attacks perpetrated against the Yabloko party in Moscow are yet another manifestation of growing intolerance in the Russian society.

The ALDE condemns the perpetrators of these attacks which are not simply an act of vandalism, but also an offence against the freedom of expression. We sincerely hope that the legal proceedings that you have launched will receive appropriate attention both from the judiciary and the political authorities of Russia. Such acts cannot be tolerated.

I would like to assure you that the Monitoring Committee will be duly informed about these deplorable developments...

Violence against women is a persistent stain on our society

Press Release, the ALDE Group, European Parliament, March 7, 2013

Ahead of International Women's Day, Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament (ALDE) call for united international action to combat violence against women. In Europe, 45 % of women will experience some type of violence at least once in her lifetime. Every day one in five women in Europe is a victim of violence. Antonyia Parvanova (NMSP, Bulgaria), ALDE spokesperson on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, participated in the UN summit meeting on 'The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women', being held from 4 to 15 March in New York. The Bulgarian liberal presented the activities of the European Parliament to eridicate violence against women while highlighting the challenges faced in the EU.

Mrs Parvanova commented "We have to continue to take concrete steps to defend women's and girls' fundamental right to live free from violence. But we won't achieve concrete results if acting alone . The EU has an excellent opportunity to deliver on its commitments by pressing for coordinated international action at the UN Conference"...

"Smart borders package": A better management of EU external borders

Press Release, the ALDE Group, European Parliament, February 28, 2013

Today the Commission presented its "Smart borders" package. ALDE welcomes this legislative initiative as it will simplify the life of "bona fide" foreigners frequently travelling to the EU, whose number is expected to increase in the future.

ALDE spokesperson of the dossier Nils Torvalds (Swedish Peoples Party, Finland): "It is in the interest of the EU to make it as easy as possible for tourists, business travellers and students to come to Europe. At the same time an easier access to the EU should go hand in hand with preventing irregular migration. The "smart borders" initiative should also help Member states better control their external borders, an important issue for some of them which have to manage a very long portion of the EU external borders"...

European Liberal Democrats welcome Borissov resignation

Press Release, the ALDE party, February 20, 2013

Reacting to the resignation this morning of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and his government, ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson said: “European Liberal Democrats welcome today’s announcement. We have become increasingly concerned about freedom and the rule of law under Prime Minister Boyko Borissov since he took office in 2009.”

“Together with the likes of Berlusconi and Basescu – Europe’s B team – Borissov has played fast and loose with the rule of law. I hope this B team will not be revived in elections this year”...

2014 European Parliament seat distribution

Press Release, ALDE, February 19, 2012

The vote of the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament supported efforts by ALDE MEPs aimed at correcting the worst anomaly in the original proposal of the two rapporteurs (Trzaskowski-Gualtieri) on the apportionment of seats at the next elections in 2014. The Liberals and Democrats argued that to have a two seat gap between Hungary and Sweden on the basis of a difference of population of 475,000 was unjust.
Andrew Duff's proposal that at the next constitutional Convention, likely in 2015, the EU should agree on a fair, durable and transparent arithmetical formula for the distribution of seats was also accepted...

Liberals upset with renewed Human Rights set-back in Azerbaijan

Press Release, the ALDE party, February 11, 2013

European Liberals strongly condemn the recent clampdown on liberal activists in Azerbaijan. Among others Tofig Yagublu, deputy chairman of ALDE member party Musavat was arrested and charged with “violation of public order”.

Liberals welcome the statement by European top officials and encourage the European Commission to strongly defend fundamental human rights in their bilateral discussions with the Azeri authorities...

German Liberal MP is the new president of GLOBE Europe

Press Release, the ALDE party, February 8, 2013

Michael Kauch, an FDP MP, is the new president of GLOBE Europe, the European Chapter of the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment. He was elected at the recent General Assembly to succeed the Danish Green Steen Gade, who didn't run for another term. Vice Presidents are Petra BAYER (Austria), Linas BALSYS (Lithuania), Barry GARDINER (UK), Jens HOLM (Sweden) and Arnaud LEROY (France).

GLOBE is a cross-party and trans-national network of MPs, who are committed to the environment and to sustainability. At present, MPs from 88 countries around the world represent their countries in the network. Major activities are global parliamentary dialogues on climate policy, forest protection and sustainable development...

New wave of reprisals against Yabloko activists

Press Release, the ALDE party, February 6, 2013

ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson MEP has expressed the collective concern of European Liberal Democrats to news of a fresh wave of reprisals against members of the Russian United Democratic party (Yabloko).

Sergei Mitrokhin, the leader of ALDE member party Yabloko, has condemned the Federal Security Bureau in the Sverdlovsk region which has interpreted a recent Russian law ‘on the counteraction to the extremist activity’ to obtain a court order permitting Maxim Petlin, Chair of Yabloko’s Sverdlovsk Region branch to be placed under surveillance and for all his all telephone conversations to be monitored. A complaint filed to the Supreme Court was also dismissed.

ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson MEP said: “European Liberal Democrats are increasingly concerned at the instances of persecution facing members of open and fully legal political parties. During its years of existence the Yabloko party has not provided an occasion for it to be equated to extremist organisations. It seems the government regards the words ‘opposition’ and ‘extremism’ as synonyms.”

“European Liberal Democrats and Yabloko call on the European Union to put pressure on Russia and for the Russian government to immediately stop such reprisals and to bring those responsible to justice”...

Attempted assassination of Bulgarian liberal leader Ahmed Dogan

Press Release, the ALDE party, January 19, 2013

Sir Graham Watson MEP, President of the ALDE Party expressed the shock of all European Liberals on Saturday at the attempted shooting of Bulgarian liberal leader Ahmed Dogan at the MRF Party Congress in Sofia which Sir Graham was attending. He expressed his relief that the pistol had not gone off as intended.

"Liberals have become increasingly concerned about freedom and the rule of law under Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. The European Union may need to mobilise to put the country back on track."

"I hope the government will move quickly to establish the forces behind this attempted murder and to bring them to justice." Sir Graham Watson said...

Liberal Democrats delivering in government: 95% of Coalition Agreement on course

Press Release, the ALDE party, January 15, 2013

On 12 May 2010, the leader of the Liberal Democrats (UK) Nick Clegg stood together with the leader of the Conservative party David Cameron in the Rose Garden of 10 Downing Street and outlined the joint programme for coalition, the first full coalition government in the United Kingdom since 1945. Two and a half years later and the coalition have this week published a Mid Term Review with Liberal Democrat party analysis showing that “about 95%” of objectives and policies outlined in the Coalition Agreement are on course...

...Amongst the Top 10 achievements of the Liberal Democrats in government include: reducing the national deficit by 25%, the scrapping of ID cards, the creation of 1 million jobs and 1 million apprenticeships, the delivery of a £600 tax cut for 24 million working people by raising the income tax threshold to £9,440, the cutting of crime by 10% and the creation of a Green Investment Bank to unlock billions of pounds of private investment in renewable energy and create thousands more green jobs...

Changes to Khodorkovsky's jail sentence must not deflect EU from asking tough questions of Russia at today's summit

Press Release, ALDE, December 21, 2012

ALDE spokeswoman on Russia Kristiina Ojuland MEP today expressed satisfaction at news of the two-year reduction in the prison sentence of businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky but warned EU leaders at today's EU-Russia summit not to be misled...

"This welcome news on the Khodorkovsky case should not be allowed to obscure the profound deterioration in the rule of law in Russia"...

