It was a debut, and it was a successful one. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom hosted the first “Liberal Café” – a forum for discussion among the Greek Liberals – in Athens. The topic was inspired from the anniversary of the American independence the same day, however with regard to European integration and the current Greek crisis: “An ever-closer union… – does Greece need more or less Europe?”. The keynote speech was addressed by Alexander Graf Lambsdorff MEP, Vice-President of ALDE party.
The German politician mentioned that Liberal forces are necessary for Europe in order to exceed certain economic and political obstacles. Concerning Greece he mentioned that “liberals are the embankment against public debt and over-regulation. Wherever there are strong liberal parties, it is good for both business and people. Therefore, strong and above all united liberals are needed to get Greece on the right track again.” After his speech, Graf Lambsdorff participated in a panel discussion with Greek liberal and reformist political leaders such as Stratis Mouyer (Vice President, Drassi), Thanos Tzimeros (President, Dimiourgia Xana), and Gregory Vallianatos (President, Liberal Alliance). All party leaders agreed on the fact that Greece’s institutions needed fundamental modernization, and therefore European support is much-needed.
“The purpose of this event is to emphasize the imperative for reform and development, inform the Greek audience on the progress vis-a-vis European integration, and hopefully spur the Greek liberals to continue this dialogue process,” said Hans Stein, FNF Regional Director for the EU and North America, in his welcome remarks.
About 120 guests attended the event at Radisson Blu Park Hotel, among which were Dr. Leonidas Antonakopoulos, Head of the European Parliament’s office in Greece, Dr. Theodoros Skylakakis MEP, dozens of members of political parties, NGOs and think tanks as well as many politically interested citizens.
Athanasios Grammenos & Markus Kaiser