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02 May 2014

Speech to the ALDE Party Electoral Rally, Vienna

Speech to the Electoral Rally of the ALDE Party in Vienna, Friday 2 May 


Meine Damen und Herren!

Liebe Freunde!

Es ist großartig heute hier zu sein!

Mit Matthias und Angelika. Mit NEOS. Im neuen Österreich. Ihr seid ein leuchtendes Vorbild für uns alle, für die Liberalen in Europa. Eine echte reform-orientierte, liberale Partei. NEOS schafft die alten Zöpfe ab! ÖVP und SPÖ, die Dinosaurier der Österreichischen Politik.

The message of Neos is the right message. It's also our message. The message of all liberals in Europe. The message that Europe is not in crisis because there is too much of it. Europe is in crisis because it suffers from those who have for far too long governed it. The conservatives and the socialists. Look its simple. In nearly halve of our countries the conservatives are leading the government. In most of the other countries the socialists are in power. And do you see a difference ? I not ! In all of them there is crisis. In all of them the unemployment is huge. In all of them citizens are desperate. And in the biggest country who is pointed with the finger for that, in Germany they are both in power, the grand coalition. Like here in Austria.

So, it's not so difficult to see what the reason is for the European misery. The reason are their bad policies, the policies of the Socialists and the Conservatives.

The conservatives , who continue to believe that the worst is behind us. That the crisis is over. That austerity is sufficient to bring again growth. That no further reforms in Europe are needed. And honestly, that attitude is no surprise for me. Conservatives mistrust fundamental change, fear radical reforms. They rather prefer to deny the facts. Not to see the economic stagnation. Not to see that today Europe is the only continent on earth that is not creating new jobs. That is not creating growth. Nevertheless the Conservative candidate for the Commission, Mr.Juncker continue to deny. Last month he repeated "we are on our way out of the crisis”. That's the kind of the leadership that the EPP, ladies and gentlemen offers you. "Politics of denial".

Sadly, we are not out of the crisis. We have an overall unemployment rate in Europe of 12 percent. Unemployment figures in the south of Europe hitting nearly 25 percent. More than 50 percent of the young people living in Greece and in Spain are jobless today. No! We are not out of the crisis.

While conservatives are in denial, Socialists continue their "politics of blame". No solutions. The only thing I heard from Mr. Schulz in this campaign. was that the crisis was caused by the banks, because of speculation. Well, I have news for Mr.Schultz. Yes, the banks made huge mistakes, but the public debt in countries like Italy, Greece and in Portugal was not caused by the banks. These countries came in trouble because of the old socialist recipes. Because of the socialist Ponzi Scheme of pyling debt on debt on debt.

The socialists have apparently learned nothing from their mistakes. They simply continue. In France. In Italy, where the first decision of Renzi was to hand over new money to the people that the Italian Treasury doesn’t even have.

No, dear friends, we cannot expect solutions from the old parties on the right, neither from the old parties on the left. Their old recipes simply don't work anymore. What we need today is something completely different, a radical shift, a new direction, a real alternative. And a new leadership too. Let me start with that. A Commission that is more than the lackey of the council. A Commission that leads again. Like our liberal commissioners.  Neelie Kroes pushing forward the digital agenda. Getting rid of the roaming charges. Sim Kallas liberalising rail. And of course Olli Rehn. It was him, together with the ECB who saved the euro. And certainly not the European Council. Always acting too little and too late. To those who criticise Olli today I say: Be honest. Olli is the one, the only one that finally applied the rules. The rules that were constantly neglected and undermined the euro.

For the past five years, we have seen a strong team of liberal Commissioners. A very strong team indeed. But, - and this is my point - under a weak leadership, a weak President. A President who did not have the courage to use his power, to use the right of initiative of the Commission. So, we need and a strong leadership and  strong Commissioners.

And for that we have to build up a new, and strong majority in the Parliament. A majority that is centered around us. Around our vision, our program, our ideas. Ideas who are not based on dogma's or on dreams. But on evidence. Not based on beliefs on how the world "should" work, but on understanding, the understanding how the world actually works.

The core of our program is clear. We want further integration, further integration in the key sectors of our economy. In those markets that are crucial for our future. The digital sector. Telecommunications. Energy. Banks. Financial services. We want a new jump forward. A quantum leap in the European integration. As an engine for growth. A second wave, after the first of the single market. 

For that, I want to unite all pro-Europeans. Everyone who think that more integration is the solution, is the way forward.

But let me be also very clear. In such a majority there is no place for the Berlusconis or the Orbans of this world. No place for people who like to bash other European nations. No place for people who do not understand the solemnity, the tragedy of European history.

No place for people who think that civil liberties are a detail and that constitutions are nothing more than a piece of paper that can be changed every five minutes.

Therefore, tonight, we say no to those parties no to those politicians, that do not share the European values. No to those who do not support the European principles of freedom, tolerance and openness.

And I say loud and clear to the leadership of the EPP - it is time, time to come clean because principles and values are for us more important then size or seats. 

This campaign is about much more than just fixing the economy. This campaign is also about standing up for our values. Our rights. Our privacy. Our liberties. Our freedom.   

To regain the self-confidence of Europe. That is at stake.

We will only succeed if we are true to our  European values. And not by copying the eurosceptics, by fantasising with words. By shouting simplicities. By consorting with autocratic leaders. Dictators almost.  Assad, Putin.

Farage defending Assad like he did a few weeks ago in plenary in the EP. Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders admiring and supporting Vladmir Putin. Disgraceful.    

We need a fresh start with Europe.

With new policies. A new leadership.

A strong majority built around us, the liberals.

We can make it happen. YOU can make it happen. We WILL make it happen.

Go out and get the vote.

Spread the word.

Spread the message.

Let's win. And let's create the surprise on the evening of the 25th of May. 




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10 June 2014

Verhofstadt message to European leaders: Europe needs reform, not rejection
Guy Verhofstadt calls on EU leaders, especially Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Fredrik Reinfeldt and Mark Rutte meeting yesterday and today in Harpsund (Sweden), to focus on a clear vision of how the EU, through its economies of scale, can be a catalyst for growth in the years ahead.

27 May 2014

Guy Verhofstadt attended the liberal prime ministers' meeting today ahead of the informal European Council

Conclusion of the meeting was that the political groups of the EPP and the PES parties lost 70 seats in the May 22-25 election.This means that ALDE will be key to the formation of a stable parliamentary majority in the European parliament.

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