ODM nominates Odinga for Kenya's presidency

LI News Bulletin, Issue 313, December 19, 2012

Orange Democratic Movement, LI partner and Africa Liberal Network member, has formally nominated Prime Minister Raila Odinga to contest Kenya's presidency at the elections next year. Speaking after the nomination, PM Odinga said ODM represents the interests of 40 million Kenyans and that he wanted to sign an agreement with Kenyans about the services he hopes to deliver when he wins the poll. Odinga reiterated that creation of jobs would go hand in hand with investment in infrastructure and in education: 'We will ensure that every child gets quality education regardless of the economic status of their parents'. ODM unveiled a new six-point manifesto focused on rule of law and an end to impunity, genuine devolution of power and resources, wealth and job creation, equal protection and social protection for all, one united Kenyan nation and land reforms. In the World Today Resolution adopted at the Abidjan Congress, 'LI expresses solidarity with liberal forces in [Kenya], including ALN member the ODM of PM Odinga…[and] calls for an election campaign free of violence, intimidation or ethnic hatred.'

Liberals - the engine of European integration of Moldova

Press Release, the ALDE party, December 19, 2012

On Saturday 15 December, Mihai Ghimpu MP, President of the Liberal Party of Moldova, Corina Fusu MP, Deputy President of the Liberal Party and Elena Prus, President of the Institute for Liberal Studies opened the conference "Liberals - the engine of European integration of Moldova" . Sir Graham Watson MEP, President of the ALDE Party addressed conference participants in a video message. He encouraged Moldova's European integration aim and appreciated the efforts of the MPs and ministers of adjusting the national framework to European standards and values...

Yabloko Party representative in the Russian Federation, Galina Michaleva, spoke about the relationship between Russia and the EU and about the problems of the post-Soviet countries in the process of EU integration. The Expert of the Foreign Policy Association, Eugen Revenco spoke about the role of civil society in Moldova's European integration...

Romania: ‘I now foresee a period of difficult cohabitation’

Press Release, the ALDE party, December 12, 2012

On Monday morning, ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson MEP hosted a breakfast for members of the press and presented a liberal view on the latest headlines around Europe before answering questions.

He first welcomed the result of the elections in Romania, remarking: “despite the low turnout, early indications are the ruling USL social-liberal alliance in Romania has won a large majority of the popular vote which could rise to as much as 70%. I now foresee a period of difficult cohabitation in the country.”

“I see a lot of parallels with the situations in Romania and in Italy,” he continued. “I regret the pulling of support by Silvio Berlusconi's People of Liberty party for the government of Mario Monti and I fear that in the aftermath of this election, the pressure for economic discipline could slip. The last thing we need at this time are crises in those two economies which are bigger than Greece’s.”

Sir Graham also answered questions on the UN Climate Summit in Doha, Qatar, that concluded on Sunday and which he attended...

If EU leaders are not prepared to agree on how to end the crisis, they should stay at home

Press Release, ALDE, December 12, 2012

"Tomorrow's EU summit in Brussels lacks ambition", according to ALDE group leader, Guy Verhofstadt, addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg today.

"Last June, the European Council decided that by the end of the year 'a time bound road map for the achievement of a genuine economic and monetary union' would be agreed, yet expectations of any agreement at this week's summit are so low that EU leaders might as well stay home."

"Meanwhile the crisis is not over, spreads remain above 400 base points for Spain and the mere prospect of a return of Berlusconi to politics in Italy sends shock waves through the markets"...

Sharon Bowles (UK, Lib Dem), chairwoman of Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee, underlined the cost of delay: "Delay may be politically convenient but it has a high cost - not just in financial terms, but in the human cost and the blight of uncertainty that lies over the plans of individuals and businesses across Europe"...

European Liberals warn against attempts to limit internet freedom

Press Release, the ALDE party, December 5, 2012

"The internet is borderless and it is its decentralised organisation that has created so much value for billions of people worldwide", said ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson as the delegates of the world conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) gathered for the opening in Dubai discussing a revision of a global treaty governing the internet.

Many states and corporations seek a tight grip on the internet to suppress people or pursue vested business interests but the internet must remain free to allow people to freely create and innovate, organise and influence economic progress and societal development.

For many centuries "European Liberals have always been the guardians of individual liberties offline. We will continue doing so also online as well ", added the President of European Liberal Democrats referring to a strong resolution on the preservation of global digital freedom adopted by the ALDE Party at its recent Congress in Dublin...

Convergencia remains largest force in Catalan elections

Press Release, the ALDE party, November 26, 2012
Convèrgencia i Unió (CiU) continues to be the leading political force in the Catalan parliament with 50 seats after last Sunday's elections. While Party leader Artur Mas will have to form a coalition agreement in order to hold a parliamentarian majority, he does “not regret his decision to call for new elections, since it was necessary to find out where the majorities were,” according to Mas. With a strong economic programme to propel Catalonia out the financial crisis and a pledge to call for a referendum on the future status of Catalonia, CiU is expected to lead the future coalition government...

Women on Boards: Liberals and Democrats back EU gender quota plan

Press Release, ALDE, November 14, 2012

Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament (ALDE) firmly support Commissioner Reding with regard to her EU-wide gender quota plan to increase the number of women in leadership roles presented today. In March 2012 ALDE called for such binding measures to reverse the insufficient progress made towards better gender-balance in corporate management boards. The liberals acknowledge that quotas are a very blunt instrument but a necessary evil at the same time because voluntary measures have proven unsuccessful in addressing the equality gap. The legislation put forward today includes clear quotas to increase female representation in companies' boards to 40% by 2020...

A Russian Deja-Vu. The Political Development and the Objectives of the YABLOKO party

Sergei Mitorkhin's lecture in the British Parliment. London, November 12, 2012

...Soon it will turn a year since the beginning of mass protest rallies in Russia. For many people these rallies meant hopes for rapid democratic changes. Frankly speaking, I have never shared such an optimistic point of view.

For me, it was clear that Vladimir Putin would consider the awakening of the society as disorders and side-affects of the "liberalization" carried out by ex President Dmitry Medvedev. And this meant that Putin’s only possible response to the mass protests could be "tightening the screws" or, in other words, increase of reprisals.

This is how Vladimir Putin’s regime tries to avoid the fate of his Middle Eastern counterparts. Obviously, Putin has been very concerned of the fates of his colleagues from the Arab world, and this makes him take up preventive measures against the Arab Spring scenario in Russia...

Sergei Mitrokhin and Liberals in Russia

Politicus, November 12, 2012

Being a Liberal in Russia is a risky vocation, as putting one’s head above the parapet politically is an invitation to harrassment, arrest, criminal proceedings and heafty fines or imprisonment. High profile anti-establishment activists such as Pussy Riot get lots of foreign media attention and noises of sympathy from the outside world, of course, but even in their case that did not stop two of their number being sentenced to two years detention each in different gulags. Alas, as the leader of Russia’s Liberal Party Yabloko, Sergei Mitrokhin, detailed in a speech at Westminster this lunchtime, the long arm of President Putin’s law is getting firmer. He highlighted three aspects of particular concern regarding the current political situation in Russia and the crackdown against Liberal forces...

On YABLOKO’s initiative the Congress of European liberals condemned reprisals against Russian opposition

Press Release, November 10, 2012.

The Congress of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) adopted an urgency resolution “On reprisals against YABLOKO activists and dissenters in Russia”.

The resolution was submitted by YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin who was delegate of the Congress.

ALDE (the earlier name ELDR) joins together all the European liberal and democratic parties. The Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO has been full member of ALDE since 2006. The ALDE Congress is held in Dublin, Ireland, on November 8-10, 2012.
The resolution marks a new wave of reprisals in Russia against opposition activists and all dissenters against the present government’s policies against the backdrop of the curb on human rights and freedoms; suppression of the freedom of speech; use of the law enforcement and the judiciary as a tool for reprisals”.
The ALDE Congress called on the ALDE groups to raise the issue in the European Parliament and the Council of Europe and draw the attention of the Russian government to the inadmissibility of persecutions for criticism...

