Grigoris Aggelidis MdB Delivers Keynote Speech in Athens
Four years has been far too long without the liberals in the Bundestag. Nevertheless, it proved enough time for FDP to restart the party, renew its social contract and allow new, dynamic members emerge and convey the liberal message across Germany and the entire Europe. One exemplary case is Mr Grigorios Aggelidis (MdB) from Hannover. Born in Neustadt, the son of immigrants from Greece, Aggelidis represents the new and promising political staff of the liberal family. A banker, an active member of civil society and the President of FC Walker, he entered politics to defend hope and freedom in what he considered a stagnant social environment. He joined the party only in 2012 and by 2017 he was elected Member of the Bundestag, where he currently serves as the vice-chairman of the Committee on Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.
On Wednesday, July 17, the Greek office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom had the honour to welcome him and his family in Athens, at a very special evening with distinguished liberal guests. A few years after the last time a German FDP parliamentarian addressed the Greek audience, Mr Aggelidis presented his views about the future of liberalism in Europe, his vision for Germany and the potential contribution to Greece from abroad.
He began his speech with a quote from Pericles: “The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom is courage,” to continue highlighting the value of individual responsibility for social progress. Next, he said that the actual question is how Europe can give the opportunity to Greece to become a competitive state with a sound economic basis, strong institutions and properly reformed. “If we provide the fertile environment, the people, the individuals, will find the way to thrive and prosper,” he added. The second hot issue, and something that concerns him personally, is to find a way to help the Greek citizens and the small and medium enterprises in ways that make new jobs and increase their income, without bringing advantage to governments and political systems who don’t work to the right direction. “It took tough reforms and mentality change to make Germany what it is today, a great economy not only in Europe but also in the world and this is what Greece should do,” he commented.
Later, Mr Aggelidis answered to many questions, especially from young people and alumni of the FNF Political Academy, about undemployment, economic development and the refugee crisis. In a question about what Greece should learn from Germany, he did not hesitate to point out the system of education.
The next day, Mr Aggelidis was invited to the prime-time talk show of the National Public Radio (Proto Programma) where he had the opportunity to discuss with anchor-people Mrs Konstantina Dimitrouli and Mr George Pikoulas. When asked if Germany plays the role of the “bugbear” in the EU, he answered a clear “no”, explaining that nobody would align with its proposals, hadn’t they been well reasoned; “We can, however, discuss if some of the implemented policies [the years of the crisis] were right or wrong and I believe that some of them were wrong,” he added. At some point, he was asked to define liberalism, given that in many countries and Greece there are some misconceptions about it. He argued that the core liberal idea says that people are responsible for their own fate but a strong state, with fair rules, is needed to provide the framework. This state has also the role to help the weak citizens in a constructive way, he concluded.
Dr. Athanasios Grammenos
Project Manager Greece