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Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

Delivering for Europe

2014 - 2019

This is a summary of some of the many initiatives that the ALDE group has dealt with
over the past five years and on which we have made a particular contribution to the
benefit of Europe’s 500 million citizens.

Links are provided throughout the document for those interested in having more
detail or background.
Executive Summary

The EU has faced unprecedented challenges over the course of the last five years
and significant choices have been made that will change the shape and focus of the
EU for years to come on issues such as securing economic growth, responding to
threats to our security and tackling climate change. Globalisation and the economic
crisis have meant that decisions taken in the EU have an even greater impact on
people's everyday lives, while Brexit and the rise of far - right populism pose an
existential challenge for the future of the Union itself. The Alliance of Liberals and
Democrats for Europe (ALDE) has played a central role in much of this decision-
making, frequently deciding the outcome of votes between the poles of Left and
Right and often considered by votewatch.eu as the most influential group in the
European Parliament for much of the legislature.

Through the activities of our group and its MEPs, as well as of our Liberal
Commissioners, we have sought to make the EU and its Member States act more
effectively and efficiently.

Our work over the past five years can be summarised under five broad priorities:

BUILDING ON THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY, CREATING JOBS AND PROTECTING


EMPLOYEES

More than ten years after the financial crisis, the EU continues to consolidate its
response and legislate to reinforce economic stability. ALDE has consistently
delivered a strong and balanced approach, shaping structural reforms and calling for
fiscal discipline with greater solidarity and growth-boosting investment, for example
the reform via the new “investEU” fund. EU growth has finally increased, but ALDE
believes we have to ensure spending is targeted towards promoting economic
growth and tackling unemployment, especially amongst young people. Throughout
this mandate we have delivered reform to enhance economic stability, for example
legislation on robust and transparent benchmark setting, measures to enhance
labour mobility, mechanisms to tackle undeclared work and appropriate health and
safety legislation to protect workers from, for example, carcinogens. We have played
a leading role in proposing bold recommendations on the fight against money
laundering, tax avoidance, evasion, as well as “Golden Visas”. We have also led the
development of a new Pan - European pension product, for consumers who work in
different EU jurisdictions. Finally, ALDE has led the work on the Digital Single Market
strategy from the start of the mandate and fought throughout it to open up new
opportunities for citizens and businesses.
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GREENING THE ECONOMY, PROTECTING CONSUMERS

We are acutely aware that decisions made now are likely to have a direct impact on
the future of the planet and its inhabitants, for there is no “Planet B”. Throughout
this mandate, we have been committed to fighting climate change and implementing
policies that are respectful of our limited natural resources, reduce our dependence
on fossil fuels and preserve our biodiversity. We believe that the EU should once
again be a global leader in developing green technologies and improving energy
efficiency, helping to create jobs, whilst cutting energy bills for consumers. We have
supported the raising of binding targets for more efficient energy use and a
reduction in carbon emissions through the ETS scheme. ALDE steered the legislation
that determines the binding national 2030 climate targets. We have also supported
the development of renewable forms of energy to play a larger part in our overall
energy mix. We steered legislation demanding a ban on certain single use plastics.
Consumers are also at the centre of our focus through our work, for example by
measures to reduce and ultimately eliminate roaming fees, lower intra - EU phone
calls and tackle unfair discrimination in access to goods based on location.

FUNDING OUR FUTURE, REFORMING OUR INSTITUTIONS

The inability of the EU institutions to cope with the deep and multiple crises
currently faced by the Union, have all led to increased dissatisfaction among a
growing section of the population regarding the functioning of the current European
Union. Crisis management, by means of ad hoc and incremental decisions, only leads
to measures that are often too little, too late. The ALDE Group believes it is now time
for a profound reflection on how to address the shortcomings of the governance of
the European Union. ALDE has sought to increase the transparency of the current
financing system of the EU budget, in order to reduce national contributions by EU
Member States, by introducing new own resources income streams and ending
rebates and corrections, without increasing tax burden on the citizens. At the same
time, we have advocated a greener, modernised and more flexible annual EU
budget, focussed on research, innovation, competitiveness, SMEs and more
opportunity for young people.

FIGHTING DISCRIMINATION, DEFENDING OUR FREEDOMS

We are proud that we have fought for the rights of the individual, regardless of sex,
race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. We want
a European Union where no one is left behind and there is equality of opportunity
for all. The ALDE group has spoken out against breaches of fundamental freedoms
within the European Union, resolutely defended the rule of law, the principle of free
movement, fought against the gender pay gap, and worked for a more open and
liberal and humane approach to migration. We have also played a substantial role in
preserving our civil liberties against state or third party intrusion into our private
lives, whether through the collection of personal data, spying by security services or
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through the activities of large technology companies.


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PROMOTING FREE TRADE, DEFENDING LIBERAL DEMOCRACY

From highlighting Russia’s poor record on human rights, defending the rights of
Ukrainians to a better future anchored more closely to the EU and responding
resolutely to the horrors witnessed in Myanmar, Syria and Venezuela, we have
sought to influence the role and relevance of the EU in its near neighbourhood and
beyond. We have continued to support an ambitious and progressive EU trade
policy, including the completion of progressive and fair trade deals with Japan,
Canada, Singapore, that respect of human rights principles, but which will deliver
jobs and opportunity for European businesses and workers. Thanks to work by ALDE,
the EU agreed Anti-Torture legislation in the trade of goods and services this
mandate; a huge step to advance the EU’s efforts to eradicate torture and the death
penalty worldwide.

Our Achievements
BUILDING ON THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY, CREATING JOBS AND PROTECTING
EMPLOYEES

WE HAVE HELPED DELIVER

More stable financial markets

Scandals around the manipulation of the LIBOR and foreign exchange benchmarks,
as well as the alleged manipulation of other indices, has highlighted the importance
of benchmarks and their vulnerabilities. ALDE led negotiations to put EU legislation
in place to ensure that benchmarks, indicators used to measure the performance of
investment funds, are now regulated at the EU level and this strongly improves
financial stability. With such regulation in force, scandals as the one related to
EURIBOR should be a thing of the past.

ALDE Press Release: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/el/press-


room/20160426IPR24757/interest-rates-final-vote-to-ensure-robust-and-transparent-benchmark-
setting

A strategy for the direction of the EU banking union

The Banking Union, established in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, has so
far been a success both for financial stability and for the real economy. ALDE has
played a pivotal role in outlining the European Parliament's position for the future of
the Banking Union.
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Investment in Europe: European Fund for Strategic Investments and InvestEU

ALDE supported the establishment of the European Fund for Strategic Investments
(EFSI) in 2015, as an effective response to the investment gap hindering the EU
economic recovery. In the extension of this so called ‘Juncker Plan’ till 2020, ALDE
defended a number of key priorities by making sure the projects selected are risk-
based, decreasing as much as possible financial contributions from the Connecting
Europe Facility, advocating for more powers to be given to national promotional
banks and investment platforms, making sure EFSI contributes to the COP21
objectives, enhancing transparency and increasing the technical assistance
availability level through the reinforcement of the European Investment Advisory
Hub.

We have equally strongly supported InvestEU, the European investment program


covering all EU’s financial instruments, which will take over and amplify the EFSI
after 2020. ALDE played an active role in parliamentary committees so that InvestEU
could support projects that would have found it more difficult to obtain finance
otherwise due to their higher risk profile, as well as shifting the focus of the fund to
sustainable investment projects that will be subject to environmental, climate and
social sustainability proofing.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1221-invest-eu-a-good-deal-for-the-future/

Fighting youth unemployment

As part of its campaign to promote youth employment and entrepreneur skills, ALDE
successfully launched a European pilot project to set up co-operatives for young
people and graduates, establishing best practice in the area for the whole of Europe.
By working in cooperatives, the young people and graduates not only create jobs,
but also learn entrepreneurship while having guidance and support in the form of
labour market training. ALDE will ensure that appropriate EU policy, legislation or a
programme will follow up this initiative.

As part of the revision of the “EURES regulation” (a pan-European job search


network to improve employee mobility), ALDE campaigned successfully to get
private employment agencies included in the network and traineeships and
apprenticeships included under the job search portal. These outcomes will provide
access to wider job market and give more chances for young people. ALDE is
concerned that labour mobility in the EU is only 3.1% of the total labour force. At the
same time, there is a shortage of skilled labour in regions and industries across the
EU.
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A Pan - European Personal Pension Product

ALDE has proposed and steered through the European Parliament, the establishment
of a complementary, voluntary and individual Pan-European Personal Pension
Product (PEPP). The PEPP will give European citizens more choice when saving for
retirement by providing pension providers with the tools they need to offer a simple
and innovative pan-European personal pension product, which will be particularly
appealing to EU citizens who work in different jurisdictions within the EU over their
lifetime.