On reprisals against YABLOKO activists and dissenters in Russia
Urgency Resolution submitted by the YABLOKO party and adopted by ALDE Congress on November 9, 2012




- a new wave of reprisals in Russia against opposition activists and all dissenters against the present government’s policies against the backdrop of the curb on human rights and freedoms; suppression of the freedom of speech; use of the law enforcement and the judiciary as a tool for reprisals;

- persecution against YABLOKO activists and candidates to the regional parliament Suren Gazaryan and Yenegy Vitishko, who have been charged with a criminal offence that could lead to their imprisonment for criticising Krasnodar Region Governor Alexander Tkachev for his unlawful seizure of public lands and their fight for human rights and environmental safety in the region


- On the ALDE groups to raise the issue in the European Parliament and the Council of Europe and draw the attention of the Russian government to the inadmissibility of persecutions for criticism, in violation of Russia’s obligations relating to its membership of the Council of Europe and in direct contrast with the statements of the Russian authorities on adherence to democratic values;

- On the Russian government to stop the reprisals against Gazaryan and Vitishko and revoke the unlawful court decisions against them and punish those guilty of giving false evidence and prosecutions.

Antrag der Fraktionen der CDU/CSU und FDP
Durch Zusammenarbeit Zivilgesellschaft und Rechtsstaatlichkeit in Russland starken

Deutscher Bundestag Drucksache 17/11327
17. Wahlperiode 06. 11. 2012

Der Bundestag wolle beschliessen:

I. Der Deutsche Bundestag stellt fest:
Russland ist ein zentraler Partner fur Deutschland und Europa. Als standiges Mitglied des Sicherheitsrates
der Vereinten Nationen, als Mitglied der G8 sowie des Europarates und der Europaischen Menschenrechtskonvention, strategischer Partner Deutschlands und wichtigster Energielieferant Europas
ist Russland von besonderer Bedeutung; regionale und globale Herausforderungen konnen nur mit und
nicht gegen Russland bewaltigt werden. Russland ist unabdingbar fur eine gesamteuropaische Friedensordnung...

Open Vld leader becomes Belgian Deputy PM
ELDR News, October 22, 2012.

Open Vld Leader Alexander De Croo replaces Vincent Van Quickenborne as the new Pensions Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in the Belgian federal government. He was sworn in by King Albert II on Monday. The appointment of Alexander De Croo will allow him to take part in the difficult discussions on next year's budget.

Van Quickenborne will become the new Mayor of the city of Kortrijk, where he ended 150 years of Christian democrat rule...

Liberals and Democrats in Lithuania score a convincing victory
Press Release, ALDE, October 15, 2012

Following announcement of the preliminary results of the Parliamentary elections in Lithuania, Guy Verhofstadt made the following statement:
"I am very pleased to acknowledge that Liberal and Democrats in Lithuania have scored a convincing victory in the Parliamentary elections. I would like to congratulate Viktor Uspaskich (ALDE MEP) and his Labour Party (Darbo partija) that has doubled its support and with 20% of the vote, as the largest political party is poised to form the incoming government. This is an excellent result for the Labour Party that in the opposition party has worked vigorously and consistently in support of its electorate."
"The Liberal Movement (Lietuvos Respublikos liberalu sajudis) has got the highest evaluation for the work it has done in the outgoing government. After 4 years in the government, taking the lead on difficult and sometimes controversial areas of public life, the Liberal Movement has further increased its support. That is both a recognition and an encouragement to continue promoting liberal agenda in Lithuania."

"Peace Prize is well deserved but we cannot rest on our laurels"
Press Release, ALDE, October 12, 2012

Reacting to the Nobel peace prize being awarded to the European Union, Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group leader in the European Parliament said: "We strongly welcome the recognition by the Nobel Peace committee of the contribution that the European Union has made over the last 70 years to turn a previously war ridden continent into a peace project...

Liberals in the driving seat in peaceful transition of power in Georgia
Press Release, ALDE, October 2, 2012

Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader welcomed the results of the parliamentary elections in Georgia which saw liberals greatly reinforce their position in the Georgian Parliament...

Dutch parliament elects new President
ELDR News, September 26, 2012.

On Tuesday, Dutch liberal MP Anouchka van Miltenburg was elected as the new President of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch Parliament. Before, Van Miltenburg was Deputy leader of the VVD parliamentary group. Two other candidates stood in the election, Khadija Arib (Social Democrats) and Gerard Schouw (ELDR member D66).

VVD Group Leader Stef Blok welcomed her election: "We're proud Anouchka won the election. The Parliament will have a tough, fair and cheerful chairwoman. I wish her all the best."

ALDE congratulates both Dutch liberal parties on election results
Press Release, ALDE, September 13, 2012

Guy VERHOFSTADT, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament, congratulates VVD-leader Mark Rutte, who again won the Dutch elections last night and D66-leader Alexander Pechtold, after an election campaign in which Europe played a leading role. "I warmly congratulate Mark Rutte on achieving the best ever results for the VVD and Alexander Pechtold on increasing the number of seats for D66 for the fifth time in a row.
I am looking forward to continue working with them in the months and years ahead"...

YABLOKO leader meets the leader of Alleanza Liberali, Malta

Press Release, August 31, 2012.

On August 28, 2012, YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin met with John Zammit, leader and founder of Alleanza Liberali, Malta. The meeting was also attended by Galina Mikhalyova, Deputy Chair of the Moscow branch of YABLOKO and the Executive Secretary of the Political Committee and Olga Radayeva, YABLOKO International Secretary.

John Zammit spoke about the current political situation in Malta and the activities of Alleanza Liberali. The party was founded in 2006. Today Alleanza Liberali has an observer status in the ELDR and is going to become a full member of the ELDR this year. Alleanza Liberali focuses on fight against corruption, protection of civil rights and freedoms, including fight against restrictions imposed on the citizens of Malta by the Catholic Church (e.g. bans on divorce and abortions). The party has been also active in education and environmental protection...

Mass demonstrations in Moscow are first shoots of a Russian political Spring
Press Release, ALDE, June 12, 2012

In reaction to the protests in Russia today which saw one hundred thousand people take to the streets to demand reforms, Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader says the Russian authorities should take immediate concrete steps to implement reform...

Kristiina Ojuland, ALDE Spokesperson on Russia said: "The recent decision by the State Duma to drastically increase persecution of peaceful protesters is not in line with European standards and international practice as authorities claim. There is nothing democratic about the 200 fold increase in fines for those willing to express their views freely and peacefully. This boils down to yet another effort by the authorities to tighten their grip on power and suppress further fundamental rights of Russian citizens."

ALDE position paper on the Eurozone
Press Release, ALDE, May 30, 2012

Four steps to exit the crisis

"We are facing the prospects of a lost decade of growth and employmentand an absence of decisive leadership on how to tackle it.

Politicalelites are sharply divided between the need for increasing spending tocreate growth and the pursuit of further budgetary consolidation.

Neither of these two solutions alone can work - more austerity willdrive the EU into a prolonged recession whilst uncontrolled spendingwill increase public debt to unsustainable levels."

Eurovision: out of sight, not out of mind
ELDR Press Release, May 29, 2012.

The singing is over in Azerbaijan after the Eurovision final. Nonetheless it’s still time for democracy! Given the last minute arrests and clamp downs, as reported by the international and European Liberal Youth present in Baku, Liberals will remain vigilant! We are greatly concerned if the government will follow up on their threats to retaliate further on the opposition after Eurovision.

The European Parliament during its plenary session on Thursday 24 May, strongly condemned Azerbaijan’s human rights abuses, the basic breaches and violations of the principles of democracy, freedom of speech, rule of law, and in some domains the total lack of values, specifically calling on the leadership of the Union to raise these issues when in Baku, or negotiating energy matters with the country...

Orlando elected mayor of Palermo
ELDR News, May 23, 2012.

