|Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
European Parliament group
|Name||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
|Ideology||Liberalism, Social liberalism, Conservative liberalism|
|European parties||European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
European Democratic Party
|From||July 20 2004|
|Chaired by||Guy Verhofstadt MEP|
|MEP(s)||84 (30 june 2009)|
The Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) is the current liberal/centrist political group of the European Parliament. It is made up of MEPs from two Europarties, the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party and the European Democratic Party, which collectively form the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
ALDE is one of the three oldest Groups, dating its unofficial origin back to September 1952 and the first meeting of the Parliament's predecessor, the Common Assembly. Founded as an explicitly Liberal Group, it has expanded its remit to cover the different centrist traditions of each new Member State as they acceded to the Union, progressively changing its name in the process.
It is the third-largest Group in the Parliament and does not participate in the Grand Coalition (the coalition designed to provide a majority) for the Sixth Parliament (2004-2009). It did however partner with the EPP-ED to form the Grand Coalition for the Fifth Parliament, during which time it achieved its sole President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox.
The Group can trace its unofficial ancestry back to the Liberal members present at the first meeting of the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community (the Parliament's predecessor) on 10 September 1952, but the Group was officially founded as the Group of Liberals and Allies on 23 June 1953.
As the Assembly grew into the Parliament, the French Gaullists split from the Group on 21 January 1965 and the Group started the process of changing its name to match the liberal/centrist traditions of the new member states, firstly to the Liberal and Democratic Group in 1976, then to the Liberal and Democratic Reformist Group on 13 December 1985, then to the Group of the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party on 19 July 1994 to match the European political party of the same name.
In 1999, the Group partnered with European People's Party–European Democrats (EPP-ED) group to form the Grand Coalition for the Fifth Parliament. The customary split of the Presidency of the European Parliament between Groups in the Coalition meant that the Group achieved its first President of the European Parliament on 15 January 2002, when Pat Cox was elected to the post to serve the latter half of the five-year term. The Group lost its Grand Coalition status after the 2004 elections.
On 13 July 2004 the Group approved a recommendation to unite with MEPs from the centrist and social-liberal European political party called the European Democratic Party founded by François Bayrou's Union for French Democracy, the Lithuanian Labour Party and the Italian Margherita.
The Group accordingly became the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) on 20 July 2004, to match the eponymous transnational political alliance, although the two Europarties remained separate outside the European Parliament. The MEP Graham Watson of the British Liberal Democrats became the first chair of ALDE.
ALDE is a coalition of centrist and liberal MEPs from the European centre. It does not have formal subgroups, although the MEPs fall naturally into two informal subgroups, depending on whether they associate with the ELDR or the EDP.
The Bureau is the main decision making body of the ALDE Group and is composed of the leaders of the delegations from each member state that elects ALDE MEPs. The Bureau oversees the ALDE Group's main strategy and policies and is headed by a chair (referred to as the Leader). The day-to-day running of the Group is performed by its secretariat, led by its Secretary-General.
The senior staff of ALDE as of 24 October 2008 are as follows:
|Beels, Alexander||Secretary General|||
|Cocilovo, Luigi||Vice-President of EP|||
|Costa, Paolo||Chair of TRAN committee|||
|De Sarnez, Marielle||4th Deputy-Leader|||
|Deprez, Gérard||Chair of LIBE committee|||
|Guardans, Cambó Ignasi||Member|||
|Hyusmenova, Filiz Hakaeva||Member|||
|In 'T Veld, Sophia||Member|||
|Koch-Mehrin, Silvana||1st Deputy-Leader|||
|Morillon, Philippe||Chair of PECH committee|||
|Ortuondo, Larrea Josu||Member|||