It will also provide an option for people in countries that lack a robust pension
system and will actually help solve a savings imbalance in the EU. The PEPP is a truly
European product and ALDE has ensured it adheres to EU standards and features,
overseen by the EIOPA. The fee cap the Rapporteur secured is a real guarantee for
consumers; this new product will allow people to obtain a safe pension product, with
a European safety label. The PEPP does not at all touch the first pillar of pensions
and ALDE calls on national Governments to do more to reform national pension
systems.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1287-liberals-and-democrats-hail-establishment-of-


groundbreaking-pan-european-personal-pension-product/

Ending undeclared work

In its campaign against tax evasion and undeclared work, ALDE has been pivotal in
pushing for the establishment of European Platform to enhance cooperation in
tackling undeclared work. Undeclared work has serious budgetary implications
through decreased tax and social security revenues. The shadow economy in the EU-
27 was estimated to be equal to EUR 1.87 trillion in 2012. Undeclared work results in
lower pension rights and less access to health care for employees. In addition, it
causes unfair competition between undertakings. Through the establishment of the
Platform, the Member States can no longer ignore the phenomenon of undeclared
work and through a mandatory membership are obliged to participate and thereby
to cooperate in view to capacity building and cross-border cooperation.

EP Press Release: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-


room/20160129IPR11935/european-platform-to-tackle-undeclared-work

Safer rules for road hauliers

ALDE played a prominent role in the struggle to shape new legislation on the posting
of drivers in the road transport sector, rules on professional and market access,
known as cabotage, and also the maximum driving and resting times for truck
drivers, in particular by pushing for legal certainty and the reduction of
administrative burdens for small business owners.
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ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1289-parliament-adopts-better-conditions-for-road-
hauliers-in-the-eu/
Protecting workers against cancer

Cancer is the main cause of work related deaths in the European Union, accounting
for 53% of those deaths. ALDE supported the objective to protect workers to
exposure of harmful substances in the work place and helped to shape the much-
awaited revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive. Binding exposure limits
for 11 new substances, including diesel, were introduced. ALDE was an active force
in ensuring this legislation is based on scientific evidence and on a thorough
assessment involving social partners.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1095-more-protection-to-employees-against-


carcinogens-and-mutagens-at-work

More transparent and predictable working conditions in the EU for workers

ALDE led negotiations in the shaping of legislation on transparent and predictable


working conditions in the EU. We improved the mandatory information which
workers must receive when starting a new job and which will now be provided in a
more reasonable period. The laws also establishes new minimum rights for workers
to address changes to the world of work particularly those resulting from
digitalisation and technological advances while also ensuring labour market
adaptability and improving living and working conditions.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1240-more-transparent-and-predictable-working-


conditions-in-the-eu-for-workers/

Better access to finance for SMEs and less red tape

Across many policy fields, we have insisted on creating easier access to more diverse
sources of funding for Small and Medium Sized Businesses, enhancing the
confidence and therefore the incentive of investors to provide finance. ALDE MEPs
have also pushed for the harmonisation of rules as much as possible in order to
create a positive environment for SMEs to grow and develop within the EU. ALDE has
played a very positive part in negotiations promoting priorities such as the reduction
of administrative burden for SMEs, harmonisation and possibility for SMEs to
develop across borders. We will continue to work closely with SMEs to find the best
ways to simplify EU regulations and minimise unnecessary bureaucracy.

Tackling money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion

ALDE co - led the European Parliament’s inquiry into money laundering and tax
evasion in the EU following the Panama Papers Scandal and we have developed bold
recommendations on how to tackle money laundering, tax avoidance and tax
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evasion. We will continue to call for reforms including accessible beneficial


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ownership registers of companies, foundations, trusts and similar legal


arrangements; new rules to regulate intermediaries, such as lawyers and
accountants, who aid aggressive tax planning, plus incentives to refrain from
engaging in tax evasion and tax avoidance, as well as a common international
definition of what constitutes an offshore financial centre. ALDE played a key role
chairing the subsequent Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax
Avoidance (TAX3).

ALDE Press Releases: https://alde.eu/en/news/998-panama-papers-commission-and-member-states-


need-to-step-up-their-efforts-to-tackle-tax-avoidance/
https://alde.eu/en/news/1249-the-tax-evasion-committee-votes-on-its-findings-and-
recommendations-for-eu-member-states/

Scrutinising Golden Visa Programmes

Given the worrying developments in the field of money laundering in the European
Union, ALDE has supported and participated in awareness raising and calls for a
clampdown on Golden Visas. The ALDE Group has vigorously insisted on the
importance of investigating this opaque phenomenon, its schemes and the
corruption risks it entails, and has obtained a debate both at Committee and at
plenary level in the presence of the European Commission.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1123-alde-demands-eu-rules-for-golden-visas/

An ambitious Research and Development agenda

ALDE MEPs believe that research and development are the key to regaining Europe's
competitiveness and have continued to push for higher research spending in the
EU's long-term budget. We believe that Research & Innovation are fundamental to
Europe’s future. Continuous investment in R&I is needed at both the national and
European levels. ALDE is therefore committed to pushing for an ambitious
replacement research programme for “Horizon 2020” in the form of “Framework
Programme 9 - Horizon Europe”, that will run from 2020 onwards.

An ambitious fund for redundant workers in the EU

ALDE MEPs helped to shape the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), by
increasing the budget for this instrument, which provides special funds aimed at
expressing solidarity with, and improving the skills and employability of workers who
lose their jobs. The Commission proposed an increased total budget of almost €1.6
billion in current prices for the new 2021–2027 period, on average €225 million per
year, compared to €170 million per year today. The scope of the fund was
substantially expanded to include redundancies created by automation, digitalization
and the transition to a low carbon economy making the fund more reactive to the
realities of the changing world of work.
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ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1220-the-european-globalisation-adjustment-fund-


increased-to-help-more-redundant-workers-in-the-eu/
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European Defence Fund

ALDE has worked to promote collaboration between the defence industrial


undertakings of EU Member States, in order to promote standards and
interoperability hence strengthening the European defence industry's
competitiveness. ALDE was also part of the majority that secured the independence
and strategic autonomy of the EU by negotiating stricter conditions for opening the
project to third country companies. Making this fund a tool for further EU
integration.

GREENING THE ECONOMY, PROTECTING CONSUMERS

WE HAVE HELPED DELIVER

Climate action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement

ALDE was a driving force in strengthening the system for national greenhouse gas
emission reductions to meet the EU’s target under the Paris Agreement. ALDE
steered the legislation that determines the binding national 2030 climate targets
through Parliament and introduced changes to make sure that the Member States’
annual emissions ceilings are set in a way that does not overshoot the EU’s ‘carbon
budget’. At the same time, ALDE defended fairness and balance in how emission
reduction efforts are divided among Member States.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1056-deal-reached-on-eu-climate-targets-after-


protracted-negotiations-gerbrandy/

A reformed EU emissions trading system (ETS)

ALDE championed several reforms to improve the functioning of the EU’s carbon
market - one of the cornerstones of EU’s climate policy. Together with other reform-
minded Groups ALDE managed to ensure that a more effective price is put on
emissions, and that EU and international climate targets are met. The reform of the
ETS has led to a gradual restoration of the market price for emissions. Among the
improvements, that ALDE either initiated or defended successfully:
 New market mechanisms that will achieve a decisive reduction in the over-
liquidity on the market.
 Possibility for cancellation of ETS allowances by MSs when power plants are
closed down, in order to take unnecessary emission quotas out of the market.
 More EU-level support to breakthrough low-carbon innovations in industry and
the energy sector through an enlarged new Innovation Fund financed by ETS
allowances.
 A more targeted approach to the system of free allocations to industry to
protect against carbon leakage. Carbon efficiency improvements in industry
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must be incentivised while avoiding over-allocation and hidden subsidies.


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 Stricter conditions for the allocation of subsidies from the different funding
mechanisms financed through revenues from the ETS, inter alia ruling out
investments in coal-fired power.

ALDE Press Releases: https://alde.eu/en/news/837-liberals-and-democrats-reluctantly-back-


moderate-reforms-in-eu-carbon-market/
https://alde.eu/en/news/729-eu-emissions-trading-scheme-parliament-s-industry-committee-adopts-
ambitious-reforms/

Cleaner and more efficient cars

ALDE successfully pushed for more ambitious CO2 emission standards for new cars
and vans in Europe. ALDE amendments to strengthen a weak Commission proposal
were endorsed by the Plenary and formed a basis for the final agreement with
Member States, which will reduce cars’ emissions by 37.5% between 2021 and 2030.
The aim is to ensure that the transport sector contributes in a cost-effective way to
Europe’s emissions savings in line with the EU’s 2030 targets and the Paris
Agreement, and that investments and jobs in clean cars are kept in the EU rather
than directed to third countries.