The results of the second round of mayoral elections in Italy last weekend were an outstanding success for ELDR Vice-President Leoluca Orlando MP. Obtaining about 73% of votes in the city of Palermo election, Orlando becomes Mayor of Palermo, an office he will be holding for the fourth time in his life.
“My election is a response to the wave of anti-politics in Italy”, said Orlando commenting on his result. “Backed by my electoral support I will be asking Prime Minister Monti about his intentions regarding the current dreadful social question in Italy and particularly in Palermo”.


Eurovision's dirtysecrets

Time to call a Convention on the Eurozone 22

Liberals in Brussels put EU citizenship in practice

Liberals condemn socialists for accepting hate crime

Liberals re-elected to parliament in Slovakia
ELDR Press Release, March 14, 2012.

On Saturday, snap parliamentary elections were held in Slovakia. Thanks to a great campaign, ELDR’s Slovak member Sloboda a Solidarita (SaS, Freedom and Solidarity) gained some 6 % of the votes and returned 11 MPs to the 150-strong Slovak Parliament. SaS were particularly strong in the larger cities, scoring around 15 % in the country’s capital Bratislava.

“In a difficult political landscape, it is delighting to see SaS Leader Richard Sulík and his party being able to build on young structures and get re-elected”, commented ELDR President Sir Graham Watson MEP, and continued “I will visit Bratislava shortly to discuss projects of mutual interest between SaS and ELDR – as well as to obviously convey my personal words of congratulations to the SaS leadership”...


Through the guidance of Dutch Liberal Sophie In ‘t Veld, Parliament adopted its annual report on equality between women and men in the EU. See European Parliament resolution on equality between women and men in the European Union

Liberal Democrats spring conference in Gateshead

Folkpartiet holds annual Congress in Västerås

New ELDR President elected

Press Release, November 29, 2011

ELDR congress convening in Palermo, Italy, on November 23-25, elected Sir Graham Watson,
one of the leaders of British liberal democrats, new President of the European Liberal Democrats and Reformers party. Sir Graham has been member of the European Parliament since 1994. In 2002-2009 he headed the liberal faction in the European Parliament and during Russian elections in 2003 visited Russia as guest of the YABLOKO party. "It is our job as Liberals to explain how we offer a real, principled and economically responsible alternative to the behemoths of conservatism and socialism,” said Sir Graham.

Former ALDE Group Leader elected ELDR President
Press Release, ALDE, November 25, 2011

Today Sir Graham Watson MEP (UK LibDem) was elected unopposed President of the party of European Liberal Democrats (ELDR) at their Congress in Palermo along with five vice-presidents (Marc Guerrero, Lousewies van der Laan, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Leoluca Orlando, Astrid Thors). Graham takes over from Annemie Neyts (Open VLD, Belgium) who has led the Party since 2005.

Taking over the reins of the party in the middle of one of the most serious crises of Europe's history giving rise to increased euro scepticism and threatening the very foundation of the EU itself will present a major challenge for the Party which believes strongly in European integration and solidarity.

Commenting on his election, Watson said:
"What Europe is lacking most of all at present is a clear vision for the future. Neither the party of the European Socialists nor the Christian Democrats offer a solution. The former is stuck with an out of date ideology and the latter is ridden by internal contradictions. As Europeans we stand or fall together. We must not give in to the rising tide of populism"...

Sir Graham Watson new ELDR President!
ELDR Press Release, November 22, 2011.

Gathered in Palermo, Italy, the ELDR Party today elected Sir Graham Watson (Liberal Democrats, UK) to its new President for the coming two years!

In his speech, drawing on great liberal thinkers from Adam Smith to Johan Norberg, Sir Graham made a strong case for the need of liberal thought in today’s Europe, and the central place for the ELDR Party in this process. He promised to make ELDR stronger, smarter and the supranational force in Europe.

The ELDR Party also elected five Vice Presidents. While Marc Guerrero (CDC, Catalonia), Lousewies van der Laan (D 66, The Netherlands) and Leoluca Orlando (IDV, Italy) were re-elected for another term; Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP, Germany) and Astrid Thors (SFP, Finland) are new additions to the ELDR Party Bureau.

All candidates were warmly welcomed by some 500 European Liberals gathered in Palermo. The ELDR Party would like to extend its congratulations to all elected!

Time to Think, and Not to Lean on Russia. By Grigory Yavlinsky and Alexander Shishlov

The New York Times, November 8, 2011

...Yabloko has been active in Russian politics for almost 20 years. Fully aware of our responsibility to Russian citizens, who aspire to liberty and justice, our party has managed to survive and retain its potential against continuous and severe administrative pressure. Our work has been not only difficult, it has been dangerous, and in some cases fatal. Larisa Yudina, leader of the Yabloko branch in Kalmykia and a journalist, was killed; so were Farid Babayev, leader of Yabloko in Dagestan, and Yuri Shchekochikhin, a Duma deputy and investigative journalist who was investigating corruption in the secret services.

It is true that elections in Russia today are not free and fair. But this is due not only to the fact that Kasyanov’s party was denied registration and thus cannot take part in the elections. Russian elections ceased being free and fair after the presidential elections in 1996. Unfortunately, back then European liberals did not protest as loudly as they are doing now. (In fact, the electoral system was similarly defective in 2003 when Kasyanov was prime minister under President Vladimir Putin).

Today, however, this is how Russian elections are held and there are no other means for a peaceful, nonviolent change in political course and change of government. Liberals at Yabloko proceed from the premise that an outright rejection of all opportunities for peaceful change and the adoption of actions based on the principle that “it has to get worse before it gets better” is irresponsible and leads to a dead-end...

The original publication by the New York Times

Danish government negotiations concluded – Radikale Venstre gets six Ministers!
ELDR Press Release, October 4, 2011.

Following two weeks of intense negotiations after the Parliamentary elections on 15 September 2011, a new government was announced on Monday in Denmark, to be led by Social Democrat Party Leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who thereby becomes the country’s first ever female Prime Minister. Also the overall government held a good gender balance. Out of a total of 23 Ministers, 9 are female and 14 male. The new Danish coalition government features three parties, including ELDR Member Det Radikale Venstre (Radikale), who goes into the coalition as the second force and will receive six Ministerial portfolios, the heaviest obviously being Party Leader Magrethe Vestager's beefed up, combined portfolio of Minister for Economy and Home Affairs, which will give Radikale a first-hand opportunity to steer the Danish migration policy into a new direction, following years of influence from the nationalist, anti-immigrant Danish People's Party on this area.

In addition to Vestager's portfolio, Radikale gains the following Ministers:

- Minister for Climate and Energy: Mr. Martin Lidegaard;

- Minister for Culture: Mr. Uffe Elbæk;

- Minister for Development: Mr. Christian Friis Bach;

- Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs, Equality and Nordic Cooperation: Mr. Manu Sareen;

- Minister for Research and Innovation: Mr. Morten Østergaard;

The ELDR Party would like to take this occasion to wish Det Radikale Venstre all the best for its upcoming challenges in Danish politics and the new government!

Prospects for European Liberals in this decade. By Sir Graham Watson, MEP. September 2011
“I hope still to contribute to the task of building Liberal strength across the continent of Europe and beyond. I believe there is much to play for.
The European People’s Party is an inherently unstable coalition, the European Socialists a party in terminal decline. The opportunity for a stronger centre is immense.”

With these words I concluded my book ‘Building a Liberal Europe - the ALDE Project’ published late last year. The book tells the story of the Liberal contribution to the building of the EU from the first direct elections to the European Parliament in 1979 to the elections of June 2009. But the story of liberalism did not end there.