|Pauli, François||Deputy Secretary General|||
|Raeva, Bilyana Ilieva||Member|||
|Riis-Jørgensen, Karin||3rd Deputy-Leader|||
|Rinaldi, Niccolo||Deputy Secretary General|||
|Susta, Gianluca||5th Deputy-Leader|||
|Vălean, Adina-Ioana||2nd Deputy-Leader, Whip|||
|Wallis, Diana||Vice-President of EP|||
The chairs of ALDE and its predecessors from 1953 to 24 October 2008 are as follows:
|1957||1968||"Pleven" (René Pleven?)|||
|1969||15 March 1973||Cornelis Berkhouwer|||
|09 October 1978||16 July 1979||Jean-François Pintat|||
|17 July 1979||27 June 1984||Martin Bangemann|||
|24 July 1984||24 July 1989||Simone Veil|||
|25 July 1989||11 December 1991||Valery Giscard d'Estaing|||
|27 January 1992||18 July 1994||Yves Galland|||
|19 July 1994||02 August 1998||Gijs de Vries|||
|09 September 1998||14 January 2002||Pat Cox|||
|16 January 2002||31 June 2009||Graham Watson|||
|1 July 2009||present||Guy Verhofstadt|||
The national parties that are members of ALDE are as follows:
|Belgium||Flemish Liberals and Democrats||ELDR||3||3|
|Bulgaria||National Movement for Stability and Progress||ELDR||2||2|
|Movement for Rights and Freedoms||ELDR||3||3|
|Cyprus||Democratic Party (note: left ALDE for S&D in 2009)||none||1||-|
|Denmark||Venstre - Liberal Party||ELDR||3||3|
|Danish Social Liberal Party||ELDR||1||-|
|Estonia||Estonian Centre Party||ELDR||1||2|
|Estonian Reform Party||ELDR||1||1|
|Swedish People's Party||ELDR||1||1|
|Civic Alliance for Democracy in Europe||ELDR||3||-|
|Germany||Free Democratic Party||ELDR||7||12|
|Hungary||Alliance of Free Democrats||ELDR||2||-|
|Marian Harkin (Independent)||EDP||1||1|
|Italy||Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy (note: merged into PD in 2007)||EDP||9||-|
|Italy of Values||ELDR||1||7|
|Liberal and Centre Union||ELDR||2||-|
|Liberals' Movement of the Republic of Lithuania||ELDR||-||1|
|Netherlands||People's Party for Freedom and Democracy||ELDR||4||3|
|Poland||Democratic Party – demokraci.pl||ELDR||4||-|
|Paweł Piskorski (Independent)||none||1||-|
|Marek Czarnecki (Independent)||none||1||-|
|Romania||National Liberal Party||ELDR||6||5|
|Slovenia||Liberal Democracy of Slovenia||ELDR||2||1|
|Spain||Democratic Convergence of Catalonia||ELDR||1||1|
|Basque Nationalist Party||EDP||1||1|
|Sweden||Liberal People's Party||ELDR||1||3|
|United Kingdom||Liberal Democrats||ELDR||11||12|
A December 2007 European Parliament document gave the percentage of MEPs for each Group and member state at that date. The results for ALDE are given on the diagram on the right.
The document shows that ALDE does not draw its MEPs evenly from throughout the EU. Its smallest support is in the Iberian peninsula, Central Europe, and Greece. Its largest support comes from Scandinavia, the Baltic states and the non-Greek Balkans. Only one member state (Lithuania) has more than 50% of its MEPs sitting with ALDE. Countries with no ALDE MEPs include Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Slovakia.
In September 1952, the third-largest grouping in the Common Assembly was the Liberal grouping with 11 members. The Group of Liberals and Allies was officially founded on 23 June 1953. By mid-September 1953, it was again the third-largest Group with 10 members.
Activities performed by ALDE in the period between 2004 and 2008 that resulted in an entry on EUObserver or theparliament.com include:
The debates and votes in the European Parliament are tracked by its website and categorized by the Groups that participate in them and the rule of procedure that they fall into. The results give a profile for each Group by category and the total indicates the Group's level of participation in Parliamentary debates. The activity profile for each Group for the period August 1 2004 to August 1 2008 in the Sixth Parliament is given on the diagram on the right. ALDE is denoted in yellow.
The website shows ALDE as participating in 661 motions, making it the second most active Group during the period.
ALDE produces many publications, on its website. Its key documents cover the Treaty of Lisbon, the global financial crisis of 2008, civil liberties and its 10 priorities for the 2009 elections.
Along with the other political groups, ALDE has been analysed by academics on its positions regarding various issues. Those positions are summarized in this article. That article characterizes ALDE as cohesive, gender-balanced centrist Euroneutrals that cooperate most closely with EPP-ED, are ambiguous on hypothetical EU taxes and supportive of eventual full Turkish accession to the European Union.