ALDE Press Releases: https://alde.eu/en/news/1179-liberals-and-democrats-drive-carbon-dioxide-


reduction-targets-higher/
https://alde.eu/en/news/1217-deal-on-co2-future-emission-reductions-for-new-cars-and-vans-
agreed-council-s-inability-to-live-up-to-international-climate-commitments-hampers-real-progress/

Fighting Dieselgate causes

ALDE led the work of the first European Parliament inquiry Committee since 10
years. The findings of the inquiry included cases of maladministration and
contravention of EU law by both Member States and the European Commission. In
short, Dieselgate would not have happened if Member States and the European
Commission would have acted on their legal and administrative responsibilities. The
report also points at deliberate obstruction by the Commission of the inquiry and a
breach of the principle of sincere cooperation between the institutions. Thanks to
this work, the Commission has launched several infringement procedures and
Member States have started internal investigations. Nevertheless, their actions
remain far too weak and the Group has therefore continued to put pressure to make
sure that our roads are freed from the highly polluting cars in the near future.

Long-term climate ambition

ALDE has worked successfully for the adoption by the European Parliament of the
objective of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 2050, and for raising the
EU’s 2030 climate ambition in line with this. ALDE’s has maintained a strong
emphasis on a consistent and predictable long-term framework for climate and
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energy policies in the EU, with a clear decarbonisation vision in line with the Paris
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Agreement. These priorities are reflected in the common EU framework laid down in
the regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union, and in the long-term plans
that the Commission and each Member State will be drawing up as part of this
framework.

Thanks to our efforts and pressure, the Commission pledged to update the criteria
for trans-European energy infrastructure projects and align them fully with our
climate goals within the Connecting Europe Facility legislation.

ALDE Press Releases: https://alde.eu/en/news/179-european-energy-union-will-hit-putin-where-it-


hurts/
https://alde.eu/en/news/1262-liberals-and-democrats-shape-key-european-parliament-resolution-
on-climate-change/

Strengthening the sustainability of the financial markets

ALDE supported reforms to provide clarity on what sustainable investments are by


creating an EU-wide classification system. We believe this is a first and essential step
in efforts to channel investments into sustainable activities, which will ensure that
the financial system truly supports the green transition that our society and the
planet so badly need.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1281-corrigendum-meps-adopt-eu-wide-classification-


system-for-sustainable-financing/

Tackling single use plastics

ALDE successfully steered legislation through the European Parliament to limit the
negative effects of single-use plastics, in particular marine litter. Single-use plastic
products for which alternatives are readily available, such as cutlery, cotton bud
sticks, plates, straws and beverage stirrers, will be banned from the EU market from
2021 so that they can be replaced by more sustainable alternatives. The
consumption of several other items, for which no alternative exists, will have to be
reduced by Member States by 2025. At the same time, the separate collection of
plastic waste such as bottles will have to improve across the EU. ALDE also took the
initiative to the first binding European standard for the use of recycled materials,
which will ensure that plastic waste that we throw into recycle bins actually finds its
way into new products.
In parallel to the single use plastics legislation ALDE also succeeded in improving the
way waste from ships is dealt with at EU ports. Tackling deliberately or accidentally
released waste and sewage from ships plays an important role in achieving a plastic
free and healthy ocean. The new regime does not provide any financial incentive
anymore for ships to dump waste at sea and requires ports to provide the necessary
infrastructure to receive all kinds of waste.
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ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1188-meps-back-eu-ban-on-polluting-single-use-


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plastics-by-2021/
ALDE also successfully pushed for EU targets and measures to reduce the over-
consumption of throw-away plastic bags. The EU measures, which put a price tag on
plastic bags across the EU (or other comparable measures), have already led to
significant reductions in their use and to a decrease in plastic littering.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/229-meps-back-targets-to-slash-plastic-bag-use/

EU funding for protection of nature and biodiversity

ALDE was the leading force via the Rapporteur in the negotiations on the design of
the new LIFE Programme for the next financial period after 2021 targeted at
biodiversity and for innovative or demonstration projects that tackle wider
biodiversity issues. The ALDE role was key in the confirmation of the merit based
system with the quality as the only leading criterion for allocations within the
programme, confirmation of eligibility criteria to finance actions in the Programme
with the objectives, among others, to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and to tackle
the degradation of ecosystems and, in avoiding of financing of projects undermining
the goals of climate, environmental and clean energy objectives of Union’s
legislation and climate strategies.

Reforming EU authorisations of GMOs

ALDE provided a balanced solution to the dilemma of ensuring more power to


Member States over authorisations to farm GMO crops, while still fully maintaining a
common robust and science-based authorisation system at the EU level. With an
ALDE Rapporteur in a leading role, the new legislation sets down in a clear way the
responsibilities for environmental risk assessments and decision-making. ALDE has
however rejected changes to the authorisation system that are not based on sound
science.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/17-eu-deal-reached-on-gmo-crops/

Combatting wildlife crime

Based on demands raised by ALDE (which were subsequently endorsed by the whole
EP), the Commission in 2016 adopted an EU Action Plan to combat global wildlife
trafficking. This has given an impetus for coordinated EU action against one of the
most profitable forms of organised crime in the world with devastating effects on
global wildlife and biodiversity. ALDE has continued to make sure that the issue
remains high on the EU agenda through various parliamentary activities.
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ALDE Press Releases: https://alde.eu/en/news/766-meps-declare-war-on-wildlife-traffickers/


https://alde.eu/en/news/290-wildlife-crime-eu-leads-largest-ever-international-clampdown-alde-
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pushes-for-eu-action-plan-against-wildlife-crime/
Cleaning Europe’s air

ALDE successfully pushed back against strong attempts by Member States to lower
their national air pollution emission targets for 2030 and beyond. Air pollution is a
major health risk that causes more than 400,000 premature deaths in the EU each
year. It is a cross-border threat that must be tackled at the European level. Through
new standards in the new National Emission Ceilings Directive, tens of thousands of
lives will be saved every year. Without a coalition of political groups in the EP
including ALDE these standards would have been significantly weaker. ALDE also
successfully stood up for tighter emissions standards for medium-sized power plants,
which will also improve the quality of air.

ALDE Press releases: https://alde.eu/en/news/427-meps-vote-for-ambitious-eu-air-pollution-limits-


including-ammonia-and-methane/
https://alde.eu/en/news/762-liberal-democrat-meps-welcome-toughening-of-eu-legislation-to-
tackle-deadly-air-pollution/

More recycling and delivering resource efficiency

ALDE has played a key role in setting up a new and ambitious framework for better
management and improved recycling of waste in Europe, which will reduce the
amount of materials that is wasted, save natural resources and boost the economy.
ALDE has successfully defended a high ambition for EU recycling targets and for
separate collection of waste, as well as for robust measures to tackle the widespread
mismanagement of waste across Europe. Thanks to proposals from ALDE, the EU’s
new circular economy framework also contains a strong emphasis on economic tools
to support this emerging circular economy.

ALDE Press release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1078-eu-waste-legislation-ambitious-targets-were-


binned-by-eu-governments-but-this-legislation-is-still-a-step-forward-say-liberal-and-democrat-
meps/

ALDE has also been at the forefront in pushing for the inclusion of a broader range of
criteria in EU environmental product standards. ALDE has initiated calls, endorsed by
the whole European Parliament and now implemented by the European
Commission, to assess aspects like durability, reusability and recyclability when
setting eco-design standards for products put on the EU market. This will give both
environmental gains and save money for consumers.

Improving the energy performance of our buildings

ALDE has fought for a long-term renovation strategy across Europe and
comprehensive measures to improve energy efficiency, which not only saves energy,
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but also reduces household bills while stimulating the economy. EU Countries are
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now obliged to establish their strategies to encourage the renovation of the national
stock of public and private residential and non-residential buildings, into a highly
energy efficient and decarbonised building stock by 2050.

Promoting Renewable energy

Throughout this mandate, ALDE has consistently argued for ambitious targets in the
field of renewable energy and we have successfully managed to ensure higher
European Union targets. ALDE played a pivotal role in the negotiations for the "Clean
Energy for All Europeans package" which is crucial in facilitating the clean energy
transition. ALDE was instrumental in ensuring that measures were put in place that
will allow genuine cross-border trade of electricity - making it easier for renewable
energy to flow across borders. ALDE has argued for strict sustainability criteria for
sourcing biomass with a clear aim to put an end to the on-going deforestation
caused mainly by palm oil production. In the light of the increasing Greenhouse Gas
emissions for the transport sector, ALDE was instrumental in setting the 10% target
for renewable energy in the sector. Lastly, ALDE succeeded in ensuring that
advanced biofuels (third generation) will feature as an important part of the de-
carbonized energy mix of the future.

Safer Sailing

In this mandate, the ALDE group has played a central and decisive role in ensuring a
high level of passenger ship safety within the European Maritime sector. Our Alde
members reached agreements in negotiations with the Council to digitalise ship
passenger registrations for ships operating in European ports, so the information
would be immediately available for search and rescue services. Efforts were made to
finally cut red tape and improve inspections for safe operation of roll on - roll off
ferry and high-speed passenger craft in regular service without unnecessarily limiting
the ship’s commercial operations and finally to improve the requirements for the
construction of vessels to ensure safety. Passenger’s safety was at the heart of the
negotiations, while addressing the needs of competent authorities and operators.