Since then the Lisbon Treaty has entered into force, giving the EU institutions new competences; substantial moves have been made towards common economic government for the countries sharing a common currency, in conjunction with moves to control the greed of the financial community; the EU has been challenged to turn its fine words into action in the fight against climate change; and the foundations have been laid for a common foreign and security policy. Liberal thought has contributed to these. But where do we go from here? How can we contribute to the EU's 'work in progress'?...

Successful liberal results
ELDR Press Release, September 16, 2011.

The stakes were high when yesterday’s Danish Parliamentary elections got underway. Following intense and good campaigning by all parties, spearheaded by leading government party and ELDR Member Party Venstre, polls close to election day showed the two blocs on almost equal figures. The stage was therefore set for a real nail-biter on election night. As the vote count got underway, it quickly became clear that this would be a good night for Danish liberals.

Not only did Venstre stand their ground very well, clearly maintaining their position as Denmark’s largest party, ELDR’s other Danish member party Det Radikale Venstre were also speeding off the blocks to substantially increase their 5,1 % share of the electorate in the last elections in 2007...

Italia dei Valori wins!
ELDR Press Release, June 6, 2011.

In key run-off local elections held in Italy last weekend, ELDR member Italia dei Valori and the coalition it is part of won over Prime Minister’s Berlusconi’s conservative coalition.

In Naples, ELDR MEP Luigi de Magistris won 65% of the vote in a landslide victory over Mr Berlusconi's candidate, Gianni Lettieri. Other such key cities include Milan, Mr Berlusconi and Lega Nord’s power base, run by these parties for the last 18 years, as well as Turin, Bologna, Trieste, Cagliari.

European liberals supported Oleg Orlov, head of the Memorial human rights centre

Press Release, May 24, 2011.

The European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party Council, convening in Dresden, Germany, unanimously voted for the draft resolution submitted by the YABLOKO party in support of Oleg Orlov, head of the Memorial human rights centre and winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize “For the Freedom of Thought”.

European liberals expressed their deep concern with the trials and harassments against Oleg Orlov initiated by leader of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov for the criticism of the Chechen authorities in view of investigation of the murder in Chechnya of renowned human rights activist Natalya Estemirova. The resolution of ELDR Council stressed that persecution of Oleg Orlov was “clearly politically motivated, raised serious questions on the functioning of the Russian judicial system, and demonstrated the desire of the Chechen authorities to prevent Orlov voicing his opinion”.

ELDR called the Russian authorities to “stop trials and harassments against Oleg Orlov and other human rights defenders”, “properly investigate the murder of Natalya Estemirova and bring the perpetrators to justice”...

Stop Persecution of Russian Human Rights Activist
Urgency Resolution adopted by ELDR Dresden Council
May 20, 2011, submitted by YABLOKO.

The European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party Council, convening in Dresden, Germany on 20 May 2011:

Notes with deep concern:

- Reports on political reprisals against Oleg Orlov, Russian human rights activist, winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize and Chair of the "Memorial" Human Rights Centre, for voicing criticism of Chechen authorities about the investigation into the murder of human rights activist Natalya Estemirova in 2009;
- That trials initiated by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, the latest of which is set to resume in June, are clearly politically motivated, raise serious questions on the functioning of the Russian judicial system, and demonstrate the desire of the Chechen authorities to prevent Orlov voicing his opinion.

Calls upon Russian authorities to:

- Stop trials and harassments against Oleg Orlov and other human rights defenders and properly investigate such attacks and trials;
- Properly investigate the murder of Natalya Estemirova and bring the perpetrators to justice.

States that

ELDR will continue to closely monitor events in Russia.

Algorithms for Opposing Gender Discrimination

By Marianne Spangenberg-Carlier, Vice-President of D66 Women/Men/Human Rights thematic chapter

D66 News Letter, May 10, 2011.

YABLOKO is the oldest democratic party in Russia. One important issue at hand during the conference concerned worries that because of the low birthrate of Russian women, abortion might become illegal (now allowed within 12 weeks) or not covered by the health insurance. Another issue brought to attention by Yabloko, is the concern of so-called soldier-mothers about the situation of young conscripts (one year army duty is obliged) improvement is urgent.

Turkish MP Nursuna Memecan (AKP) mentioned recent changes made to improve the position of women...

Norwegian liberals greeted proposals by YABLOKO’s leader on closer cooperation of Russian and Europe with a storm of applause

Press Release, April 4, 2011.

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin made a speech at a congress of Norwegian liberal party Venstre on April 3, 2011. His speech was devoted to the issues of European integration, Russia’s role in this process, as well as problems Russia encounter in its development as a democratic state. Over 500 people were present at the congress: delegates of the Venstre party and leaders of foreign sister parties.

In his speech Sergei Mitrokhin told to his foreign colleagues about the history and the structure of the YABLOKO party, as well as the liberal and democratic values YABLOKO have been advocating for almost 20 years already.

Sergei Mitrokhin also said that the approach of the Western leaders based on Realpolitik had failed. YABLOKO’s leader called the EU to develop a single strategy in its relations with Russia: “The lack of firm approach to Russia when liberal values or human rights are concerned was regarded as a kind of carte blanche by our elites. And now we all have what we have”...

European Liberal Democrats call for bold action on North Africa
ELDR Press Release, March 21, 2011.

The EU should use a three-way approach: peace, trade and aid Meeting in Madrid, Spain, the Leadership of the ELDR Party has discussed the situation in the Arab World and calls for three main points in Euro-Arab relations following the UN Security Council's meeting yesterday (17 March 2011)...

Verhofstadt on Libya: "The weak position of the EU makes me sick"
Press Release, ALDE, March 16, 2011

The fall-out from the Japanese tsunami has inevitably dominated media reports and blurred international attention to the rout of the Libyan opposition, left to fend off Gaddafi and his mercenaries by themselves. Today at a meeting in Parliament to assess the results of last week's European Council, Guy Verhofstadt denounced the inability of the EU to take decisive action on the Libyan crisis. "This makes me sick," he declared...

Three lessons from North Africa by Graham Watson MEP

March 10, 2011.

Three lessons can be learned from the popular democratic uprisings which should inform our policy from now on.

The first is that it is no good preaching the values of democracy if we arm its enemies. Having armed Gadhafi and other autocrats there is a logical case to be made for arming the protesters, particularly if we fail to live up to the ‘duty to protect’ laid down in the UN Charter: but this policy should be pursued only in extremis. Most important, however, is to stop arms sales to autocratic regimes wherever they are: democracy’s appeal is not limited to north Africa, nor the temptation to beleaguered autocrats to use arms against their own people...

EU must recognise legitimacy of Libyan Interim Council
Press Release, ALDE, March 10, 2010

The ALDE Group arranged for two senior members of the National Interim Council of Libya to come to Strasbourg this week to hear directly from them what should be done to support those fighting for freedom and democracy in Libya. Dr. Ali A. S . Al-Issawi and Dr. Mahmoud Gebril Elwarfally were appointed Ministers of the National Interim Council last weekend. Dr Al-Issawi was Libya's Ambassador to India until his resignation in February in protest of the attacks by Gaddafi on the Libyan protesters...

ELDR – believing in a gender equal society
ELDR News, March 8, 2011

Over the years, ELDR has adopted many resolutions that aim to a fairer society which notices many of the structural indifferences leading to different opportunities for the different sexes. For today's Centenary of the International Women's Day, here are ELDR's adopted positions on gender issues. European Liberal Democrats believe in equal rights and opportunities for both women and men with the active support of society, as the whole of society benefits when women and men can contribute on equal terms...

Election success for Estonian Liberals
ELDR News, March 7, 2011

ELDR's Estonian member parties; Reform Party and Centre Party both achieved very good results in Sunday's general election with a combined score of over 50% of the public vote.

Reform Party polled 28.6% of the votes which is enough to see the party win 33 seats in the 101 seat parliament and retain their position as the leading party in government. Reform Party is set to return to coalition with the conservatives, as was the case in the last parliament, with Andrus Ansip, leader of Reform Party, remaining as prime minister.

