Europe’s Growing Liberal Family
Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 29th January, 2008
In the run-up to next year’s European elections, British Liberal Democrats can take heart from the fact that across Europe, Liberal politicians are increasingly making their presence felt. Currently, six EU member states have Liberal Prime Ministers: Belgium (Guy Verhofstadt), Denmark (Anders Fogh Rasmussen), Estonia (Andrus Ansip), Finland (Matti Vanhanen), Latvia (Ivars Godmanis) and Romania (Calin Popescu-Tariceanu) — not to mention the tiny mountain nation of Andorra (Pintat Albert).
There are Liberal Ministers in 13 European countries (Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland). Eight of th 27 European Commissioners come from parties affiliated to the European Liberal party, ELDR, while there are 102 members of the Liberal group in the European Parliament, ALDE, headed by Graham Watson, LibDem MEP for the South West of England.
British Liberal Democrats are numerically the biggest Liberal force in European politics, which is reflected in our strength in the European Parliament. Until we get PR for British national elections, however, the party will probably remain grossly unrepresented at Westminster, and therefore under-reported in the media.