Regulation of Drones

We believe Europe’s regulatory environment must adapt to technological advances.


We supported the first EU regulatory framework on unmanned aircraft in order to
integrate this fast developing technology into European airspace under clear,
enforceable and harmonised rules that protect privacy, increase safety without
stifling technological innovation.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1138-civilian-drones-regulated-for-a-safer-eu/


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A sustainable fisheries policy

The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2013 entailed a radical change in the
manner the EU decided how to manage fisheries activities. ALDE has focussed on the
implementing of this new Common Fisheries Policy. The new rules aim at restoring
fish stocks at sustainable levels (MSY principle), protecting the marine environment
and ensuring long-term employment and socio-economic benefits. The ALDE Group
has remained committed in defending a genuine implementation of the new rules,
being an important player against the attempts of watering it down and in the
achievement of political agreements with the Council in difficult negotiations.

Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy post 2020

ALDE have laid out a positive vision for reform of the CAP, securing competitiveness
while delivering on climate and environmental protection. We want a CAP policy that
better meets the demands of farmers and consumers. We support the idea of more
result-based payments, delivering when it comes to climate and the environmental
protection, and that it focusses on a more modernised and simplified future CAP that
will help to secure the sector’s competitiveness.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1128-alde-priorities-for-cap-reform-post-2020/

Protecting deep - sea fish stocks and the marine environment

The deep-sea is the habitat of uniquely vulnerable life forms that play an important
role in the ocean ecosystem. The lack of a proper regulation and the development of
industrial fisheries in the EU during the last decades led to a dramatic stock
depletion and destruction of marine habitat still much unknown by science. New EU
laws campaigned for by ALDE will strengthen the protection of deep-sea habitats by
setting stricter conditions on deep-sea fisheries.

The cornerstone measure is the ban for bottom trawling fisheries below 800 meters
in EU waters, which entails an important precedent worldwide. The ALDE group
played a key role in the negotiations and gathered the necessary majorities to
ensure the report resulted in a balance approach while adopting the depth ban for
trawlers fisheries in EU waters.

Safer food for EU consumers

ALDE has supported efforts to harmonise the EU’s legal framework for official
hygiene controls. We also strongly supported new laws, which makes it safer and
easier to put so called “novel foods” on the market. A streamlined European-level
authorisation procedure will give food producers an improved legal framework to
put their innovative products on the European market, while ensuring a high
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standard of food safety for consumers.


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Rescue in the event of a car accident

ALDE supported the “eCall” proposal which will save lives: it introduces in all vehicles
an eCall system which is activated in the event of a car accident. It automatically calls
the EU-wide 112 emergency phone number and transmits data with the details of
the vehicle and its location. ALDE would have not supported this text without strong
safeguards on data privacy, but because of our work, the regulation provisions on
data protection have been strengthened to preclude tracking of eCall-equipped
vehicle before the accident occurs. ALDE also made sure that the new legislation
guarantees that data gathered by emergency centres must not be transferred to
third parties without explicit consent of the person concerned. Finally, clear
information about the processing of eCall data will have to be included in the car
owner's manual and available online.

Fewer Road Fatalities

The General Safety Regulation introduces certain mandatory vehicle safety measures
that will reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on the roads, save lives and at
the same time boost the global innovation and competitiveness edge of the
European car industry. The new mandatory safety features will include a warning of
driver drowsiness and distraction (e.g. smartphone use while driving), intelligent
speed assistance, and a data recorder in case of an accident (‘black box’) for cars,
vans, trucks and buses, lane-keeping assistance in case of emergency, advanced
emergency braking, and crash-test improved safety belts for cars and vans, specific
requirements to improve the direct vision of bus and truck drivers and to reduce
blind spots, and systems at the front and side of the vehicle to detect and warn of
vulnerable road users. Thanks to ALDE, the Regulation is ambitious in terms of
agreed deadlines for application and implementation, future proof by ensuring that
all advanced systems to be introduced will respect the principle of technological
neutrality and privacy of the users. The new safety features should be designed in a
way to be convenient to drivers in order to reach their maximum efficiency.

Compliance with and Enforcement of Union Harmonisation Legislation

Buying goods in the EU should be safe and all products should comply with quality
standards to guarantee safety and trust on consumers. The Regulation on
compliance with and enforcement of Union harmonisation legislation on products
addresses the growing number of non-compliant products on the Union market,
while offering incentives to boost compliance with the regulation and ensure fair and
equal treatment that will benefit businesses and citizens. Thanks to ALDE, the
Regulation covers also products sold online, ensures the right balance between
providing appropriate incentives to businesses and effective compliance checks by
establishing among others, a ‘reference person”, who will be responsible not for the
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compliance of products itself but for providing information on compliance, and upon
reasoned request will remedy cases of non-compliance or, if not possible, will
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mitigate the risks posed by certain products. Thanks to ALDE, a controversial


provision on compliance partnership agreements between the market surveillance
authorities and economic operators entailing possible conflict of interest was
deleted, and the principle of proportionality in the way market surveillance
authorities exercise their powers and duties was strengthened and their cross-
border cooperation – enhanced.

Limiting Geo-blocking

The free movement of goods and services is a fundamental pillar of the EU treaties
that the ALDE Group is committed to defending. We have campaigned for and
delivered regulation that will put an end to certain situations where location
blocking and discrimination still occur. The new laws will cover every sale of goods,
provision of services and certain digital services, which are not copyright-protected.
It will not be possible to refuse sale for reasons related to nationality or place of
residence/establishment. It will not be possible to discriminate based on the country
of issue of credit card.

Deepening the EU’s Digital Single Market

One of the main obstacles for cross-border online purchases of digital content, e.g.
music or movies, is legal uncertainty and high costs for businesses, hitting
predominantly SMEs. ALDE played a prominent role in the fight to reduce these costs
and to create legal certainty, namely as regards to rights in case of non-conformity
and the right to damages. Cross-border business, via the internet, will thus be
incentivised and will deepen the accomplishment of the Digital Single Market.

Roaming Charges consigned to the history books

ALDE played a key role in ending wholesale roaming charges in the European Union.
Legislation adopted in 2015 provided for the abolition of retail roaming charges on
voice calls, data and SMS as of 15 June 2017, a victory for mobility and consumer
rights.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/889-roaming-charges-consigned-to-the-history-books/

Cheaper intra - EU phone calls

After abolishing roaming costs in 2017, the ALDE Group is ready to take on the next
step: cheaper phone calls to other EU Countries. The ALDE Group believes in strong
consumer protection rules and the ban of unjustified price differences between
domestic and European calls. EU communications companies should justify when
they charge additional fees to users calling from mobiles or landlines to another EU
Member State.

ALDE Press Release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1131-alde-supports-the-upcoming-legislation-to-lower-


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the-price-of-phone-calls-between-eu-member-states/
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Improving the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites

ALDE lead work for the European Parliament to improve the accessibility of public
sector websites and managed to convince EU Governments to have not only
websites but also mobile apps of public sector bodies accessible to people with
disabilities. All websites will have a mandatory statement displaying what parts of
the website are not accessible and the reason why as well as a complaint
mechanism. Last but not least, ALDE ensured that this legislation, which was
supposed to cover only 12 sectors, will cover all public sector websites.

Press Release: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20150424IPR45714/automatic-


emergency-call-devices-in-all-new-car-models-from-spring-2018

FUNDING OUR FUTURE, REFORMING OUR INSTITUTIONS

WE HAVE HELPED DELIVER

A roadmap for EU reform

The inability of the EU institutions to cope with the deep and multiple crises
currently faced by the Union, the so-called ‘polycrisis’ including its financial,
economic, social and migratory consequences and the rise of populist parties and
nationalist movements have all led to increased dissatisfaction among a growing
section of the population regarding the functioning of the current European Union.

The time of crisis management by means of ad hoc and incremental decisions has
passed, as it only leads to measures that are often too little, too late. The ALDE
Group believes it is now time for a profound reflection on how to address the
shortcomings of the governance of the European Union by undertaking a
comprehensive, in-depth review of and providing necessary changes to the Lisbon
Treaty.

The direction of the Union’s reform should lead towards its modernisation by
establishing new instruments, new effective European capacities, and by making
decision-making processes more democratic, rather than its renationalisation by
means of greater inter - governmentalism. The “Verhofstadt” report proposed
ending ‘Europe à la carte’, providing new EU competences to address new
challenges; energy union, migration crisis, counter-terrorism, strengthening our
foreign policy, safeguarding Fundamental Rights and providing more democracy,
transparency and accountability.
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Reform of the European Union's system of own resources

ALDE has sought to increase the transparency of the current financing system of the
EU budget, in order to reduce national contributions by EU Member States, by
introducing new own resources income streams and ending rebates and corrections,
without increasing tax burden on the citizens.