This would mean that the Centre Party, which scored an impressive 23.3% and returns with 26 MPs, would be the strongest opposition party...

ELDR congratulates new Liberal President of Kosovo

ELDR News, February 23, 2011

Yesterday, on Tuesday 22 February 2011, ELDR Member Party Alliance for a New Kosovo (AKR) Party Leader Behgjet Pacolli was elected President of the Republic of Kosovo by the newly assembled Kosovo Parliament, following the decision by AKR to join the coalition government led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s Democratic Party PDK. In this coalition, AKR will also gain the posts of Deputy Prime Minister and three Ministries: Mimoza Kusari Lila will become Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry, Ferid Agani Minister of Health and Agim Ceku Minister of Defence...

General election in Ireland: "the most important in a generation"
ELDR News, February 22, 2011

This Friday (25 February) Irish citizens will go to the polls to elect a new parliament and government. Ahead of the election, Micheál Martin, leader of ELDR member Fianna Fáil, has written an article for the ELDR Party about the current political landscape in Ireland and what Fianna Fail's priorities are for the next parliamentary term...

Also: Estonian elections.
The Estonian Parliamentary elections will be held on 6 March, and ELDR Member Parties Reformierakond (Reform Party) and Keskerakond (Centre Party) will be playing central roles...

Russia can never modernise without a liberal society based on the rule of law - Verhofstadt

Press Release, ALDE, February 9, 2010

...Opening the seminar, ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt said:
"Russia will always be an important neighbour and strategic partner for the EU. But we shall not be silent when violations of human rights and the rule of law are common place. Our commitment is to the Russian people, who deserve better.
"Council of Europe, OSCE or WTO membership entails obligations. For a serious international player that Russia aspires to be, meeting international commitments is paramount.
"Russian authorities would be well advised to pursue a more liberal agenda. This means introducing true competition, guaranteeing political freedoms, distinguishing between oligarchs and politicians, and most importantly adhering to the rule of law.
"Modernisation of Russia will only be successful if this liberal agenda is first put into practice. Building on the current flawed economic and political system will lead to nothing."

Kriistina Ojuland MEP (ALDE, Estonian Reform Party), former Foreign Minister of Estonia and ALDE spokesperson on EU Russian relations, said:
"We believe that a modernisation of Russia should not only entail economic and market reforms but also calls for greater democracy, political freedoms, and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
"I welcome the European Parliament's initiative to establish an early monitoring group in order to observe the preparations of the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
"I would very much welcome a prompt resolution by the European parliament on the situation regarding the rule of law in Russia."

The time has come to act on Belarus

Press Release, ALDE, January 21, 2010

Commenting on the European Parliament's strong condemnation of the brutal oppression of opposition and civil society in Belarus in the aftermath of the presidential elections in December, ALDE MEP Kristiina Ojuland (Estonian Reform Party, Estonia) said: "Today the European Parliament is sending a strong message of support to the people of Belarus, demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all political detainees and an immediate stop to all forms of harassment and threats against members of the protesting public...

Verhofstadt welcomes prompt Commission action on media law

Press Release, ALDE, January 18, 2010

"When EU core values, like freedom of media, are at stake there is no time to lose before taking action. We have asked the Commission to act promptly to ensure freedom of media in Hungary, under threat by the newly adopted Media law and the Commission has given us today a first assurance," said ALDE Leader Guy Verhofstadt, welcoming Barroso's declared intention, during today's question time with the President of the Commission, to send a letter to the Hungarian government this week indicating the crucial points of the Media Law that Hungary should change...

Joint Statement by ALDE, ALDE-PACE, ELDR and Liberal International on sitution after elections in Belarus

January 13, 2011

Liberals in Europe and worldwide have closed ranks to make a strong call upon the Belarusian government to release all journalists, opposition candidates and civil society representatives who face continued detention.
For liberal parties and their representatives in the European and national parliaments the brutal repression of the peaceful demonstrations following the presidential elections on 19 December 2010 is completely unacceptable...

Clear Visa Rules for Neighbourhood Policy

Press Release, ALDE, December 14, 2010

...On a related matter, questioning the Commission concerning recent evidence showing that the EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement, in force since June 2007, is still not fully implemented in a completely reciprocal way, ALDE spokesperson on Russia Kristina Ojuland (Reform Party, Estonia) said "we fully support the visa waiver agreement as a measure to enable Russian citizens to travel to the EU with minimum formalities, but we would expect the Russian side to apply the same standard to our citizens. We must ensure that the current requirement for EU citizens to register within three days with the authorities if staying in a private home in Russia is abolished."

Liberals gain great victory in Catalonia
Press Release, ELDR, November 29, 2010

ELDR member party Convergencia Democratica de Catalunya (CDC) overwhelmingly won the elections for the regional Parliament of Catalonia, the economically strongest region in Spain. ELDR Party President Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck wholeheartedly congratulates CDC's leader Artur Mas who led the party alliance Convergencia i Unió (CiU) during the election campaign and is now due to become Catalonia's next Prime Minister.

"With 38,5% of the votes and twice as strong as the previously ruling Socialists, Artur Mas and his party will have solid support to push for necessary decisions regarding Catalonia's future and make it once again belong to the economically healthy regions in Europe", commented the ELDR Party President. "With a great victory the new catalan government will push for necessary decisions regarding Catalonia's future and to make a greater Catalonia, fully commited with the european future", commented Marc Guerrero, ELDR Party Vice President...

Verhofstadt congratulates Catalan party on election victory
Press Release, ALDE, November 29, 2010

Guy Verhofstadt, President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament today wrote to Convergencia i Unió Party leader, Artur Mas, to congratulate him on a stunning electoral victory last night in the Catalan national polls in which CiU took 38.5% of the vote which translates into 62 of the 135 seats in the parliamentary chamber. Although not an absolute majority, the result secures CiU as by far the largest party in Catalonia and will deliver the presidency of the Catalan Government to Artur Mas. "This is truly a convincing victory for CiU, a member party of the European Liberal family. I congratulate Artur Mas and his colleagues on the tremendous result in obtaining the support of almost 1.2 million voters in Catalonia."

LI Vice President urges China to release Noble Peace Prize winner

Liberal International News Bulletin. Issue 205. October 14, 2010

In response to the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), LI full member has expressed its support for democratic activism in China. LI Vice President Bi-khim Hsiao (DPP) commented: “The Nobel award to Liu Xiaobo is an important recognition of the ongoing efforts of Chinese democracy activists, who have risked their lives and personal freedom, to fight for human rights and civil liberties in China (...) The international community must continue to support their efforts by demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Liu and other prisoners of conscience in China.” The Nobel Committee announced that Liu was awarded the prize due to his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China...” MORE

Liberals succeed in Swedish elections

Press Release, ELDR, September 20, 2010

European Liberals wholeheartedly congratulate their Swedish member parties Folkpartiet Liberalerna and Centerpartiet to their results in yesterday's Swedish parliamentary elections even if their electoral alliance is short of 3 seats for an absolute majority. "Both parties showed an impressive campaign finishing", commented ELDR Party President Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck.

Only a few weeks ago, polls still suggested a comfortable majority for the alliance of the left. However, reality proved to be different... MORE

See also:YABLOKO's Sister-Parties

Sweden:two liberal parties key players in Sunday’s election

E-Newsletter, ELDR, September 15, 2010

Parliamentary elections will be held in Sweden on 19 September. For the first time in history two coalition blocks, i.e. government alternatives, have been formed before the elections giving the voter the opportunity to choose which administration it wants for the following four years, resulting in a fierce campaign for undecided voters. The liberal influence of ELDR parties Centerpartiet and Folkpartiet could be key in determining the shape of the new government. MORE

See also:YABLOKO's Sister-Parties

Bundestag members visited YABLOKO’s office

Press Release, September 6, 2010.

