ALDE’s moral high-ground is slipping away

Prominent ALDE members are continuously criticising the EPP and the ECR for the parties that hold their membership. And indeed, the Hungarian Fidesz is rightfully criticised for still being a part of the European People’s Party. Yours truly has been a part of this conversation. ALDE group leader Guy Verhofstadt continuously goes after Manfred Weber for this reason, but truth be told: the “liberals” is far from innocent, and with recent news, is slowly slipping away from its moral high-ground.

The Czech ALDE member ANO is lead by billionaire Andrej Babiš, Finance Minister and owner of a vast media empire that oversees a large part of the flow of information in his country. Babiš is an ex-communist who has been accused of having  links to the Soviet KGB and whose business interests have been described as such (also by Politico):

“The Czech Republic is now a paradox: a society disgusted with corruption has given huge power to a man whose business interests amount to the biggest conflict of interest in the country’s post-1989 history.”

Czech police recommends charging Prime Minister Andrej Babiš in EU-funding fraud case. He is accused of illegally accepting CZK 50 million (€2 million) for a farm and hotel project that he is involved with. If convicted, he could face 5 to 10 years in prison.

The accusation is known since 2017.

In France, both ALDE affiliates are mere support groups for the major Republican and Socialist parties. The Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) participated in the primary elections of the Republican party, which supports the drug war, mandatory sentencing and raising sales tax, and was the party of the big French bank bailouts of 2008.

The Mouvement démocratique (Democratic Movement) has been gravitating to the left, but its leader François Bayrou has continuously pandered to those in power to reach high ministerial positions (like under centre-right Jacques Chirac, under which he served as Minister of Education), while implementing no notable reforms to reduce government.

The Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom run on the worst kind of centrism there is. For the 2015 general election campaign, the LibDems ran on the slogan “We will bring a heart to a Tory Government and a brain to a Labour one“, essentially telling us nothing about the intent of their philosophy and the direction of their policy. In their coalition with the Conservative Party, the LibDems have been a major obstacle for more far-reaching spending cuts, which are necessary.

And then there is Estonia

In Estonia, the anti-immigration EKRE party participates in the government of ALDE affiliate Jüri Ratas since the end of last month.

EKRE Minister of Finance, Martin Helme, has been quoted things such as “If you’re black, go back“, and calling for a “white Estonia”. His father Mart Helme (now Minister of Interior) has complained that the “number of negroes in Tallinn has grown explosively”, and said of LGBT parades that he does not see why “the police should guard a parade of perverts”. Father and son are happy to “troll” international media by showing the “O.K” sign in parliament, which’s association as a “white power” symbol (given the W and P in the sign) initially started as an internet joke, now used by these kind of parties to mock journalists.

EKRE’s popularity is set to increase, as the country is consistently against new migrants coming into the country.

Is this what ALDE does? Associating with these kinds of parties in order to remain in power?

This article was first published by Values4Europe.

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About Bill Wirtz

My name is Bill, I'm from Luxembourg and I write about the virtues of a free society. I favour individual and economic freedom and I believe in the capabilities people can develop when they have to take their own responsibilities.

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