Following the Parliament’s position and the recommendations of the High Level
Group on Own Resources, the Commission proposed a basket of new own resources,
structured around European public goods linked to EU’s strategic policy objectives.
This basket thus includes new resources based on the EU Emission Trading System
and on plastic waste, reinforcing the climate action priority, and a simplified VAT
based resource as well as new corporate tax-based resource, consolidating the Single
Market and reducing financial speculation.

A greener, modernised and more flexible EU budget

ALDE were successful in focusing the 2019 EU budget on resources for research,
innovation, competitiveness and SMEs. ALDE initiated the Parliament’s call for
doubling the budget of Erasmus+ to enhance opportunities for young people, which
was an instrumental step in obtaining a substantial partial increase in the 2019
budget. ALDE also pushed for substantial allocation to climate spending to meet the
EU’s long-term climate goals of 20 % climate spending target in the current
Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020. Specifically, ALDE increased the
ambition for EU-funded cross-border projects in the field of renewable energy within
the MFF Connecting Europe Facility. Our Group made a distinctive contribution
especially in the areas of internal security and investment in managing borders,
fighting terrorism, radicalisation and organised crime and called on Member States
to take responsibility for the management of migration in accordance with the
principle of burden-sharing and the Geneva Conventions. On the initiative of our
shadow rapporteur, the relevant Parliament’s budgetary reports call on the
Commission to present a proposal, which would provide for the expression of
financial solidarity at EU level to victims of acts of terrorism and their families.

ALDE have been at the forefront in demanding scrutiny of the EU budget and has
strongly advocated and continues to advocate for a reformed, genuine European
Added Value budget that is strongly linked with a performance - based budgetary
approach. The ALDE stance that transparency and performance-based budgeting
must underpin the next MFF was endorsed by the Parliament in its interim report on
the MFF 2021-2027. ALDE has been calling for five years MFF (to align the EU budget
with the legislative cycles). The Commission agreed to propose this after 2027.

Reforming and Enhancing Europe’s defence capability


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NATO: Within the scope of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the ALDE Group
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developed an intensive and ongoing cooperation between the many Liberal parties
represented in this body. The tangible results achieved helped to grasp the positions
of the different Member States towards the new EU-NATO cooperation dimension.

ALDE press release NATO: https://www.aldeparty.eu/news/alde-leaders-meet-ahead-nato-summit

Cyber Defence: Has become an indivisible part of European defence affairs. ALDE
have led the mandate’s European Parliament resolution on cyber defence,
addressing capability development, cyber defence within the realm of CSDP missions
and operations, civil-military cooperation and EU-NATO cooperation. Within the
drafting process of this European Parliament resolution, the ALDE Group organized a
high-level conference on the topic involving multiple stakeholders such as the EU
Institutions, EU Member States and NATO.

ALDE press releases: Cyber Union: https://alde.eu/en/news/1141-eu-cyber-defence-enhanced-


coordination-means-greater-deterrence/

European Defence Union: The European Parliament resolution on the European


Defence Union was one of the political milestones achieved during the 2014-2019 EP
legislature. The ALDE Group drew the main outline of this resolution, with the
objective to enable and ensure the early steps of a European Defence Union. By the
publication “A Roadmap towards EU Integrated Military Forces” and via the
organisation of a number of conferences and seminars on European Defence, hosted
by ALDE MEPs, the ALDE Group wants to contribute to a rich and comprehensive
discussion.

ALDE press releases: Defence Union https://alde.eu/en/news/1046-alde-group-calls-for-closer-eu-


defence-integration-built-on-a-strong-european-responsibility/

FIGHTING DISCRIMINATION, DEFENDING THE EU’S FREEDOMS & VALUES

WE HAVE HELPED DELIVER

Defending the Rule of Law in Europe

Since 2014, the ALDE group has been at the forefront of defending fundamental
rights both within and outside the EU. For a number of years, several Member States
have been drifting away from the values of democracy, rule of law and fundamental
rights on which the EU is founded. We have fought back. In January 2015, ALDE
adopted a paper demanding a "EU Democratic governance pact", calling for a
permanent EU mechanism, monitoring all Member States and EU institutions on
their compliance with democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights indicators, and
gradually responding to any possible breach.
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This paper became the starting point of a LIBE Legislative own-initiative report,
which was adopted by a broad majority of MEPs in October 2016, calling on the
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Commission to make a proposal on the basis of these recommendation by the end of


2017. We are still waiting for legislative proposals on this from the European
Commission. ALDE was also the main driver in establishing a ‘Rule of Law Monitoring
Group’ (“ROLMG”) to address shortcomings in the rule of law, the separation of
powers and the protection of journalists in various Member States. The ROLMG,
chaired by an ALDE Rapporteur, presented a comprehensive report about its findings
and is determined to create a permanent structure within its Committee on Civil
Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to continue its successful work.

ALDE press releases: https://alde.eu/en/news/1184-ecj-defends-rule-of-law-in-poland/


https://alde.eu/en/news/1276-european-pressure-helps-strengthen-the-rule-of-law-in-malta-and-
slovakia/

Creating effective EU-wide protection for whistle-blowers

The recent scandals, such as Panama papers and LuxLeaks, have shown the crucial
importance of the role played by the whistle-blowers in the preservation of the
general interest. ALDE suggested the idea of having a European legislation protecting
whistle-blowers and contributed to the objective of upholding democracy and the
rule of law by guaranteeing EU citizens’ freedom of expression and information.
Always weighting the respective interests of the public and of the parties concerned,
ALDE fought for balanced and comprehensive procedures for the protection of the
whistle-blower.

ALDE press release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1252-long-awaited-eu-standards-agreed-to-better-


protect-whistle-blowers/

Legal and moral responsibility for the refugee crisis

In 2015, Europe faced the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII. The worsening of
the end-less war in Syria exacerbated a reality for which the EU was not prepared:
offering shelter to millions of people fleeing war and conflict. ALDE was the first
political group to analyse the weaknesses of migration and asylum system, while
coming forward with short-term and long-term proposals in the ALDE Blueprint for a
new European agenda on migration. The policies proposed by ALDE were taken on
board by the European Commission in their 2016 proposals for reform of the EU
asylum system and supported by the European Parliament but there is still work to
be done to get all of the proposals adopted into EU law and the ALDE blueprint
remains relevant.

ALDE blueprint on migration: https://alde.eu/en/news/328-alde-blueprint-for-a-new-european-


agenda-on-migration/

Making EU migration laws fit for purpose


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We have led the charge for an updating of EU migration laws, for example through
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the revision of Dublin regulation., the reception conditions directive, resettlement


legislation, a “blue card” system to promote more legal migratory routes and other
legal ways of entering the EU, including humanitarian visas. Our general principles
throughout have been to respect and advocate fundamental human rights law.

ALDE press release: https://alde.eu/en/news/981-european-agenda-on-migration-work-in-progress/

Advancing a common EU migration policy

ALDE has played a central role in developing the elements of a common asylum and
immigration policy that is both fair and sensible in light of skills shortages. The EU's
external borders need to be strengthened (through a truly European Border and
Coast Guard and coordinated national actions against irregular immigration or
criminal trafficking) to combat irregular immigration. Therefore, ALDE strongly
supported the reinforcement of the European Border and Coast Guard with a new
standing corps of 10,000 border guards, its own equipment and additional tasks and
powers. At the same time, legal migration for students or skilled labour should be
facilitated. The EU's doors should always be open to genuine asylum seekers, with all
Member States prepared to share the burden, rather than just the front-line states
at the EU's external borders. Speedy and humane reception procedures should be in
place for treating demands, which take full account of minors and immediate family
members.

Keeping Europe open

The ALDE Group has led the work to facilitate EU law, in the form of the Students
and Researchers directive, aimed at concluding negotiations with EU member states
on an important legal migration instrument that would facilitate access to EU
Member States for students and researchers. ALDE managed to secure less
bureaucratic procedures that will make Europe a more attractive destination for
people to come and study or to carry out research at the many world-class academic
institutions that are located in the EU.

Enhancing security whilst defending our civil liberties

ALDE believes the EU must count on a solid and common internal security policy that
protects citizens while preserving the rule of law and protecting civil liberties. ALDE
has intensively worked to identify the weaknesses in the area and put forward a
series of recommendations to fight them, from targeting the root causes of
radicalisation through prevention and international terrorism, to contributing to
enhance greater police and judicial cooperation at EU level. ALDE helped set up and
lead a special committee on Terrorism. We have delivered a stronger legal
framework for Europol and Eurojust, the establishment of the first European Public
Prosecutor Office, and the revision of EU common capabilities for the exchange of
information such as the Schengen Information System.
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We have also fought for finding a balance efficient policy response and the
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protection of individual freedoms. A major achievement was the agreement to set


common European security standards for ID cards and residence documents.
Steered by an ALDE Rapporteur, the new regulation is an important step forward to
minimise document fraud and identity theft. The new standards will facilitate the
free movement of EU citizens, reduce administrative hassle and strengthen the
internal security of the Union.