On September 6 YABLOKO received the delegation of the German Free Democratic Party (Freie Demokratische Partei, FDP) in YABLOKO’s Moscow office. The FDP delegation included Bundestag members Dr.Reiner Stinner, Marina Schuster, Dr. Bijan Djir-Sarai and Patrick Kurth, staff members of the FDP parliamentary faction, Director of the Moscow Bureau of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Sasha Tamm and staff members of the German Embassy. FDP together with the Christian Democrats forms a coalition German federal government. FDP leader Guido Westerwelle is currently German Foreign Minister...

“Clegg announces welcome political reforms – Hughes”

LI News Issue 191, July 8, 2010

With the decision made by the Liberal Democrat-Conservative government in the UK to hold a referendum on adopting “Alternative Vote” , the UK moves one step closer to adopting a form of proportional representation. According to recently elected Deputy Leader of the Lib Dems, Simon Hughes MP: ““The coalition Government has decided in one move to give all voters a much greater say in who is chosen to represent them and to give Parliament a much greater say in the business of Government…With an easier and more up to date electoral register in the future, the whole of Britain will have a much more representative democracy. We will also end the scandal where votes have been of unequal value and in many places of no value at all — and where many people have scandalously not even been allowed to vote.” The Liberal Democrats currently serve as a coalition partner in the United Kingdom, with leader Nick Clegg serving as Deputy Prime Minister. Recently he met with leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Michael Ignatieff .

More news

Verhofstadt: Five challenges of the Belgian Presidency

Press Release, ALDE, July 7, 2010

Addressing the Belgium Prime Minister, Yves Leterme, in a parliamentary debate in Strasbourg today, Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Liberal and Democrat group in the European Parliament, underlined that the success of the Belgian Presidency would be judged on its ability to steer through the measures to address the financial and economic crisis.

"There is one over-riding concern on the minds of Europe's citizens and that is how we can quickly and efficiently emerge from the current crisis and era of austerity and lay the foundations for future growth and prosperity. Belgium now faces its own stress test whether it can live up to expectations and deliver genuine Community responses to a crisis that transcends all frontiers..."

European Parliament members meet with YABLOKO’s leaders

Press Release, July 26, 2010.

On June 26 YABLOKO held a meeting with the delegation of the European Liberals, Democrats and Reformers party (ELDR) – Mrs. Annemie Neyts, ELDR President, Mrs.Kristiina Ojuland, MEP, Mr. Michael Jensen, member of Danish parliament and Mr.Robert Plummer, ELDR Political Advisor.

Opening the meeting YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin proposed to discuss the prospects of further cooperation between ELDR and ELDR full member the YABLOKO party.

Member of YABLOKO’s Political Committee Grigory Yavlinsky said that the EU has not yet developed a single strategy for cooperation with Russia, therefore development of such a strategy can become a task of ELDR and its faction in the European Parliament. And YABLOKO can help in development of such a strategy. "The absence of a well-developed European strategy as regards integration with Russia is one of the key obstacles in development of relations between Russia and Europe. YABLOKO’s proposals and some provisions of our party programme could form the basis for such a strategy," Yavlinsky said.

YABLOKO’s leaders also dwelled upon some aspects of such a strategy. Thus, Sergei Mitrokhin proposed to European liberals to more actively support YABLOKO’s initiative on abolishing visas between the EU and Russia. He called the visa regime “a rudiment of the Iron Curtain preventing assimilation of the European standards by the Russian citizens”...

Belgium's EU Presidency well prepared despite election results

Press Release, ELDR, June 10, 2010

On Sunday 13 June, more than seven million Belgians were invited to cast their ballot in elections for both the House of Representatives and 40 seats in the Senate. These early elections were made necessary after the Belgian federal government, led by the Christian Democrat Prime Minister Yves Leterme, collapsed in April of this year over deadlock on economic questions as well as the lingering question of the electoral district of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde - the last remaining in Belgium where it is possible to vote for either Dutch or French speaking political parties...

European Liberals congratulate their two Dutch member parties with their fantastic election results

Press Release, ELDR, June 10, 2010

The VVD has won the Dutch parliamentary elections on Wednesday 9 June, becoming the number one party in the Netherlands for the first time in its 62 year history, with 20.4% of the votes. The election night started with exit polls showing the Liberals and Labour running neck-and-neck, but when 90% of the votes were counted the VVD took the lead with 31 seats (an increase of 9 seats) against 30 for Labour, which lost three seats.

VVD Leader Mark Rutte, who is expected to become the next Prime Minister, made a victory speech in the early hours of Thursday 10 June: "During the campaign, we have tirelessly tried to convince people of our convictions how to get our country out of the crisis. This result gives our party an obligation which we can all sense. We will respect the result and the trust which the voters have given us." The VVD campaigned with the slogan "putting affairs in order," calling for a stop to reckless public spending and a rigorous budget cut to ensure sustainable state finances.

The Dutch voters, however, have given a difficult task to Mark Rutte as the political landscape remains fragmented and any government coalition will have to consist of at least three parties.

The other ELDR member party, the social liberal D66 obtained 7% of the votes and more than tripled its number of seats, from 3 to 10. D66 achieved the highest result in Wageningen, the hometown of its Political leader Alexander Pechtold; 15%.

ELDR President Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck MEP: "I am thrilled to see that both our Dutch member parties have achieved such good results. It confirms our conviction that citizens expect leadership in these times of crisis and support parties which are not afraid to implement liberal reforms and tough measures to achieve again a sustainable budget."

Verhofstadt congratulates Dutch Liberal parties on election success

Press Release, ALDE, June 10, 2010

Guy VERHOFSTADT, President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament, today sent his congratulations to both Liberal parties on their outstanding election results in the Netherlands.

"The victory of VVD in topping the polls will bring another Prime Minister to the Liberal table in Europe and marks an historic achievement for the Party. The 31 seats that Mr Rutte's party gained in the national parliament will provide a strong base for taking the necessary, if tough, measures on the economy to create growth and job opportunities in the longer term."

"Alexander Pechtold's D66 also did exceptionally well in more than tripling their score of parliamentarians. I look forward to working with both parties in the months and years ahead."

The United Kingdom Elections 2010

By Robert Woodthorpe Browne. Special for YABLOKO's web-site. May 26, 2010

...Now the UK has a coalition Government, in which Nick Clegg is Deputy Prime Minister, with 5 LibDems in the Cabinet and a further 15 as junior ministers. The legislative programme, read out by Queen Elizabeth II yesterday, contains very many policies from the LibDem manifesto, and the two parties are committed to a 5 year government to enable them to carry out their reforms and eliminate the deficit.

The real lesson to be learned from a Russian point of view is that the UK suffered from limited access to the media for minor parties. If a platform is given to others – as in the prime ministerial debates – the people are able to make an informed choice and will be excited by a political process that they will not think to have been “fixed” by those already in power.

Forward looking approach essential for reform in Russia

ELDR Press Release. February 5, 2010

Russia can only move forward in developing a truly fair, free and democratic society if it puts to bed once and for all the ghosts of its past. This was the conclusion from a seminar organised by the European Liberal Democrat's parliamentary group about "how the Kremlin thinks and what this means for Europe" that took place last Wednesday.

Panelists, including ELDR's Russian party leaders, Sergey Mitrokhin, Yaboloko, and Mikhail Kasyanov, People's Democratic Union, agreed that the specter of Stalin's Russia is still hanging over modern day society and is preventing the country from initiating the reforms that are needed to facilitate its development, including strengthening its ties with the European Union.

Sergey Mitrokhin spoke about telling Russian President Medvedev the importance of publically acknowledging that Stalinism is in the past. Mitrokhin referred to what he called a "hankering for former times" that is pervading the thoughts of Russian citizens as the present government fails to deliver the reforms that are necessary for the country to proposer in the 21st century.


