General Assembly of the IED 2023

Brussels, Belgium


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General Assembly

On November 29th, the Institute of European Democrats (IED) held its annual general assembly within the halls of the European Parliament. This gathering was marked by a dual purpose: renewing the mandate of the Board and leaders of IED and outlining key initiatives for 2024.

On the wake of the pivotal European Elections year, the assembly emerged as a pivotal forum for shaping IED's trajectory.

This annual assembly in the European Parliament reaffirmed IED's commitment to collaboration with EDP and intensified  dialogue with its members party. Beyond the leadership reconduction, the assembly focused on transparency by presenting the institute's financial overview, welcoming new members, and unveiling the 2024 work program.

This multifaceted agenda underscored the Institute of European Democrats' commitment not only to transparency but also to fostering a collective vision that reflects the diversity and strength of the Institute.

At the forefront of this assembly were key figures steering the organization towards its goals. Francesco Rutelli, the esteemed President of IED, along with the dynamic Vice President, Gabi Schmidt, and it’s CEO, Mikel Burzako, provided leadership and direction.

The trio exemplified the commitment of IED to fostering collaboration and dialogue among political leaders in Europe. Their mandate have been renewed unanimously at the assembly.

Mikel Burzako, the IED CEO, took the floor to present a comprehensive overview of the institute's financial situation, highlighting encouraging signs of improvement. His presentation set a positive tone for the assembly, underlining the organization's commitment to transparency and sustainability.

Representing various nations and political affiliations, the assembly featured a large lineup of participants. Ivo Kaplan, representing Evropsky Institut Renaissance FWK in the Czech Republic, shared insights into the political landscape of Central Europe couple of days before the IED convention in the Czech Capital Prague.

From Freie Waehler in Germany, Bianka Rossler brought perspectives on the evolving dynamics within the German political sphere. Gerrit Jan Van Otterloo, a representative from the Jan Nagel 50Plus Foundation in the Netherlands, added a warning on the raise of far right leaders, as his own country testimony in the recent election.

The assembly showcased an appeal to the youth with participants such as Asier Areitio, the President of Young Democrats for Europe (YDE), and Alice Bernard, YDE Secretary General, representing the organization's commitment to nurturing the next generation of European leaders.

IED is particularly excited to accompany this dynamic young organization into the next events during the fierce European campaign coming.
The participation of Gyorgy Gemesi and Csaba Peterfi from the Association of Hungarian Local Governments carried profound significance, their presence not only highlighted the crucial role of local governance in influencing the European construction but also shed light on the challenges posed by the current political situation in Hungary . Integrate effective EU toward local-level governance foster more efficient European policies.

Hailing from the Basque Country, Spain, Jose Mari Etxebarria shared valuable insights from EAJ-PNV. The honorable presence of Mara Valentini and Francesca Pierigiovanni from Repubblica Futura in San Marino, Andrzej Potocki from Fundacja Samorzqdnosc I Demokracja in Poland, and Radimir Čačić from Narodna Stranka-Reformisti in Croatia underscored the significance of their contributions to our assembly. Their esteemed presence added depth and richness to the discussions, elevating the overall impact of the event.

Amidst the discussions, Cristina Calero from Coalición Canaria brought a poignant moment to the assembly, making a compelling appeal rooted in our shared humanist values. Hailing from the Canary Islands, Calero drew attention to the often-overlooked peripheral regions, shedding light on the unique challenges they face. Her impassioned speech resonated with the assembly, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and solidarity as core principles driving the European project.

One of our special guest Elia Ascensão from Juntos Pelo Povo in Madeira, Portugal, brought a unique perspective to the forefront. Elia passionately illuminated the significance of ultra-peripheral islands, like her own, in underlining the relevance and inclusivity of the European Union. She shed light on the often-overlooked regions, emphasizing their integral role in the broader European narrative. Taking advantage of the occasion, Elia extended a warm invitation to all participants to an upcoming IED event in Madeira, promising an enriching continuation of the discussions in this distinctive and vibrant setting. The assembly further benefited from the guidance of Ivo Vojgl, an experienced politician and former MEP. Vojgl's insights were particularly timely as he addressed the looming challenge of populism and the rise of extremist parties in the wake of the upcoming elections. His guidance provided a strategic framework for navigating these complex political currents, emphasizing the need for a united front against bigotry and the erosion of democratic values.

The presence of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Marie-Pierre Vedrenne and Engin Eroglu underscored the Institute importance in the context of the European elections as the policy and ideas backbone of the Democrat’s representation in Brussels.

MEPs Nicolo Danti of Italia Viva also brought valuable insights as well as Sandro Gozi, Secretary-General for the European Democratic Party (EDP) emphasizing the relevance of a coordinate dynamic between IED and EDP to harvest victories in the next elections.

Moreover, the assembly was followed on Webex by attendees unable to come to Brussels During the assembly, Alexandra Leuliette, representing Mouvement Démocrate in France, provided a comprehensive overview of IED's active participation in various events, notably highlighting the institute's engagement at the YDE Winter Academy in Paris. Her insights emphasized the strategic importance of equipping IED activists and sympathizers, particularly the youth, for upcoming campaigns. Leuliette underscored the necessity for a deep understanding of the European Union's functioning, with a particular focus on the European Parliament, as a foundational step before championing both the EU and national programs.

Irene Mandole from the Citizen's Platform of Cyprus And François Pauli from Renew Group contributed virtually. This hybrid approach ensured that voices from diverse European movements were heard, fostering a truly inclusive and impactful dialogue.

In conclusion, the annual general assembly of the Institute of European Democrats stood as a testament to the organization's commitment to unity, collaboration, and progressive policymaking.

As Europe faces complex challenges, the assembly provided a platform for leaders to exchange ideas, strengthen connections, and collectively envision a resilient and cohesive European community.

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