Europe as a global leader in data protection

ALDE has always called for strong data protection laws to protect the rights to
privacy and data protection of those residing in the EU. ALDE priorities in this field
were taken into account in the approval of the General Data Protection Regulation,
which entered into force on May 2018. ALDE has also instigated the investigation
hearings on the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, including the one with Facebook CEO
Mark Zuckerberg. ALDE has consistently raised awareness about the need for
measures to tackle foreign interference in elections and disinformation campaigns
launched by hostile state and non - state actors.

Enhancing the EU’s cybersecurity

Liberal and Democrat MEPs successfully campaigned for the adoption of an EU


Cybersecurity Act, which will strengthen Europe’s cybersecurity, by setting up a
European Cybersecurity Certificates scheme for products, processes and services to
ensure that cybersecurity standards are met by products and services marketed in
the EU countries. ALDE pushed for the extension of the mandate of the EU
Cybersecurity Agency, ENISA, allocating more resources to enable it to fulfil its goals.

ALDE press release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1255-liberal-and-democrat-meps-welcome-adoption-of-


the-eu-cybersecurity-act/

Extending the rights of the individual

We have fought for strong new laws that will help to ensure that individuals’ rights
are respected in criminal proceedings and to ensure there are fair trials for all EU
citizens wherever they are in the EU. ALDE led the work a new European law on the
harmonisation of the presumption of innocence, this is important because in spite of
the existence of this right in all national criminal proceedings there are still violations
of this principle. The new directive, drafted by ALDE, approved minimal standards for
fair trials across the EU, harmonising the rights of presumption of innocence and
strengthening the provisions related to public statements about accused persons.

ALDE was at the forefront of work to enhance the rights of international couples, in
particular property rights for married couples and registered partners. As a result,
citizens will be able to choose the law to be applied to their property and to have
various procedures handled by the same court and thereby, avoid parallel
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proceedings and conflicting judicial decisions. This legislation will increase legal
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certainty and improve legal predictability for international married couples and
registered partners. ALDE can be proud that the Council took on board most of its
proposals to ensure equal treatment of international couples of different or same
sex relationships, married or registered, and thus having contributed to the fight
against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Enhancing the legal framework of the Digital Single Market

ALDE played a key role in allowing for wider online access to works by users across
the EU. The new law removes legal barriers to cross-border portability so that EU
citizens can listen to their music and watch their films either at home or anywhere
else in Europe as long as their stay abroad is temporary – for example on holidays,
on business trips or at ERASMUS studies. The rules apply since the beginning of 2018
and cover all existing and future subscriptions of online services.

Moreover, ALDE got strongly involved in ensuring that books are adapted for blind
and visually impaired persons to be used freely across EU borders without having to
take copyright rules or other trade restrictions into consideration. As regards the
introduction of an exception to patent protection for export of generic medicines to
third countries, ALDE played the crucial role in ensuring that patent holders, who
invested in research & development of new medicines, were not disproportionately
disadvantaged by a parallel manufacturing permission for generic companies, which
will allow for increased access to medicines within Europe and beyond.

In order to make consumers further benefit from the Digital Single Market and to
increase legal certainty, ALDE strongly supported laying down harmonised rules for
contracts in the digital sphere, such as for buying music, movies, games or apps.
Now, users can rely on the same guarantee periods and have the same rights when
something goes wrong all over Europe. Likewise, Parliament found a balanced
approach to harmonising collective redress mechanisms at EU level. It was thanks to
ALDE that a balanced position could be found, which strengthens the rights of
consumers against big economic players without creating US style litigation
incentives.

European procedural law for the benefit of businesses and consumers

Besides the development of a modernised European Small Claims procedure, which


will enable consumers to easily retrieve small claims of up to € 5.000 from business
partners across borders, which will tangibly enhance cross-border business activities
within a legally sound framework, ALDE contributed to the harmonisation and
simplication of rules on company insolvencies, including advocating for a second
chance for honest debtors. ALDE thereby preferred to put mechanisms in place,
which will help EU companies who get into financial difficulties to regain ground
rather than to let them fail.
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As a lesson learnt from the financial crisis, the EU put in place rules for shareholders,
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which encourage long-term shareholder engagement rather than short-term profit.


ALDE made sure that the right balance was found between the interests of
shareholders and the necessary rules to confine speculation. Likewise, ALDE was
pivotal to progressing common measures against unlawful acquisition, use and
disclosure of trade secrets to ensure a smooth functioning of the internal market and
– at the same time – the protection of whistle-blowers. Trade secrets are particularly
important for SMEs and start-ups as these often lack specialised human resources
and financial strength to manage and defend their intellectual property rights.

Gender Mainstreaming

Throughout this mandate, ALDE has initiated several reports advocating for the
gender mainstreaming of EU policies including gender budgeting as a methodology
that needs to be applied in all EU Budget lines. ALDE stresses that a modern, focused
EU budget cannot be achieved without a clear and comprehensive gender
perspective that is key to enable inclusive and more evidence-based decision-
making, which in turn contributes to ensuring an effective use of public funds and EU
added - value in all its actions.

ALDE also remained active to achieve a gender balanced and diverse composition of
the European Parliament in both its political representation and its staff, as this
crucially improves the level of democratic representation of EU citizens and the
legitimacy of Parliament's decisions. We succeeded in securing the concept of
Gender Mainstreaming Amendments (GMAs) in the European Parliament’s rules of
procedure, enhanced cooperation on gender equality with national parliaments and
structured cooperation with other institutional partners and organisations such as
UN Women, the Council of Europe and EU institutions.

Closing the gender gap

The EU acknowledges that gender equality is a necessary condition for the


achievement of the EU objectives of growth, employment and social cohesion.
However gender equality is far from achieved in Europe: at the current rate of
progress, we need another 70 years to achieve equal pay 40 years before
housework is equally shared, 30 years before the employment rate for women is
70% and 20 more years before gender balance in politics is reached. Only balanced
legislation will successfully contribute to closing the gender gap. ALDE therefore
strongly supports the EU initiative to improve the Work-life balance for parents and
carers that is strongly linked to the implementation of the principles of the European
Pillar of Social Rights, particularly those focusing on gender equality, equal
opportunities, work-life balance, childcare and support to children, and long-term
care.

ALDE worked for strong incentives to increase women's labor market participation
such as a gender-balanced take-up of leave arrangements (parental, paternity and
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carers’ leave). ALDE campaigned to reduce the gender pay and pension gaps and to
promote gender equality in decision-making processes. Member States should adopt
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the “Women on Boards” directive to improve the gender balance in the boards of
publicly listed companies without further delay. ALDE has also called on the
commission and Member States to integrate a gender
perspective into all their budgets, health policies, programmes and research.

Gender balance in EU “top jobs”

The ALDE Group has led efforts to deliver on the EU’s commitment to gender
equality regarding nominations and appointment for top EU jobs, for instance in the
finance sector. We believe the EU must implement its promise to promote women
to top positions and put in place a roadmap to real reform.

ALDE press release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1264-alde-welcomes-adoption-of-ep-resolution-on-


gender-balance-but-condemns-lacklustre-positions-taken-by-the-epp-socialist-groups/

Promoting a healthy work/life balance

Work-life balance is still a considerable challenge for many workers, and the uneven
distribution of parental and care responsibilities has a negative impact on women’s
employment. Better access to the labour market for women, with a more balanced
distribution of parental responsibilities are important objectives for ALDE and we
have supported proposed legislation to improve work-life balance, linked to the
implementation of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

In this mandate, we backed the right to paternity leave, until now non-existent at EU
level, of 10 working days. We enhanced the minimum standard on parental leave,
providing an individual right of 4 months for each parent, of which two months are
paid and non-transferable between parents (currently, only one month is non-
transferable), to be taken before the child reaches the age of 8. We also supported
the introduction of 5 working days per year of carers’ leave, for workers caring for
seriously ill or dependent relatives and close persons.

Enhancing protections for Disabled People

ALDE has strongly advocated for the rights of persons with disabilities throughout
the mandate, taking a horizontal approach to inclusion and accessibility issues across
a range of policy areas from the European Semester to youth employment. We have
been the driving force on the proposal for a European Accessibility Act, in particular
as regards accessibility of the built environment. ALDE made the difference on this
file by fighting for elements of the proposal that had a good chance of being adopted
in the European Council. This strategy allowed for all public procurements to be
covered in the final scope as well as any legislation referring to accessibility. ALDE
has also ensured that SMEs and especially microenterprises were able to cope with
the new rules.

Two additional key reports adopted this term concerned the implementation of both
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the European Disability Strategy and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons
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with Disabilities, of which all Members States and the EU itself are signatories. ALDE
supported calls for, inter alia, Member States to work towards a common definition
of disability in line with the UNCRPD, to ensure European funding promotes
deinstitutionalisation and the right to independent living, for the active participation
of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in the
development and implementation of legislation and policies and to include
reasonable accommodation denial as a grounds for discrimination under the
Employment Equality Directive.