ELDR Congress 2009
19th-20th November, Barcelona, Catalonia

ELDR organised its 30th annual Congress on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th November 2009 in Barcelona, Catalonia. ELDR member party Convergencia Democratica, were our kind hosts.

The Congress was attended by in the region of 500 delegates and guests from ELDR member parties as well as people from the wider European liberal network, including party leaders, European Commissioners and national and European parliamentarians. Participants debated key policy areas and overwhelmingly adopted the Congress theme resolution “Liberal answers for a new prosperity”.

Annemie Neyts MEP, was re-elected as President of the ELDR Party to serve her third mandate. 4 out of 7 vice presidents were also elected. Incumbent Vice President Markus Loning, FDP, Germany was re-elected. Leoluca Orlando MP, Italia dei Valori, Italy was newly elected as were Lousewies Van Der Laan D66, The Netherlands; and Marc Guerrero, CDC, Catalonia. Treasurer David Griffiths from the British Liberal Democrats was also re-appointed for a second term.


Liberals to play a major role in new Commission

ALDE, Press release, November 28, 2009

Guy Verhofstadt, Liberal and Democrat group leader in the European Parliament, responded positively to the announcement today by President Barroso that Liberal commissioners will be assigned a number of key portfolios in the new Commission. As the Commission is the engine of the European Union, the Liberal group will play a key role in the policy of the Union in the next five years. This is what the ALDE Group and its leader Guy Verhofstadt aimed for.


Liberals with high leverage in the new European Commission

ELDR, Press release, November 27, 2009

Following the presentation of the new college of Commissioners by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Friday, 27 November 2009, ELDR Party President Annemie Neyts warmly welcomed the portfolios assigned to liberals. "Eight of the Commissioners represent European Liberal Democrat values, which will ensure a liberal footprint on the agenda for change set out by Commission President Barroso in the political guidelines for the new Commission for the coming five years."


International Federation of Liberal Youth condemned elections fraud in Russia

Special for YABLOKO’s web-site by Ksenia Vakhrusheva, November 17, 2009

Alexander Gudimov, President of the St.Petersburg branch of the Youth YABLOKO and Ksenia Vakhrusheva, International Officer of the St.Petersburg branch of the Youth YABLOKO, took part in the annual General Assembly of the International Federation of Liberal Youth, held on 12-15 November in the Hague, the Netherlands. The GA joined together over130 young liberals from 35 countries, who are ready to stand for liberal values in there home countries and in the world, who shared their experience
The key points of the agenda were elections of the new executive board, voting for amendments to the Manifesto and resolutions... On the initiative of Youth Yabloko the General Assembly developed and adopted a resolution on condemning elections fraud in Russia. The resolution was approved by a majority.

Liberal International accused the Russian authorities in election fraud on October 11, 2009

Press release, November 1, 2009

The 56th congress of the Liberal International, international organisation of liberals and liberal parties, finished its work yesterday night.

The congress adopted basic resolution World Today reflecting liberal assessment of situation in different countries and regions of the world.
Assessing the situation in Russia the congress noted that “the legislation which has extended the term of the Russian Presidency from four to six years, going against the basic democratic rule of governmental change and leading to the growth of bureaucratic supremacy and corruption in Russia”.

On the initiative of Sergei Mitrokhin, YABLOKO’s delegate at the congress, the resolution also expressed concern about the ongoing trend towards abolishing of honest and fair elections, as well as curbing of human rights in Russia”.


Liberals victorious in Dutch elections: difficult coalition talks ahead

Press Release, Liberal International,
Issue 188, June 17, 2010

The Dutch elections saw victories for both LI Full Members VVD and D66. VVD became the largest Dutch party for the first time since its foundation. VVD secured 20.5% of the popular vote, an increase of nearly 6%, while D66 more than doubled their support from 3% to 7%. VVD Leader Mark Rutte now faces difficult coalition talks due to the fragmented Dutch political landscape. The right-wing Freedom Party became third biggest and was regarded winner of the elections next to the VVD. Due to the big electoral gains of VVD and the Freedom Party, Rutte expressed his wish to start talks with the right-wing party and the Christian Democrats: “After all, the VVD and PVV won a total of 23 additional [seats] in the parliamentary elections. A coalition with them will be difficult, but not impossible”. Meanwhile, D66-leader Alexander Pechtold expressed his wish for a socialist-liberal coalition to “reform The Netherlands in a responsible manner. It will be a balanced and stabile coalition: something we need in times of economic troubles”...


Liberals victorious in Dutch elections: difficult coalition talks ahead
Past LI President Lord Alderdice new Convener in House of Lords
Keskusta elects new leader, Finland will have new female liberal PM
Westerwelle meets Clegg in Berlin: expresses concern about Kyrgyzstan
Democrat Party victorious in Bangkok local elections
Belgian liberals vow to rebuild liberal brand for Belgium
Ansip expresses Estonian ambitions at Reform Party General Assembly
Swedish People’s Party in Finland holds Congress
ADR Burundi leader arrested, and released ahead of mega-election year (Online only)
LI Human Rights Committee Convenes (Online only)

The 56th Congress of the Liberal International. Urgency resolution submitted by YABLOKO

The 56th Congress of the LIberal Internatioanl convening in Cairo...

Calls on:
The Russian authorities to:
- conduct a full inspection of the complaints of the actions (or negligence) of election commissions in all the Russian Federation subjects, all the evidence of fraud published by the mass media and punish all those guilty of election fraud, as well as take urgent remedy measures, if needed, declaring the elections void;
- observe Russia’s obligations under its membership in the OSCE and in the Council of
Europe on ensuring free and fair elections in the country;
- form new electoral commissions ensuring that representatives from all of Russia's political parties should have equal participation to cast a vote;
- ensure free and equal conditions for all the political parties and candidates, as well as maximum public control over elections and voting.

read more

Liberals discussed the world

Sergei Mitrokhin’s blog at the Echo Moskvi web-site, November 3, 2009

The 56th Congress of the Liberal International (LI) where I took part, finished its work on Saturday night in Cairo.

The congress adopted basic resolution World Today, which, in my view is a very interesting document. It provides liberal assessment of the situation in different countries and regions of the world.

In terms of examples:

The congress approved election of Barack Obama noting that he had won under the slogans of “active civil position, tolerance, dialogue, rights of individuals, freedom and democracy”.

[The congress also noted that] Honduras had been “going through a period of serious disturbances provoked by the violation of its Constitution by the President of the Republic”.

Sergei Mitrokhin: Success of the FDP represents a major break-through of the liberal movement

By Olga Demidova
www.dw-world.de, September 28, 2009

In his interview to the Deutsche Welle the leader of the Russian opposition party YABLOKO Sergei Mitrokhin congratulated a “sister liberal party” – the German FDP party - with their success at the parliamentary election on September 27. “I think this represents a major break-through of the liberal movement not only in Germany, but also worldwide,” he said.

Open Letter, January 16, 2003
Most respected Mr. President,

We are concerned about developments in the Republic of Belarus concerning Russian media. Broadcasts of Mayak (Ed. "Beacon"), Yunost (Ed. "Youth"), and Golos Rossii (Ed. "Voice of Russia") that have for many years constituted a key source of information for the citizens of Belarus, have been closed.


Abramova sympathizes with Yavlinsky
"Vecherny Minsk", Janaury 24, 1997
"One land. One nation. One life to succeed in assisting people." She decided to establish in Belarus the public union "Yabloko"—an autonomous political movement, similar in principles, goals and objectives to the Russian association "Yabloko".

Director and administrator: Vyacheslav Erohin e-mail: admin@yabloko.ru

Yabloko e-mail: english@yabloko.ru