ALDE has called for the EU to be a model of best practice as regards its own
institutions and make EU programmes, elections, online content and internships
accessible for all citizens including those with disabilities as well as for a continued
European Disability Strategy to 2030. ALDE has also continued to repeatedly call on
Council to unblock the Anti-discrimination directive, which would end legal
discrimination in access to services on all remaining grounds.

Combatting trafficking in Human beings

ALDE has called for action to better combat Trafficking in Human beings. EU
legislation to protect victims of trafficking is not being properly enforced and EU
member states should do more to protect these victims, such as grant them
residence permits and access to member states’ labour markets. Special attention
for women and girls victims of trafficking is necessary as they represent by far the
biggest group of trafficked persons. Police, the judiciary, medical staff and social
workers should receive adequate and gender sensitive training, so that they can
identify vulnerable victims early and offer them the support they need, including
accommodation, medical treatment, translation, legal counselling, including for the
purpose of claiming compensation, and a recovery period of at least 30 days

Tackling the trafficking of Cultural Goods

ALDE MEPs have been successful in tightening up EU rules intended to prevent the
import and storage in the EU of cultural goods illicitly exported from a third country,
thereby reducing trafficking in cultural goods, combatting terrorism financing and
protecting cultural heritage, especially archaeological objects in source countries
affected by armed conflict.

Combatting violence against women: EU accession to the Istanbul convention

Since 2014, we have called for an EU directive on combatting Violence against


Women and girls, and for the launch of the procedure for EU-accession to the
Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women
(“Istanbul Convention”), the first legally binding treaty in Europe that criminalises
different forms of violence against women including physical and psychological
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violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment and rape, stalking, female genital
mutilation, forced marriage, forced abortion and forced sterilization. The European
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Commission launched the procedure for EU accession to the Istanbul Convention in


March 2016. The European parliament confirmed its strong support for EU
accession in November 2016, including an EU directive on Violence against women.

Campaigning for LGBTI rights

Although the European Union is a community of values, and citizens' rights are
guaranteed by the treaties, in reality LGBTI people cannot rely on the EU to protect
them against discrimination, intolerance and hatred. Since 2014, ALDE has called for
an EU Road Map for LGBTI rights. Moreover, in 2005 ALDE launched ALDE4Equality, a
permanent campaign for LGBTI rights in the European Union and beyond. Since then,
ALDE has participated in Gay Pride marches across Europe, to show support and
solidarity with LGBTI campaigners in countries where homophobia is very present,
and the authorities are obstructing and opposing the rights movement, instead of
promoting equality.

Protecting Europe’s cultural & social heritage

The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 was an initiative launched in an ALDE
report on cultural heritage in Europe. The report stresses the potential of cultural
heritage as an important factor in sustainable economic development. ALDE was
later in charge of the report on the European Year of Cultural Heritage where the
importance of exploiting the potential of this event to increase awareness of the
richness and diversity of EU’s cultural heritage was underlined. The need to
mainstream culture in all policy areas was another key message in the report.

In times where Euroscepticism is dangerously increasing and in view of the next


European elections, encouraging civic participation is of vital importance. This was
the main objective in an ALDE report on the implementation of the Europe for
Citizens programme (2014-2020). The Europe for Citizens programme promotes a
better understanding of the EU and a stronger sense of European citizenship. It is
also designed as an effective tool to increase European awareness and to foster
European values.

Believing to European cultural and creative sector

While fully understanding the role of the cultural creative sector in providing jobs,
self-employment, synergies between the different sectors and innovation. ALDE
supported the EP proposal to substantially increase the budget for the Creative
Europe program for 2021-2027.

A bright, European future for all

ALDE believes that education is one of the pillars that sustain our society and which
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would significantly contribute to ensuring a better future for young generations by


improving employability and by increasing competitiveness and economic growth.
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Education is a vital instrument to tackle social inequalities, youth unemployment,


and foster social inclusion. All people, with particular regard to the most vulnerable
and disadvantaged groups should enjoy the same chances of accessing and
completing education and training.

Member States should put in place mechanisms facilitating the automatic mutual
recognition of diplomas and the outcomes of learning periods abroad by 2025, in line
with the objectives of a European Education Area by 2025. This has always been
essential to ALDE.

A European Solidarity Corps

ALDE also supported the agreement between the European Parliament and the
Council to establish the European Solidarity Corps. This initiative reinforces the role
of the EU in promoting solidarity activities through volunteering by young people. It
will also help to reduce unemployment among young people by making available to
them traineeships and jobs in solidarity activities.

The Erasmus+ Programme

The Erasmus programme has been a particular visible and successful EU initiative.
Since the programme was launched in 1987, 10.6 million of people have participated
in learning mobility, exchanges, strategic partnerships and innovative projects. ALDE
have ensured the programme will be significantly reinforced in the period 2021-2027
by at least doubling the financial resources available. This will make it possible to
give support to up to 12 million participants, three times as many as in the current
financing period. The programme will also be expanded by launching new initiatives,
in particular the new Discover EU initiative, which will give to young people the
opportunity to travel to other EU countries, the creation of a European universities
network to promote innovation and excellence, and the establishment of Vocational
Education and training Centres of excellence. Furthermore there will be stronger
focus on inclusion to allow people from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate.

SUPPORTING FREE TRADE, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY

WE HAVE HELPED DELIVER

Trade that benefits all

Liberals and Democrats have defended the benefits of freer and fairer world trade in
terms of improving consumer choice and stimulating competition and spreading
prosperity. Working closely with Liberal Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström,
ALDE played an important role in the monitoring of the negotiations with Canada up
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to the conclusion and Parliament’s ratification of the CETA agreement, which the
ALDE Group supported, despite opposition by the Left and the Greens. The
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agreement is one of the most modern, progressive, and extensive ones that the EU
has negotiated so far.

Likewise, ALDE Members have continuously supported and closely followed trade
negotiations between the EU and Japan, concluded in April 2018, and adopted by
the European Parliament in December 2018. ALDE welcomes the EU-Japan Economic
Partnership Agreement, which ensures trade liberalisation by the EU of 99% of its
tariff lines, and 97% by Japan. EU farmers and food producers gain major access to a
new export market. High standards and rules-based trade is secured between the
two trading partners. Over 200 GIs are protected, and for the first time, there is a
chapter for SMEs. The agreement refers to commitments to implement the Paris
Agreement.

ALDE members have also relentlessly supported the Free Trade Agreement between
the EU and Singapore, which, together with the Investment Protection Agreement,
was be ratified by the European Parliament in February 2019.

ALDE press releases:


Canada: https://www.aldeparty.eu/news/european-parliament-approves-eu-canada-trade-deal
Japan: https://alde.eu/en/news/1044-alde-welcomes-successful-conclusion-on-the-eu-japan-
economic-partnership-agreement-and-stresses-importance-of-rules-based-free-trade/
Singapore: https://alde.eu/en/news/1235-eu-singapore-agreements-a-blueprint-for-future-trade-
deals-with-asean-countries/

Using the EU’s trading weight to build a better world

Delivered thanks to work by ALDE, the EU’s Anti-Torture legislation agreed this
mandate is a huge step to advance the EU’s efforts to eradicate torture and the
death penalty worldwide. ALDE managed to strengthen the rules to prevent trade in
products and supply of services that are suspected to contribute to torture, capital
punishment or other inhuman or degrading treatment in third countries. This
proposal broadens the number of controlled products, including medicines that are
used in the United States to carry out the death penalty.

European Parliament Press Release Anti - Torture legislation:


http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20160930IPR44536/meps-strengthen-eu-
export-ban-on-torture-goods

ALDE played a central and decisive role in negotiations with EU Governments on EU


legislation on Conflict Minerals, which will make it more difficult for armed groups
in conflict-affected and high-risk areas to finance their activities through the mining
of and trade in minerals.

ALDE Press Release Conflict Minerals: https://alde.eu/en/news/872-conflict-minerals-time-to-break-


the-link-between-mining-and-armed-conflicts/
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The ALDE Group is a champion of a rules-based trade, but this also means protecting
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Europe against dumped and subsidised imports from countries that are not
members of the EU. We have played a key role in shaping legislation to deliver
targeted changes to the EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy regulations.

A Strong Neighbourhood Policy

ALDE MEPs have played a robust diplomatic role in the Western Balkans; from
mediating in the internal conflict between political parties in North Macedonia, to
supporting the EU-led reform process in Western Balkans, in particular issues related
to visa-free travel and migration.

ALDE Press Release EU enlargement: https://alde.eu/en/news/1071-eu-enlargement-commission-s-


new-strategy-opens-door-for-the-western-balkans/

Championing human rights

ALDE MEPs have been very active in the field of democracy and human rights, where
the EU has acknowledged soft power and influence. It was in great part thanks to
the ALDE group that Denis Mukwege was successfully awarded the 2014 Sakharov
Prize for his work in the promotion of girls' rights to education. In 2016, ALDE
supported Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, who were awarded the Sakhorov
prize. In 2018, Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad were subsequently awarded the
Nobel Prize for Peace for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon
in war. We have also been active in supporting other heroes and champions of
human rights. In 2018, Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, supported by the ALDE
Group, was awarded the Sakharov Prize.

ALDE press release Sentsov: https://alde.eu/en/news/1190-oleg-sentsov-wins-sakharov-prize-for-


freedom-of-thought-2018/

ALDE press release Mukwege: https://www.aldeparty.eu/news/alde-groups-nominee-denis-


mukwege-wins-sakharov-prize-2014

ALDE press release Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar:


https://alde.eu/en/news/744-nadia-murad-basee-and-lamiya-aji-bashar-win-2016-sakharov-prize/

EU Human rights violations & sanctions regime

ALDE led the negotiation of a joint text that finally was adopted by the EP in the
March I plenary session. The EP calls on the Council to swiftly establish an
autonomous, flexible and reactive EU-wide sanctions regime that would allow the
targeting of any individual, state and non-state actors, and other entities responsible
for or involved in grave human rights violations. The regime should symbolically
carry Sergei Magnitsky's name.

EU aid that delivers


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ALDE MEPs have worked hard to deliver radical change in the financing of the EU’s
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neighbourhood policy. The new Neighbourhood, Development and International


Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) will be the centrepiece of the new external financing
instruments. ALDE inputted on “governance” notably by a smart application of
delegated acts and the creation of a “horizontal steering group” across all
Commission/EEAS services responsible for steering, coordinating and managing the
policies, programmes, objectives and actions; ALDE contributed by adding to the
original suspension Clause (in case of backsliding on democracy, human rights) the
compliance with nuclear standards.

Thanks to ALDE, focus was put on the Paris Agreement of which the “target” has
been reinforced: 45% for climate, environmental management and protection,
biodiversity and combatting desertification, of which 30% for climate change
mitigation and adaptation. Strict conditionality was maintained as regards
democracy, human rights and the rule of law; Human Rights are mainstreamed and
its funding upgraded. The cushion has been reduced but the Commission’s flexibility
in financing matters maintained.

Tackling the Ebola Crisis

The Ebola crisis in Western Africa remains a concern and the risk of a pandemic
cannot be ruled out. ALDE led the drafting of a 2015 report insisting on a reform of
the WHO, particularly regarding the establishment of a new emergency programme
and a world reserve of staff who can be deployed quickly. The report calls for a
permanent European response capacity comprising experts, laboratory support staff,
epidemiologists and logistics facilities including mobile laboratories; furthermore the
EP urges the Commission to help the three affected countries to develop their own
public health system.

The EP’s resolution calls for urgent guaranteed access to the new vaccine, which has
proven 100% effective in Guinea, and which should be made affordable to everyone;
market forces should therefore not be the only factor determining which medicines
to produce and alternative models to the patent based monopolies should be
explored; the resolution stresses EU’s special responsibility when it comes to
promoting the right to universal healthcare and supports the idea of a "Marshall
Plan" to help kick-start the affected countries' economies; the structural under-
funding of EU humanitarian action which cannot be ignored during the mid-term
review of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework is strongly criticised.

Debt sustainability

ALDE led the development of a European Parliament report expressing fear of a new
debt crisis as lending to impoverished countries increased dramatically from 2008.
The report further considers that sustainable debt is a precondition for achieving
Agenda 2030 but that debt financing should merely be a complement and second-
best option to on debt-creating instruments such as tax and tariff income and official
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development assistance (ODA). Domestic resource mobilisation through taxation


remains the most important source of revenue for financing sustainable
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development. To this end, the EU needs to step up its capacity building assistance in
developing countries in order to curb illicit financial flows, support an efficient,
progressive and transparent tax system, in line with good governance principles and
increase its assistance to combat corruption and recover stolen assets. Debt relief
measures must not be liable to impede the provision of basic services and impair
respect for all human rights. Furthermore, the co-responsibility of debtors and
creditors to prevent and resolve debt crisis through more responsible lending and
borrowing is stressed in the report. Finally, the Rapporteur calls on the Member
States to adopt, on the Commission’s initiative, a regulation based on the Belgian
Law on combating vulture fund debt speculation.

Fighting for democracy around the world

In the last 5 years, ALDE has sought to contribute to the resolution of conflicts and
the diffusion of liberal values outside of the European Union. For example, on child
marriages: ALDE led the EP debate, authoring a report calling for a European year
dedicated to the fight against early and forced marriages. ALDE took leadership on
the reform of the EU’s dual-use export control legislation, stressing that human
rights as criteria for export licences are a priority for the European Parliament. The
EP adopted an ALDE initiated report on Human rights and technology and the impact
of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in third countries, calling on
Member States to finally agree to move towards a more modern, flexible and human
rights-based export policy.

ALDE has been prominent voice with regards to the EU’s relations with Cuba, hosting
three major ALDE-sponsored events with Cuban civil society and dissidents to push
for making the respect of human rights a key element of the EU-Cuba Political
Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement. In the accompanying resolution to the EU-
Cuba Agreement consent, voted in July 2017,as well as in the November 2018
urgency resolution, ALDE made the difference and managed to include clear
references to political prisoners, dissidents, the lack of freedom of
expression/association, harassment against civil society and the importance of the
respect of human rights, among other topics.

ALDE Press Release Cuba: https://alde.eu/en/news/953-eu-cuba-agreement-human-rights-must-not-


be-negotiable/
https://alde.eu/en/news/1204-cuba-the-eu-must-set-a-clear-red-line-fundamental-rights-are-not-
negotiable/

ALDE has been vocal concerning the deteriorating conditions in Venezuela, ALDE has
played a leading role in requesting the EU to consider the option of applying
targeted sanctions and other measures against officials or any other person
responsible for the violation of rights of protesters or the democratic opposition. In
September 2017, the European Parliament passed a resolution on EU-Latin America
relations that included a call for sanctions. Since then the EU Council has adopted
restrictive measures against individuals in Venezuela.
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ALDE Press Release Venezuela: https://alde.eu/en/news/1191-venezuela-eu-must-back-calls-for-the-


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icc-to-investigate-maduro-s-regime-for-crimes-against-humanity/
Russia’s slide to authoritarianism

ALDE has been outspoken over the past 5 years at the backwards drift in Russia
towards a new form of authoritarianism under President Putin, which tolerates
neither opposition nor dissent. Thanks to two major ALDE-sponsored events
engaging Russian civil society, democratic opposition and artists, the European
Parliament continues to be the leading institution in maintaining close contacts with
Russian civil society, and this while official political contacts between the EU and
Russia are restricted. The ALDE line toward Russia favours balanced sanctions with a
constructive engagement for civil society and people-to-people contacts. ALDE took
the lead on the European Parliament’s Arctic strategy, contributing to the future EU
strategy for the Arctic. The report focussed on Russian military build-up,
environmental protection, combating global warming, the rights of indigenous
peoples, and development in the Arctic region. In 2018, ALDE launched a blueprint to
un - freeze the relationship between Russia and the EU.

ALDE press release: https://alde.eu/en/news/1079-verhofstadt-presents-alde-s-blueprint-to-un-


freeze-the-relationship-between-russia-and-the-eu/

Defending Democracy in Turkey

As regards Turkey, freedom of press, media and expression has been a key concern
among ALDE Members. In November 2016, the ALDE Group initiated a resolution on
the increasingly authoritarian rule by President Erdogan and on the disproportionate
measures Turkey had taken since the military coup of July 2016. The resolution calls
for a freeze in the accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey. The ALDE
group has successfully called for a decrease in pre-accession assistance to Turkey
while increasing support for civil society organisations in the country. In March 2019,
the European Parliament adopted a report calling for the formal suspension of
negotiations with Turkey, with support from ALDE Members.

ALDE press release: https://alde.eu/en/news/957-respect-of-human-rights-and-the-rule-of-law-must-


be-at-the-core-of-the-new-eu-turkey-agenda/

Speaking out against genocide and war crimes and crimes against humanity in
Myanmar and Syria

Following the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar in Bangladesh, ALDE MEPs have led
condemnation of Myanmar and the attitude of Nobel Prize and Sakharov Prize
winner Aung San Suu Kyi. The ALDE Group was the first political group to call on
Aung San Suu Kyi to return the Sakharov Prize. The ALDE leadership has promoted
the need for a strong EU strategy towards Syria and the need for a strong stance on
holding accountable those responsible of war crimes, crimes against humanity and
genocide, with a special focus on the importance of evidence gathering. On 21
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September 2017, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a


resolution establishing an international investigation to collect evidence of ISIS’
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crimes in Iraq. ALDE pushed for the Syrian military photographer “Caesar” to become
the 2018 Sakharov prize laureate.

ALDE press release: https://alde.eu/en/news/789-council-should-do-more-than-deplore-the-


manslaughter-in-aleppo-it-should-act-verhofstadt/
ALDE press release on Myanmar: https://alde.eu/en/news/1166-myanmar-alde-group-calls-for-
european-parliament-to-revoke-aung-san-suu-kyi-s-sakharov-prize/

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